Thursday, September 24, 2015


"Fair isn't everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they need to be successful."

This quote has made it's way through educational circles via Pinterest and many other social media outlets. It hangs proudly in my classroom and it's a mantra our class lives by.

At the beginning of the year as we establish routines and procedures with our students, there are three key things I want my firsties to understand about who they are and the way our class will run: 1) they are all SUPERSTAR students with unique abilities and strengths that will be celebrated, 2) that I am here to help and support them in whatever areas they need to grow in, 3) the way I help each student with their individual needs may be different and the way it looks from student to student may be different.

Our first social students unit is called "All About Me." In this unit we cover a number of social procedures, class contract, behavior things, etc. We take some time to do the famous "bandaid differentiation" lesson. During this lesson I ask the students to tell the class about an ailment -- real or imaginary. They all tell me "where it hurts" and why (my leg hurts because I fell off my bike -- real, my ear hurts because of the shark bite -- imaginary, etc). After we giggle our way through our imaginary pains, I tell the students that I have a bandaid for each of them. I explain, however, that since I want my distribution of the bandaids to be fair, I will give each student the same bandaid in the same place, in the same way regardless of their particular owie. Each student is given a bandaid directly above their right elbow, even if they complain of pain on their ear, knee, toe, eyeball, or tongue. The students each year laugh at the preposterousness of the getting a bandaid where it doesn't actually hurt and we explain that this kind of "fair" doesn't actually help anyone at all.

I love this lesson because it helps students understand why different rewards, encouragement, modifications, etc. may be given to certain students. It also helps my higher achieving students accept more challenging work because they realize they all want to grow and what I am asking or requiring of them will help them grow -- it's what they need. We refer back to the bandaids countless times during the year and it is a very tangible and visible reference for differentiation through the year.

Another beginning of the year lesson we love is about Superstar Students! It's my first tutu costume of the year and the kids love coming back from lunch to see me dressed like Superman in a bright yellow tutu. We discuss superheros, what kinds of super powers we wished we had, and then what kinds of super strengths we actually do have. Students brainstorm and write about their strengths and then get to make their own superhero emblem that shares what makes them a superstar student. They love to proudly wear their tags and share what makes them a super student!

Some days of first grade are wonderful and exciting and amazing and fabulous! But sometimes school is hard, other days it's challenging, and other days its difficult. I want to start off the year with students recognizing that they are strong, talented, smart, and awesome!! This lesson is also something we reference during the year to remind students how incredible they really are!

This precious firstie below was so excited about her superstar tag and my costume, she asked her mom to take a picture of us after school!! I have the most precious group of superstar student scholars ever!!!

My super students have already proven to be amazingly talented scholars and I am so excited and happy about a year of growing and learning with them all!! Here's to a SUPER fabulous, SUPER incredible, and SUPER fun year!


No comments:

Post a Comment