Does your class suffer from cabin fever? Symptoms include: frequent tattling, blurting out during lessons, poor work habits, disorganization, and irritability. Do you feel like when you talk the only sounds your students are hearing are the sound that Charlie Brown's teacher made, you know the "whah, waa, waa, waa, whah" sound? These are times when it's helpful to take a deep cleansing breath and remember the Golden Rule for teachers "Treat your students like you would want your own child treated." If your own child was showing the cabin fever symptoms, you would realize it's time for a "my expectations" talk. I've caught myself as a teacher in the midst of a cabin fever epidemic, frustrated and nagging my students which didn't cure the problem. When I take the time to review our rules, my expectations for them, and role play what this looks like, the time I spent doing this pays off great dividends.
If your class has caught cabin fever, it's time for a lesson on the Golden Rule. This is a lesson that you can make as simple or as elaborate as you want. A few suggestions are:
Read: The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners
Introduce: The Golden Rule
Role play the right way and the wrong way to treat your classmates.
Encourage students to follow the Golden Rule. At the end of the day, pass out reflection sheet. Students write an example of how they followed the Golden Rule. Volunteers share their examples.
**You can also paint popsicle sticks gold or cover with gold glitter. When you see a student showing “golden manners” you can give him or her a “gold stick”. Five “gold sticks” equals a prize such as time on the computer, write an assignment with gel pens, sit by a friend during a lesson, etc.
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Golden Manners sign (black & white, gold)
Gold Rule sign (black & white, gold)