Week One-Day One: Introduction to the unit
Catch them doing something right! We always want to instill positive attitudes in our classroom. Therefore we create rules for the classroom. The hardest part is reinforcing those rules over and over. We should teach our children to recognize appropriate behavior, work as a team, and praise each other.
- To generalize between appropriate and inappropriate behavior of a character
- To differentiate right from wrong
- To respond to literature
We are all looking for a resource to model and practice the expected routines and procedures in the classroom.
David Goes to School
by David Shannon is a great selection for establishing classroom rules. Shannon recreates a book that he made as a child where the text consisted entirely of the words “no” and “David” (the only words he knew how to spell). David is a high-energy student who does all sorts of things that he is not supposed to do. “No pushing; no yelling; no running in the halls; you’re tardy; sit down; keep your hands to yourself; wait your turn; raise your hand; pay attention” (Shannon 2-4). Although everything is exaggerated and sounds a bit negative, the author manages to touch his readers through his humorous child-like illustrations and text. The children cannot resist David with his spiky hair and sharp, pointy teeth.
Incorporating this enjoyable literature will surely spark a discussion about the importance of rules in a classroom. The children will be able to relate to the character in the story whose antics cause trouble in the classroom. The students will be able to respond to the story. They will talk about the character and draw from their prior knowledge about following classroom rules and accepting consequences when the rules are broken. This interactive discussion will give the children ownership while creating and teaching the classroom rules. It will also provide the opportunity to model what is expected, and practice the classroom rules and procedures.
Utilizing the story
David Goes to School
, we will create a visual reference to be displayed in the classroom. By replicating the pictures from the story or creating our own, we will make a poster board and label the left side “good behavior” and the right side “poor behavior.” Presented with the pictures, the students will place their illustrations under the correct category. They will be able to review the pictures and discuss why the behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate in relation to the classroom rules.
For a writing piece, an illustration from the book will be displayed for a shared writing experience. Modeling a problem solving strategy, I will ask the students to contribute responses or advice they would give to David to help him follow
classroom rules. Utilizing sequential vocabulary, the children will orally explain what they would like David to do
? Their responses will be recorded on large chart paper. The students will continue to explain the sequential order of events by explaining what will happen
next, then, and last.
At the completion of this activity, the sequential vocabulary will be posted as a point of reference.
Week One- Day Two
Our feelings can cause us to act without thinking. Sometimes we act a certain way due to environmental factors that have affected our daily routines. In turn, this may elicit emotional responses we cannot ignore. Our students need to recognize that they may not be able to control outside factors that affect their everyday lives, but they can use strategies to control how they react.
- To identify a problem
- To discuss positive solutions in response to problems
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst is a great selection that portrays numerous examples of how our daily lives are affected by things beyond our control. Everyone experiences bad days. Throughout the stages of social development, many children do not understand that they cannot control outside factors that affect their lives. This literature selection is about a young boy who begins his presumed terrible day as he wakes up with gum in his hair. His pessimistic attitude causes him to believe that he will face a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” As if waking up with gum in his hair wasn’t enough; at breakfast Alexander does not find a prize in his cereal like his brother. At school his teacher is not impressed with his drawing of an invisible castle and says that he sings too loud. He also discovers that he is no longer Paul’s first best friend, but his third best friend. As the day continues, at his dentist appointment he finds out that he has a cavity, his brother gets him in trouble, and he has to buy white sneakers instead of the pair he liked. To conclude his day, lima beans are served for dinner, which he hates; his bath is too hot; and he has to wear his railroad-train pajamas. Yuck! To complete his day the night-light burns out, he bites his tongue, and his cat wants to sleep with his brother instead of him. The mishaps that occur throughout the day one after the other bring comedy to this story. His thought process is also hysterical in that he thinks the way to rid his day of these occurrences is to move to Australia. He comes to realize that some days are just like that, even in Australia.
Throughout the reading the children will act as detectives, trying to determine how Alexander is feeling and what factors cause him to feel the way he does. After the reading the students will be asked to contribute a description of Alexander’s feelings and what causes him to feel the way he does. As a whole group we will list positive responses to Alexander’s dilemmas. As a closing joint productive activity the children will be placed into groups of four or five and given illustrations of the story. As a team, they will role play positive responses to Alexander’s tribulations.
Week One-Day Three
- To identify feelings that are presented in literature
- To express feelings in a positive manner
Beginning school can be very difficult for many children. Many children feel anxiety over being in a new environment, without their parents, but a most common worry of many children is will they make friends?
Will I Have a Friend?
by Miriam Cohen is a wonderful story that young children can relate to. It is Jim’s first day of school and he expresses to his dad that he hopes to find a friend. As he walks to school the reader can sense the anticipation of Jim as he asks, “Will I have a friend?” The story takes Jim through his day at school introducing him to his new classroom, activities and routine. As you can guess, Jim makes many friends. This story is great for introducing children to positive social skills.
We will begin with an icebreaker activity. My students and I will pass a tennis ball to introduce us to our classmates. For example, the person holding the ball will say, “Hello, my name is Jim, I am seven years old, and I feel happy today because I am at school.” Using this format will focus on using oral language to express our feelings.
Week One- Days Four and Five
- Students will follow directions
- Students will recognize the sequential pattern of events
- Students will utilize sequential events to resolve a problem
How do you get children to follow rules? Refusing to comply with rules and regulations can lead to serious consequences. The children love Arthur stories, so I chose to use
Arthur’s Computer Disaster
by Marc Brown. Arthur wants to play his computer game Deep, Dark, Sea every chance he gets. When his mother leaves for work, and asks him not touch the computer, Arthur can’t withstand. Breaking the rules, Arthur takes a risk and his temptation causes a computer disaster. As he and his friend, Buster, attempt to play the game together, the computer screen goes blank. The challenge they face is to try to fix the computer before mom returns home. As the story unfolds we see the attempts Arthur makes to fix the problem with the computer. Arthur takes responsibility for his actions and admits to his mother that he disobeyed her. He then accepts the punishment for his actions. This story is a great resource to use when discussing lying and following the rules. As the problem arises I will ask the children to tell what they would do.
Using the story, we will discuss the elements that make up a story. We will focus on the beginning of the story. To converse about the beginning of the story we will use a shape. The shape we will use to represent the beginning of the story is the triangle. The triangle has three sides. Each side will symbolize one thing we find out in the beginning of the story. The first is the characters in the story, the second, the setting of the story, and the last is the problem in the story. Once these ideas are presented, the use of the organizer will be modeled and practiced.
Next, the students will be separated into cooperative learning groups where they will receive an oak tag triangle to use as a piece of a visual organizer. Illustrations from each story depicting the characters, setting and problem will be given to the students. As a team, the students must place the pictures under the correct heading at each corner of the triangle. In addition, they will also receive sentence strips that match the pictures and retell vocabulary. They must use their reading skills to match the strips with the appropriate picture to identify the problem and utilize the resource they created to retell the beginning of their story.
We will also discuss the middle and ending of a story. A rectangle will represent the middle of the story, and a circle will represent the end of the story. A rectangle has four sides. Each side will symbolize one event. The events will be discussed in sequential order using the terms first, next, then and last. These events, similar to problem solving methods, will pinpoint the actions the characters in the story take to resolve a problem, or arrive at the solution. The circle will signify the end of the story; indicating that every beginning has an end. This means that once the problem is identified, the events taken lead up to a resolution.
Once again the children will use the graphic organizer shapes and manipulatives in their groups to choose the correct sequence, and retell the story.