Monday, September 6, 2010

G is for the Golden Rule

I teach in a Core Knowledge School and part of the curriculum is teaching the meaning of sayings. Last week we talked about the Golden Rule- Do Unto Others.... It is one of the easier sayings to explain and I like to start the school year off with it, since it often comes up in conflict resolution throughout the year in K! I believe building a class family is important and I want everyone in my class to feel safe. With 18 new personalities there are bound to be some bumps along the way as we all navigate our way through the new year. Along with discussing the saying I thought it was important to talk about hurting others, especially feelings. When a child hits or pushes it is a clear violation of the rules. It is easy to talk it through, role play, and remind that hands are for helping! I do not see a lot of hitting or pushing in my room. (thankfully!!) It does break my heart when I hear children squabbling (which is one of our vocabulary words!) and lashing out with hurtful words. Probably the most hurtful words in kindergarten are, "I am not your friend" or "You are not invited to my birthday party" (even if the birthday is in 6 months and there is no party). I wanted to address hurting with words, because lets face it.. sticks and stones .. is easier said then done.. Five year olds often think that sorry makes it better. I try the approach- tell the truth, make it right, apologize... but you can't take back the words you say. I found a great idea on another blog ( I can't find a link- I'll keep looking) using paper hearts to drive this point home. I cut out two large hearts and 36 little hearts. On one heart the class and I brainstormed about things that are nice and helpful that we can say to our friends. On the other heart we brainstormed and wrote words that are mean. The kids had no trouble coming up with phrases for either heart. When we filled up the sad heart, I asked the kids if words hurt us. Some said yes, some no. I asked if hurt words left marks that way hitting or pushing can? They all said no. So I crumpled up the heart and said that when anyone said something mean to me my heart feels crumpled. Then I smoothed out the heart and demonstrated how even if the person who hurt me said sorry, that I still had a wrinkle in my heart. I hope they understood the lesson. I gave them all two mini hearts and they drew a smiling face on one, and a sad face on the other and crumpled it to remind them of the lesson.

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