Imagine walking into work every morning and being greeted by a singing and dancing, genuinely happy boss. The happiness spreads and soon other employees are singing and dancing as they walk in. You might not be able to help yourself – go ahead, join in. It just might make the day turn out a little bit better.
This is how Mr. Logan, an assistant principal in Arkansas, starts every morning with his students. He sings to them as they pull up to the school. He shares his microphone so they can sing, too. He dances with them, and as he explains in the video, “We try to make them smile and laugh.” The kids love it! And they let him know it with hugs and high-fives or by joining in. It even makes parents dropping their children off at school laugh, not just in the morning but later in the day, too. These simple actions performed by Mr. Logan are the key to inspiring learning in young children, and they are at the heart of the GrapeSEED program.
- Share: Share something with your students or children, whether it is a good book, a funny joke, or even your microphone for singing. Whatever it is, they will remember you for it.
- Be kind: Do something thoughtful to make your young learners smile.
- Be helpful: Encourage them to come to you for help if they need it and to help each other.
- Use manners: Demonstrate respect and good manners, and your young learners will learn to do the same.
Performing these actions will make you and your students or children feel good, and they, in turn, will feel good performing these actions with others. When they feel good about themselves, they get a boost in confidence and are more open to listening and learning.
Actions and messages of sharing, taking turns, using good manners and being respectful, kind, and friendly are weaved throughout the GrapeSEED lessons and materials. Students are not only learning the language and the meaning of the words while singing, reading, and performing the action and other activities, but they are learning to be caring and respectful of others. For example, teachers can begin each GrapeSEED lesson with the Good Morning Song, with lyrics showing kindness and friendliness, such as Good morning to you. I’m happy to see you. I’m glad to be with you!. And they can end each lesson with the GoodBye Song, with lyrics showing concern for another, like Goodbye, goodbye! Be careful on your way.
Another good example is a story about a farmer who cannot get his carrot out of the ground no matter how hard he tries. He asks some friends for help. When they finally succeed in pulling up the carrot, he’s sure to thank them and share it with all of them for dinner.
Family and friends are also a popular theme throughout the GrapeSEED materials. From running and jumping and cleaning up with friends to introducing the whole family and visiting the zoo with them, the GrapeSEED characters are often seen spending time working and playing with the people they love.
All too often, these simple actions can be forgotten in the rush of a busy day. But these are things that anyone can do, not only at school with students, but with close ones, colleagues, or strangers, at home or anywhere you are. They will inspire not only learning in students, but they may even put a smile on the face of the people you encounter throughout your day. And this just might make their day, and yours, a little bit better.