This week we started to talk more about the social skills program C.A.R.E.S, Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. Last year we had really focused on what it means to cooperate with someone and spent a lot of time practicing and playing games about cooperation. This year we have started off with talking about being assertive and what that actually means. Ms. Kini read the book Goggles, by Ezra Jack Keats to introduce the idea and then had the students try and define what it means. I was very surprised when, before modeling what it is or talking about it, they shared these ideas for their definition;
-Getting what you want--(after some discussion this week we have changed this to: getting your needs met when they need to be)
-Standing up for yourself
-Doing something that you really have to do
After this description, Ms. Kini and I put on our acting hats and did a skit to show them a time when someone was not assertive and then the kids made suggestions as to what my character could have said instead. We discussed that saying something mean back to someone is not being assertive, but unkind, and does not fit with our classroom definition. Then they worked with a partner and got the opportunity to act out both characters, the child who said something unkind and the one who was appropriately assertive. It was clear that they loved acting for both roles and when they shared what they had said to be assertive, it was also clear that they understand what it means. Lastly, they drew pictures of examples when they have been assertive or when they could have been assertive so that we can hang them on the wall to remind us when we can use this new skill.
Over the next few weeks, I will be looking for instances of when they are assertive and after each student has used this strategy three times we will have a celebration! Feel free to have them act out a skit with you and share times that they are assertive outside of school as well!