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ERIC Number: EJ1053569
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0094-0771
Literacy Lessons in One Language Arts Sixth-Grade Classroom: The Year of the Guinea Pigs
Radcliffe, Barbara J.
Middle School Journal, v46 n4 p3-8 Mar 2015
All classrooms are active social systems; the middle school classroom involves complex interactions between and among peers as well as between students and teachers. In the elementary years, attention is often given to nurturing students and fostering relationships, yet when young adolescents transition to the middle school, a focus on control and discipline tends to be the norm (Schmakel, 2008), contrary to the middle school model with a primary emphasis on relationships and democratic community where students have responsibility for exploration, integration, and the development of self-worth for all. This article centers itself in the premise that all humans desire a sense of belonging; this craving is achieved through positive, persistent, caring relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). But fostering relationships require the capacity for interpersonal attention. Thus, to develop this capacity, one must engage in caregiving activities. Given this foundation for understanding young adolescents, the year the author taught sixth graders, she decided that she wanted a pet for the classroom--3 guinea pigs to be exact. Accepting the guinea pigs into the learning community afforded the students opportunities to participate in providing care for another while nurturing a sense of belonging. A few examples of the positive impact the pets had on the students' social and emotional development and sense of belonging throughout the school year are highlighted in this article. While the guinea pigs interacted with all classes, the students in the intensive reading class experienced the deepest bond with these class pets.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A