Earlier I spoke of how I would modify curriculum if I were able to or asked to do so. Following that post, I’ve thought of several other curriculum items that I would add.
For some reason, sharing is a concept that we attempt to convey but with great difficulty. Not surprisingly, children who come from large families have a better understanding of sharing, probably because they have no choice but to do so. In other cases, the idea of setting aside part of what is yours for another is much more difficult to achieve.
As always, home life determines much of what we witness in the classroom. In those cases where we have only children or single parent families, the benefits of keeping some and giving some is nebulous or misunderstood. In other cases, where scarcity prevails, children keep what they have for fear of never having more.
Along the same lines, gratitude is clear and obvious for some children but not nearly as much for others. Occasionally, I get the super polite and respectful child who thanks me for handing him or her a piece of paper. More often, when I present a piece of candy at the end of the day, I often remind my students that a “thank you” will result in a “you’re welcome.”
Finally, if I were able to design a curriculum for elementary students, I would create a module regarding time. Very often, a student will remind me that it’s ten minutes to recess or two hours until lunch. But much more often, I have students who are oblivious to time or its importance. Before you would like to remind me that children will need to pay attention to time for the majority of their lives, I suggest that having respect for time – theirs or others – is an idea worth teaching.
Leaving the classroom, cleaning up after a craft project, finishing a math quiz or waiting until a story has been completed are all areas where students and teachers frequently have differences in priority. Like most habits, an awareness of time requires practice, explanation and patience. Many adults issue statements such as, “I’m always late.” From my standpoint, that comment is the same as, “I have no regard for your time.” As with many other lessons, this is one that can be taught gently, firmly and with love. Shalom.
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