Life Skills: As students transition from grade to grade they grow both academically and emotionally. Everyone is part of a social contract that was signed at birth, that comes with benefits, but also with responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is self-discipline, and it is expected from all of my students to demonstrate such responsibility. That being said, there will be several activities during class that will help you develop a greater connection with your peers, and it will help everyone develop teamwork skills.
GROUP WORK: THERE WILL BE SEVERAL OPPORTUNITIES DURING THE SEMESTER IN WHICH GROUP ACTIVITIES WILL TAKE PLACE. SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES WILL REQUIRE FOR STUDENTS TO WORK ON A GROUP OF THREES, BUT MOST LIKELY IT WILL BE IN A PAIR GROUP. IN SOME INSTANCE IT IS BETTER TO WORK IN A GROUP WITH FAMILIAR PEOPLE, SO THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN WORK CAN BE DONE WITH CLOSE PEERS, BUT THERE WILL BE OTHER OCCASIONS THAT WILL REQUIRE STUDENTS TO WORK WITH NEW PEERS.
Class Discussion: Communication is important to achieve a good academic grade in this class. I want all of my students to be ready to voice their opinion, but the PREFERRED way I would like for that to be is volunteering. There are situations where a student feels uncertain about their opinion or ashamed to speak, but for that reason the previous strategy is implemented. Before any class discussion, there will be a small exchange of ideas with a neighbor sitting next to a student. Two heads are better than one, and after the exchange of ideas, students can volunteer to discuss or a students can be picked at random to contribute to the class discussion.
Class Presentations: Participation is important to achieve a good academic grade in this class. Like the previous strategy, I want students to volunteer and not have to be picked at random, but it is not just in class discussion where participation takes place. Class participation can be many other things, like setting back the desks back into place after group work, asking questions, paying attention to discussions, etc.
Taking Responsibility: No one wants to be treated fairly and with respect, and receiving such treatment is up to all of us, the same is about responsibility. No one wants to be labeled as irresponsible, but its up to my students to take the lead and get work done both in class and at school. Responsibility to be know when it is the appropriate time to have a cell phone out in class. or the responsibility that one carries towards a team assignment.
Apologizing: No one is perfect, and that includes me. It is important to apologize when an error has been committed, not only for academic, or for social justice, but also for emotional caring. We all have feeling, and it is best to have good sentiments towards each other, and build on a strong foundation, than holding resentment.
Brackett, Marc A., Kremenitzer, Janet Prickard. (2011). Creating Emotional Literate Classrooms: An introduction to the RULER approach to social and emotional learning, Port Chester, NY: Dude Publishing.
Pranis, Kay. (2005). The Little Book of Circle Processes: A new/old approach to peacemaking. The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.
Shapiro, Lawrence, E. (2004). 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills: A ready to use, reproducible activity book. The Bureau For At-Risk Youth, Unites States.