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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Playdough & Is This My Apple; Same and Different 4

Alike and Unique
We are unique in how we think, feel, and look.  And still, we have similarities that make us very much alike.  This is demonstrated in it's simplest form with Playdough, and a delicious form using apples.  

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Salt,
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 cup Water
1 tablespoon Oil
Food Coloring

Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in a saucepan.  Mix together water, oil and food coloring, then stir them into the dry ingredients.  Once the mixture is smooth cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it turns into a ball.  Remove the Playdough from the heat and knead until it is smooth.  You may need to double or triple the recipe depending on how many children there are.  

Use one color of playdough.  Give everyone an equal amount of Playdough commenting on the fact that everyone has the same Playdough.  Instruct the children to make anything they want out of the playdough.  At the end, have everyone place their creation in front of them and say to them that it's amazing that we all started out with the SAME Playdough, and now the Playdough is DIFFERENT.  You are the same because you are children with the same Playdough, but different because you all are one of a kind and chose what to make your Playdough into.

Is This My Apple
(You will need at least 1 apple per child.  Use apples with as many different shapes, colors and sizes as possible.  If there is not enough of a difference in the apples, add a mark of some kind with an indelible marker)

Spread out the apples on a table and have each child choose an apple; put any remaining apples away.  Tell them to look at their apple, pay attention to the color, size, and shapes of the apple.  Notice any special characteristics like spots, indentations, bruises, and if the apple has a stem or not. 

Instruct the children to give their apple a name and to tell their neighbors the name of their apple.  Now have everyone bring their apple back and place it on the table.  Mix the apples up.  Explain that the apples are all apples (same), but they are individual in their exact size, coloring, and shapes (different).  This is similar to people/children who are all people but come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.  Have the children come back to the table and find their apple, (odds are everyone will find their apple because of the apples individual characteristics).  We are all special and we all have something about us that is so special we shine like a star inside.  Just like the star of an apple; cut the apple in two through the center of the opposite way you normally cut an apple.  Show the inside of the apple with the star inside.  Now everyone gets to eat their apple if they would like to.  

(Books for the young child)
We're the Same (Sesame Street), by Bobbie Kates
The Muppets explore ways they are alike and different. 

The Land of Many Colors, by Rita Pocock
Land of Many Colors teaches us to judge each other, not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Respect, The Lorax & Ladies First Character Education 4

Author Unknown: That which I respect I do not harm.
English Proverb: Speaking without thinking is like shooting without taking aim.

Respect is showing consideration to yourself, other people and their property; treating others as you would like to be treated.  We show respect when we are sensitive to the feelings of other people.  When we treat someone with respect we show they are valuable to us.  Respect is having an appreciation for other peoples differences and cultures.  We show respect by how we talk to someone, the tone of voice used, and what the meaning of our words are.  Just as important is how we listen while someone is speaking to us.  When people tease, spread gossip, and call people names, they are not only disrespecting someone else, they are disrespecting themselves.

Ladies First, by Shel Silverstein; Younger
(On the Album, Free To Be… You And Me.  Read by Marlo Thomas
Or, find transcript of story at:

Ladies First is about a young girl who always puts herself first ahead of others.  She did not show respect to anyone.  In the end, being first did not work out so well.  

Art Activity; Scroll down to the bottom of respect for outlines, enlarge and print out paw print, leaves, and wording on white paper.  Cut around items and glue on white paper.

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss; Older
The main theme of this story is to be kind to the earth; have respect for the place we live.  In a fun way the story address' greed, what happens when bad choices are made, and in the end making amends.  It is in the Dr. Seuss whimsical rhyming style, delightful creatures, and a powerful message.  

ArtTruffula Trees
Scroll down to the bottom of respect for outlines.  You will need one piece of blue construction paper for the background.  Copy Truffula outlines on color paper or trace on colored paper, cutout and glue to create a Truffula Forest.  For the green lawn, cut down the center of a piece of construction paper lengthwise, with a wave.  With a black felt pin draw lines for tree trunks, and outline the grass, pond and clouds.  If you are patient and have a steady hand, outline the truffula tress, also.  

1.For one day have children call each other by their last name using Ms. or Mr.; they will feel special and feel respected.

2. Fold a piece of paper in two to make two columns.  On one side write Benefits, and on the other side write Challenges.  America is a country called the melting pot because there are so many different nationalities living here. Brainstorm and make a list of the benefits of living with people from other cultures, and what the challenges are of living with people from different cultures.  

3. Show respect with good listening skills.  Have children brainstorm what good listening skills are.  Practice listening skills as a group.  The parent or teacher models a roll play with a child.  Select two people at a time to roll play good listening skills.  With a large group you may want to select 6 people to roll play.  Give ideas of topics to talk about like your pets, a vacation, what do you do on the weekends.  The person talking, talks for 1 or 2 minutes.  It is fun for the parent or teacher to demonstrate what NOT to do while listening before the roll plays begins.  Role Play Rule: Be respectful and absolutely NO laughing during the role plays.  Clap at the end.

