Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tying Responsibility into The Secret Garden

Abraham Lincoln so wisely said "The best way to predict the future is to create it." I am realizing more every day that how I teach the curriculum in my classroom is ultimately up to me. The what doesn't change, but I can create my lessons as uniquely as I desire. As I have said before, we have the opportunity to teach character education along with our core knowledge curriculum at my school. I teach a mini lesson each morning about our R.E.S.P.E.C.T acronym each morning. Each letter represents a character quality that we get to teach for a whole month to our kiddos. We are currently on our "R" letter which stands for "Responsibility." Each month, we have an assembly that introduces the new character word. These assemblies cut into my Literature class. I can either complain about that cutting into my oh so precious instructional time or use it to my advantage! 

We are currently reading The Secret Garden in our Literature class. We are LOVING the changes we are seeing in each character, so I decided to use the 20 minutes of class I had left for that day's class time to build off of the responsibility assembly. They were placed into groups of 3, given a butcher paper and a sharpie and were told to do the following:

  • Create a 3-part Venn Diagram
  • Label the circles, "Responsibility", "Mary" & "Colin"
  • Create your own definition of "Responsibility" and write it in the correct circle
  • Complete the rest of the diagram by showing how Mary and Colin showed (or didn't show) responsibility in the novel so far
Not going to lie, I was a little nervous to see if they were going to be able to use a skill we had just practiced (Venn Diagrams) and apply it so quickly to a new concept. I WAS AMAZED. They worked well as teams and each group shared a new thought that was different from the rest. It was a success!

I shared this thought with my homeroom at the beginning of the year and it has been used more times than I can count. 
"Deeper thinking=Intentional Action" 
(Y'all, that's an original from your one and only...ME) ;)

I truly believe that they were forced to think deeply during that activity. My goal is that they learn from Colin and Mary, who are the same age as them and intentionally seek to show responsibility for what they truly can be responsible for at this time in their little lives. 

Can I tell you a secret? Some of the groups thought of things that even I didn't think of...that's why I just love.this.age. I learn something new almost every day from them.

Below are some pictures from the activity:

If you've made it to here...you're awesome ;) Hope you've been inspired to try pairing character to a new lesson. It'll change your view forever on that topic, your students, and your view on life in general.

xoxo, Rachel