As we "begin with the end in mind" this new year, our January lessons continue to address standards and competencies in the academic, personal/social and career domains.
This month, in 3rd grade, we have been learning more about cooperation. Learning to work cooperatively is a skill that is improved with plenty of practice and good feedback from others.
I began the lesson by having the children describe what cooperating behaviors look like: listening to others, sharing ideas, taking turns, involving everyone, being respectful, etc. We also explored behaviors that prevent cooperation in a group such as pouting, not participating, speaking unkindly, put downs, etc. The class made great connections to some of our habits that help us cooperate: be proactive, think win win, put first things first, synergize, and seek first to understand, then to be understood.
We then listened to a story, "Agree to Agree", and learned that "bossiness" and "silence" are two behaviors that can impede cooperation. The students in our story had to learn to compromise before they could complete their project. Our students were divided into small groups and asked to create a report of a new animal that their zoological team has discovered. In their groups, they had to decide the name of this new animal, and it's habitat and special care. In addition, they had to draw a picture and write a brief report. They had 15 minutes to complete the task and were told that they would need to synergize and cooperate with each other to accomplish this task.
The results were quite interesting. Many of the groups were able to accomplish their tasks quickly and showed great cooperative skills while others needed some assistance. As each group reported, they were asked what went well and what was difficult about their group work. The groups reported that it was important to come to a quick agreement and get their ideas out in the open in order to complete the assignment quickly. We ended the lesson by having the children explain why it is so important to learn to cooperate. Many were able to draw connections between being able to get things done in school as well as in the world of work when they're older.
Learning to cooperate is a very important life skill for children to learn. Parents usually foster this trait in children from the time that they're toddlers and continue encouraging tcooperative behaviors as they grow older. Sometimes, we have to be very watchful and really praise cooperative behaviors when we observe them in order to keep reinforcing them. By third grade, children should be outgrowing "pouting" behaviors (crossing arms and stomping off, leaving the group and refusing to participate, shutting down and not being a part of the group, or giving the "look that kills"). If this is a problem for your child, be firm in your expectations about how they should express their disappointment when they cannot have their own way. We all experience disappointment from time to time but must learn to deal with it in an appropriate manner. Learning to give up that "control" or need to be in charge will help them learn to cooperate with others.
This lesson covers: Career Standard A: Students will acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions. C:A1.4 Learn how to interact and work cooperatively in teams
Personal/Social Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others. PS:A2.2 Respect alternative points of view
Personal/Social Standard B: Students will make decisions, set goals and take necessary action to achieve goals. PS:B1.10 Identify alternative ways of achieving goals
In 4th grade, we have been learning "Real Colors" personality in classroom guidance. Based on the work of Keirsey, this system provides an easy way for students to identify and understand their "Real Colors" personality. By exploring characteristics and traits of each color, the children were able to identify their main "Real Color" as well as combinations of colors. Simplified, the system is as follows:
True Blue - True Blues love to make friends and be with friends. They are often creative, artistic, and concerned about the feelings of others.
Curious Green- Curious Greens love to learn about things that interest them. They ask many questions and want to know how or why things work. They often explore, invent and play challenging games.
Solid Gold - People who are solid golds are responsible, reliable, and organized. They like to know the rules and obey them. They like to organize activities for their friends.
Action Orange - These people put the "A" into action. They love to be active in play and need variety in their activities and interests. They usually enjoy team sports, tend to get easily bored, and love to have fun.
By watching a Winnie the Pooh episode, the children were able to match the color personality to the Pooh characters and see the personality traits exhibited in the characters. While most children share some traits with all of the colors, many were able to identify with one or two main colors. They were also able to see how understanding their "Real Colors" as well as the "Real Colors" of others can help them appreciate differences in people, get along with others or gain insight into why they may react differently to situations than others. Habit #5 - Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood, helps us understand about these differences and why it's so important to try to listen to and understand other people.
Having an understanding of personality is especially important as students begin to choose a career path. We ended our lesson by making connections between personality and interests and abilities in order to explore future career choices.
For more detailed information on your child's personality (and a test, too) click here.
This lesson covered the following standards and competencies:
Personal/Social Development: Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others. PS:A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person
Career Development: Standard A: Students will acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions. C:A1.3. Develop an awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests and motivations
Pickett's Mill 5th grade students are learning the importance of becoming "mediawise" and scrutinizing commercials for advertising techniques that are used to pursuade them to purchase products. The students reviewed old examples of cigarette ads and determined the message advertisers were sending and who was being targeted. After reviewing peer pressure and how to stand up against negative peer pressure, the students discussed how advertising is similar to peer pressure. They learned that some advertising can have a positive influence while other advertisers resort to techniques other than presenting the truth about a harmful substance in order to sell products.
We concluded our lesson by breaking into groups and completing T graphic organizers to determine the influences of several areas of popular culture. The groups looked at TV ads, popular songs, popular TV shows and social media and then selected a genre to discuss the negative and/or positive influences of that genre.
The students were able to make connections to Habit 1, Be Proactive, in that as they grow older, it will be their responsibility to make good choices in learning to "scritinize" the many messages that bombard them every day.
With the Super Bowl approaching, this is a great opportunity for your children to "read" the commercials for true intent and to determine to whom the ad is targeted and what type of influence the ad may have on others.
Standards and competencies covered:
Career Development: Standard B: Students will make decisions, set goals and take necessary action to achieve goals. PS:B1 Self-knowledge Application, PS:B1.8 Know when peer pressure is influencing a decision
Standard C: Students will understand safety and survival skills. PS:C1 Acquire Personal Safety Skills, PS:C1.8 Learn about the emotional and physical dangers of substance use and abuse