One of my favorite parts of my jobs is being able to see students use the skills that I have taught them. Today was one of those days where I saw this happen time after time.
I have been working with all of our first graders to teach them problem solving skills, primarily when it comes to problems with other kids. It is very important that kids learn at a young age how to use their words to solve problems. For example, if someone calls you a name you don’t like, knowing that it is not appropriate to call them names back it important. It is even more important to let someone know that you do not like it using an “I” statement (we call it “using your words” in first grade). On the other side, it is important for kids to understand that when someone uses their words to tell you they don’t like the way they are treated that we use compassion to let them know it won’t happen again (or apologize). Our apologies are not just saying sorry, but also saying what we are sorry for while using a kind and compassionate voice.
Well, today I got to see all the hard work pay off. I had 4 different first graders at different points throughout the day come up to me and say they solved a problem by using their words and that the other person even apologized back to them!!! I am beyond proud of all our first grade students and hope that continue to practice these skills.
I am also working with first graders understanding when they need to tell an adult about a problem (because we all know that not every problem gets solved as easily as my earlier examples). Knowing this skill will help kids understand that sometimes a small problem can become a bigger one if using your words does not solve the problem. At this point I encourage them to reach out to an adult and let the adult know that they tried solving the problem and it did not work. I am also proud of students who have come to me at recess and say that they tried using their words to tell a student to stop but it did not work and now they need help.
These are valuable skills that will help them for the rest of their life; especially as they get into older grades and hope that they continue to practice until the end of the school year.