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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Courage; Character Education 2

Confusius: To see right and not do it is a want of courage.
Marie Curie: Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.

It takes courage to stand up for our own convictions and not buckle under peer pressure, rather than go along with what everyone else is doing.  It takes courage to express oneself even when others may not agree.  It takes courage to tell the truth, face fears, and to know the difference between being brave and being reckless.  There are times when being brave and having courage is in saying, NO, rather than doing something that is wrong or may end up hurting us.

Suggested Stories:
Eugene the Brave, by Ellen Conford: Younger
Eugene is a opossum who is afraid of the dark.  With his sister trying to help, he tries to escape his fear and sleep through the night.

Mr. Washington, by Les Brown: Older   Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul
It takes courage for a young man to get through school with his learning difficulties.  Mr. Washington, a teacher, helps to inspire this young man (Les Brown), and he shows great courage in continuing forward.  (Teasing is only slightly touched on in this story.  It is a good point to discuss; Les Brown says he was use to being teased).

Art ActivityCherry Tree of Sacrifice
In Japan, one of the meanings behind the cherry tree is that it stands for sacrifice.  Brave men and women show courage and work in fields of sacrifice every day.  Some of these men and woman are in the armed services, police officers, and fire fighters just to name a few.

(For Younger children, make one large tree out of a large shopping bag and have each child add a couple of blossoms.  Twist trunk once and tie with a string while working on the tree).  Use a lunch size paper bag and open it so it can stand on its own.  Just above the seam (carefully hold bottom of bag), twist several times.  I unfold the bag to cut branches, others cut while the bottom is twisted.  Using scissors cut strips from the top of the bag, down to where the twisted section is, or will be if you have unfolded the bag.  There should be about 30 strips of paper in all (twist back truck if unfolded).  Three strips at a time, twist sections together to form branches.  If there is an uneven number of strips left at the end, make one branch with 2 or 4 strips of paper.  Cut small pieces of white or pink tissue paper and glue on the branches of the tree for cherry blossoms.

More Activities:
Draw a picture about courage; standing up for yourself or someone else, saying no to doing something unhealthy, or wrong (such as teasing someone or saying No to drugs).

Brainstorm ways to show courage, or jobs that show courage.

Brainstorm the difference in having courage and being reckless.  

Write about: Your friends are teasing/bullying someone, what do you do and why?  Or, write about a time you went along with the crowd even though you knew it was wrong; how did it make you feel?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friendship Recipe and Role Play; Friend/Social Skills 3

To be a true friend is to be trustworthy, a person who shares, is helpful, and kind.  All of these characteristics are what friendship is.  We put value on things like cars and jewelry.  Children value their possessions, such as bicycles, skate boards, and Barbie Dolls.  What is sometimes overlooked is the value of a true friend.  A friend is worth so much, they would be difficult to be replaced.  The main quality of a friend is someone you can trust, who acts honorably.  

Friendship Recipe    
Show children a recipe, then explain that they are going to make a Friendship Recipe.  Have the child/children make up a recipe.  Post the recipe on construction paper and decorate.  
An example is: 3 cups Trustworthiness, 2 cups honesty, 1 cup sharing, 1/4 cup humor. Mix ingredients together and you have a good friend.  

Role Play
Choose 1 child to play the new kid in a neighborhood or school.  Choose two or three other children to play friends.  The new kid introduces themself to the group and tries to start a conversation by asking a question.  The other children can answer and ask a question also, such as where the child use to live, or what they like to do for fun...  Repeat with several groups of children.  

After the role play, ask the child playing the new kid to explain how it felt playing the role of someone new to a neighborhood or school.      

Role Play Rules: Adult decides skit.  Absolutely NO negative comments or inappropriate laughter from the audience.  After skit is over, others clap.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Paper Sculpture & Conflict Resolution Chart; Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution
Conflict is when two or more people are not getting along.  Conflict resolution skills are important to a child's happiness, and learning to resolve differences with others is an essential life skill.  When children develop these skills their environment will be more peaceful.
Paper Sculpture 
Working together in harmony can be difficult when different personalities work together, but it can be done when everyone cooperates.  Build a small sculpture of different shapes until the pieces work all together.  This can take patience trying to connect the variety of shapes, just as it takes patience working together with others.  

Cut free form shapes of different sizes from card stock or scrapbook paper.  Cut 1-inch deep slits on the shapes where you want shapes to connect and interlock them together, building a small sculpture.  

Conflict Resolution Rules
When resolving conflict it is important that the parties involved show respect to each other. Read over the guide lines before resolving conflict, and the outcome can be resolved in a respectful manner through compromise.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rainbow Fish and Leave Out Invite In; Friend/Social Skills 2

Friends listen to each other and never put each other down or hurt each other's feelings.  Friends care about each other and are trustworthy.  To have good friends, it is important to be a good friend and treat others as you wish to be treated.  

