Introducing yourself in younger grades
School has started which means my lessons are in full swing.
In the younger grades we are learning all about our emotions and how to cope with the tough ones like disappointment, loneliness and anger. This is a great way to talk about people who help with tough feelings- like the school counselor.
I love reading “Ravi’s Roar,” the story about Ravi who feels so left out he turns into a roaring tiger. I use my book companion activity set to discuss how we can tame our anger tiger and discover the feelings beneath the anger.
It’s the perfect partner to Sesame Street Belly Breathing Video.
Introducing yourself in older grades
In the upper grades I like to mix up our first lessons together. I infuse class expectations, empathy, meeting the school counselor, and teamwork into one lesson.
We do this by creating a “Class Agreement”! The agreement outlines how we plan to treat each other, how they want the teacher to treat them, and how we can peacefully problem solve.
How it works:
I like to introduce the class agreement by asking students to describe how they feel when they are at their best. Then I ask them to describe a time at school they felt this way. We use their answers to inspire our class contract.
Things to note:
I facilitate this lesson without the classroom teacher present, because I think it facilitates an open and honest conversation about how they want their teacher to treat them. For example, one class told me they wished “their teacher talked slower.”
As we discuss this I talk about how “teacher” could mean me, a special area teacher, or really any adult in the building. As we talk we continue expand the conversation to how we will treat each other throughout the building.
At the end we all sign in agreement. This year many of my students called it their “Declaration of ___’s class” as it aligned with what they were learning about in social studies.
At the end of class I take a picture of the agreement and then give the copy to their teacher. (P.S. Our fast talking teacher laughed and agreed.)