For this inquiry I looked at the following question: How will introducing the Core Competencies (Communication, Thinking and Personal & Social) affect classroom relationships and playground conflicts? This year I have been working with a number of teachers (K-12) in our Family of Schools (3 elementary schools that feed into the local high school) to develop ideas about how to use the Ministry of Education’s new Core Competencies in our classrooms. For my part in working with my grade 3 class, I focused on using picture books to teach and reflect on specific communication, thinking and personal social skills. I researched and purchased picture books that align with the core competencies with the HSN grant money and purchased the “Zones of Regulation” book to further support student growth in developing relationships. More information and the book lists can be found on the following webpage:
I surveyed my students prior to starting this inquiry and asked about whether they get into conflicts and if they have strategies to deal with them. Interestingly, in the fall students felt that all conflicts were caused by other people and they did not need skills to deal with these situations. In the June survey, 95% of students felt that they would like to learn more about developing skills to deal with conflicts or disagreements. This showed a change in their thinking. Previously, they thought challenges were the other persons fault and they did not see themselves in having a role in the solution. Similarly, when asked to tell about a recent conflict and how they solved it, over 50% of the students were able to directly identify a problem solving strategy and still more showed compassion and understanding for the other students frame of mind or motivation. All in all, I have been very please with the results of the Inquiry Grant and happy that this information has been shared with our family of schools, trustees, administrators, and librarians.