BEE a Part of Our Community
Students reflect on the importance of positive behaviors and actions to make a strong classroom community and through involvement in the larger community.
The learner will:
- create a "community web" by using respectful, positive, uplifting comments.
- identify how the break down of the "web" can happen through negative comments.
- reflect upon feelings through class discussion.
- Book - Buzzy the Bumblebee by Denise Brennan-Nelson
- Ball of yarn
- In advance, prepare a poster listing desirable community characteristics, or "BEE-haviors:" BEE honest, BEE friendly, BEE respectful, BEE responsible, BEE caring, BEE helpful, etc. Decorate the poster with bees and flowers (similar to style in the book Buzzy the Bumblebee).
Brennan-Nelson, Denise. Buzzy the Bumblebee. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2003. ISBN: 1886947821
Read the pre-made Bee-havior poster with the class. (Make sure they recognize the fun spelling of be.) Discuss examples of the positive behavior words. Listen to their ideas about what these words mean and guide them to recognize that these are behaviors that make a pleasant community.
Ask the students to think of specific things they can do to make a good community that do not require permission of the teacher. Write their ideas on a poster board (invite a new friend to play, share a pencil, let someone go ahead of you in line, etc.).
Remind the students about "buzz talk" from Lesson One: What’s All the Buzz About? Buzz talk hurts feelings. The BEE-haviors on the poster promote good feelings. Tell the class that they are going to share some kind words to build a class web of support for each other. These words will help make the classroom community stronger.
Tell the students that they will sit in a circle and pass a ball of yarn back and forth across and around a circle until each member of the class is holding a piece of the yarn. As they pass the yarn on to someone, they say something kind, helpful, encouraging, caring or respectful to that person, getting ideas from the "bee-haviors" discussed above. When each person is holding a piece of the yarn, they will have a strong web linking them together into a community.
Details: The teacher starts with the ball of yarn and holds onto the end of the yarn strand. The teacher says an encouraging comment to a student and throws the ball of yarn to him/her, still holding the end piece of the yarn. Each student that receives the yarn ball holds onto the strand and then says an encouraging comment to another student that has not received the yarn ball. Whoever catches the yarn ball MUST ALWAYS HOLD ONTO A PIECE BEFORE TOSSING TO SOMEONE ELSE. This forms a web of yarn between them all.
This is a self-esteem building activity for the students. While building community with positive comments, students see reasons to "BEE-lieve" in themselves and each other. Once the "web" is built, discuss the strength of the community "web" with some of the following questions:
- How did you feel when you were encouraged?
- How do positive BEE-haviors make a community better?
- How did you feel when you helped the community?
- When someone is kind to you, do you want to pass that kindness on to others?
Ask, "What would happen to the community if someone said a negative comment?"
Tell the students that someone just told you that you were too slow to be on the soccer team. Hang your head and drop your yarn.
When you drop your yarn, others will feel the yarn go slack. Tell the students to drop their piece of yarn if their yarn feels less tight. As some students drop the yarn, others will feel the weakness in the web. Tell them to continue dropping in turn until the web is lying on the ground in front of the class.
Reflect on how a community is weakened by negative comments, just like the one hurtful comment affected everyone touching the yarn. Just as kind words encourage people to be kind to others, unkindness is passed around and breaks community bonds of support.
Summarize the lesson by stating that a strong community is built on positive BEE-haviors passed around and around. For more sophisticated learners, you may introduce the concept of community capital: when you invest positive behaviors into the community, others are likely to pay them back with further kindnesses.
Sing the "Buzzy the Bumblebee" song (from Lesson One: What’s All the Buzz About?).
Assess students through observation of participation by students.
Read about the service-learning project called Morris Community Sensory Path by Morris Grade School students who were taught using this BEE a Part of Our Community lesson to guide student learning and action.
Ms. Kaminski and Ms. Geiss are instructional coaches at Morris Grade School in Illinois who believe: “Students need a constant reminder on being kind and giving back to others. By teaching students service and giving, hopefully will help make the world a better place.”
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
Benchmark E.3 Identify ways that trust is important in all communities.
Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark E.13 Offer examples of community/social capital in school.