September 4, 2011

Habit 1 - Being Proactive (with freebie)

This is my school's first year working with Stephen Covey's 7 Habits/Leader in Me program.  We are learning the language and living the habits as a staff this year with a full launch of teaching the habits to our students next year. 
Well, I've always been one to jump right in and I was so excited about the habits and the possibilities it opened for my students, that I started teaching them in my classroom right away.  (So many other teachers in my building are on board too! It's awesome!) So far, we have only covered the first two habits, but more are on the way. 

We started with Habit 1: Being Proactive.  I loved watching their faces as they realized they were 100% in charge of their choices.  We spent a lot of time talking about being proactive...taking responsibility for your actions, not blaming others, having a positive "can do" attitude, and never giving up.  Then, we talked about being reactive.  We are a bit of a reactive bunch, so they really got into the discussion about being reactive. They could relate.

To kick off habit 1, we read a story from 7 Habits of Happy Kids.
I used the discussion questions at the end of the story to help guide our classroom conversation.  The following day we revisited the idea of being proactive and began talking about being reactive.  I told them a story of when I was very reactive and got mad at someone for a bad choice that I had made.  You see, I forgot to set my alarm and overslept.  While driving to work, I got behind a very slow car and got angry that they were making me late for work.  The kids were quick to point out that it wasn't the other car's fault that I was late.  I was late because I had not set my alarm and I had overslept.   We connected back to the idea of being in charge of yourself and your choices.  As I told the story, I shook up a can of soda.  I explained that when I got made at the other car, I was being reactive.  I essentially was exploding my soda all over that person.  It wasn't their fault, but I was taking my frustration out on them.  Then I showed them a water bottle.  I shook the water bottle vigorously and asked the class what would happen if I opened it?  Naturally, nothing would happen.  The water bottle stays calm.  That is like being proactive.  Proactive people stop and think before they act.  We then discussed all the proactive things I could have done to be sure I wasn't late for work anymore.  :)  All and all, it was a really good discussion.  The kids could all think of a time they were reactive and a time someone was reactive with them.  We talked about how that made us feel, and what we could do to be proactive people to keep from exploding soda all over others.

My class finished our discussion on Habit 1 with the following sort.  Students worked in groups to figure out which of the following situations showed proactive behavior and which situations showed reactive behavior.  It was fun to watch them sort and explain their thinking. We wrapped it all by discussing the situaitons as a class and brainstorming proactive approaches to those troublesome reactive behaviors.

Proactive vs Reactive

Now, my class is still working on these concepts a lot.  But, I love the language it has introduced.  I can tell kids when they are being very proactive (Hooray and go clip up!) or when they are being very reactive.  

The best part of the week was when we were doing an interactive read aloud from the Comprehension Toolkit (Stephanie Harvey) and we were tracking our thinking, one student wrote on his post-it, "Those thieves are being very reactive."  Ha! I love it!


  1. I LOVE this this lesson! Thank you so much for sharing. I think that I will "steal" it from you to use with my own class. I especially loved the visual involving shaking the can of soda and the bottle of water to represent the two ractions. I think that that will definitely hit home with the kids. Thanks again!!!

  2. I love this sort!! I'm so glad you shared it. :)

  3. Just found this! Thanks so much for a great lesson to share with my kiddos!

  4. I just found this and would LOVE to download your freebie, but my computer won't let me. (Darn school district computers!) Any chance you have it in a different format or can email it to me? My email is if you are willing. :) Thanks for this!


  5. I too cannot print this. Can you please send to my email?
    Thank you!


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