This past school year our leadership team decided to bring back Life Skills. Now that our school is only a K-2 school we felt it was extremely important to dig deep and focus on the essential Life Skills our kids seemed to be lacking. We had over the years strayed away from our weekly Life-Skills assemblies and classroom lessons. We also noticed a huge increase of students who weren't receiving these lessons at home. They were coming to school with a sense of entitlement, attitudes that were unnacceptable and disrespectful and work ethics that lacked effort or perseverance. This school year we will embark on a weekly school wide Life Skills focus. Our hope is through teaching and modeling our students will begin to learn and practice these skills and then become roll models for future students.
This book couldn't have come at a better time. If you haven't started reading the book or have missed the previous Book Study posts, it's not too late. What's Under Your Cape is a quick read full of practical ideas that can easily be adapted to any classroom grade level. Barbara's book takes a different approach to the traditional Character Education that my school will be focussing on. She has focussed on the acronym SUPERHEROES to provide a framework for teachers to use and reference. Although we aren't specifically using the acronym SUPERHEROES, we are using a superhero theme in our character traits focus.
Chapter 5 R is for RespectI can't help but hear the Aretha Franklin's song in the back of my mind every time I hear the word respect.
Find out what it means to me.
I think that is the big question. What does Respect mean to you? What does it look like like? How do you get it? As I think of my students who come into my room at the beginning of the year, I wonder do they know what the word means. I often hear their mothers telling them to "be good", "be polite", "be a good listener"- ultimately they are telling them to be respectful.
So, how do you get respect? To get respect you have to give it. As teachers, we expect our students to be respectful, but what happens if they aren't? As Barbara writes in her book "We must teach our supeheroes what respect looks like so they can imitate it too."
As teachers it is our job to take those teachable moments to show our little superheroes want respect looks like, what it feels like and what it sounds like. We can also teach them about respect through modeling, role-[laying and what I personally use most often in my room is recognition of it. When I notice another student who is being respectful towards another adult or classmate, I publicly acknowledge it. Almost all children respond to praise, especially when it is amongst their peers.
These words really really sang out to me Aretha style, if you will. "When it moves from cognitive to affective and we feel it, then it starts to become real. But respect won't happen in isolation; it happens when we witness and experience it in action. When we weave it as a habit into our daily routines and are able to show it authentically in real-life situations, then it is a part of who we are and how we behave."
I like to think of this as a gradual release of responsibility- "I do, we do, you do"
I, the teacher do it, I model it, I recognize it.
We, as a class, practice it, model it, recognize it
You as a superhero, do it authentically.
Barbara has a really cute little chant/song to use in your classroom when teaching your little superheroes. Using the motions to the hand jive-
We've got to give it, to get it
yeah, that's the key.
>We live by the golden rule, you see
>At (insert school name) Elementary.
Now, if you need a little help remembering the basic moves to the Hand Jive and your DVD copy of GREASE isn't handy, you can watch this little youtube video.
Lastly, Barbara offers some great lessons to use with the picture book Hey, Little Ant, by authors Philip and Hannah Hoose.
This book is new to me. After finding it on Amazon then finding a Youtube Video of it, I know it is a book that I need to add to my collection. There are so many great teaching moments this book has to offer. Barbara shares many great guiding questions to use with this picture book. Hey, Little Ant is also a great way to discuss bullying and how superheroes stand up for what they believe in. Superheroes are not bullies, superheroes stand up for their friends who are the victims of bullies. Working with kindergartners, it is sometimes difficult for them to understand what a bully is. This book will be a great addition to my classroom collection.
I hope I was able to shed a little light on what Chapter 5 was all about. If you haven't purchased the book, you can buy it from Amazon.
To read about the other Chapters in the book just look below