Story suggestion:
Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister; Younger
There is a conceited fish with a bad attitude who has beautiful, shiny scales.  Because of the way the Rainbow Fish acted, the fish did not have any friends.  The other fish attempt to befriend him, but he ignores them until a little fish asks to have one of his scales.  Rainbow Fish is upset over the request.  In the end with advice from the Octopus to share, Rainbow Fish finds friendship and happiness through sharing his beautiful scales.  

Art Activity: Rainbow Fish
Scroll down to bottom of this post for the outline of Rainbow Fish.  Copy the fish and cut out different color scales for the children to glue on the fish.  The fish is copied on blueish paper and we used one size scale.  After Rainbow Fish is finished, give everyone one scale that is shinny, glittered or made of foil, and have children glue it on.

Story Suggestion:
Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom, by Jennifer Holland; Older
The author writes for National Geographic.  The book documents heartwarming friendships of animals who bond in unexpected ways, who have nothing in common.  A mare and a fawn, a cat and a rat, Koko the gorilla and All Ball the kitten...  It's a beautiful book showing friendships of animals who seem to have nothing in common, but are the best of friends.  

Leave Out or Invite In
Make a list of of what can be said that leaves a person Out and feeling bad, and what can be said that invites a person to join In and feeling good.  Example for Out: You can't sit next to me.  Example of In: There's room over here for you to sit.  When you are finished with the list, decide how you would like to be treated, and then treat other people the same.

Rainbow Fish:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Feelings Mini-Poster & Face the Pose; Feelings 5

Body Language 
Body language is non verbal communication that is a key to understanding thoughts and feelings.  Body language is shown through facial expression, gestures, and posture.  It says everything about what we are thinking, even when we try to hide what we are feeling on the exterior.
Feelings Mini-Poster
Cut out pictures that relate to emotions from magazines.  Encourage children to find many different emotions to show a variety of feelings.  Glue the pictures on a small poster board.  Older children may want to label pictures with the emotion they show.   It is often difficult to find magazine pictures of angry, worried and surprised.  It helps to clip pictures as you run across them and offer as a choice to use.

After the poster is finished or on the next occasion, have the child/children demonstrate the posture that matches the facial expression of each of their pictures on the poster.

Face the Pose
(You will need pictures or drawings of different facial expressions or scenes showing body language; photos, magazines pictures, expressions found on the Internet

Review, The Face Moves; Feelings 2, Re-Posted Below.  

One at a time show a  pictures or drawings of an expression, and have everyone mimic the facial expression and what posture they think should go along with it.  Then ask the questions below and brainstorm answers.

How does the person or character feel in the picture or drawing? 
(Happy, sad, frustrated…)

How do you know how the person or character feels?  
(Corners of mouth turned up/down, arms are relaxed to the side/crossed at chest...)

When do you, or have you felt this way?
(I feel (have felt), this way when …)

If you do not like the way you feel, what do you do to feel better?
(Breath slowly, take a walk/jog, positive self talk, count slowly…)

(Review of: The Face Moves; Feelings 2)

        Happy - When you are happy you are usually smiling.  Think about how your face and posture change when you are feeling happy or proud. 
1         Place your fingertips at the corners of your mouth; now smile.  When we smile the corners of our mouth raise up, (practice: smile, relax, smile, relax…).
2         Place your fingertips on your cheeks; now smile.  What happens to your cheeks?  Your cheeks raise up.  Practice.
3         Very carefully Place your fingertips to the side of your eyes; now smile.  Your eyes will squint a little bit.  Practice.
4         When you are happy where are you looking?  Most likely straight ahead with your head and chin held high, (practice: smile-head held high, relax…).
5         Think about your posture when you are feeling happy.  Most often you will be sitting up straight or standing tall with your shoulders back, (practice: smile with posture up straight, relax...). 

        Sad - Think about how your face and posture change when you are feeling sad or lonely.
1         Place your fingertips at the corners of your mouth.  When you are sad or lonely, the corners of your mouth turn down, (practice sad, relax, sad, relax...).
2         Place your fingertips on your eyebrows; pretend you are sad or worried.  When you are sad/worried your eyebrows go down.  Practice.
3         When you are sad, lonely or worried, where are you looking?  Most likely your eyes are looking down, (practice face droops & eyes look down, relax…). 
4         Think about your posture when you are feeling sad, worried or lonely.  Most often you will slump a little bit, with your shoulders and neck drooping, (practice sad with body slumped/drooping, relax…).

        Angry - Think about how your face and posture change when you are feeling angry.
1             Place your fingertips at the corners of your mouth; now pretend you are very angry.  Your lips press together and outward, (angry, relax, angry…).
2         Place your fingertips on your eyebrows; now pretend you are angry.  Your eyebrows go toward each other or inward.  Practice.
3         Place your fingertips on your forehead; now pretend you are angry.  Your forehead winkles.  Practice.
4         Pretend you are very, very angry.  What are your muscles doing, especially your stomach.  Your muscles tighten and your stomach can feel like it has a knot inside of it.  Sometimes people make fists or crossed arms, (practice muscles tightening, relax...).

      Next time you are happy, sad, or angry, see if you notice how your face and body posture change, especially if you are angry.