Writing the Kindergarten Constitution

By Kat Edmondson, November 30, 2009

Grade Level

  • PreK-1

Category

  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

135 minutes for classroom activities

Introduction

The teacher will explain that she is having trouble hearing all of the  students at a time, keeping “Scott” from cutting in front of “Melissa” in line everyday and trying to explain to “Mark” why he shouldn’t have his hands in “Kaya’s” crayon box. The teacher will ask the students to design a way for the class to work together as a group. They will be designing a Kindergarten Constitution of their own. The teacher will walk trough each step of the design process with them. As they are so young the teacher will explain each step as they prepare to the next.

National Standards


Thinking and Reasoning

Standard 1. Level I. Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument

1. Understands that people are more likely to believe a person’s idea if that person can give good reasons for them

Standard 4. Understands that changing one thing sometimes causes changes in something else and that changing the same thing in the same way usually has the same result

Standard 6. Applies decision-making techniques

Working with Others

Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group

Standard 2. Uses conflict-resolution techniques.    

Standard 4. Displays effective interpersonal communication skills

Standard 5. Demonstrates leadership skills

 

Objectives

Students will:

  • understand the basic principles of presenting an argument
  • understand and apply basic trouble-shooting and problem solving techniques
  • be able to identify simple problems and learn how to arise to a solution
  • learn how to work within a group
  • learn how to communicate effectively for his/her personality
  • learn to demonstrate appropriate responses to criticism

Resources

http://people.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/styleunder.html

http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp

Mind Your Manners in School by Arianna Candell and Rosa M. Curto

Know and Follow the Rules by Cheri J. Meiners

Listen and Learn by Cheri J. Meiners

Share and Take Turns by Cheri J. Meiners

Respect and Take Care of Things by Cheri J. Meiners

Why Should I Listen? by Cheri J. Meiners

Materials

  • video camera
  • hand-held tape recorder
  • drawing paper
  • pencils
  • large chart paper
  • an allotted space for possibly acting out a skit

Vocabulary

  • behavior: the act of conducting oneself
  • brainstorm: a sudden bright or harebrained idea
  • cohesive: the state of sticking together tightly
  • democratic: rule of the majority
  • illustrate: to provide with visual features to explain or decorate
  • investigate: to observe or study by close examination or systematic inquiry
  • manners: habitual conduct or deportment
  • observe: to watch carefully especially attention to details or behaviors with the purpose of arriving at a judgement
  • positive: having a good effect
  • present: to bring before the public
  • pride: delight or elation arising from some act, possession or relationship; inordinate self-esteem
  • propose: to form or put forward a plan or intention
  • reflect: consideration of some matter, idea or purpose
  • respect: an act of giving particular attention to

Procedures

(Note: Sometime the week before this lesson is scheduled to begin, take the time to set up a video camera to record the entire class. The object is to record normal class activity and interaction. Save this video for viewing at a later time.)

Day 1:

1. Each day the teacher will introduce the lesson by reading two books from the series: Learning to Get Along by Cheri J. Meiners. There are six books in this series; they range from listening, respect, manners in school to following rules. Today the teacher will read “Know and Follow Rules” and “Mind Your Manners in School”.

2. She will follow up with a discussion on why rules are needed for a class to function and the simple reasons for having rules: to be safe, learn, be fair and get along. Explain the positive sense of pride that comes with following the rules.

3. The teacher will share her concerns with the class. Her concern is that the class does not seem to work well together. They do not seem to respect one another.

4. The students will work as a whole class. The students will investigate the problem by asking the teacher questions. As most of thes e young learners do not read or write well, they should be given handheld tape recorders to record their investigations or drawing paper to illustrate sketches to recall later.

5. Guide the learners in their “why?” questions. Questions such as: Why does the teacher feel the class doesn’t work well together? Why can’t all the students speak at one time? Why can’t “Scott” cut in front of “Melissa” or anyone else in line when he was called later? Why can’t “Mark” take tools out of “Kaya’s” crayon box?

6. Talk to the class about different kinds of investigation and how they need to be really observant.

7. As the class is asking their “why?” questions, set up a television to watch the video from the week before. Ask them to be observant of the actions of all students. They may recognize some behaviors they had not picked up on during their investigation time.

8. The class will gather together to reflect on their findings. At this time the learners will talk about all of the “why?” questions and answers. Again, they can record or illustrate their discussion.

9. The teacher should allocate a space at the front of the room to post all writings and/or sketches for the class to see.

Day 2:

1. Today the teacher will begin the lesson by reading “Listen and Learn” and Why Should I Listen?” Teacher will follow up with a brief discussion on why listening is important and discuss the positive results of listening.

2. After identifying the problems the students will brainstorm ideas for ways they feel they can act more cohesively as a class. Encourage all ideas and encourage the different types of learning styles. (Note: As the class is discussing possible ideas, the more visual learner can mentally project the images in his/her head by illustrating or simply writing a set of rules for the class to follow as possible ideas, the more kinesthetic learner may decide to produce a short skit of right and wrong.)

3. After the brainstorming session the class will democratically take a vote to decide which idea has the most potential to persuade the teacher that this idea is the solution best for the class. They will discuss each solution individually and develop a plan to propose to the teacher. They should also pick a few students to act as their representatives.

4. At this point the teacher will supply them with whatever materials they think they will need, such as: chart paper for the writer, drawing paper or other types of manipulatives for the illustrator, a microphone for the auditory learner, maybe even a “stage area” for the more kinesthetic leaner to create some sort of skit.

5. The teacher should allow the class time to finish their solution. It will depend on which learning style they choose from as to how much time should be given for them to complete their solution.

Day 3:

1. Today the teacher will open the lesson by reading “Share and Take Turns” and “Respect and Take Care of Things.” The teacher will follow up the book by discussing how and why sharing and taking turns is important and what the benefits are.

2. Explain to the class that the teacher is more likely to agree or accept their idea if the students give good reasons for why they feel this is best for this class. The aforechosen representatives will present the one solution to the teacher.

3. As the representatives are presenting to the teacher the rest of the class should be recording the presentation, taking notes or, in some cases, illustrating.

4. The teacher will give his/her thoughts on the students’ solution. The teacher should ask questions tailored to each challenge s/he initially gave to the class and to each specific type of learner.

5. The class will take the suggestions given to them from the teacher and discuss again what they can do to make this solution more effective.

6. After the class has reworked their solution the representatives will once again present their solutions to the teacher in the front of the classroom. They will share how and why they feel their solution will best suit the needs of all the students in the classroom and the teacher.

Assessment

In the next few days and weeks, the teacher will observe the class, looking for behavioral changes. If the teacher recognizes changes in the behavior of the class the lesson was a success.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Students can apply this to his/her home life by working with siblings on simple projects from chores to deciding what to watch on the television. If the student plays a sport or takes any sort of extracurricular class or is involved with a church or other religious institution this lesson can easily cross over into those communities.

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