Friday, March 2, 2018

Celebrating a School Visit and a Program I Learned About

Add caption
So I'm celebrating a school visit today. This morning I had the pleasure of visiting Matsuyama Elementary
Add caption
School, here in Sacramento, to read Dragonella to three first grade classes. They all assembled in one room, and were so quiet and attentive when they came in. And they stayed that way for over 35 minutes, which is not typical for first graders.

It is always such a pleasure to read to children. You can see them getting drawn into another world. All those sweet faces. All those bright eyes. You can almost hear their thoughts clicking away. Afterwards, the questions these kids asked were just terrific.

I always love school visits, but today I learned about a program I hadn't heard about before — and that I think has a lot to do with how sharp these kids were: Their three wonderful teachers meet Fridays in a program called The Leader in Me. Hats off to the school for promoting this program. The program focuses on the concepts in Stephen Covey's acclaimed book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but applies the habits to children. I think the whole school does it, with different lesson plans for each grade level.

These habits that make for successful living focus on character.  (There's an online site where you can learn more about The Leader in Me, HERE, where the concepts are called The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.) To wit: 1. Be proactive 2. Begin with the end in mind 3. Put first things first 4. Think win/win 5. Seek first to understand; then to be understood 6. Synergize 7. Sharpen the saw (balance)

These are the habit definitions in the adult book, too, but in this program each habit is broken down for young children to use and apply to their own lives. Apparently there are The Leader in Me schools around the globe, and I have to say, I am impressed.

I hope all of you are having a good Friday. What are you celebrating today? Do you know of other special programs for kids that have impressed you?

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)

16 comments:

Richard Hughes said...

Your story must have been engrossing to the students for them to stay quiet that long, and you must be a good out-loud reader.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thank you, Richard! I do sort of dramatize the scenes when I read, but the thirty-five minutes included their questions afterwards. Their questions about writing and books were truly interesting. I think part of their attentiveness may lead back to the program I've mentioned in this post. They were more like second graders than first graders, in terms of development. And it wasn't a GATE class — these were the only three first grade classes in the school. I was really impressed.

Rosi said...

Sounds like a lovely day.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rosi. It really was a lovely morning. And I did sell quite a few books. But I'm still mulling over that program. I hope other schools are using it. This is the first time I've heard of it.

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like a great program. It's never too early to teach these essential life skills.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I agree, Kate. These kids will have a real advantage as they go through life. I hope more schools start offering a program like this.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I love Covey's book - how wonderful the school is incorporating it into the program for those kids.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Diane. Yes, I thought so, too. And I got so interested in the concepts that I've ordered the book for myself. When it first came out in the 90s, I thought it was mainly for business interactions. The more I've heard about it, it seems to be about character, which is always of interest to me.

Anvilcloud said...

I read that book once upon a time, but I still have highly ineffective habits. :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hello, Anvilcloud, and thanks for stopping by. I don't know what my outcome will be (I may be ordering it too late lol), but I am curious, now. We'll see.

Mirka Breen said...

I've done only a couple of school visits, and they went well. But they terrify me... a lot of lost sleep the night before. I may not be as courageous as you.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hello, again, Mirka. In my case, I used to be a full time elementary school teacher, so that may make the difference. For me, a school visit is all the joy of being with young people, and none of the paper-grading, lesson-planning, parent-conferencing, that used to take up so much time and wear me out.

Lynda R Young said...

That sounds like a really good program. "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" is a great book to base the program on.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I agree, Lynda. I went to the school yesterday to deliver five more books that had been ordered, and on the sides of buildings facing the playground were large posters: Be Proactive, First Things First, Win/Win, etc. It was wonderful how these reminders are everywhere in this school. I'm still so impressed.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

This sounds like a wonderful program. I was very impressed by how well behaved the children were. I read somewhere it takes longer to untrain a negative habit than train a good habit. Seems educators often use the stick rather than the carrot to get children to behave. SO glad this school believes in carrots and win/win! And congrats to you for giving of your time, too.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, B&E, That's an interesting piece of information—taking longer to untrain a negative habit than a good one. I wonder why that is. As for giving my time . . . I love doing school visits, and I always get back more than I give. Have a great day.