Last week, we introduced a new element of our C.A.R.E. curriculum, our Citizenship Book, which will be used by the children to record their or their peers’ acts of citizenship. While introducing this idea, we reviewed what we think being a citizen means in our classroom. Here are some of their children’s definitions of our key words:
Participation means: “sharing our ideas”, “taking turns”, “cleaning up even though you didn’t play there”
Responsibility: “sharing materials”, “helping people”, “asking for help”, “being nice”, “cleaning up trash”
Tolerance: “being different”, “noticing differences and similarities”, “being yourself”
Over the past few weeks, we have encouraged the children to report their acts of citizenship or those of their peers. Here are some examples:
· “Someone was walking in line and helping her peers by not distracting them” (Responsibility)
· “Someone helped pick up the stickers at clean up time” (Participation)
· “Someone asked a friend to play the gumball game” (Participation)
· “We all wait in line” (Participation)
We are recording these acts for a variety of reasons. First, by encouraging children to highlight their acts of citizenship for recognition by their peers, we are harnessing the intrinsic motivation of the students. Alfie Kohn has done significant research on this topic, which is explored in more detail in an article link at the bottom of this post. Additionally, we are recording these acts of citizenship in order to give importance to the voice of the children. It is essential that they learn that their voice and actions matter. By recording their thoughts and actions, we are empowering their voices. Lastly, creating a place for children to document their emotional interactions with peers creates a scaffolding for reminiscing. Research has shown that reminiscing assists children in socio-emotional development: "Through shared reminiscing, we re-interpret and re-evaluate our past experiences in ways that create new meaning” (Fivush – link below). Autobiographical narratives, or retellings, are linked to children’s self-awareness, and we intend to capture moments that allow the children to reminisce and build this self-awareness.
We are very excited about our Citizenship book – ask your students about what they added to the Citizenship book!
Alfie Kohn article: http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/caring-kids/