This week we have been talking a lot about our classroom rules and expectations. Our very first classroom expectation in 3W is to be kind to one another. In order to get students thinking about kindness, we used toothpaste! Yes, toothpaste.
At first glance, the students had no idea what we were going to do. Many began asking "are we going to brush our teeth?!" However, what I asked them to do with the toothpaste soon filled the room with surprised faces & giggles galore.
There is the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." I find this statement to be the farthest from the truth. I wanted the kids to understand the gravity of their words and why it is so important to speak to one another with kindness.
After partnering the students up they were instructed to decide which partner would take "job 1" and which partner would take "job 2". However, they had not been told what the "jobs" would be. This was when the surprise kicked in. All students who chose "job 1" were instructed to squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube and onto a plate. After the initial shock, everyone followed the direction with confused looks and giggles. Once all the toothpaste was on the plate, I then asked my friends who chose "job 2" to try putting all the toothpaste back into the tube. The room erupted in laughter. Right away, students knew they couldn't put it back, but it didn't stop them from trying.
After a few moments of solid attempts and partners crying from laughter, we all regrouped and came back together. I asked the students why they thought we did this? I am proud to say, that as the students shared their hypotheses and brainstormed ideas, they eventually discovered the correct answer on their own. Students learned that their words were similar to the toothpaste. Once your words come out of your mouth, you cannot stop what's been heard, and it can really hurt and effect those around you. You can ask for forgiveness and say your sorry, but those words still have a lot of weight and can't be taken back.
We concluded this lesson with a read aloud that kept us thinking about kind words. Over all, it was a very fun lesson filled with smiles, laughter, and most of all lots of good thinking about friendships, kindness and our words!