Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Go Team!

Had I realized how well our class meetings or "team time" would go, I would have done the activity much sooner. I am so very thankful for that hour I had to kill in the bookstore a few weeks back. It was here that I happened to find a book about "Positive Discipline: Developing Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility in your classroom, " -- an eye catching title to me, knowing that respect and cooperation in my classroom was something my Kindergartners desperately needed.

The difference made in the past month since we've implemented these meetings has been outstanding. At first the opportunity to share feelings were usually sad ones. They expressed how somebody hurt their feelings earlier in the day. It wasn't said to bash on their friend, but for the rest of us to gain an understanding of how our actions affect others. We came up with a solution for a better tomorrow, and left the day happy that our feelings were heard.

Today seemed to mark two special occasions of classroom cooperation. The first was exhibited during clean up time. I said, like always, "Can we make it in two songs today?" All together they shouted, "No we can do it in ONE!" And sure enough, they cleaned up faster than they have have before simply because they worked as a team. The second occured during the feelings portion of Team Time. This is the time where my friends can talk about any feeling they want. Two students who have never shared a happy feeling before, raised their hands and said, "I have a feeling." We expected their feeling to be sad, but as they began to speak they both started with "I'm happy because..." That alone put a smile on all of our faces. It seems as if our whole classroom is getting turned upside down with pure cooperation and uplifting feedback to each other.

There is now a shared effort to always be on the look out for each other. Every student knows that together we are a team and therefore they act on it. Every team-mate knows that they are valued and their feelings are heard. They feel safe enough to tell others how they feel, and the other team-mates are more than happy listen and help give a solution. Responsibility is a word they both know and follow. They are becoming problem solvers and self-thinkers. They are willing to accept responsibility for their actions because they know how it affects others. They understand the importance of how compliments make us feel good, and are eager for their daily opportunity to put a smile on somebody else's face by giving one. Most importantly, we now leave every day in smiles, as we get our stickers, put our hands in the circle, and shout one big "GO TEAM!"

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