Attending to One Another
To cultivate a connected classroom community, students need to attend to one another. Before exploring peer support, we used visual aids, call-and-response exchanges, and games to help students develop three key “skills for learning:” listening, focusing attention, and following directions. To learn more about this stage of the project, read Chapter VI: Learning to Attend.
Using Ruth Sidney’ Charney’s modeling procedure, our class thought about what excellent listening looks and sounds like. We came up with four expected behaviors for our bodies and four expected behaviors for our brains.
To remind ourselves of expected behaviors for our bodies, we borrowed a call-and-response exchange from the Committee for Children’s “Second Step” curriculum: Eyes watching (point to eyes), ears listening (cup ears), bodies still (hug oneself), voices off (fingers to lips). The exchange served as a call for attention and engaged students’ voices and bodies, helping them to refocus on the speaker. To watch a video that demonstrates the exchange, follow this link, click on "Skills for Learning."
In this game, students practice their listening by repeating a series of sounds using musical instruments.
In this game, students practice focusing their attention by imitating statues, standing silently and completely still for as long as possible!
In this game, students practice following directions, complying with directions preceded by the phrase “Simon Says” and ignoring ones that aren’t.
In this game, borrowed from the Committee for Children’s “Second Step” curriculum, students attempt to retain and follow increasingly difficult directions.