There is a need to create a peaceful climate in the class. Teachers have to treat their students as individuals. Students need respect, love, and care. I have noticed how adults can be sarcastic towards children. They frequently interrupt their students, and often admonish them in front of others. It takes patience, perseverence, and practice, and we all need to start working on being model citizens.
However, children can be equally insensitive to each other. In order to build positive peer relationships, I have decided to use 3 strategies I have not used before:
Creating a photo album. I simply love this idea! I am always snapping pictures of my students during the different stages of a project in order to record the journey of their learning. This usually goes up on the bulletin board. Sometimes, I give the children their pictures to put in their portfolio; the rest go into a unit folder as evidence of some kind of practice or the other. I think this is a great strategy to showcase the students’ work to the parents during PTCs. When students finish their work early, they could decorate the album by sticking, drawing or creating borders and writing captions. It’s a great way to integrate art and language. There will also be a sense of collectiveness as everyone will get a chance to participate in its creation. (Jones & Jones, 2007)
Secret Pal books. This activity will immediately appeal to my 8 year olds. Anything secretive is fun. I specially need it for a few students who are keen at pointing out deficiencies of others. They will, hopefully, undergo a paradigm shift! Using icecream stick, students will pick a name of their peer. Throughout the week, they will observe their peer and note down all the positive things they see about them. In class, we have covered adjectives. My students also enjoy writing acrostic poems. They could use these skills to describe their friend. This will be a great center work where they could revisit these skills while learning to appreciate their peers. ( Jones & Jones. 2007). By the end of the week, they will share their Secret Pal book with their friend.
I would like to incorporate another strategy using technology. I think Wallwisher is the perfect web 2.0 tool for this. I like the idea of positive bombardment. My students are learning to use thinking stems in order to express themselves. Using the stems: I felt really happy when…or, You are really a friend because …will help my students with their writing when they create their blog posts. This method of communication will be extremely powerful, as parents will also get to read all the great things other students have to say about their child.
I will consciously monitor my words and behaviour towards my children. I will put all my facial muscles into action and SMILE more often. I hope to see more love and affection among my students. I hope to see change. The sooner, the better!
Jones, V., & Jones, L. (2007). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems(Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.