I love history, so I've been very interested in the inauguration festivities that have been going on for the past few days. My first graders are also very interested in historical figures and events, so we discussed Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday of last week in preparation for our day off on Monday. We studied a lot about him last year when the children were in kindergarten, so I wanted to encourage the children to treat people fairly and equally which is one of the messages MLK emphasized. Over the weekend I watched a lot of coverage on the Obamas. I knew that I wanted to share this history with my students at school on Tuesday. We watched the actual promise that Biden and Obama made to our country before lunch, colored a picture of Mr. Obama, ate Inauguration cupcakes (thanks LB and Becky!), and sang a song about our new president. The children had a few questions, but they seemed more interested in the DC landmarks we saw while watching the inauguration. I was satisfied with what we did, but the true learning came today.
Before we went to play this morning, I had an incident happen with my class. One little girl said that another little girl called her a name. I took the two girls into the hall and talked to them. The answers I received were "No, I didn't. Yes, you did. No, I didn't. Yes, you did." Over and over. Luckily I had playtime to think about what I was going to do about this. Since Christmas I have noticed that the children have been speaking to one another in tones I don't really like, I so moved some kids around (the two girls especially) and gave them one of my famous "sermonettes." They're used to it by now. I talked to them about how we have a new president and how we need to support even even if we didn't vote for him (we talked about the election, so they know I voted Republican). We should pray that he makes good decisions for our country and we should pray for his safety. Someone said something about him being the first black president, and I told them that when I thought about any person I didn't think of their color, I thought of their actions and their heart. President Obama seems to speak to people in a kind way from what I've seen. He would want everyone (even first graders) to speak to each other in kind ways and to treat people the way we would want to be treated. I also told them that if everyone treated others in a kind way, we wouldn't have wars going on. We wouldn't have fights. We wouldn't have a lot of the bad things that happen in the world. I had the children draw a happy face and to write "I will treat everyone in a kind way." Then each child stood, showed their picture, and said "I will treat everyone in a kind way." The afternoon was wonderful. I heard no squabbling, no tattling, no name-calling all afternoon. Hopefully, this will continue tomorrow. I'm anxious to hear what they think President Obama should do as president.
We've had some lively discussions at home with Katy and Daniel about Barack Obama. I just hope that he is able to help our economy and to help the troops finish their job and come home soon. I will be praying that he is successful and that he stays safe and represents our country in a good way.