As every administrator in every school regularly does, I pulled our students together to talk about our Code of Conduct. We decided to divide primary and intermediate students into two smaller groups so I could tailor the conversation about RISE (Respect / Improve / Safe / Encourage ) to each age group. The primaries gathered for the discussion about expectations for behaviour. The big culminating question: So what does RISE look like for a Tecumseh student? Hands shoot up and I pick one from Cole Johnson’s K/1 class. The response: “Be kind everywhere you go.” Done. The wisdom of the 5 year old rules the day! The work to practice and reinforce the message continues.
In Mr. Johnson’s class, that message took on a life of its own. Mr. Johnson clearly understood that the words of his student came with a special power to catalize his students. It became the class motto. When he immortalized the words on a button, they became even more valued. Then he handed them out to each staff member at the year-end breakfast. As I stared at the button, the familiarity was there but not the exact context. Cole Johnson looked at me and said “You remember!” Cole breathed life into the moment. He had accomplished what every great teacher does on a daily basis – tapped the teachable moment.
As a previous Kindergarten teacher, I have a huge appreciation for those who walk that path. Mr. Johnson’s students will be able to say “All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten” and perhaps publish their own rendition😃
Robert Fulghum (1988). All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten