On the first day, I made the Grade 4C class work on what was presented at first as a mystery lesson (just the word mystery had the children excited!). Each group was directed to squeeze a tube of toothpaste onto a plate. Children were then asked to use toothpicks or spoons to put the toothpaste back into the tube. After giving it a good try, the students realised it would be next to impossible to return the toothpaste to the tube. I asked the class to think of the purpose of this activity. Was it just a way to have fun and get messy?
Well, the toothpaste had a purpose. It represented the words that come out of your mouth. Was putting the toothpaste back into the tube easy or even possible? No! So I encouraged to make the connection to taking back mean or hurtful words to attempting to put toothpaste back in the tube.
I think it is essential to start the year with a strong message to the children that we, as a school community, want to build a positive, safe and respectful environment. It starts with being kind and supportive of each other.
We then linked the toothpaste lesson to a story about bullying called Say Something by Peggy Moss. After reading it, the children recognized the signs of bullying in the story, and we agreed on steps to take if we ever became victims of, or ever witnessed, bullying. The children also understood that if those steps didn't work, they had to talk with a responsible, trustworthy adult.
- Ms. Coïc, Grade 4C teacher