He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened ~ Lao Tzu
Fifth grade is a very enthusiastic and insightful grade level to teach. I always enjoy their light bulb moments and so much laughter as we all learn and play together. My most recent lesson was about self-awareness and REALLY being aware of our gift/strengths and what might inadvertently cause us stress. So, as always, I begin with a thought provoking question, "How many of you think you have a pretty good idea of your strengths and things that stress you out?" The majority of the students were pretty sure they were aware, but as is tradition when I visit these particular students, their curiosity was peaked. So, I handed out a little age appropriate personality inventory created by S. Covey (1998) and modified by Hortonville Area School District called "Are you a Grape, Orange, Banana or Melon" You can download it for free by clicking HERE It took the kids about 10-15 minutes to take the questionnaire. I highly recommend the teacher participation as the students enjoy getting to know their homeroom teachers personality strengths, too!
TEACHING TIP: If you are doing this inventory with 5th graders there is vocabulary on here that is definitely at the upper secondary levels. So, we (teachers and I) had a blast with the kids demonstrating our GROWTH MINDSET (Carol Dweck) as we collaborated and struggled together with the sophistication of the language! In one of my classrooms, the teacher has her computer system in her room hooked up to SIRI. What fun we had challenging SIRI to define words like sensible, systematic and analytical! Thank you for helping model great teaching @mrs_thorntonSSE.
Once we wrapped up the info part of the activity, I then asked the kids to join their fellow fruits in an area of the classroom. This was a unique experience in just moving about the room because the outcomes brought to light some interesting observations about the classroom and personalities.
Most classrooms were heavily populated with learners that fell into the ORANGE active, leading, debating group and chuckled when they learned that one of the defining factors of their group is that they LOVE to be heard! While this group whooped, cheered themselves on and high fived each other with this revelation, the other groups tended to observe quietly.
The GRAPES (Blue in True Colors) were usually the students quietly observing their boisterous friends with reflection...Yep, you guessed it these are our mediators, our peace makers and our conflict resolution people. They tend to help us feel good and help everyone get along.
The Bananas (Gold in True Colors) and the Melons (Green in True Colors) were typically the most under-represented in the groups. This was fascinating to the kids because they initially thought it was a good thing to be part of the majority of students in the class, but they quickly learned that the Bananas and Melons were actually the work horses and academics behind anything involving long term projects. The Bananas like discipline and organization, and they thrive with timelines. The Melons are typically our researchers, they dig and dig to get it just so, question illogical thinking and love the analysis. They class quickly began admiring the qualities of this much under-represented group, and one friend said, "Hey, I NEED you guys on ALL my school projects!!!" Yes, yes you do....smiles!! So, that was the ahh haa moment that we may all learn and take away from this--understanding others when working together in groups is a skill that even as adults, we practice on a daily basis. Way to learn this important lesson in 5th grade!
We wrap up this activity where students are paired with other fruits and must complete a timed task COLLABORATIVELY. With this new revelation of personality skills and stressors, the fun that ensued was hilarious. We participated in a game called The Leaning Tower of Feetza (CLICK HERE for a YouTube video for a nice explanation of how to introduce the activity)
The icing on the top of the proverbial cake comes as I sit with the students following the activity and we discuss the growing awareness of how our personality skills impacted the groups success. There was a great deal of self-reflection. Some offered a new awareness of why they were frustrated, but (and here comes the good part), what they can do to help manage their personal needs by helping others, offering suggestions, or speaking up for themselves. The sharing and self-reflection was at such a deep level that the teachers begged for this lesson to happen closer to the BEGINNING of the school year next year. Well, your friendly campus counselor says, "done and done!"