Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Developing Mutual Respect.

Last week I walked into Barnes & Noble Bookstore to kill time before my next appoiment. I walked in convincing myself I would not buy anything. With my general love for teaching and education it is hard to come across the areas of the store that apply to this subject without adding to the list of books I feel the urge to buy. First stop: Children's Books. I spent some time in this section smiling at all the books I'd love to have. When I left, I managed to avoid any books in hand. Next stop: Teaching & Education. I flipped through the pages of many books and wrote down titles of interest for later reads. Then I came to one that sparked a particular interest, "Positive Discipline In the Classroom." The subcaption reads, Developing mutual respect, cooperation, and responsibility in your classroom. Just what my class needs. Determining this book as a "need" rather than a great want, I purchased the book, and dove into its inspiring contents right away.

This week I have started implementing many of the techniques shared in this book and am already experiencing more than positive results. The book shares "Class Meetings" as one of the ways for students to have a say about their feelings and together solve problems of concern, but before you can jump right into these meetings they must have practice in communication skills. As an introductory to these brief meetings which I will call "Team Time," we sat in a circle together and practiced the basics of listening.

Each student had the chance to tell the class a story that they wanted to share. I first had them walk out of the classroom to come up with their story, while the rest of us came up with a plan that would exhibit poor listening skills. While the storyteller came in excited to have their turn holding our new "talking monkey" friend, we listened most intently. After three seconds we then did our poor listening action. Things we came up with were: covering our ears, talking to our friends, hiding under the table, walking away, turning our backs, closing our eyes, clapping our hands etc. I was surprised to see that even though each child knew that we would probably do something rude or distracting, they were stilll thrown when we did and felt sad. We all had the opportunity to share our feelings of how this made us feel, and then execute proper listening skills the second time around.

I don't expect listening skills to be mastered right away, but we will continue to practice, practice, practice and get better in time. We are taking small steps to developing a mutual respect in our classroom, but in the end will make a big difference.


  1. Hi Molly,

    I am so glad to have found your blog! I am a kindergarten teacher as well. I start every morning with a class meeting! It will get better! Maybe we could exchange a class letter?

  2. Thank you for the encouragement, I'm excited to see where they take us once we finally get them running smoothly. I've never done a class letter before, but it sounds fun!