October lesson recap

October was such a fun month of classroom lessons! Here is what happened in First and Second Grade:

Students impressed me greatly in our follow-up lessons to the first “Tuned In” activity (click here to read about the first activity). We played a group game where the students stood in a circle and gently tossed a ball to each other without speaking. Eventually we added a ball so that two were going simultaneously. Girls had to “tune out” the boys and toss the ball only to girls, whisper-counting how many catches in row they made before the ball hit the ground. Boys had to do the same thing, tuning out the girls. (After one class I figured out that whisper-counting instead of “ONE! TWO! THREE!! FOUR!!” made for a much more enjoyable experience for all.)

During the next lesson, all students took turns but worked together to play this Memory/Concentration-type game on the SmartBoard. Instead of the game displaying pictures when a card was pressed, a word such as “Bart,” “bet,” “bait,” or “bite” was said aloud. One by one, students went to the board to try to find a match. All students had to remain as quiet as possible, tuning in with their eyes, ears, and brains to the sound and location of each card. I was genuinely impressed by some of the students’ memories for locations of the cards!

GGMThen, we worked during two classes on being tuned in to each other in order to have a fair, balanced conversation. My friend and fellow school counselor, Anthony Pearson, wrote a book of classroom guidance lessons called Guidance with Good Measure, and my favorite lesson is called “Teeter Talking.” Anthony compares a fair, balanced conversation between two people to a fair, balanced, fun time on a seesaw/teeter-totter. No one on the teeter-totter wants to be the one sitting on the ground (listening, never being able to share) while someone else is having a great time up in the air (talking and talking!). That’s a one-sided conversation, and it’s not fun. There will be times in life when two friends sit together, one talking/sharing more than the other, but in rotating pairs around the room, our First and Second Graders simply practiced the art of talking back and forth and asking each other questions.

When I asked, “What did you like about this activity?” students shared that they enjoyed learning about each other. “I never knew I had the same favorite game as the person who stands right in front of me in line!” shared one Second Grade girl. “We both love Battleship!” When I asked, “What did you dislike about the activity?” I was initially disheartened to see many hands go up. The overwhelming response, though, was, “I didn’t like that we didn’t have more time to do this! I wanted to practice teeter-talking to everyone in the class!”

In our Pre-First classes, students have been working on increasing their emotional vocabulary. Wouldn’t it be easier to discern how children really feel if they used additional vocabulary words to describe their emotions? Everyone knows “happy, sad, mad,” so why not spice things up with “ecstatic, miserable, and furious”? What about disappointed, stubborn, hopeful, embarrassed, joyful, frightened/afraid, confident, confused, jealous, worried, proud, frustrated, cranky, impatient, and relieved? Parents, try using a variety of feeling words in everyday conversations to model this for your child.

After working on learning and expressing these words, students were entertained by a few short videos from Sesame Street. Before telling them where the videos are from, I assure them that I’ll never show them “baby videos.” “I don’t need to show you a video about counting to ten or learning the alphabet! I’ll show you videos that are for older kids. Babies wouldn’t understand these videos, but you can get the meanings because you’re older.” Once the kids are convinced that they’re going to watch age-appropriate videos, I tell them the videos are from Sesame Street, and they’re usually accepting. Students who complain at the beginning are mesmerized halfway through the first video, though. 🙂

Also, to avoid advertisements and suggested videos by YouTube, I copy and paste all YouTube links into http://safeshare.tv, save them to my laptop bookmarks, and have them ready when class begins. Here are five videos that I’ve shown in Pre-First:
– Jon Hamm and Murray Get Emotional (words discussed are guilty, frustrated, and amazed): http://safeshare.tv/w/noOilSSTvE
– Elmo and Jesse Williams Explain Furious: http://safeshare.tv/w/dqUMIOFJXc
– Sarah Michelle Gellar is Disappointed: http://safeshare.tv/w/bVelAKxIte
– Charlize Theron Gets Jealous of Abby: http://safeshare.tv/w/KmuUXsoUlW
– Nicole Kidman and Oscar the Grouch — Stubborn: http://safeshare.tv/w/EndGOaZTQB

In some of the classes, we had time to talk about something that we’ve seen or heard that has made us feel amazed (like in the Jon Hamm clip). I learned that I should take the time to hear from all students in Love Hall what amazes them because the response were beautiful. They’ve been amazed by a double rainbow, a grand slam in their brother’s baseball game, leaping dolphins, a Frozen display at Target, a whale leg (?), and more.

Parents, if you ever have questions about our classroom lessons, please email or call me anytime! As always, thank you for your support in reinforcing concepts at home.

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