Teddy Bears: A Great Way to Reinforce Class Rules
I can't take credit for this idea, it is yet another fun activity I learned from my awesome colleagues :) I'm sure that some of you may have done this before, but I thought I'd share it anyway just because it's fun! At the beginning of every school year, every teacher establishes the class and school rules. Many classes sign agreements to go along with these rules and they hang up all year long. Here's a little something to reinforce the rules a little bit, invite every student to bring a teddy bear (or stuffed animal) to school and make them sign a permission slip promising that his or her bear will behave during their visit in school.
Day 1: The bears come to school, they are introduced during circle time, they are told and taught the rules and they watch how wonderful Kindergarteners behave and work all day at school. Before they go home, make the the children go back to their bears, tell them again to make sure to behave tonight!
Day 2: The kids come back to school and the classroom is trashed! A note is left by the school guards/security showing pictures of what they caught the bears doing last night
After a night of mischief, the bears are exhausted, found collapsed and sleeping back where you left them.
The children have to look at the note and the pictures on it, and figure out which mess their bear/toy made. Because they signed a slip that said they promise their bear would follow the rules, they have to go and clean up the mess their bear made. So they spend another day teaching the bears the rules, and promise them that if they do, they can go on a picnic the next day! To get them even more excited, make a teddy bear snack to get ready to take on the picnic, but ONLY IF THE BEARS BEHAVE!
Day 3: The kids come back, and the bears listened! The classroom was kept clean and they are sitting nicely waiting for everyone's arrival back at school. The kids go to the picnic with the bears, share the bear snack with their bear and have a fun time!
Optional: Print out the recipe for the bear snack and do a quick writing activity on it which allows the kids to practice recounting events.
Here is the the recipe for the Bear's Snack with a quick writing task at the bottom:
Since we cook almost every week as one way that parents can get involved in the classroom, I always create a recipe (that goes into a recipe book) for each child where they have a different writing objective each time. I try my best to link the writing objective to one of the strategies they have been working on in Writing Workshop. In this instance, it is:
Touch: When writing a book, before you start writing touch every page and...
Say: What you are going to write on each page (making a mental plan)
Sketch: Make a quick drawing without too many details so you don't forget what you want to write on each page
Write: Then go back and write words to match your pictures. (Right now most of my kids are just on initial sounds and that's all I'd expect them to try to do in this task)
You can edit the writing task to simply be a reflection as well, whatever works for your class!