Our Personal Effect on the Planet

Our 4th and 5th graders are currently working to develop their understanding of how they personally affect the environment.

To begin, the students engage in a learning game that aims to teach them that sustaining our natural resources requires conservation and cooperative use of resources that belong to the entire community. The students are given the option to take “resources” (plastic chips), or leave them in the central pool so that they can double in quantity. In managing these “resources,” they learn it is important for people to use them cooperatively and not sacrifice long-term gain for short-term profits. Additionally, they learn that cooperative decisions must be made if ALL in the “community” (those playing the game) are to benefit.

After, students are given a community “issue” (i.e., not enough food in the community to feed all members), and are instructed to discuss and map what things, both positive and negative, might happen with the issue, as well as what can be done to alleviate the stress on the community.

My learners had a great time learning about renewable resources, cooperation, and how everything is connected within a community. Their understanding on CONSERVATION was definitely expanded!

Managing and Distinguishing Between Bullying, Teasing, and Conflict in Grades K-3

In many realms, the term “Bullying” has become a catch-phrase for actions that may fit into other categories. The definition of Bullying is:

1) Purposeful/Intentional

2) Used to Enforce/Build a Power Differential

3) Repeated

4) Unwanted

During this lesson, I describe the definitions and differences, and give scenarios to help students decipher what certain behaviors are. Then, we discuss many ways to handle bullying, teasing, and conflict with our peers. We read two books that help us to understand others’ perspectives, as well as solve or manage situations, “Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun” and “My Secret Bully.”

Students, further, engage in a variety of discussion and activities that help them to process through (1) times when they/others have been treated unfairly, (2) solving problems with friends at school, and (3) “taking the high road” and helping others who may not have always been nice to us (i.e., STOPPING the cycle of bullying).