Life Lessons

Kids are kids before they are students. This is something I truly believe in and try to remember every single day. Part of that belief is knowing the curriculum I teach is not the only important lessons my students will learn from me during their time in my class. Last year I started a new teaching situation as a team teacher. One of my Social Science classes became a team teaching class with myself and a reading teacher in our building. The reading teacher I was assigned, Lauren, was a phenomenal teacher and I knew it was going to be a great learning experience for me and I was right. Apart from all the “stuff” we taught the kids and each other, we started something that we continue to this day. We teach Life Lessons.

Yes, I know many think that teachers do this every day and you would be correct. However, as many that know me know, I am pretty overt with certain things and many would consider me rather blunt. What we started doing was Lauren and I would observe our kids and see what was going on in their lives. We would then offer these life lessons to the class to make a direct connection to what was going on with them in hopes of providing some guidance and in many cases…some humor. Our list of life lessons continues to grow but here are a sample of some of our so called Life Lessons. The artwork was student created and inspired by some of our more popular lessons.

  • Life Lessons
  • Wear deodorant
  • Shower on a daily basis
  • Don’t pick your nose
  • Don’t negotiate with terrorists
  • Don’t make fun of people for puking
  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom
  • Saying “excuse me” does not excuse a fart
  • Observe the ten foot rule when blowing noses
  • Barn doors should be kept closed at all time
  • No dating
  • Boys should kill spiders for girls
  • If you are going to eavesdrop you better do it well
  • Many more…

These lessons might be goofy but we find them to be rather effective in creating respectful and productive kids…not students. I am sure there will be plenty more to share as the year continues. One thing for sure is that junior high students always provide and endless supply of potential life lessons. If you have a great life lesson to share leave us a comment…Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Can't believe you posted this today. My Grade 7 class and I just began our "Life's Little Lessons" section in our books today! When my friend used to teach "Pilley's Pearls" (of wisdom) she showed me that this is the heart and soul of who I am as a teacher. Then the kids taught me that they really value my caring and trying to help them learn to live a good life. It helps them to write them down, and I LOVE your idea of the kids illustrating them - think I'll see what my class thinks about that tomorrow. We started out with the 1st day: "Figure out how all this school stuff works". to yesterday: "Every new right comes with about 5 new responsibilities." Thanks for the affirmation we're on the right track! I'm going to talk to my kids about reading this and commenting tomorrow - great lessons about blog posts and commenting too! Great ideas!

charlene said...

Don't pick your nose is a big one in grade four. I did a PowerPoint lesson to teach that important lesson. Also did a 'Social Story' for a girl called 'Princesses don't pick their noses'. It worked!

Gretchen McPherson said...

I love this post! Some of the Life Lessons really reflect the magical thinking of kids! What a great way to get them involved in everyday learning and exchange of information-love the artwork! Thank you for sharing that!

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John rinker said...

Love this post! I have been teaching life lessons for years now and have, for a long time, viewed my curriculum as a front for the real learning that must take place in my classroom. I would only add to your list (as a father of two daughters) 'Girls should teach boys how amazing spiders are.'

Thanks for sharing this awesome post.

Elizabeth-Lewis said...

I enjoyed reading this post because many kids (as well as adults!) are clueless when it comes to the nuances of social etiquette. Many students with specific disabilities also have a hard time with social skills. I wrote a research paper on social learning and can recommend two books that teach social skills to students with autism/aspergers syndrome. The titles are: Social skills training for children and adolescents with aspergers syndrome and social-communication problems (2003) AND The social skills picture book for high school and beyond (2006). The author of both books is J.Baker.