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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lone Star

I recently finished a home course about conflict resolution. There was a textbook with this course called, "Keeping the Peace," by Susanne Wichert.
Ms. Wichert states that to help with conflict resolution one has to help teach little ones about cooperation, getting along, and working together. Her book has some wonderful activities to do with the children to help in all these areas. To have the children work as a team--never against each other. Working together to complete a task.

Yesterday I decided to try one of her activities. I hope to incorporate more activities during the school year.

The activity we did was called Lone Star. This activity can be done with up to 10 children at a time, but may be done in smaller groups. Our groups were groups of 5. The objectives of the activity are: cooperative task completion, improving communication skills, and analogy and consensus.
The activity is like giving the children a tangram and the pieces to complete the tangram. They, then, must work together to complete the project.
Ms. Wichert used a traditional quilt pattern made from elongated diamonds. This pattern is called a "lone star.

I first made a star for all the children to see. I them made the children into two different groups. I gave them a piece of paper and enough stars to make the pattern. They were to first lay the pieces out to make the pattern shape. Once the shape had been completed, I gave them glue to glue it to the paper. After they completed their pattern I took their picture together and hope to hang it up with the group's star.

Here is what I found--we need to do a lot more activities like this. I monitored one group, and Mrs. T. monitored the other group. I did not help, just tried to make sure that everyone in the group was allowed to participate. I found with every group there were one or two that wanted to do EVERYTHING. They would even pull the diamonds from others' hands to place them on the paper themselves. This is where I came in to remind them that there were five people in the group and everyone needed to be part of the activity.

I have to say this was an eye opening experience for me. Actually doing the activity helped me to see how I really needed to promote the concept of cooperation much more. Ms. Wichert's book contains many more activities. I promise once I get caught up, I will share more with you.

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Teacher Tom said...

I really like these kinds of activities that require cooperation. It's not something that young children do intuitively -- which, of course, is where the teaching comes in, right? =)

This is why I'm so happy I get to teach most of my students for 3 full years. By the time they head off to kindergarten, the core group has worked on dozens of cooperative projects like this, including the production of a full play.

Your children look so proud of themselves -- there's nothing like the feeling of accomplishing things together.

Anonymous said...

We used to divide our class into a few groups - 5 children total - and have them build floor puzzles together. It was an eye opening experience to watch them.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I love working with small groups on activities such as this, that encourage them to work together and cooperate. I will add this to my list of ideas. Thank you!

Kylie said...

I'm not sure if I've commented before (although I do read all of the time)

Have you posted a link to this book/course? I'd like to have a closer look at it. :)