- a variety of books that focus on the concept of cooperation, such as The Little Red Hen*, with pictures by Lucinda McQueen (Scholastic Inc.; $3.50), or Cleo Cooperates*, illustrated by Eric Binder (Scholastic Inc.; $4.99)
- chart paper
- drawing paper
- markers, crayons, pencils
- awareness of self and others
- science concepts
- math concepts
- language development
Share books that focus on the concept of cooperation. Follow each reading with book talks to discuss the different aspects of the stories, including the story sequence, main ideas, central characters, and settings. What did children learn about cooperation from each story? Do the stories remind them of experiences that they have had? Why is it important to cooperate? How do they feel when their friends are cooperating with them?
Encourage the class to think of different ways that they can cooperate in their classroom and on the playground. What are the ways that they must cooperate so that no one gets hurt? In what ways must they cooperate so that the classroom stays clean?
Review the list the following day. Divide children into small groups and assign each group a specific area of the classroom to focus on. Ask them to draw pictures of ways that they can cooperate in that particular area. Help children write or dictate information about their drawings.
Invite each group to present their cooperation ideas to the class. Display their drawings in the appropriate area. Encourage children to refer to their cooperation drawings to help guide behavior.
Remember: Young children are just learning how to engage in cooperative behavior. Using positive reinforcement, literature, and visual reminders will help them develop social competence.
Cooperation Certificate On a sheet of paper, make a "Cooperation Certificate" to send home. Preserve an area on the certificate where families can fill in what their child did to cooperate. Include a note explaining that the children are learning about cooperation, and ask families to complete the certificate to recognize something special that their child has done that exemplifies this skill.
Curriculum Connection: MATH
Let Me Count the Ways. Help the class keep a daily record of their outstanding cooperation achievements. Engage everyone in noticing the times throughout the day when they worked cooperatively. Review and record the total number of their achievements at the end of each week. Challenge the group to increase their number for the following week or throughout the entire month!