Choosing Where to Act
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark E.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
Children evaluate a list of organizations and reach a consensus concerning which group should be recognized.
The learner will:
- develop speaking and listening skills.
- practice reaching group consensus in a small group setting.
- evaluate a list and select a those items on the list that meet established criteria.
- practice writing supporting details for a main idea.
- Teacher-prepared cards or papers with the potential recipients identified in Lesson Three: Who Need Friends — one card for each name. Each small group will need one complete set.
- Who should receive the class Friendship Banner created in Lesson Two: Friendship Begins with a Smile? Working in small groups, students try to select one name from the list developed in Lesson Three: Who Need Friends? and give three reasons why giving them the class banner meets a need for the recipient. If students in the small groups cannot agree on a recipient, they are free to join another group.
- Anticipatory Set: Ask students how many names they can recall that they included on the list they developed in Lesson Three: Who Need Friends? Review the list with the class.
- Define consensus for the class. Examples might include how groups of children decide to play games at recess. Several different ideas should be offered, but select one idea acceptable to the whole class.
- The first task is to evaluate the names on the cards as to whether they (1) do or (2) do not have a need for more friendship.
- Working in small groups, students sort the cards into the two categories above. Circulate to help students with the process of consensus building.
- After all groups have finished evaluating their names, the groups share their ideas with the whole class. Look for similarities and differences between the choices and have groups share how they reached consensus. If they were unable to reach consensus, that lack of agreement needs to be discussed at this time.
- Direct the groups to return to their work stations and try to reach consensus on one recipient from their collection of cards with names that could use more friendship. Their task is to write three reasons that support their choice of groups.
- Facilitate groups as needed. If a group cannot reach consensus after several minutes, disperse them among other groups.
- At the end of the work period, reassemble the class and debrief about their experiences with this consensus-building activity. Were they able to reach consensus? What went well? What would they do differently next time? How do they feel about the process?
- Groups share their choices with the class. Look for similarities and differences among their choices and supporting reasons.
- Post the cards with the names and supporting reasons in the classroom for individual thought and consideration until the next lesson. Encourage students to spend some time in the next few days talking with their classmates and work on building consensus. They should seek out those who have different ideas about who should receive the banner and build consensus.
Assess students by observing them as they work on consensus building in small groups and through their participation in the whole class sessions.