Friday, February 24, 2012

Unique Snowflakes

Last weekend we had a wonderful snow storm...thus, we had a snow day on Monday and 2 hours late on Tuesday.  It was a fabulous break for both students and staff! The 5 inches of snow inspired this guidance lesson for 1st grade on Tuesday.

The goal was to teach respecting differences and valuing yourself for who you are.  First, I helped students realize just how many differences they had that made them special by playing a modified version of the game "Trainwreck."  The students sat in a circle on the floor with one student standing in the middle. The child in the middle says "I like people who (insert something that makes them unique, like wear glasses, like to swim, have freckles, love to read, etc..)  Any student who has that "trait" in common stands up and rushes to find a new seat while the students in the middle also tries to find a seat.  The last student standing is the next "it."  This game is fun for children and they also learn new things about their classmates.  We debriefed the game with a discussion.  I asked students if they learned anything new about a classmate, and we talked about how it is okay to be friends with kids who look different from us and like to do different things then they do.  The message was acceptance and our differences make us special.
Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal Book)
Next, in honor of our recent snow, we read the story Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  This wonderful book is about William Bentley and his life of photographing snowflakes.  Through his photography collection we know that no 2 snowflakes are the same.  Every one is unique and beautiful, just like my kiddos at school!  We ended the lesson by making snowflakes and I had the students share them when they were finished so we had another opportunity to celebrate how different they all turned out.  This lesson was very successful, because the students were so excited about snow and they love sharing information about themselves.  What other ways to do you teach self esteem and respecting differences?

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