When I was in school, there was a set of class rules written on a big piece of paper, it hung on the wall for everyone to see: Keep your hands to yourself, raise your hand to be recognized, respect the property of others, use inside voices when speaking. Some version of these rules followed me throughout my years in school. They became like second nature to me.
Last year, when I went back to teaching, I stepped into a classroom with this big tree on the wall and 7 Habits displayed on the tree. I wasn’t familiar with Stephen Covey or the program, I certainly wasn’t aware of what each habit meant or how it would even be used in the classroom, After completing the book study and several training sessions I found something I would grow to love, The Leader in Me. More than just a set of rules on a classroom wall, the 7 Habits goes beyond character education or classroom-specific rules. If it’s done just right, the students will gain something they can carry with them throughout life, they will become great leaders.
I don’t talk about my classroom or school much on the blog. I have 20 students who have their own story to tell, I don’t believe it’s my place to share their stories (as funny as they may be). I always try to approach what I share with the mindset of a mother, if I wouldn’t want it shared about my child, I won’t share it about yours. Therefore, classroom related news doesn’t typically make it to the blog. It’s a fine line to dance on, I tend to stay back away from any potential over-sharing.
But I know some of my readers are teachers and I wanted to share some of the fun 7 Habits and Leader In Me related things we’ve been doing, and a few other things that aren’t related but are worth sharing. We have a ton of fun in kindergarten, it’s not the grade I ever saw myself teaching, but now I can hardly imagine myself anywhere else.
We talk about what leaders would say, how they would act in all areas of the school and the importance of always doing the right thing, even if you think no one is watching or listening. I picked this set of mini-clipboards up on the picture frame aisle at Target. When I overhear someone say something that a good leader would say, I ask them to write it down and it we clip it to one of the boards. They get so excited to put their quotes in the hallway.
We’ve been in full on Dr. Seuss mode for the past week. He will always be my favorite, I’m certain of that and I love sharing my favorite Seuss stories with the students. I displayed some of my favorites on this shelf in the room and I definitely want to leave them there now, it just brightens my day.
We also did a Lorax writing project to display in the hall outside our classroom. They were given the writing prompt, If I were given the last truffala seed.
After writing, they used pipe cleaners and pompoms to show what their truffala forest would look like.
We have these shadow boxes outside of our classroom so I made a Caught Being A Good Leader recognition form to display in the box. Students are recognized for working hard and exhibiting one of the 7 Habits. It makes them so proud to display the recognition form along with their picture outside our classroom. I’m attaching this form to the bottom of the post, you can use it as a printable.
Here’s a fun anchor chart we made for solving equations. First, students told me the way they solve equations and I wrote their methods on the board. Then, I gave them a sticky note and let them show their work, they added it to the bottom of the chart. Around each speech bubble they placed a sticker with their name to show how they solved the equation. It’s a fun way to get them thinking about the different ways to solve equations and allowing them to take responsibility for their own thinking and problem solving skills.
And our classroom 7 Habits tree? You knew it wouldn’t be a “normal” tree, right?
And maybe one day, I’ll get everything just right and give you a classroom tour.