The beginning of the school year always feels so hopeful and the thought of getting to know a whole new group of children is very exciting!
This year, I decided to take on a new angle to my usual “Identity” theme by helping my Grade 4 students to identify what their “thing” could be.
It all began with explaining “Identity” as puzzle pieces that make us who we are…
Each student had a chance to make an image of their identity, broken down into pieces. This led to questions such as, “How does knowing who you are help you?” and “What are the pieces that you are most proud of?”
Before I could introduce the idea that everyone has a “thing”, I decided to read, “Woolbur”, a wonderful story written by Leslie Helakoski. It highlights the unique qualities we all possess and how we can celebrate these qualities.
Afterwards, I asked students to think about Woolbur and what “his thing” might be…whether it was something he liked to do or a talent he possessed.
Then, I asked them to try it out on me: “What is Mrs. McAuley’s Thing?” As they wrote on small white boards, I wrote my own thoughts on a hidden chart and then we compared them. It was pretty eye-opening and led to conversations about assumptions we can make about people.
Next, my students are taking photos of their “things” on iPads and putting together a collage. They are writing about one of their “things” and making an audio recording as they describe how they can use their “thing” to change the world.
If nothing else, this teaching experience has taught me that students are never too young to reflect on what makes them special. And when asked to take on a role in a team setting, they will be equipped, knowing what unique qualities they can share.