Activities and Lessons
for Beginning the School Year

Establishing a Good Place to Be
Martha Hitzel

I teach 4/5. During the first few days of school we read and discuss stories like Chrysanthemum, Crow Boy, and Thank You Mr. Falker. Then, on the 4th or 5th day the kids worked in small groups to brainstorm lists of things that made school a good place to be for them, and things that made it a not so good place. Then, we came back together and shared all of our ideas. The next thing we did was look at individual ideas, e.g. I had no one to play with on the playground, and brainstormed something we could promise to do to avoid this happening, e.g. If we see someone who is alone on the playground we will ask them if they'd like to join what we're doing. I've done this for four years now and really like it. I write up the promise on chart paper, we all read it together and sign it, and then it is posted in our room. We do talk about what it means to promise something, but also acknowledge that there will be times that we won't be perfect and will need to be reminded and it is all of our jobs to remind someone when we notice.

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