Courage was this week’s Swooper Citizens theme. We started the lesson asking the students to share a time when they may have felt scared or nervous. Nightmares were the hot topic. We discussed how the students needed to be brave to conquer their fears.
Next we watched a brief video on having courage to do the right thing.
The read aloud this week approached the topic of courage from a different direction. Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie de Paola is a touching story about a boy and his grandfather.
Bobby and his grandfather, Bob are close. Grandpa Bob tells Bobby stories and builds block towers with him. Grandpa even teaches Bobby to walk. One day, Grandpa has a stroke and can no longer walk or talk. Doctors think he doesn’t recognize family members. Bobby is not allowed to see Grandpa at first. After many months, Grandpa moves home. When Bobby tries to talk to him, Grandpa makes a grunting noise, scaring Bobby out of the room. Bobby finds the courage to go back to see Grandpa Bob and realizes that Grandpa Bob does recognize him. What follows next is a touching series of events that show Bobby reteaching Grandpa how to build block towers, tell stories, and even walk. (So touching in fact that I had to have Ms. Atkinson read the book to the students as I sat sobbing in the corner!) I pulled it together enough to ask the students how Bobby demonstrated courage in the story.
We then boarded the bus to the harbor, where we were met by Officers Martinez and Alldredge of the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol. The invited us to board the Harbor Patrol rescue boat!
As we climbed safely aboard and sat on the deck, Mr. Alldredge spoke to the class about courage.
Next, students were invited to explore the boat! They got to shoot the water cannon.
We did our first sewing activity today in Friday Fun! Using fabric with owls on it, students hand sewed small pillows. I was impressed with the students’ focus and patience, as each pillow took twenty minutes to sew!
The reward was stuffing the pillow with polyfill and then snuggling with it, of course! What a sense of accomplishment the students showed!
A BIG thank you to the moms and Ms. Horibe, who helped with this station.
In the kitchen, students were making Snowy Owls using mini rice cakes, cream cheese, pretzel rods, raisins, and two little jellybeans. Students got to listen to two informative stories on owls as they worked.
I am really excited to post about our Swooper Citizens lesson on understanding. When Ms. Atkinson and I met this summer to complete the lesson plans for each character trait, we strived to include an activity each week that would resonate with the students. We were completely on target this week.
The definition of understanding we wanted to portray is that understanding is to sympathize with or tolerate. In building students’ ability to sympathize and tolerate, I asked a close friend of mine, Amber, to visit our class and make a presentation to the students that illustrates perfectly why we all need to have the character trait of understanding.
Amber has a four year old son, Andrew. Andrew has the most infectious smile. He loves all things Barney and is following in his mothers footsteps, becoming an artist.
Andrew was born with one hand. He was also born with Down Syndrome. I asked Amber to come to class to share with the students how Andrew does many of the same things as the students, just a little differently.
I shared a few pictures of Andrew with the class before Amber arrived.
We briefly discussed Andrew’s visible differences and ways in which we could kindly ask his mom questions.
When Amber arrived, I showed the students two video clips of Andrew. These videos are a great example of ways Andrew does almost all the regular things that we do!
Amber shared some insights with the students about how Andrew navigates the play structure or how he brushes his teeth. Students asked questions like, “How does Andrew swing on the swing set?” or “Can he use a climbing wall?” (Yes, in fact, he does use the climbing wall where Amber teaches.)
And, like his mom, he is an artist.
I asked Amber to share a thought that was most important to her that the students learned from the discussion. Here is what she so eloquently said:
Real. If everyone follows Amber’s advice, what a different world it would be.
After she left, students listened to the book, There’s a Skunk in My Bunk, by Joseph T. McCann. This book reiterated the message Amber presented. It also brought up the concept of tolerance. Here is a summary from Amazon:
“When a young boy finds a shivering skunk snuggled in his bunk bed on a cold autumn night, he is horrified and orders the animal out of his house. After all, skunks are nasty, smelly creatures, right? Frightened, the skunk finds the courage to stand his ground, defending himself and others like him. As these two strangers come to know each other, the boy learns that he must think for himself and not prejudge others.
This appealingly illustrated, humorous tale with its important message of tolerance for others identifies — and discourages — stereotypic thinking in children.”
The book was a great read and gave students am additional perspective on understanding.
To add an additional perspective, we showed the students this video clip, tying the word understanding to empathy.
We ended this very full lesson by students writing in their Swooper Citizens journals. Here are some excerpts.
Success! Students received the message about understanding loud and clear.