What a great day for freedom it is in our country! A monumental decision was made by the Supreme Court, and all who are in love can be married legally! Hooray for love! Hooray for freedom! Just needed to celebrate that as we are talking about freedom here!
As a third, fourth, and fifth grade teacher, often in a self-contained classroom over the years, I have been entrusted with teaching children about the Bill of Rights, which promises freedom to all who dwell in our land. My main point always has been that freedom means that you may do as you choose, as long as your choices don't infringe on the freedoms of others.
I have in my collection a treasured book from the 1970s called Shiver, Gobble, and Snore by Marie Winn. It is out of print now, but I just found an animated version of it (a kind of fuzzy one) on You Tube. Here's the link. Shiver, Gobble, and Snore You're welcome. I love to read this book to my students on the second day of school each year. The first day is way too crazy to be thinking about rules and personal freedom. Just collect all the paperwork and do a few icebreakers and go home. Right?
The story (which you can totally memorize after watching the video once, or maybe twice) tells about three friends who lived in a land with too many rules. They decided to go and live together in a wild land where there were no rules. What happened? You guessed it! Shiver was always cold and building fires. His friends didn't like the fires and put them out. Gobble was always eating, but his friends did not appreciate his stealing fruit from their trees. Snore needed lots of sleep, but his friends were annoyed by the snoring, so they made a lot of noise to keep him awake. You get it (and so will your kids). It's ok to sleep as much as you want, stay as warm as you want, and to eat as often as you like, as long as those choices don't interfere with the same rights of others.
So here we are, in the wild land of a new classroom, living together for a whole school year. We have rights, but we also have responsibilities. Responsibilities to others. If we care about preserving the rights of others, there are very few rules we need. I have always loved that old tried and true idea of the "Three Rule School": Take care of yourself. Take care of others. Take care of this place. I tend to tread just that lightly with rules. Be safe. Be responsible. Care. I've been incredibly lucky with this philosophy for a long time!
I love to reward kids when they do the right thing. It's fun to know that someone is noticing your efforts. I notice. Some resources to help you show that you've noticed are linked at the end of this post.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July, celebrating our freedom! Be safe. Be responsible. Care.