Last week I went to a Kindergarten class at a local elementary school. The teacher I worked with shared with me a way to create a caring classroom environment. She said that she teaches a unit on caring at the beginning of the school year, and refers back to it throughout the year. What she teaches can be easily connected to the Prescribed Learning Outcomes of Health and Career Education in the BC curriculum.
The unit introduces the following slogan:
We care about ourselves, each other, and our place.
In the three categories, children explore different ways they can take care of themselves, each other, and the places they are in. For example, "taking care of ourselves" could include dressing appropriately for the weather, or eating healthy food. "Caring about each other" could entail sharing materials or toys during work time or centre time, and "caring about our place" could be about keeping the coat room or the cubby area clean...etc.
The slogan is actually used as a school belief system at another local elementary school as well. This chart shows various places and situations where this slogan can be connected to.
After exploring the three categories, the teacher explained that she would catch the children doing things throughout the day which fit under one of the categories of the slogan, and take pictures of them. For example, there might be a picture of students sharing pencil crayons or cleaning up after lunch. Afterwards, the teacher would print the pictures out, put captions and symbols along with the pictures so that the Kindies could understand, and create a classroom book for the students to look at! Since the "Caring Book" was placed in the classroom book shelf, students would take turns reading the book with each other during reading time, which reinforced the idea throughout the year. I imagine that the kiddos would be quite excited to see pictures of themselves in the book!
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a picture of the book itself, since it was in another classroom at the time. I got the general idea though, and I'm excited to try it in my own future classroom :D
On another note, I'd also like to share with you a cute line-up song the teacher used in the classroom. She told me that while dealing with the little ones, she realized over the years of teaching that using music and singing with them seemed to reach them more effectively then simply talking to them. This song is sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island.
For more songs like this, Piggyback Songs for School Days has some great songs for primary grades, which fit right into the school schedule. There are tons of songs with themes related to the BC curriculum, and effective transition songs as well. All the songs are chorded for those who play the guitar! I've ordered a copy for myself from Amazon and can't wait to get it in my mail!
Well...I'm going to go back to studying for my math final exam I have tomorrow :( Looking forward to working in schools every day starting Wednesday though! I'm sure I'll have some more ideas to share here!
2017-2018 MONTHLY CALENDAR FOR KIDS - Our popular monthly calendars have now been updated for the coming school year and run from May 2017 to June 2018! There are 2 formats to choose from: ...
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