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Teacher Tales - Spotlight on Jr. Kindergarten

May 15, 2017
By Dave Intlekofer

What do you spend your time on?

As teachers or parents, it is easy to find ourselves focused on the negative. Bad choices, inappropriate behavior, unkindness—these things obviously require attention and take time to correct. However, if that’s all we focus on with our students, what message does that send to them about what’s important?

Simply put, we spend our time on what’s important to us. And children notice. If children only get time and attention from an adult after they misbehave, that will be how they seek attention.

Mrs. VanEwyk practices several techniques for correcting this problem and focusing instead on the positives.

Students in Junior Kindergarten have sharing time every Friday (usually based on the letter of the week; kids bring a toy, a cherished possession, etc.). Recently, instead of bringing in an object to share, students were asked to provide five examples of how they showed kindness during the week.

One by one, students stood up and shared how they showed love or spoke life to someone at home or at school. During this time, students described more than 100 acts of kindness, and the excitement was palpable. Students received a rmation and attention for the love they shared, not for misbehavior or a tantrum.

Mrs. VanEwyk’s class also regularly practices what she calls external a rmation time. Every day, one student stands up after recess (name picked out of a jar) and classmates say something great about her (or him). The recipient of the a rmation gets to hear the positive character traits that the class appreciates.

These intentional times of focusing on the positives have had a wonderful e ect on the JK classroom. Students know that kindness and love are the keys to receiving attention, and they rise to the occasion.

How else can we focus on the positives this week?