Search This Blog

Monday, February 27, 2012

Puzzle Pieces and Stories; Bully 3

Bullying is a serious problem and can happen anywhere.  To be bullied includes enduring teasing, mocking, verbal intimidation, having rumors spread, being tripped, hit and pushed on a repeated basis.  It can happen in person, on the web, and by text message.  The self esteem of a person who is bullied takes an emotional toll, as well as affecting a child's academic performance.  Bullying is harmful and not acceptable behavior. 

Puzzle Pieces (can be done as a family or classroom)
This activity is a building block to promote individuality and togetherness.  Cut poster board into individual puzzle shaped pieces.  Each child will need a puzzle piece.  With clippings from magazines and/or drawing with crayons or colored pencils, create a puzzle piece about you.  It can include your interests, things you enjoy, sports you play...  Everyone is an individual, but as the pieces come together to form a whole, it represents the importance of everyone in the family or classroom.

Book Suggestions

Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story about Bullying;

by Albert Whitman; Younger   

This book is considered timeless, and encourages children and adults to work together to make sure bullying doesn't happen.  It teaches tolerance and understanding, looks at possible solutions to the problem, encourages children to think through behaviors, and addresses the difference in telling on someone, or reporting a problem.

From the Heart, by Marcia Byalick; Older  Chicken Soup for a Kid's Soul
A young boy is teased about being adopted, and his brother shows him what family is about.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Be A Good Listener; Friendship/Social Skills 1

Friendship Skills, Social Skills
You would think that listening skills would go hand in hand with the ability to hear, but they do not.  Listening is our cue to everything that goes on around us.  Good listening skills, especially with children, are a learned process.  Teach children listening skills as if it is a game; it can be fun!  After teaching the skill, when you want children to listen to you, remind them to, "Use your listening skills."  Scroll to bottom of post for Listening Skills Certificates.

Listening Skills; Younger
Model the skill for your child/students.  Go over each step and then put the steps together.  Practice with a scenario, (very young children can just go to the table).  Please go to the table, draw a line on the paper, and then bring me the paper.  After the child demonstrates the listening skills and repeats the request, they can proceed to the table.  Continue making up your own scenarios; have one child tell about a vacation, or what they did over the weekend.  Have a second child follow the Listening Skills guide and paraphrase the story...

Listening Skills; Older
Model the skill for your child/students.  Go over each step and then put the steps together.  Practice with a scenario (you will need a book).  Please get the book from _______, turn it to page _____, and hand the book to me upside down.  After the child demonstrates the listening skills and repeats the request, they can proceed to get the book.  Continue making up your own scenarios; have one child tell about a vacation or what they do on the weekends.  Have the second child follow the Listening Skills guide and paraphrase the story...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Caring; Character Education 1

Mother Theresa: We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.
Aesop: No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

To be a caring person means you are sensitive to peoples feelings.  Other characteristics are kindness, generosity, compassion and showing concern for others.  A caring person thinks about their actions and how they will affect others.  We become caring people by undertaking actions that show care.  Caring people can change the world, one person at a time.
Art Activity:
People who care have big hearts.  Cut out a big white heart for each child, (older children can cut their own).  Children write or dictate a sentence about someone they have been caring to, or someone who has shown care for them; older children can write a paragraph.  Write directly on the heart or on a piece of paper cut to fit the heart; glue it on.  (It is also nice to type out, especially if writing a paragraph).  Children can decorate the heart with crayons, colored pencils, and/or glue on smaller hearts.

Story Suggestions:
The Biggest and Brightest Light, by Marilyn Perlyn
This is based on a true story.  Amanda's teacher has a child in the hospital.  Amanda helped her teacher by raising money for the hospital bill.  Through her efforts, she found that helping someone else gave her the best feeling she has ever had.  It was better than eating a chocolate sundae, better than opening up all the presents at her birthday party...  The story is heartwarming and beautiful.  

Mr. Gillespie, by Angela Sturgill;   Chicken Soup for the Soul
Mr. Gillespie is a touching story about a young candy striper who cared.  Much of her time was spent with Mr. Gillespie, holding his hand and talking to him; Mr. Gillespie was in a coma.  Her act of caring for someone she did not know helped him to recover, at least Mr. Gillespie sees it that way.
(Story can be found at

More Activities:
1.Brainstorm what it means to be a caring person.

