One of my mentor teachers taught me a very valuable lesson during my student teaching. It was the first day of school and her fourth graders were excited and eager to begin their year. The morning was spent with introductions, the usual collection of paperwork, passing of books, etc. Then it was time for class rules. First, she fastened a blank piece of poster board to the wall. She didn’t tell them the rules; instead, she asked them what the rules should be.
Students volunteered “Don’t talk,” “Don’t hit,” Don’t run,” and various others that were part of the classroom behavior they knew. To each answer their teacher responded, “How would you say that in a positive way?” Not a hand went up and the students tipped their heads as they wondered what she meant. One of them had an “ah-ha” moment and rapidly raised a hand, ready to share. “Do you mean, Be Quiet” he asked? “Very good,” she replied. Others quickly whispered to each other and found, ‘Keep your hands to yourself’ and ‘Walk in the Classroom’. Soon the list was full of positive behaviors rather than negative.
I learned a good lesson that day and continue to modify my own speaking and writing to be positive. The title of the rule board wasn’t “Don’t Forget!” it was, REMEMBER, and I did.
DE connection: Hip Hop Song, Say I Can. This song is about having a positive attitude – If you think you can, you can. http://lsurl.me/1D9