A slight misconception

Day 16 – March SOLSC #sol17

I just finished two days of Parent Teacher conferences.  I had many amazing conversations with parents that weren’t just about academic growth.  We talked a lot about social emotional learning and placing an emphasis on developing the whole child.  In my classroom I focus a great deal on being kind and respectful.  I firmly believe that both academic and social development is essential in order for children to be successful.  It was so great to hear so many people want to know about how their child treats others and not just how much progress they made in reading.  People are going to befriend you if you’re a kind person; not because you made great progress as a reader.

While I was having these conversations with parents, I couldn’t help but think about a specific time where my emphasis about kindness may have actually caused a teeny problem.

Let me set the scene – Four children were playing memory at a table during choice time. They set up the game, argued a little about who was going to go first, but then got started.

They were playing and chatting when all of a sudden I heard a little girl say, “Hey you can’t do that?”

I didn’t interject – just sat back to listen.

Again the same little girl said (a little louder), “You can’t do that.  That’s not fair.  You can’t help him.”

I then went over to see what was going on.  “What’s going on?  What isn’t fair?”

The first girl said, “She keeps helping him.  She’s telling him where the matches are.  It’s not fair.  You can’t help people find the matches.  That’s not how you play the game. That’s cheating.”  She was clearly not happy with the situation.

I did what I do in most situations – tried to get the other side of the story.  “What’s going on?  Are you telling him where the matches are?”

She looked at me and shook her head up and down, and said quietly,  “I was just trying to be kind and help him find matches.”

And that’s when it hit me.  I couldn’t help but smile at her.  She was doing exactly what we talk about when we talk about ways to be kind.  Whenever I say “What does it mean to be kind?”  One of the answers always is “being kind is helping others.”  Only in this instance, helping another player find matches in a memory game, was actually not being kind to the other players.  I explained to her that the object of this game was to make your brain stronger by learning to remember where matches are and whomever has the most matches at the end wins.  I could see her processing this information in her mind.  Either she didn’t know how to really play the game or she was just super focused on being kind.  After we cleared up that misconception, they went on to play and have fun.

Lesson learned – when teaching kids about ways to be kind and helpful, make sure to role play scenarios that show when being helpful is actually helpful, and when it might not be.

There hasn’t been anymore “help” during the Memory games.  Now there’s a little more competitiveness coming out!  That’s a whole different lesson for another day – How to be a kind competitor!



Thank you to the team of writers at Two Writing Teachers for created this amazing writing community!

3 thoughts on “A slight misconception

  1. Socio-emotional learning is so important! You’re doing the good work, and the kids will be great adults because of you! Such a sweet story.


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