Monday, January 16, 2012
M.L.K school day.
Our Portrait Wall.
The children in my classroom will be the first to tell you that what makes me most concerned is when the children are mean to each other or exclude someone from a group. I will stop an entire class to discuss this issue. In fact, this is the philosophy of the school. There are countless discussions about social interactions. Not everyone has to love each other but you do have to figure out how to get along with them. "Say what you mean but don't be mean when you say it" sums up the approach. Be honest but not hurtful.
I don't get upset when the children get angry, I get upset when their anger turns towards another child. It is important for children to realize that language and tone of voice are just as hurtful as a punch in the face. It is never too early to start this process. Do the children get time outs or punished? No. Do we come to resolutions through adult guided conversations? Yes.
When it came time to discuss Martin Luther King Jr. the children were very familiar with language and terms used by the Civil Rights Movement. They understand about being fair and treating others with compassion and kindness. Throughout the day there were many discussions about Martin Luther King Jr. The children heard that name a lot today.
Our school spends the last 15-20 minutes of everyday engaging in Reflection Groups. This is a time to work out unsolved issues, voice concerns or simply share with each other. My class takes this time pretty seriously. Usually one child leads the discussion but today I interjected. I asked them to tell me one thing that they learned about Martin Luther King Jr. There answers were great and they clearly grasped the sentiment we were trying to convey. The funny part was that, even after hearing his name all day, they were tongue tied during reflections. I laughed (inside) nearly all the way through today's reflections.
Martin Luther King Jr. was referred today as the following.
"What I learned about Arten Luther"
"I learned that Lootin Martin King"
"I think that Looting King Arthur"
"Arthur Mootin was..."
"King Martin Arthur fought for....'
Despite having the name mixed up their thoughts were right on. It was best summed up by one of the youngest children in the class when he said "Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to make sure that white people would be nice to black people".- age 5