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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Character Education

The first "pillar" that our school will focus on for Character Education is Citizenship.  I wanted to find a way that the young students in my class could connect with this rather large concept.  We focused on the stories by David Shannon of a little boy, David, who always seems to be doing the wrong thing and then ends up hearing the words "No David!"
The story line and illustrations are easy for the children to connect to and recognize as situations that they have witnessed or even may have taken part in themselves (like blurting out in class or touching something that doesn't belong to them.)

 We worked as a group to come up with ideas that we then put onto an 'anchor chart' which is a chart that anchors our common thoughts, ideas or understandings.  Many of those written on the Peacebreakers chart were ideas that came from our class members' own experiences or from those they remembered that David had in the stories we shared.  We also created an 'anchor chart' for being a Peacemaker.  A 'peacemaker' is a good citizen, one who works together with others in their community to ensure that all people get along.  They use kind words, take turns and have a good attitude.
 We all made our own 'David' following a set pattern and listening to directions (ideas that we are establishing in these first few weeks of school that will set the tone for the remainder of the year together).  Added to the character were some thoughts.  The sentence begins "I am a peacemaker when...." and each individual student then added their own words to complete the sentence.
We are reviewing what we already know!  It is important to every teacher to establish what areas need to be reviewed.  Many students can 'forget' some of the lessons learned in the previous school year, and reconnecting with that knowledge ensures that the basics are in place, like a foundation, to build upon.  Using the story "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" the students had the opportunity to have the whole alphabet go up the coconut tree!  We will be reviewing the sounds that the letters make, what consonants and vowels are and patterns in words.  It is important to establish that the students are successful early in the school year so that as they encounter new things to learn, they believe in their ability to learn.  As parents we might want to 'push' them forward, but it is better to go at a slower pace now.  The time for new learning is just around the corner.

A quick reminder that Wednesday, September 7th is our first 'early out' day and the students are dismissed at 2:10.  As well, our PAC is providing a 'Welcome Back" lunch too!

If you are marking your calendar, next Tuesday night, September 13 is the first PAC meeting @7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, September 14 is Meet the Teacher Night.  I have a little present for all who attend!

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