In this challenge, students learn to recognize the positive interactions that contribute to a harmonious and supportive family or school community. Arrange for several older students to role-play three scenarios illustrating the themes of no interactions (e.g., playing with marbles alone), positive interactions (e.g., play marbles harmoniously with others) and negative interactions (e.g., playing marbles in a confrontational manner). Alternatively, invite students to describe the kinds of activities they see students engaged in at recess and lunchtime. List the activities on the board, separating them into the three categories. Through discussion, guide students to suggest labels for the categories. Discuss the benefits of a supportive community (e.g., people feel like they belong, tasks get done that one person could not do alone) where community members work and play with each other in ways that help meet their needs.
Provide students with various pictures of people interacting positively with one another.(A search of GoogleTM Image Search for “people working together” or “children working together” will produce hundreds of colour prints.) In small groups or as individuals, ask students to create collages of pictures showing as many positive interactions as they can find. Invite students to share their collages with the class and display them for others to see using a bulletin board, class newsletter or PowerPoint presentation. Discuss the benefits of a school community where students and staff cooperate with each other.
As a possible extension, ask students to pose for pictures demonstrating positive interactions between community members. Instruct them to work in small groups to list ways they could demonstrate these interactions. After students have developed their lists, provide groups with a digital camera or other means of recording their poses. Remind students of the criteria for a good picture (e.g., in focus, does not cut anyone out). Instruct each group to take or draw a few pictures of the same interaction, slightly modifying their action each time. Invite each group to choose the best examples of the interactions they are demonstrating and to present them to the rest of the class, without telling what the interaction is. Invite other students to identify the interaction shown.
Encourage students individually or as a class to select one action that they could undertake that would contribute to their classroom or school community. In making their selection, students might consider the following criteria: Is it doable? Will it help individuals? Will it add to the community as a whole? You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Committing to Action (Support Material) to structure and assess this last activity.