The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Making Connections

I love it when my students suddenly make connections between different areas of study in our classroom! The sequence of events in which these connections today took place caught me completely off guard, too!

It started with our Second Step lesson this morning. We were discussing ways to resolve conflicts. I had the students brainstorm ideas how they could solve problems without fighting or creating drama. Some of the ideas they suggested were walking away, doing something else, talking with an adult, and trying to work together. As we talked about these suggestions, we discussed five basic steps that anyone should follow when trying to solve a problem:

  1. Ask, what is the problem?
  2. Ask, what are some possible solutions?
  3. Ask, is the solution: safe? fair? will it work?
  4.  Try a solution!
  5. Ask, did it work?

When I brought up step three, I used as an example those who try to solve problems through violence. I asked if that happens, and many students tried to say it doesn’t. (Unfortunately, they were giving me the answer they thought I wanted to hear, which was not at all what I wanted!) So I asked the students to raise their hands if they have ever seen anyone get in a fight. Everyone raised their hands. I pointed out that that is exactly what happens when someone tries to solve a problem through violence.

I shared with the entire class some advice I gave to a group of students a couple of weeks ago who were dealing with another student creating conflict during recess. I told them that they need to take charge of the situation by walking away and telling the person causing problems, “You have no power over me! I am in charge of my life!” Walking away is not a sign of cowardice; it is a sign of empowerment.

Later in the day, I was reading from A Wrinkle in Time. There is a scene in the story where Charles Wallace has turned himself over to the Prime Coordinator. In an effort to break him free, Calvin tackles him to the ground, but to no avail. Shortly after, Meg suggests that Calvin tries talking to Charles Wallace instead, because he has the gift of communication. As I got to this point, one of my students raised his hand and observed that that was exactly what we had talked about this morning! This led to a brief conversation in the room about how many stories, movies, and TV shows depict people trying to solve problems through violence instead of communicating, but it is often communication that works best.

Like I said, I love when my students make connections! Especially when they are connections to things we have studied or discussed earlier!

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