|Mrs. Jennifer Banner|
This week we continued to talk about Habit 6 and the individual strengths that each person brings to our classroom. We talked about the value of recognizing our own strengths and as well as the strengths of others. For our activity, we formed a circle and took turns passing a ball of yarn. When a student received the yarn, they shared a personal strength that they have and holding part of the yarn, passed it to classmate stating a strength that they noticed in that classmate. The students did an excellent job of identifying strengths. Some examples included: "I've noticed you are really good at math." "You are great at gymnastics." "I've noticed you are really good with animals. I would feel comfortable leaving my dog with you." and "I've noticed you are a very fast runner." Once we had been around the circle twice, we had created an impressive "web" in the middle of the circle. We were even able to support a beach ball in the middle of our web. After this activity we processed what it was like to have our classmates identify our strengths as well as what we had learned about ourselves and others in our class through the activity. The students seemed to have a lot of fun with this activity and even asked if we could do it again later in the year.
With our classroom having a Lego theme this year, we have really enjoyed getting to use Lego's in many of our Guidance lessons. This lesson was part of our study of the 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey.
This week we focused on Habit 6: Synergy. I found some classroom posters that I felt did a really good job of describing the meaning of this habit--"I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I seek out other people’s ideas because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than anyone of us can alone."
For our activity this week, each student was given an equal number of Legos and instructed to build the tallest tower that they could within 5 minutes. The tower had to be stable enough to remain standing as we measured each one. The students did a great job of building towers independently. Some students decided to build shorter towers with increased stability, others discovered that when they placed the Legos together sideways without joining them together, the tower became much taller, but not as stable.
Next the students were given more time to silently work as a team at their table to see how big they could make their tower using everyone's Legos, but without talking. Once the time was up and these towers were complete, we measured again noting how much larger the towers were this time due to the increased resources and strengths of the classmates working together. Following this group experience, we spent some time processing how the group members worked together and strengths that they observed in their team.
Finally, one class asked if we could use each groups Legos to attempt to create an even bigger tower. Each group nominated a builder. All 6 builders brought their tower to the rug and assembled a gigantic tower. The tower created by the class was over 7 feet tall!
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
This week our 4th graders learned about Habit 5 "Seek first to understand then to be understood". We discussed various strageties to help us be better listeners and how being better listeners can help us become better learners. We also applied the importance of good listening to friendships and social situations.
We played two games to practice our communication and listening skills. For the first game, our 4th graders were put with a partner. One of the partners built something using a specified number of Legos. The second partner could not see what their partner had built and had to listen to their directions. Finally, the partners compared their work to see if it matched.
The second game we played was called "The Listening Game". This game is a 4th grade favorite. Each student receives a slip of paper with directions on it such as "When someone says begin, say "'Good Morning'". So each student had something they had to watch or listen for, then they had something they were responsible for doing that would trigger the next person to complete the step on their card. In the end, when all steps everyone worked together and all steps were completed correctly, there was a special message on the board.