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A Determined Engine and Courageous Caboose

I Think I Can

Topics Covered: Responsibility, Courage, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Responsible Behaviors

As I mentioned before, our Mater virtue for the month of October is Courage. I have been trying to incorporate a little aspect of this into all my lessons this month.

The thing I struggled with most was how to translate this into 6 year old language (a feat these 1st grade teachers deal with daily).

I decided to take a book that they are very familiar with and revisit it’s well-known message.

The Little Engine That Could . . .

It’s a classic and it is all about having the courage to keep going and never give up.

We began our lesson reviewing the traits of a Number 1 listener by “Looking SMART.” Looking SMART is an initiative I’m trying to start in our lower school to standardize some of our expectations. I figured listening in school is by far the most important, so I started there.

The acronym looks something like this . . .

Look SMART
Now comes our Little Engine.


At the beginning of the year, I signed-up for the amazing website WeGiveBooks, allowing me to have 100s of books online at the touch of a button (this also helps with my new found habit of procrastination and the ever so common budgeting issues – books are expensive!).

I found The Little Engine That Could on WeGiveBooks and read the boys the story while showing the pictures on the Promethean Board.

We discussed the Little Engine’s responsibilities. We talked about how the Little Clown kept trying to find people to help their Little Engine and he never gave up trying. We found out that the other Little Blue Engine had the courage to try something new and help out others in need.

This led us to our discussion about our responsibilities at school, about how sometimes we have to work hard at somethings and never give up.

I introduced the word dedicated to this idea of never giving up on something that is not easy to do.

Together, we constructed a list of things we are determined to do at school:

  • homework
  • math
  • listen
  • pay attention
  • be respectful
  • help others
  • be a good friend
  • soccer

And the list went on . . .

The boys then got to choose from the list, one thing that really stuck with them.

They wrote this one thing on their very own/unique train-car.

Train and Train Cars

Decorated to 6 year old standards, these train-cars went in the hallway attached to a very determined engine and courageous caboose.

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