We have a very special community of learners in our school–both children and adults. 🙂 Last year I highlighted the fun and learning we experienced on our Olweus Bully Prevention Program Kick-Off Day (wow…that’s a mouthful for sure!). Olweus is the program that we use with grades 3-5 to help prevent kiddos from developing bully-like behavior. The focus is on turning bystanders into defenders.
In grades k-2, we start with a series of lessons from a program called Second Steps. It is teaching kiddos about learning behaviors, as well as how to be assertive, ask for help and also help others. That, in tandem with our work around our Robinson Road Rules, will set a strong foundation for the work that they will then do in 3rd grade and beyond (Olweus is also a priority in our middle schools!).
So, this year on our first half-day (when we also had our first Read with Your Roadrunner), we again had our Olweus Kick-Off Day. It was a little different doing this with first graders, but no less magical as we had great conversations and talked about what it mean to stand up for ourselves and help our friends, too.
We focused the morning around this great book by Kathryn Otoshi:
In the story, Blue is a great color, but he is pushed around by Red, and all of the others colors are too scared to stand up to Red and help Blue. And then 1 moves into town. 1 is different, and decides to stand up to Red, saying NO! when he is pushed around and then encouraging all the others to do the same. Eventually, 1 helps his friends become stronger, but also finds a way to be kind to Red and include him, too. And yes–there is a happy ending!
We read the story and had a super conversation about what it feels like to be Blue, as well as Red, and how one of the reasons Red probably acts that way is because he is lonely. We shared times when we’d felt like each of the characters and focused on the importance of being strong and standing up like 1 did in the story.
After that, we illustrated our own version of the story:
We also decorated 1’s that will become part of a poster to remind us how IT JUST TAKES ONE to make a difference! What’s been the most exciting about this day is listening to them use the language from the story in our everyday lives. I’m hearing them talk about being 1 and standing up when they hear their friends being treated in a way that isn’t ok. And when they don’t remember to be 1, we are having great conversations about what to do next time. This is the important work of first grade right here, as we mold friends, citizens and leaders for today and tomorrow!