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Copycats

Why do we sometimes copy our friends?

Maybe it’s because they seem to think up more creative things than ourselves. Like ideas for Wedding Favors.

Maybe they are just better at sports, more dedicated to the gym, get better grades.

Maybe we copy our friends because we think it will make us more popular.

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We might even copy our friends even if it gets us in trouble. And this seems to be the new problem in first grade.

Inevitably, there is one powerful leader. A leader who, himself, cannot make the best of choices all the time. This leader likes to draw on the side of the building, throw sticks, stick his tongue at people, call people names, interrupt the teacher, and speak whatever it on his mind at any time. This leader also like to read, draw, play, write math problems on the board, think of creative problem-solving strategies, gives great hugs, and is a friend to almost everyone.

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This is the leader the 1st grade boys follow. So, what does it mean to be yourself? Why is it important to make your own choices?

Be Yourself

Topics Covered: Caring, Responsible Behaviors, Self-Confidence Development

I started this crucial lesson with Hunter’s Best Friend at School by Laura Malone Elliot.

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The story describes Hunter and Stripe who are best friends. They love to do everything together. But one day, Stripe comes to school in a “mischeif-making” mood and starts making trouble in class. Hunter didn’t know whether he should follow along, but since it was his best friend he decided he would copy him. The two racoons go through a terrible day and realize that it’s probably better to make your own good choices.

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After the story, the 1st graders and I discussed various questions, such as:

– Why do we sometimes copy our friends?

– When might it be good to do what our friends do?

– When might it be bad to act like our friend?

– What does it mean to be yourself? Why is it important?

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After we had our short discussion, I had the boys complete this page:

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It had the boys think about reasons they were special. You saw a “grown-up” 2nd grade version of this in my post I am Special.

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All the same rules applied, except they were allowed to draw pictures instead of writing.

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At the very end of the lesson, I had the boys play Legos in groups of 3. I had them practice making good choices, sharing, being a good friend, and solving disagreements.

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