The Lorax

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Be a Detective & Asking A ? Without Blame; Conflict Resolution 4

Ask, Don't Blame
When something occurs it is all too easy to place blame before asking what happened. If a blaming statement is said, everyone becomes defensive and ill feelings arise.   When a person asks for information, like a detective, in a non-blaming way, a dialog is established that can help solve a problem in a positive manner.  Scroll down and copy, Asking a ? Without Blame, and hand out an example.

Be a Detective
Mrs. Cooper's class was in the computer lab typing their stories.  Bethany had forgotten to bring the rough draft of her story and returned to the room to get it.  Later, when the class returned to the classroom, Tayshawn discovered that his money for lunch was no longer in his desk.  Tayshawn confronts Bethany and shouts, "You took my money!"

1. Why did Tayshawn think Bethany had taken his lunch money?
2. Did Tayshawn know for sure that Bethany had taken the money from his desk?
3. How could Tayshawn have nicely asked Bethany about the money.

Had Tayshawn been a good detective he could have solved the problem before blaming Bethany.  Bethany was known to be a very honest person.  Even though she had been in the room with no one there, it would not be like her to steal Tayshawn's money.  If Tayshawn had investigated before blaming Bethany, he would have found that his money had fallen underneath his desk when he was taking out his rough draft.  Sometimes it takes a good detective to figure out what happened, before blaming someone.

Instead Say This
Explain the difference between a blaming and non-blaming question or statement.  Say the blaming sentence out loud.  Help the child/children to brainstorm and change the sentence into a non-blaming question or statements.

blaming                                                             asking for info example
Why did you do that?  (instead ask)  How did it happen?

Tell me about it now!  (instead ask)  Can you tell me about it?

Sure!  (instead ask)  I'm confused, help me to understand.

You don't care!  (instead ask)  I need help with this.

How would you feel?  (instead ask)  Can we figure out a fair way to solve this?

Say It!
Say the blaming sentences below out loud with a blaming voice.  Have the child/children re-phrase the sentence into a non-blaming question that seeks information, using a pleasant voice.

1. He is always picking on me and I am tired of it!
Can you help me understand what the problem is?

2. She thinks she's better than everyone else, that's why she knocked over my books!
How did this happen?

3. My math homework is gone and he took it!
I am looking for my math homework, have you seen it?
or, Do you know how my math homework got on your desk?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Name Is, Sneetches, & Let Them Play; Bully 4

Discrimination is not a thing of the past; incidents of prejudice and discrimination happen every day.  People are called hurtful names, excluded from educational opportunities,  excluded from job opportunities, and paid less for the same work.  Acts of vandalism of homes and places of worship, and acts of violence toward people are the worst forms of prejudice.  Children are not born prejudice, it is a learned behavior.

My Name Is...
Hi, my name is Tuyen.  I come from Vietnam where my name means Gentle River.  Here boys and girls in school laugh at my name which makes me very sad.  I want to make friends with other children, but it’s hard.

Hi, my name is Tark and my family comes from Bosnia.  We were very poor and I use to beg for food on the streets.  Now we live here, but my English is not good and I am made fun of and teased.  I just want to get along with the other children.

My name is Maria.  My parents are migrant workers and pick vegetables in the fields.  We move around a lot for their work.  I have trouble reading and some of the other kids at school call me stupid, which hurts my feelings.  If we didn’t constantly move, maybe school would be easier for me.
The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss; Younger
The story is about prejudice and discrimination.  The Sneetches who have a green star on their bellies are the in crowd, while the Sneetches without stars are shunned.  In the end the Sneetches find that neither plain-belly or star-belly Sneetches are superior, and they are able to get along and become friends.

Art Activity: Sneetches Bookmark
Scroll to bottom of post for outline.  Trace Sneetch bookmark on yellow card stock, cut out and draw on face.  Trace and cut out collar from white card stock and glue on.  Cut thin pieces of black card stock, curl up somewhat and glue on the head.

Let Them Play, by Margot Theis Raven; Older
True story about segregated Charleston, South Carolina, 1955:  There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina.  All but one team is composed entirely of white players.  One YMCA formed an all black team (Cannon Street), and had hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament.  The other leagues refused to play against the black team and pulled out of the program.  As the remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon Street was named state winner by default.  While the Cannon Street team is invited to the game as guests, they are not allowed to participate since they have not officially played and won their state's tournament.

Activity: Let Them Play
Write how it would make you feel if you were not allowed to do something because of the color of your skin?