Thursday, September 14, 2017

Proactive vs. Reactive

It's the beginning of the year and the honeymoon is REAL y'all! Things are jiving, behaviors are chill... but as the days go on... we start to hear talk that may resemble "STOP!" "Get out!" "You're so stupid!" "I can't do this".. etc, etc.

It's frustrating right? Especially after we've discussed school rules, created our own rules in the classroom, and have been working hard to build routines. Our school has 3 basic rules: Be safe, be respectful, and be responsible. They're great because so many things can fall into them.. but what about real life social skills?

If you've ever read or heard of the 7 habits of highly effective people, or the 7 habits of happy kids, you may know that the first habit is BE PROACTIVE. (For more info: The Leader in Me)

Get posters HERE.

So inspired by the first habit, one of the MOST important lessons I taught my students at the beginning of the year was the difference between being proactive and reactive. Short and sweet, proactive people are positive and solve/fix problems, while those who are reactive can be negative and make them worse.

While there are a TON of great read alouds where characters engage in a problem, many times with it getting worse before it gets better, my all time favorite to read for this lesson is What do you do with a problem? by Kobi Yamada. It tells of a character who struggles with a problem which grows bigger as he tries to avoid and ignore it. When he finally decides to face it, the character learns a valuable lesson about problems.

While we read, we also fill out an anchor chart comparing what both words LOOK like, FEEL like, and SOUND like. While the boy does not SAY the words listed on the chart, I borrowed a few from different growth mindset bulletin boards I had seen around (HERE and HERE)

I'm always amazed at how much these words are used throughout the ENTIRE school year. Many of the different behaviors exhibited throughout the school day fall into either category, and I've found it so helpful to be able to use these words to classify what type of behavior it is. It also helps students self reflect and make connections back to What do you do with a problem?

If you're interested in reading about how I implemented this lesson in class, scroll down! I use a structured mini lesson format, which you can read more about HERE if you'd like a quick and dirty on how I've organized it! This lesson runs longer than typical mini lessons usually do since I'm reading the WHOLE book, but I've still structured it the same.

MINI LESSON: Proactive vs. Reactive (30 minutes)

Connection: Ask students if they've ever been in a fight before. Maybe with their friends? Their parents? Their siblings? Allow them 30 sec think time. Have them turn and talk with a partner for a minute. Call them back together and ask for 2-3 shares. (TWIST: Ask them to tell about what their PARTNER shared) I agreed with many of their stories and mentioned a little about how my brother and I always fought as kids. I tell them that we encounter many situations throughout the day, and it's important to think about the choices we can make.

Teaching Point: Today we are going to focus on these different choices and classify them into two categories. On the anchor chart I write proactive and reactive.

I ask students to look at these words. What do they notice? Are there are prefixes, suffixes, smaller words they see in them? (Great connection back to vocabulary and what to do when encountering words we may not know) We see both words have ACT, so these have something to do with how we act. IVE is a suffix that makes these an adjective which describes how we act. PRO is a prefix that means forward, so in PROACTIVE you are moving forward to find a solution. This is positive. When we are REACTIVE we react to something before we think through our choices! This can be negative and can land us in trouble. I'll draw a smiley face and a frowny face next to the words to help with visual.

Next I'll show them the book we read and set the purpose for them to pay attention to the main character and think about what they DO, what they SAY, and how they might FEEL in the story while dealing with their problem. The first page or two I read, and then I will think aloud showing students what I notice about the character. From there we will decide if that's proactive or reactive. I'll begin to list it by the eye I've drawn (what the character looks like/what they do), the ear (what they say/how they sound), and the heart (emotions). The beginning of the book shows a lot of reactivity, and as it goes on the character shifts into a proactive mindset.

Active Engagement: I'll keep reading here and have students partner talk and then help me list more on the anchor chart. Rich discussions and connections will ensue.

Link: Now that we've created an anchor chart, I give them a graphic organizer and have them think about how they can turn reactive problems into class into something proactive. I link it back to the work we have done and how the anchor chart can help them with ideas.

Independent Work: 

Closing: I'm a HUGE fan of exit tickets. (READ MORE ABOUT THEM HERE) Usually I'll give them a scenario that they have to quick write on to show how to be proactive or a scenario that a person can change from being reactive to proactive. You could even show a visual and have them use a T-chart to write about how the person is being proactive/reactive.

And if you liked What do you do with a Problem, and are feeling this whole growth mindset thing, check out this book, What do you do with an idea? It tells the story of what can happen to our ideas as our confidence grows.