Sunday, September 1, 2013

Our First Week of Social Learning - How to Advocate for Yourself

As you might know from previous posts, I am spending the first 6 weeks of school as a dedication to social learning. I want to build a classroom community full of kids who care about themselves, each other, and have a good foundation of social skills.


Day 1 We talked about what the word ADVOCATE means during Morning Circle. Most of the kids understanding about it was when someone is an advocate for "say animals, and they do want people killing them, so they go out and fight for animals' rights." Every example I got from them was about someone being an advocate for someone or something ELSE. 

We ended the discussion with talk of what it might mean to be an advocate for yourself. Some examples we got to were: when someone says something or does something you don't like, when you need more time with schoolwork, or when a Friend doesn't treat you the way you like to be treated.

Day 2  Every morning, I have the kids respond in a journal as soon as they are unpacked. It is a great way to get them started on their day with some critical thinking. On this day, the prompt asked for kids to write about a time when they did not advocate for themselves and wished that they had. 

We came to the circle and discussed what it means to stand up for yourself and what that might look like. Then kids went back to their groups and shared their journal entries. Group members gave advice to each other about what each could have done differently in the situation. One great example came from a kid whose Friend always slapped him playfully on the arm, but it hurt him, and he never said anything to the kid. His group members suggested that maybe he tell the kid that it hurts when he does that, and hopefully the kid won't do it again.

Day 3 Homework: Write a paragraph about a time you didn't advocate for yourself and what you could have done differently. Some kids really opened up and shared some great experiences while others were still not comfortable enough to share such intimate details of their life. However, after speaking with some parents, I learned that students are discussing this stuff at home. Whether they completed my assignment with the intentions I planned on or not, it got kids to reflect on how they interact socially with each other.

Day 4  Role Playing: Each group was given a scenario of a kid who was not advocating for themselves. The group came up with a solution and presented a short skit to share with the class. Although they got pretty silly with it, they definitely knew how each character should solve their problem.

Scenarios: a kid whose teacher gives way too much homework, a kid who wants to play with everyone at recess, but doesn't want to play soccer (everyone is playing soccer), someone is giving a speech to the class and the student listening is interrupted by 2 students laughing and talking, and finally, a student is trying to read her favorite book, but students near her are distracting her. 

Next Week: Making a Complaint. How to tell a Friend, teacher, parent, or family member that you are unhappy about something. 


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