Hey there! So, 4 days into the new school year and I am LOVING my new class! I think one of the best things about our job is that we get to "start over" each year and we get fresh, new, precious faces, to work with!!
One of my major goals the first day of school is to build community and make my classroom feel comfortable and inviting! I want them to WANT to come back the next day! How do I do this you might ask? Well, I am happy to tell you! ;O)
Have you read Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy?
Mentor Text Linkies but I couldn't find who linked it up!! If it was you, let me know so I can give you credit! I'm so thankful!!!
This is a great book! I can't even tell you how great! You'll have to trust me and get it! Especially if you teach upper grades! This was the last book I read on the first day. My goal of reading this book was to let my class know that we are a family. We will not tolerate bullying. Period. I have very sweet kids, but I wanted to equip them to feel empowered to SAY SOMETHING if they saw any type of bullying.
I read this book and we talked about it as we went. A brief synopsis from me is that there is a new student to a class named Pete. In his old school, he was made fun of (bullied) so when he came to his new school, he immediately started bullying the kids before they could bully him. However, the students of his new school had made a "promise" and would not allow the bullying. In the end, they become friends with Pete and he stops being a bully.
We had great conversation about this. My students picked up pretty quick (before the book explained) that Pete had obviously been treated badly to treat others that way. We tried to troubleshoot how to get Pete to be nice. They came up with some great solutions that were very close to the book. I was so impressed!
After reading the book, we read the promise that the students had made when they first entered the class. I typed it out and they also signed a class poster. On top of that, I had them sign an individual piece of paper with the promise on it to hold them accountable. The poster is now hanging on the wall outside our classroom (as you can see by the picture at the top of the post).
As a follow up activity, I had seen an activity called Friendship Salad by Terri Izatt that I found intriguing.
We made our salad and this is what it ended up looking like:
As we were making the salad I had the students use Terri's cut and paste activity. They pasted as we added each fruit.
And as we pasted, I had them write the friendship attributes on the back of the paper.
My kids, 4th graders, seriously loved this! As we made the salad, my picky self, was like, uhhhhh, wow...I'm not sure they're gonna eat this. And then, there was the seriously sweet smell of it. But, I called each table up to eat and guess what?!? They ALL wanted some and they LOVED it!!
(Annnnnnnnd, it doesn't help when you can't see their happy faces but I just wanted to prove to you they did eat it. And even if you can't see it, they were smiling ear to ear!)
For morning work on school day 2 I had a brief questionnaire about the first day of school. One of the questions was "What was your favorite part of the first day of school?" Several put friendship salad!!!!
Another question asked "What was something you learned on the first day of school?" Several put something about Juice Box Bully like "My teacher wants us to behave and to help other kids behave" and "We should not bully anyone. We are a family."
Hellooooooooooo? Can you see why I already LOVE this class?!? Precious!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!
I wanted to link this up to my sweet, sweet friend Joanne's linky because I really hope it sparked student motivation to be great role models and citizens.
I can't wait to share more about what we're up to this year.
How do you build community in your classroom?