2. Write about the most caring thing anyone has ever done for you, and how it made you feel.  What effect did it have on you?  

3. Write about a time you were caring to someone.  A time you cared for a pet, helped your parent, sibling, or friend, showed care for the earth, volunteering you do, or hope to do in the future.

4. Imagine you have won a lot of money, and you would like to spend all of the money helping people.  Who would you help?  Brainstorm and then write a paragraph.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Do You See What I See? Wise Men and the Elephant; Conflict Resolution 2

Do You See What I See?
(Do activity then read, Wise Men and the Elephant)
You will need 1 large piece of cardboard or poster board bent in two so that it can stand up in a sideways or upside down V on a table.  Choose 2 colors; for this description I am choosing the colors of Yellow and Pink.  Place a piece of yellow paper on one side of the card board, and pink on the other.  When no one is around stand the cardboard up at the opposite end of where the children will be sitting and cover it so no one can see the colors on the sides.

If you are doing the activity with more than two children, choose two children to help with this demonstration.  Quietly explain to the children helpers that they will be disagreeing with each other No Matter What, and ask them to try to talk in sentences rather than one word answers.  They are to argue with each other without yelling.  If there are children watching, the helper children and the prop are enough distance away, the other children cannot see the different colors on the sides of the cardboard stand.  Place a child on either side of the cardboard and remove the cover and ask:

(possible starting dialog) 
Adult: What color do you see?
Child 1: I see Yellow.
Adult: (to Child 2), Do you agree?  
Child 2: No it's pink not Yellow. 
Adult: He says it's pink not yellow?
Egg the children on to disagree and insist they are correct until they are able to run with the dialog by themselves. 

Ask: why can two people feel two different ways with the same situation?  People see things from their view point.  From everywhere in the room, someone may see something differently from everyone else.  Show the children the two sides of the cardboard revealing the yellow and pink paper.  

When you are in a disagreement with someone, try to understand their side of the situation.  Just insisting you are right will get you nowhere!  Each person sees situations differently, be open to understanding the other side.

The Wise Men and the Elephant, by James Baldwin
(One of my favorite stories!  This story is based off of an old Indian Tale)

There were once six blind men who stood by the roadside every day, and begged from the people who passed. They had often heard of elephants, but they had never seen one; for, being blind, how could they?

It so happened one morning that an elephant was driven down the road where they stood. When they were told that the great beast was before them, they asked the driver to let him stop so that they might see him.  Of course they could not see him with their eyes; but they thought that by touching him they could learn just what kind of animal he was.  The first one happened to put his hand on the elephant's side. "Well, well!" he said, "now I know all about this beast. He is exactly like a wall."  The second felt only of the elephant's tusk. "My brother," he said, "you are mistaken. He is not at all like a wall. He is round and smooth and sharp. He is more like a spear than anything else."

The third happened to take hold of the elephant's trunk. "Both of you are wrong," he said. "Anybody who knows anything can see that this elephant is like a snake."  The fourth reached out his arms, and grasped one of the elephant's legs. "Oh, how blind you are!" he said. "It is very plain to me that he is round and tall like a tree."  The fifth was a very tall man, and he chanced to take hold of the elephant's ear. "The blindest man ought to know that this beast is not like any of the things that you name," he said. "He is exactly like a huge fan."

The sixth was very blind indeed, and it was some time before he could find the elephant at all. At last he seized the animal's tail. "O foolish fellows!" he cried. "You surely have lost your senses. This elephant is not like a wall, or a spear, or a snake, or a tree; neither is he like a fan.  But any man with a particle of sense can see that he is exactly like a rope."  Then the elephant moved on, and the six blind men sat by the roadside all day, and quarreled about him. Each believed that he knew just how the animal looked; and each called the others hard names because they did not agree with him. People who have eyes sometimes act as foolishly.

This is is a conflict based on differences, what the men thought they knew.  Each blind man could only tell what his hands could feel and as a result each man was sure he was right.  No one would listen to what the other had to say.  Have children brainstorm a list as a about: How could the Wise Men have discovered what the elephant really looked like?