“I can hold up Dad, but my arms might get tired.”
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Something I’ve realized over the years is that you can’t assume that a child “sees” what others do for them. Just the same as, they don’t realize the positive impact they have on other people.
From day one, when we line up and walk through doorways, if the door doesn’t hold itself open, (usually an outside door,) then I have the first student in line hold the door for the rest of the class. I always thank the child by name and have every other student to do the same. By December I only have to remind a few students to say thank-you and in June, it’s common practice. Students are either responding intrinsically or worst-case scenario, out of habit, a GREAT habit. It’s the acknowledgement of little things that set the tone for a caring classroom.
Early in October, to coincide with Thanksgiving, I like to focus on gratitude and appreciation. A favourite book I use to support these concepts is You hold Me Up by Monique Grey Smith and Danielle Daniel. This simple book conveys a powerful message. We need each other.
After reading the book, and through a guided discussion, I have students recognize the people who “hold them up.” I use a three hooped template, one hoop bigger than the other. The student draws themselves in the centre hoop. Then in the second hoop they draw and label the people who directly support them, usually close family members. In the third hoop, I have them draw and label other important people that influence and support them, ie. teachers, coaches, aunts and uncles, etc.
The next day, I repeat the lesson except I have them draw the people they hold up. I this is great opportunity for students to recognize the positive impact they can have on others. The first time I began this lesson, I asked a student who was struggling to think of people they ‘hold up’, “Can you hold your dad up?” and he responded thoughtfully, “I can try, but my arms might get tired.”
Both these lessons and templates are in my unit: You Hold Me Up found in my TpT store.
I would like to mention that the author’s note at the end of the book brought me to tears. It had me reading the book again, with a different perspective. I am thankful to Monique Gray Smith to have taken the time to write the end note, so that I could have a better understanding.