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Sunday, February 28, 2010

So Which Is It?

On Friday I found a "circle yes or no" note floating around the classroom, though unlike most such notes I've found, it did not center around liking or not liking someone. The intended recipient had apparently not had a chance to get the note or to form an opinion, but I'll just assume the circle would have gone to "yes," or possibly a third, write-in option: "Actually I LOVE school because my teacher is amazing."

  Elementary school students spend much of their energy on opinions. They form opinions. They ask other kids their opinions. Then they either confirm their own opinions, change their minds, or try to get the other person to change their mind. All parties being agreed on a single opinion, though, is highly valued. Seven year olds in my classes over the years have been known to devote entire lunch periods to the following game:

1. Sit around lunch table.
2. Someone calls out, "Raise your hand if you like...."
3. That same person fills in the name of a movie, food, or birthday party location.
4. All who like said movie, food, or birthday party location raise their hands.
5. All who don't like the thing in question but who like being part of the crowd raise their hands.
6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until lunch time is over.

  The circling of yes or no on a note, though, is a standby favorite for expressing an opinion. Although the circling will not always fall in your favor, It is very important to pin down a yes or a no. Sometimes hints are even included so that the right choice is made. Listing these two options works for a variety of situations, from obtaining a boyfriend, to asking the teacher for a class pet, and from determining the truth to forming friendships when you're the new girl.

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