One of the common sayings my students hear from me on any given day is this: “There is a secret to life that I want you all to know: You are the only person that you can control. You can’t make anyone else do anything. You can only make you do something.” I share this every time we talk about classroom relationships. Fourth graders are wonderful children, but they are still children. That means that there are going to be many times throughout the day that one student manages to annoy another student.
Another common saying in my classroom is this: “People are annoying. Accept it, deal with it, and ignore it!” As the end of the year swiftly approaches, my students and I have been talking a lot about how to appropriately ignore other people when they do something we don’t like. I decided to really focus on this during my social & emotional learning lesson this morning. I asked the students to think to themselves about what it means to actually ignore a person, then I had them talk with a partner before they shared with the entire class. (This simple procedure is known by the term “Think, Pair, Share,” incidentally.) I was really impressed by the maturity and depth of understanding the students showed in their comments. Some of the things they shared included the following:
- Ignoring others means that you stay focused on the task/assignment and not on the other “people” around you.
- Ignoring others means to avoid eye contact with the person trying to distract you.
- Ignoring others means that you walk away from a person who is trying to create drama. Walking away is not a sign of weakness or cowardice; it is a sign that you are in control of you.
- Ignoring others means to tell a person to stop and then don’t say anything else about it to them.
After sharing their thoughts, which I wrote on the board, we shared strategies for using these ideas as we wrap up the year. My hope is that we can end the year on a positive note!
Enjoy the weekend! I’ll be attending the 39th Annual Illinois Young Authors Conference in Bloomington!