There are so many skills that we assume kids know how to do, but they are never actually taught. For example, apologizing and actually meaning it, talking about their feelings and conflict without interrupting each other, and admitting when they do something wrong. These are all among the life skills I attempt to impart on my students.
I saw this blog post by cuppacocoa about apologizing that I think was brilliant. When something at school goes awry and kids mumble a quiet “sorry” to the afflicted child they rarely do it with sincerity. Using these sentence stems will help with that:
I’m sorry for _____. This was wrong because _____. In the future, I will _____. Will you forgive me?
I also use it with my refocus forms (low level) and write up forms (high level.) The students must use these sentence stems in their written reflection:
I was _____________. This does not follow the PRA Way because ___________. I can change my behavior by ___________.
The PRA Way is our school positive behavior system: prepared, respectful, accountable. The reflection is key. If the kids are just in trouble they often do not know the correct behavior and need to be taught it. So they write what they think and then we discuss it.
We do the same with our Peace Place. When students are having conflict with each other they go together to the designated Peace Place and use this sentence stem:
I feel ______ when you ______ because ______.
We need to be really explicit with our students to teach them to be successful adults. And some of the most important lessons are not anywhere in all our binders of math, language arts, and science curriculum.
What are some other things that we think kids should know how to do, but aren’t ever specifically taught?