Back to School Character Building Lessons

We're sharing our favorite, must do lessons for the beginning of the year!  Through these lessons, we encourage our kiddos to be kind to each other and build a caring classroom community.


Rules
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You likely already start with establishing rules in your classroom on the first day of school.  Here's the chart we like to use!  We read this silly book, My School's a Zoo! and our kiddos really connect to the funny things the animals do in the story.  They are easily able to point out the "wrong" or "bad" choices and actions the animals do in school.  This is a great springboard into creating our class "rules" chart.  Students help to fill out the entire chart!  We like to show our kiddos that they have a job to do at school, and so do we, the teacher.  We love to hang this chart and refer back to it all year long!  If needed we can model like this, "I'm doing my job by teaching you about this.  Are you doing your job by listening to me."

If My School's a Zoo! is not easily available, try out Click, Clack, Quack to School! instead!
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Good Classmates 
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We love using Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse to introduce a chat about being a good classmate. The kiddos love to fill in this chart and we love to pull in the negative behaviors in the Does NOT section by using the 4 square format. It's really a great visual to see more positives and give good examples to kiddos for how they could/should act around each other in class.

Kind Friends
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We think this lesson with Rainbow Fish is our favorite! Of course, the book has a great lesson for sharing with others! We love making this chart to compare acts of kindness and mean or selfish acts (as we see from Rainbow Fish as he changes in the story). We have diecut fish ready...a handful of colorful fish and a handful of brown fish. The colorful fish represent Rainbow Fish at the end of the story when he has learned the value of sharing and being a good friend. Students call out traits of a good friend and we write them on a colorful fish and tape it to the poster. The brown fish are called 'Stinky Fish,' representing Rainbow Fish when he was selfish and would not share. Students call out undesired traits of a friend and we list them on a brown fish. Again, this is an AWESOME chart to refer back to during the first few weeks in your classroom!

Getting Along and Working Together
 
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Another great classic is Swimmy! Again, great lesson to learn through this story! We use the book to create our own BIG fish, filled with scales of things good friends can do together. We cut large fish outline from a paper roll or wrapping paper. Then we have scales precut. We give each kiddo a scale to draw a picture of them doing something nice with a friend. We go around and talk to each kiddo as they draw and ask about their picture. We write down a sentence for them below the picture.


Working Hard, Learning, and Growing
 
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If you've not seen this book, you've got to grab it or put it on your teacher wish list! It's a heartwarming story about the special work of a teacher, told through a gardening theme. We're not too sure how much of the story our firstie kiddos really understand, but we LOVE the book so, we've got to include it as a read aloud the first week of school! It's a good reminder for us about the work we'll have to do in the upcoming year and a the rewards to be had with growth at the end of the year! We try to explain to the kiddos how the teacher is planing seeds who are like her students and she watches them grow because they learn new things. After reading, we give kiddos a white construction paper circle and a green stem. We have them create the rest of the flower using construction paper scraps. It always makes a wonderful display for curriculum night!

Names!
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One last activity we do are Name Puzzles. We tie it to reading Chrysanthemum. We really like to have all kiddos in class get to know each others names. This activity is how we have kiddos practice the names of their classmates and have fun too! We call them Name Puzzles. All we do is type each kiddos name in a doc and print. Cut the names in strips, then cut each letter individually. We put each Name Puzzle in a envelope with the kiddo's name on the front. In class, students walk around to each table spot and put the name puzzles together (or spell each classmate's name). Having the name on the front of the envelope is helpful to look at when putting the puzzles together!
 

2 comments

  1. I love all of your ideas!!! Thanks!!!

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