Building Conceptual Understanding
Teachers often ask the question, do you put all the SL Trait posters up at once, or do you introduce them one at a time? The best response to this, I believe, is to let the needs of your students and your own instincts guide you in making the decision as to which Trait you will start with, or if you wish to introduce more than one at a time. I typically start with the introduction of Compassion; it sets such a positive tone and ethic in the learning community. The process I follow for introducing each trait is summarized below. I’ve unpacked and detailed this sequence as just one possibility to how to introduce the traits. Please be sure to check out the section Introducing the Successful Learner Traits where a full definition of each trait is provided along with children stories and activities to engage your students and deepen their understanding of the traits. Once a trait has been introduced, it is very important to immediately look for evidence of the trait within our students and provide them with specific feedback.
What if a child is not demonstrating a trait?
We never give negative feedback (ie- Sammy, you need to be more willing to share). Rather, we would say ‘I’m going to watch for you sharing the magnets during choice time today’. As soon as we see the evidence of sharing, we give an SL Card with specific positive feedback. Doing this whole class, is even more honouring for the child receiving the feedback. “Today I was so happy to see Sammy sharing the magnets with Jonathon! What trait was he using class?” When peers share in valuing Compassion, we deepen its significance as an important aspect of our culture.