Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Final Assignment: Say Something Important.

Yesterday, I gave my fifth grade students their final assignment of the school year.  With 10 days left, our precious time together as a class is running out.  To make the most of these last few days we have, I assigned my students one simple task:  Write a precept.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a precept is "a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action."  The idea for precept writing came from our beloved class read aloud novel, Wonder by RJ Palacio.  

In Wonder, Mr. Browne, the english teacher, reads and displays a new precept each month.  He reads aloud the precept, discusses it with his students, and displays it on the classroom wall for the entire month.  A few of Mr. Browne's precepts are displayed below:

From RJ Palacio's Blog

I reread many of these precepts to my class yesterday, then asked them to think of what they needed to say.  Rather, what is it they need to say or believe in that is important.  This is their chance to leave a mark.  It is their chance to say something important.  Each student will present his or her precept to the class on Wednesday morning, May 28th.  I'll report back soon after!

If you have not yet picked up Wonder, I highly recommend you do so.  It is perfect summer reading.  Plus, if you're a fourth through sixth grade teacher, a parent, or just someone who deeply cares about empathy and compassion, it is a must read for you and your students or children.

As a side note, RJ Palacio also just came out with a follow-up to Wonder: The Julian Chapter, a Wonder Story.  One of my students downloaded and read it last night.  She highly recommends it.  I can't wait to get my hands on it! 

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