The beginning of the year is one of the most interesting times, because I get to get to know each student. But, I also get the opportunity to teach some lessons on social behaviors. I really enjoy getting students to think in a way that they hadn't realized before. Today, we did one of the most, in my opinion, powerful activities..
Without telling students what we were doing, I set out four bowls. Three had toothpaste, one with lotion. Then I asked for 4 people who thought they were SUPER strong. After assigning a few students, I then told them they have 1 minute to squeeze out as much toothpaste or lotion as possible. Try and get every last bit out of the tube.
With great excitement, those students quickly got every last bit out! I got a lot of, "Oh that was so easy!" or "I am so strong!"
Next I have them a spoon and a knife. The looks of puzzlement on their faces was priceless! But, when I asked them to put the lotion or toothpaste back into the tube, they just laughed. I gave them 3 minutes to get it all back into the tube. Some worked on their own, while their classmates watched. Others, started working as a group to help one another. "This is impossible!" "we have to work together" "I can't do it!"
At the end of the 3 minutes, I asked them if they got it all back in the tube, naturally they all said NO! But, were able to get some back into the tube. I then told the class, I want you to think of the toothpaste as the words that you say to one another. It's really easy for the words to come out, but can you take them back once you've said them? You can always say you're sorry, but, does that take back what you said? No, it doesn't. Always think before you speak. How is what you said, going to make someone else feel? How would you feel if someone said something to you that you didn't like?
After we talked for a little bit, we did a writing assignment about thinking before you speak. And of course, since writing is SO big in 3rd grade, we indented and restated our question of course! It was pretty neat to see students so into the writing piece, they really had a connection with what they were writing about.
All in all, I hope that my lesson today will stick with each student as we go through this year. Put simply, think before you speak.