Thursday, October 8, 2015

Teaching Character Traits & Citizenship

Hello Readers!  I'm Marcie from Sunny and Bright in First Grade.  I am teaching kindergarten again this year which I am thrilled about.  However, I think the first 6 weeks of kindergarten is a lot like childbirth... if you remembered how hard it was you might decide to never do it again! Have you seen this video?  I laugh so hard every time I watch it. THIS is how the first 6 weeks of kindergarten feels!

 Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love kindergarten... but I also love October.  It was my 5th year teaching when I realized that October wasn't my favorite month just because the weather was cooler.  October is the magical time when you are suddenly able to look around a kindergarten classroom and see a community of happy little learners.  It is a beautiful thing.  This year I've been waiting with even more anticipation than usual.  I may or may not have had a little chat with my class about how the "October Magic" was going to help them be better listeners this week. 

While I am a believer in "October Magic" I am also a realist. I believe strongly in giving all students a great foundation at the beginning of the year.  I also believe that learning to be kind, responsible, helpful and respectful is something that needs to be taught all the time.  So, in case the "October Magic" hasn't transformed your students into model students and citizens, I thought I would share some citizenship ideas to help you out!

This is a cute little freebie that I created to help my students visualize exactly what respect looks like in our classroom.  It comes with some "Caught Being Respectful" tickets to share with your little ones. 

I have found that "setting the stage" for student success is TOTALLY worth the time it takes.  We go over our class rules every single morning.  We take turns leading the group as we call them out and have the class repeat them back.  It really helps us to stay on track.  I use a lot of Whole Brain Teaching strategies in my classroom.  These rules are my version of the WBT rules:
  Rule #6 is my favorite :)
You can grab these FREE rule posters HERE.

Next month I will be starting one of my favorite themes... Veteran's Day.  It sounds like a strange favorite, right?  Well, I wrote all about my deep love of this theme and how I make it meaningful for my students HERE.  This year I am going to combine my Veteran's Day unit with my Being a Good Citizen unit.
I found this unit to be so wonderful for helping my little learners develop their character traits.   It includes close reading articles on things that good citizens do. 
We do this sorting activity together once and then I add it to a center.  They LOVE it.  It inspired some great conversations and helped students to really feel proud of themselves.

Hopefully, the "October Magic" has transformed your students into model citizens already!  I would love to hear some of your ideas for promoting citizenship and good character with young students.  Please come visit me on my blog Sunny and Bright in First Grade!



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