This challenge helps students appreciate how school members contribute to the well-being of the school community. To develop a common understanding of the idea of cooperation, show a video or read Michele Benoit Slawson's book It's Apple Picking Time or Franklin's Neighbourhood by Paulette Bourgeois. Use the story to discuss what it means to cooperate (work together to meet everyone's needs or to achieve a common goal). Reinforce the concept through role-plays about cooperation or play cooperative games. Invite students to think about cooperation in school: Who cooperates? What does it look like? How does it happen?
Explain to the class that they are going to find out more about cooperation by talking to different people in the school about their role in working cooperatively. The entire class could interview the people selected by bringing them to the class. Alternatively, groups of students could interview a different person by visiting the person in the school. In the latter case, arrange for parents or older students to bring students to and from interviews and to assist them in recording the interview in writing or on audiotape. Confirm the willingness and availability of potential interviewees in advance and provide them with a copy of the questions prior to the interview. Consider interviews with the following members of the school community:
- Crossing guard
- Noon-hour supervisor
- Parent volunteer
- Teaching assistant.
Invite students to suggest questions. Encourage them to think of what they might ask to better understand the responsibilities these people have in helping people in the school cooperate. Explain that their ideas will help you prepare a list of questions. Use their questions to prepare an interview template. Provide each group with an enlarged copy of the interview form. You may wish to adapt the interview format in Recording Our Research (Support Material) to help structure these interviews. Allow time for interview groups to meet and practice prior to their scheduled interviews.
Once the interviews have been conducted, ask students to present the information to the class. Record the findings for each school member. Invite the class to create a song that shows how people in the school cooperate. Select a familiar tune and play the music for the class. Model what is required by putting words to one of the school members' contributions. For example, you might adapt Row, row, row your boat in the following way:
CO, CO, COOPERATE,
every day at school,
watch the caretaker wash our floors,
we help him/her every day.
Line, line, line up your boots,
straight along the racks,
tidy rows keep our halls clean,
so we can safely play.
Select a school member to profile and ask the class to suggest what might be included about this person's contributions. Make a note of several suggestions. Provide the criteria for a good cooperation song (e.g., the words match the beat, words show how the person cooperates, may include actions that are fun to do). Ask the class to decide which of the suggestions best meets these criteria. Record this segment and move on to the cooperative contributions of another school member. Do this until the song is complete. If students seem able, you might invite them to work in groups to create a section on their own cooperative contributions to the school. Present the song at a school assembly.