Essential Life Skills - Mid-Pacific Institute

Kindergarten Matsumoto

Essential Life Skills

Posted on October 19, 2017

by Ms. Matsumoto on October 19, 2017

As you well know and believe, a child's education is not centered solely on his or her academic experience. A worthwhile education values the whole child and seeks to develop the child's mind, body, and spirit.

As I thought about the kind of people (not students, necessarily) that I wanted our Kindergartners to continue to be and become, I came across this website: http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/charactertraits.html. And as I read through the character traits on the page, I was pleased to see that we, as a school (as stated in our Learner Profile - see September 15 blog) and as a classroom, value the traits that others in our larger community also value. Below are the traits found on the website. While I kept the headers as written, I revised the supporting explanations to reflect the language we use in the classroom.

1. Be Honest. Tell the truth; tell the whole story; don't take what doesn't belong to you, even something you find on the ground.
2. Demonstrate integrity. Do what you know is right, even if no one is watching, or if others around you are doing something wrong; be your best self.
3. Keep promises. Do what you say you are going to do; take care of and return what you borrow.
4. Be loyal. Help your friends, especially if they are doing something wrong; don't talk about people or things that are not your business.
5. Be responsible. Think before you act; admit if you do something wrong, apologize and try to make things right; accept the consequences.
6. Pursue excellence. Do your best, no matter the task; don't give up, keep trying.
7. Be kind and caring. Think about how others would feel before speaking or doing; say or do nice things for others.
8. Treat all people with respect. Be courteous and polite; don't assume things, ask first to understand; appreciate and accept that everyone is different.
9. Be fair. Treat all people fairly; be open-minded; listen to others and try to understand what they are saying and feeling.
10. Be a good citizen. Follow the rules and respect authority; help others, even if you are not asked; take care of the environment.

You might also remember in my September 15 blog reading about how the children reflect on themselves as learners, both academically and socially. Besides weekly Reflection Journals, I also talked about a book we read, called I Show Respect. Reflecting on the development of character traits is a daily practice in our classroom. Whether it comes up spontaneously in a group discussion as a result of a conflict, or when reading books aloud, we often talk about and reflect on the building of character. This week, we read two books.

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After reading this book, we talked about what it means to be trustworthy, being someone that others can trust and count on. In our discussion, we came up with four ways we can show that we are trustworthy. In their table groups, the children talked about and drew a situation that would illustrate the point.

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telling the truth - You see the teacher asking a question and the child telling the truth.
telling if I did something wrong - Even though they weren't asked, the children in this drawing are telling the teacher that they went outside when they weren't supposed to.
doing what I am asked to do - The teacher asked the children to take a message to the preschool, which they are doing right away.
doing what I am supposed to do - These children are cleaning up, without having to be reminded, because that is what they are supposed to do.

As part of our Kindergarten community, I am sure that you also have ideas about what it means to be trustworthy. Please share your thoughts with us so that we can add them to our poster. (I think we will add returning or trying to find the owner of things that we find on the ground.)

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This book had a great opener to grab our attention! It started by saying that when we really listen, we can hear things, like beautiful songbirds or grasshoppers moving through the grass. Then it became more serious and began to explain what could happen if we don't listen. In the story, the boy wasn't listening when the teacher said, "Meet back here at 3:00," and he got lost. He didn't listen when his friend was telling everyone to bring their swimsuits to her birthday party, and he had to borrow one that was way too big and way too colorful! He didn't listen when his mom asked him to watch his little sister at the beach, and he ended up burying her in the sand (his sister got ice cream as a result). Here are a few of the reading responses the children wrote as they thought about why they should listen:

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This book also provided a list of follow-up activities you could do at home (and share with the class):
- Draw your favorite sound (e.g., theme song to a favorite t.v. show, ╩╗elepaio singing, tickets coming out of a video game). We'll put them up in our classroom under the heading "Listen!"
- Predict what sounds you might hear on a walk in your neighborhood (e.g., dog barking, cars driving by, people talking). Draw them on a piece of paper. On the walk, check off the sounds you do hear, and add any others that were not on the list.
- Play "Simon Says," and take turns being Simon.

** No new Family Learning Activities are posted, but please feel free to go back to previously posted activities. These optional activities are provided 1) to inform families of classroom learning, 2) as an opportunity for students to reinforce learned concepts, and 3) as a means for families to share in their child's learning. As the children complete these activities, they may bring them in to the classroom at any time to share with the class. There is no due date, so families may complete the activities as they are able. **

Upcoming events:
Monday, 10/23 - 8th grade puppet show
Friday, 10/27 - UNICEF sale, 9:20 (You should have received information from Mrs. Abe. Please let me know if you did not.)
- Mrs. Matsumoto at the Schools of the Future Conference
Monday, 10/30 - Pumpkin activities with Middle School math class (Thank you to AS, DL, JY, and RY's families for donating pumpkins to this activity! Please send them in ONLY ON Friday, 10/27 or Monday morning, 10/30 is best.)
Tuesday, 10/31 - Halloween Activities, 9:30-11:00 (Thank you to DL's parents, GV's parents, and SY's mom for volunteering to help with the activities! Please come to the classroom by 9:15.)
- Spooktivity, 12:45-2:00