Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Promoting Academic Success with 4th & 5th Graders

4th grade

To convey the importance of listening and how it contributes to academic success, students played the Listening Game. Students were given cards with information on them that they could not share with their classmates. They were then given three directions: read the directions carefully and accurately, pay attention to what everyone else in the room does, and be confident in your ability to do what is asked. The first time students sat confused, not knowing what to do, and if they did get started with their task, several students would start doing what their card asked and make errors. I then allowed students to ask me up to 4 questions, this allowed them to have a better understanding of the task and what was required of them. Again, most classes made errors and were unsuccessful in completing the task. For the third try, I allowed to students to share with their table mates what their card said to keep them accountable to each other and to help each other out. After this attempt, it was almost certain that they were able to successfully complete the task and they then requested to do it again because of how much fun they were having.

At the end of the activity, I asked students if they were all capable of doing what was asked of them (YES!). I then reminded them that through the combination of: reading the directions carefully, understanding what was asked of them, being confident in their own abilities, asking questions for clarification, and relying on each other as support they were able to do the task successfully. I then said, how many of us have made mistakes or gotten a question or two wrong on an assignment because of careless errors (almost all raised their hands). I then told them that this activity was to remind them of all the important things they need to do to be successful with different activities they complete.

5th grade

To begin the activity, I asked "What does stress had to do with academic success?" students then shared if you are stressed they you aren't going to do a good job on your assignments. I then asked "Is it ok to be stressed?" the answer was yes and it's what you do about it that matters most! I then shared that we all experience stress from time to time and the better able we are at coping and handling it now, the better we will be able to handle it in the future. I then distributed copies of The Stress Cycle for them to complete while we read a packet I created that included pages from Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves where students learned: stresses job description, causes of stress, gauging their own stress level, how a little bit of stress can be helpful/motivating, what to do when feeling stressed, and daily ways to keep stress at bay. Students were able to see that it's ok to feel stressed but when their body tells them they are getting stressed/symptoms of stress (sweaty palms, heart racing, headache, feeling hot, tight muscles, etc.) they need to do something to help them calm down and use positive coping strategies to work through it.

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