Aloha and Welcome Back!
Students celebrate their similarities and differences by constructing leis.
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
In this lesson, students will start the year by getting to know each other and reflecting on their summer vacation. Students will discuss and establish classroom rules.
- Develop a peer relationship within the classroom. Become comfortable with their surroundings and each other
- Construct a friendship lei
- Brainstorm and discuss classroom rules
- Establish classroom rules
- Tissue paper
- String or yarn
Set Up and Prepare
- Hawaiian luau classroom setting. Provide classroom excitement by providing some simple decorations purchased inexpensively or made at home.
- As an example, construct a lei for class presentation.
- Determine student's prior knowledge of Hawaii. Start a class discussion with the word "aloha." Get students to repeat the greeting. Discuss the word's meaning. In the Hawaiian language, it means hello, good-bye, and love. Discuss what the students are saying good-bye to as they enter a new school year, and then discuss what they are saying hello to as well. Before moving on, ask students if they know that the abbreviation of Hawaii is "HI" and why that makes this state meaningful for the first day of school. Ask students, "Has anyone traveled to Hawaii?" "Has anyone ever made their own lei?" "Does anyone know the history of the lei?" "Does anyone know when Hawaii became a state?"
- Model how to construct a lei (Welcome Back Lei PDF). Discuss and write on the board what each color of tissue paper represents. For example, if a student decides that the color red represents a favorite summer movie, he or she would write their favorite summer movie title on the corresponding tissue paper, so when they are asked about the meaning of red, they will be able to respond to their peers. This is a creative way for students to introduce themselves to the class.
- Encourage students to share the lei they created with the class.
- Engage the students in a discussion of the process of creating a lei, comparing their summer activities with their peers', finding similarities and differences.
- Explain to the students that, just as the lei is made with different flowers, seeds, or shells of different colors, sizes, and aromas, so is a classroom made up of different kinds of kids. Explain: you are each unique, different, and special in your own way. As you come together and are interwoven into one group, you are much like a lei that an artist makes from combining different flowers. The result is something better than each flower alone. In this classroom you are stronger together. You are a team. An artist works with rules of design, and a team designs rules to become its best.
- Develop and prioritize classroom rules that meet the school's discipline policy. Have students suggest five rules, write them on the board, and discuss the importance of each rule on a scale of one to five. As the students begin to rank the rules, they gain a sense of meaningful possession of each rule. After the rules are prioritized and agreed upon, post them within the room.
- Create anticipation about lessons 2 and 3 by explaining that Hawaii is our 50th state and became a state on August 21, 1959. As we are celebrating the return to school, what anniversary are Hawaiians celebrating as a U.S. state?
Supporting All Learners
- Students work at their own ability level. Students who struggle to complete the lei may work with a partner to make a partner lei.
- Invite ESL students to represent their native language with a color in their lei. Discuss how many different languages are spoken by the "team."
Because the students participated in making the classroom rules, they will be more likely to accept consequences when the rules are broken. Create classroom incentives for good behavior.
Students are encouraged to take their lei home and share their first day of school with their parents.
- Develop peer relationships.
- Assess the importance of classroom rules.
- Was there enough time to complete the lesson?
- What can be done differently to make the lesson more meaningful to the students?
- What other methods could you use to introduce the classroom rules?
Assessment should be based on the completion of the lei and the participation in developing classroom rules.