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Jan 24

Rainbow Butterflies...And Not Yelling

Posted by Valentine Burr in Fair Is Not Equal on Jan 24, 2013

I was thinking more about helping children set goals (see our recent post, Goals for the New Year) and remembered a wonderful example of social emotional curriculum I saw in action in a 4/5's class a few years ago. In the middle of the year the children thought, drew and wrote about things they were good at doing.

This segued into children thinking about what they were working on. Each child thought of a personal area they were working on as well as something that connected them to others (the language the class used was “things we are working on inside and outside”). Children thought, discussed, shared ideas and eventually drew and dictated their thinking.

Quinn (self-portrait below) said: “I am working on whistling and I’m also working on to not be mad when my brother has someone come over and I have to share my toys. If I get mad or sad I calm myself down by saying, ‘Maybe next time.’”

Julian said: "I am working on tying my shoes…and reaching stuff that’s really tall. And still playing when people do stuff wrong. If I have an order in a game and they do it wrong I’m trying not to say, 'Fine I’m not playing!'”

And Amani said: “I am working on making horses and rainbow butterflies, and not yelling.”

One of the teachers in the class reflected, “The growth and development of their ‘outside’ skills has provided the children with more confidence, allowing them to notice that they are adding to the emotional well-being of the class. By extension this helps children to think about the work they are doing to foster their inner state of well-being.”

The completed pictures and words lined the hallway. For weeks children, teachers and parents would look and talk, making observations and connections. “That’s hard for me too!” “Can you teach me how to make rainbows?”

As always, we'd love to hear about and see examples from your practice. How would an activity like this look for 3rd graders? Middle schoolers? Write in and let us know.

tagged 4/5's, curriculum, early elementary, pre-k, social emotional learning
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