Our character trait for February and March is self-control/self-discipline. During our morning announcements we have been reading famous quotes and elaborating on the meaning of this. Self-discipline means following tasks to completion and being dependable for doing what you say you will do. What skills and attitudes are needed to take more responsibility for our learning? What are the rewards of having self-discipline? To make good choices we sometimes need to gather information first before a final decision is made.
I started by reading Words are Not for Hurting written by Elizabeth Verdick. In this story students revisit how every word in our language is made by just rearranging the 26 letters in our alphabet. Some words are short, some are long, some are silly, and some are loud. Verdick goes into a great explanation of how to carefully choose our words to be helpful, rather than hurtful.
After the story we discussed that the only person who has control over us is ourselves. We control the words we choose to say, the ideas we choose to think, the actions of our body, and even our own feelings. By having self-control, we can carefully choose kind words over hurtful words when faced with conflict. In first grade I then introduced the Self-Control Stop Light. Our body gives us warning signals when something is not right. Our face might feel hot, our body might be shaking, our muscles might feel tight, etc. When we acknowledge the alarm in our body going off, we need to STOP. Then we THINK about how we're going to respond. Is it a good choice? Is it a bad choice? What are the consequences of responding that way? What are the benefits? Finally, we ACT on our decision. We brainstormed different ways to cool ourselves down to think more clearly and show self-discipline.
In kindergarten we brainstormed different kind words that we hear others say to us and that we can say to them.
My first graders created self-control kits, inspired by The Crafty Counselor. First we wrote down different ways we can handle our body when our "alarm" goes off. Then we glued our kites together and decorated them.
My kindergarteners thought about kind words they can say to each other and drew a picture of themselves saying it.