My First Week in First Grade
Boy has this week flown by! I cannot believe that I have already spent an entire week with my precious first graders! Well, I was right.... I do LOVE first grade! In all honesty, I could not be happier with my grade, teammates, staff, administration, and community that I am now a part of! I really feel that this is where God wants me to be! Which is always a good feeling.
One lesson that I like to do as an introduction to classroom respect revolves around the book, The Colors of Us by Karen Katz.
This book helps children debunk the stereotype that all people are "white or black." In fact, this book teaches children that there are no white or black people because if you acutally look at the skin tone of an African American or a Caucasion, it is not black or white. This book encourages children to value all different skin tones and view them as unique. The speaker of this story is a little girl who talks about all of her friends and what their skin looks like to her. She comes up with a very creative list like: pancakes, honey, cinnamon, chocolate, peachy tan etc. Then, at the end of the story she describes how unimportant skin color is, but how important we are all as individuals. I love doing this story at the beginning of the year so that my students can learn to look beyond each other's skin color.... I do not want them to look beyond different cultures... only not to stereotype each other based on skin color. After reading the story I have my students write a sentence describing their skin color. Then, I paint their hand the color they choose (I have several mixtures) and put it on a quilt square with their sentence.
When all of the hands are dry, I create a quilt to hang in our classroom all year long. This is a visual reminder for my students that we are a family despite how different we may look.
While students are waiting to get their hand painted, I also have them complete a page in a class book. It is very similar to the handprint page. Students simply rewrite the sentence at the top of a regular piece of computer paper, and then draw a picture of themselves at the bottom. I put all of these into a class book that students can find in our book shelf. This will help them begin to view themselves as authors!