Cliques, bullying, and lying are just a few challenges teachers and parents work through with children. These problems can not only create drama in the classroom, but they can lead to longterms struggles for children. In fact, social interactions can make or break the school experience for kids. What can we do to make a difference? How can we turn things around when we see a need for social skills intervention? I am certainly not an expert in this field, but I believe we as classroom teachers and community leaders can support children with a few changes in our classroom routine.
TIP ONE: USE CLASS MEETINGS
TIP TWO: BUILD A POSITIVE CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
What can we accomplish when we build learning communities? Are learning communities limited to just classrooms? The answer is no. We, as teachers, need learning communities that offer all of the same traits (safe, trusting, supportive, etc.) Even teachers need to feel valued. No matter where you work, teams can make a difference.
To work on community building, you might include fun activities throughout the year purely to help your children feel they are valued and part of the whole. Below are a few ideas you might try out:
- Battle of the Airbands
- Two Truths and One Lie
- Team Architect
- Memory Wall (mid-year, end of year)
- Classroom Treasure Hunt
- This or That
TIP THREE: BUILD POSITIVE WORK RELATIONSHIPS
TIP FOUR: MODEL, MODEL, MODEL
TIP FIVE: USE CHARACTER BUILDING CURRICULUM
- vocabulary cards that you can post on a word wall for long after you use the poem and use for instruction
- a comprehension and word building page, a page for students to illustrate the meaning
- a concept building organizer to work on the skill,
- a page for student to illustrate examples and mark text evidence,
- and the poem on a blank page that you can project or include in a poetry anthology for reference all year long.
Poetry binders can be used for fluency work too, and they’re a great keepsake for the end of the year. Each of the poems can be tied with literature for more comprehensive work on the trait or as problems arise in the classroom. Several teachers have commented that they’re looking forward to using the poems during their morning meetings, and I thought that was a fantastic idea. I am featuring this end of the year set as a subscriber freebie. Simply add your contact information, and you’ll be redirected to the link.
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I think I’ll end with one final thought. Our world is changing. We can not isolate ourselves and just take care of #1. We depend upon each other socially, emotionally, physically, and economically, and because of this, we must all be on the same team. Our students’ lives are just beginning, and the time we spend together in the classroom is a small fraction of their lives as a whole. However, if we as teachers dedicate ourselves to helping the whole child, then I believe our jobs will impact lives beyond just the curriculum that we teach. I hope these few ideas provide you with a little food for thought as you’re lounging poolside or just relaxing instead of lesson planning.