Saturday, November 7, 2015

Helpful Harvest - Cornucopia of Great Ideas - ScrappyGuy

Welcome to November!

Here at the Primary Peach we believe in giving back to the awesome community of teachers that take the time to share their lives with us.

As a token of our appreciation we are spending the entire month of November sharing our favorite classroom tips and tricks with you!

My favorite trick, one that really makes my classroom, is our Town Meetings. It is our time to talk to each other as a whole group about how things are going, what we would like to change, and what we are having trouble with.

My daily schedule is always so jam-packed that it is hard to find even just 20 minutes to use for this purpose. To help cut down on playground grand central, we are asked to not go out on recess on days that we have PE. I use this time to conduct our Town Meetings. Each week a new 'mayor' is selected to lead the meeting. As the teacher, I remain as the 'governor' with our principal being the 'president.'

We always start with an Encouragement Circle. The students are asked to think of something specifically special about the mayor. They can't just say, "You're nice." They have to think of a time when they showed their niceness. "When we were at Art class I couldn't hold of my artwork to take back to class. You offered to help me." The mayor thanks them and chooses another friend. We do this for three times.

Next it is time to teach a lesson. I bought a great set of books from Scholastic. With titles like Dude, that's Rude, Take the Grrr Out of Anger, and Getting Organized without Losing it All. How could you miss? The mayor chooses one lesson from a book to read to the class. We discuss it briefly.

It's time for Suggestions. Over the last week students have access to our Town Meeting Binder where they can add in suggestions for things that could be changed in the room and suggest goals the group can work on to earn a treat. They mostly come up with ideas for treats. They think about what their teachers spends most of his time trying to correct and if they can prove they are making an effort to change this behavior by a certain time they can earn their treat. I've done Pizza Parties, Popcorn Parties, PJ Day, Camping Parties, and even Smoothie Parties.

Then we move into Conflicts. This is an area for them to voice their complaints about problems they've already tried to fix themselves. I always tell them to Try 3 Before Me. We even have a choice wheel to give them ideas how to handle their own problems. But if they've tried 3 things and it still isn't working they write in the Conflict Section. We bring it up for the whole group to offer three suggestions to help. The child gets to pick one way to try and we revisit next week to see if it helped solve the problem.

At last the mayor thanks everyone for listening and participating and sends them back to their seats. I find that our Town Meeting gives them a voice in their lives and they see the benefits of working together to solve problems. Most parents are very supportive with this technique and thank me for using it. Their child will bring up suggestions to solve problems at home, so the skill is transferrable.
Just click on the pictures to download yourself a copy. You can edit the Town Meeting sheets.

Hopefully you can use them. I would love to hear how you make it work in your classroom! Happy November.

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