Friday, August 7, 2009

Jen's Teacher Swap


My good friend Jen is having her first ever Back to School Teacher Swap. I think this is a grand idea. I can't say that I ever do any particular year after year. I let the way I feel that year lead the way and guide what I do. This year I have to say that I'm still not in the mindset of a new school year. That's code word for "I'm still very lazy and my brain is still on vacation". I do have a book I love to read to my class, regardless of what grade and see what kind of a conversation we have. Before I share the book and activity I should first mention that I am currently a second grade teacher. I have also taught both third and fifth grades. I teach in Texas and have so all 8 years. I love something about every particular grade I've taught. However, teaching second grade is nice because I don't have the stress of the TAKS Test.

Now that I've gotten my background out of the way the book I love to read is The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolfe. Essentially the book is about a girl taking home a box of crayons that don't get along. Red hates yellow or something like that. But the girl goes on to show them that they need each other to create a beautiful picture. After reading the book I discuss the meaning of the book. I ask my class why they think I'm reading it. We talk about possible reasons we might face conflict throughout the year and what we can do to resolve it. Everyday of the first week of school we have several citizenship discussions. At some point I also want to point out that everyone in our class is important to the family. That no two people are alike and that it's our differences that make us so unique. During the week I may read other books that follow this same topic. My final activity for this book is creating a class social contract. I don't do this too soon because students need to feel a sense of ownership in the classroom. For the class social contract we brainstorm different words and phrases on how we want to be treated and to treat others. Then I use their words to create a paragraph that states how we will act, react, and resolve problems. At the bottom we all sign it. A social contract is not to be confused with your class rulles, consequences and rewards, which are non-negotiable. A social contract is more of a student/teacher buy-in on how we socially interact and deal with conflicts. And anytime a student (or teacher) strays from our contract we remind ourselves of what we promised.

On a side note, I've seen this same book used to teach about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. I hope I've made sense and that this activity or at least this book is something you can use in your classroom.

9 comments:

Jen and Rob said...

Love that book! Great idea!

Jen said...

Thanks for participating in my teacher swap! Love the idea of a social contract! Such a great idea! I also would love to see that book! I've never heard of it before!! Sounds like a great book!!

Amy said...

What a great book. I should pick this one up. Thanks for sharing this with me..

KT said...

What a great idea! That would be a great book for my class too. Thanks for posting!

Katie
www.sneakerteacher.blogspot.com

Ames said...

That is an awesone idea. Being a parent of an autistic child, it is always hard seeing others (his peers) not treating him fairly or equally, and/or making fun of him becasue he is not like everyone else. That is a great way to set expectations with the entire class with how they are to treat one another. I love it!!

Unknown Mami said...

Thank you! I'm going to buy this book for my daughter.

Hennergy Hand & Foot Spa said...

Thanks for the Saturday Sharefest visit. This sounds like a really good book, I'll have to keep it in mind as my son gets older.

Sandy said...

I have a poem that's like that. I am very glad to know about the book. I will look for it!
Thank you for sharing!

Patty said...

Thanks everyone for reading my idea for the teacher swap. This book is such a simple book. It's a concept we teach kids all the time but somehow using the crayon analogy helps them get it.

And Amy, I was the inclusion teacher for second grade and I know exactly what you are talking about. I try so hard to make sure that all my students feel validated in my class.

Thank you all!