At least, that's the question, I ask my students about 1000 times a day. Here's why:
Before winter break, I was feeling very discouraged about my students' behavior and about how they treated each other. It probably didn't help that I had mono, but that's beside the point.
My firsties were just not listening and showing respect to themselves, their peers, or me. I was frustrated with having to help resolve minor conflicts all the time and with having to keep reminding kids to sit criss-cross applesauce etc. etc.
That's when I came across the GREATEST PINS EVER!!!
Now, I pin a lot of things, and to be honest, I don't always follow the pins to their sources. However, when I saw these AMAZING anchor charts, I knew I HAD to check out where they came from.
It turns out that these charts are the work of Mrs. Carroll of First Grade Parade. The pins took me to her her blog entry called, "No David! I'm a Peacemaker!" You can/should check out her blog to read more about what she did, but here's the summary version. Basically, she used David Shannon's No David books to talk with her kids about peacemaking behavior vs. peacebreaking behavior. She then made the anchor charts, plus one with a Peacemaking Pledge on it and had the kids do a cute craft. Plus, she created a "Settling Differences" book for the kids to use to work out their conflicts.
As I read the post, I became more and more impressed and excited. I decided that I HAD to have this conversation with my kids, and I HAD to find a way to make cool anchor charts like hers.
Unfortunately, I am not the artist that Mrs. Carroll is, so I stressed and stressed about how to make the posters. I didn't want to just do a basic list because I had seen an ideal version and didn't want to compromise. After much deliberation and discussion with Josh, he came up with a great idea. He told me that he could use his techy skills to make me computer versions of the posters, and that's just what he did. It took him quite a while and a lot of work, but they turned out fantastic!!! Keep reading to see them and get them for FREE.
Now, that I had to posters, I was all set to have the Peacebreakers and Peacemakers conversation with my students. We had it the first week back in January, and it went AWESOME!! The kids loved talking about David's bad behavior and about how he was a Peacebreaker. Then, they thought of great ideas about how to be Peacemakers. The big kicker was when I looked at them and said very seriously, "Did you know that sometimes you guys are peacebreakers?"
You should have seen how big their eyes got! The all looked so forlorn.
We then talked about how from now on, their goal and my goal was to be Peacemakers and we took a pledge to do our best.
A few days later, I introduced the Peacemaking Basket as a place for students to calm down if they were upset or to resolve conflicts with their peers, rather than coming to me first thing.
Here's what's in the basket:
- "How to Be a Peacemaker (A Guide to Settling Differences)" by Mrs. Carroll from First Grade Parade.
- Peacemaking Puppies for students to talk to if they are upset
- Squeeze balls for students to use to get out their frustration.
To be honest, when I first had this discussion and introduced the basket, I was nervous that the students wouldn't catch on and that I would not be consistent in my use of the terms and the basket. However, things have turned out better than I could have hoped.
I now have the following posters in several locations in my room for the kids and me to refer to.
All I have to do is say something about being a Peacemaker or a Peacebreaker or point to the poster, and my students snap to attention. They don't want to be Peacebreakers! They also have started going straight to the basket and really resolving things without even asking me first. What's even cooler is that they are applying the ideas in other ways too, including calling book characters "Peacemakers" or "Peacebreakers," and using these terms outside of school. I have heard several reports from parents that the kids are using this vocabulary at home. How cool is that?
Since this has been such a successful venture this year, I plan to start it sooner next year. I highly recommend trying it in your classroom.
Phew. Now, if you are still with me, I am impressed. I really didn't mean to write such a novel. As a reward for your diligence in reading this whole post, here are several Peacemaking and Breaking freebies. Click on the pictures to download.
Hope you enjoy my Friday Freebie. Please comment if you download. I'd love to hear feedback.
Also, consider being a "Peacemaker" by helping the hungry in Ethiopia. Check out my One Meal, One Day post and/or Facebook page to find out how to make a difference. Click the button or the links below.
Facebook: One Meal, One Day-Becky's Page
Firstgiving Donation Website: Donation Page
Official Website: One Meal, One Day
Thanks for reading! Happy Friday everyone! Stay safe if you are in the path of the snow, like me!