It’s the 3rd day of school and I’ve seen every grade level except the K’s. At this stage I am molding a music room culture for the year so content from 1st to 5th grade for the first few classes is virtually identical. Here’s my message board:Our art and PE teacher are in the same process, perhaps with a slightly different approach, but what makes our job wonderful is that the result is the same. We are all upholding the same “pillars”; Kindness, Community, Effort, and Knowledge. Further, though our terms might be slightly different, we have similar versions of the Responsive Classroom questions that we use to “create rules”. We ask: What does SAFE, KIND, and RESPONSIBLE look like? Every step is (theoretically) based on this question.
Looking at the sloppy handwriting on my white board you can note how I reinforce the culture with our first day activities:
1. Our first activity, “Dinah’s Dead” is an easy movement piece/ chant that gets kids ready do participate in a pressure free silly way.
2. We briefly discuss what Safe, Kind, and Respectful look and sound like. We discuss the “no “I can’t”” policy. I do an activity in which students ask an opposite gender to dance by using eye contact and whole-body listening. Our school psychologist and occupational therapist have created a chart that specifies what “me thinking” vs “us thinking” is as well. This is particularly pertinent on the 2nd and 3rd grade levels and is a big part of our classroom culture discussion.
3. We practice responsible/ safe movement and taking care of materials by moving through an “instrument museum”
4. If we have time, we dance (In this case a dance called “Alabama Gal” and discuss how to move safely in the classroom.
5. Assess our own behavior and talk about the “scale” our teachers have created: 4= no reminders 3= a few reminders 2= a bunch of reminders 1= TOO MANY REMINDERS! Classroom teachers are informed of what the class earned and often put into place group rewards (NO FOOD!) such as extra recess time or a fun game or video.
More to come! I will be checking in in a few days….stay tuned.