This week our 2nd graders talked about what it means to prioritize our tasks. We focused on Habit 3 — Put First Things First Work First, Then Play. This habit is defined as follows--
"I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized."
We emphasized that play and extracurricular activities are very important, but we must make sure that we are meeting our responsibilities at school. Sometimes this may mean disciplining ourselves to do the things we may not be quite as excited about first.
This week, I asked the students what paper towel, post it notes, chocolate chip cookies, Coca Cola ad Cinderella's glass slipper had in common. The students kept guessing as we read a short story from Lively Lessons for Classroom Sessions by Rosanne Sheritz Sartori about a student who became very upset anytime he made a mistake. Some of our students were able to relate to this student's experience. We spent some time talking about our own self talk when we discover we have made a mistake and ways that we could change our self talk to help us persevere and not become as discouraged.
I shared with the students that all of the items I mentioned at the beginning of the lesson were originally mistakes. We read some very interesting stories about how these items were invented from the book Mistakes that Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones.
Finally, each student received a unique "mistake" mark made with black marker on a piece of paper. The students added details to these mistakes to turn them into artwork as shown below.
This week, we focused on Habit 5: "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." We read the book, My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook. This book tells the story of Louis, a student who has trouble "erupting" (interrupting) others when they are talking. When Louis is interrupted during a classroom presentation, he becomes aware of the challenges that his "erupting" presents for others. Louis' mother teaches him some techniques to help him respectfully wait his turn to talk.
After reading and discussing this book, we conducted an experiment in the classroom. During the experiment, a classmate was chosen to complete a task which required moderate concentration such as completing some math problems on the board, writing spelling words, listing the names of states etc. While the classmate was completing this task a group of students were chosen to attempt to distract the student by interrupting them. The students were given a specific way to interrupt the student attempting to complete the task by repeating a specific phrase such as "Excuse me!", or singing a specific song such as "Happy Birthday". We discussed how these distractions impacted the students focus and their ability to complete the tasks in a timely manner and how the results of this experiment can help us work together more effectively in the classroom.
This week some of our Guidance classes did an activity that simulated what it feels like when we do unnecessary work or miss out on class time because of not following directions.
This lesson fit well with Habit 1 "Be Proactive" from the 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey. The directions at the top of the paper said, "Read everything on this paper before you begin". Most of the students spent 10-15 minutes going through the long list of silly directions which included placing your left shoe on the table, but a few of the students read the entire page before starting the activity and noted the directions in the final step-"Do only number 1 (Write your name at the top of this paper) and then sit quietly."
Both the students who were not tricked and those who were had a good laugh over the activity and it lead to some classroom discussion regarding Being Proactive and the importance of understanding and following directions in school as well as at home. We also explored Habit 5 "Seek first to understand then to be understood" and discussed how developing this habit helps us in school.