Friday, September 6, 2013

Friendship Salad

I am not and will never claim to be a true Kindergarten teacher. You can spot those teachers from a mile away with all their cuteness and bubbly-ness and creativity. They can tie shoes, wipe noses, and sing a song about anything and everything all at the same time... while smiling. They are incredible. That is not me. Moving here, I was the only one with any semblance of little-kid teaching (I student taught in 1st grade way back when!), so that's the role I got. Thankfully, this year we hired a full-time Kindergarten teacher, so I am only doing 1st and 2nd. But, they're still little.

I taught 4th grade for 3 years and during that time I thought THOSE kids needed a lot of help and training in things that I always took for granted as being 'everyone knows that'... not the case. Kids actually do have to be taught how to take turns talking, how to solve their tiffs with words and without pouting or fighting, etc.

One of the standards for the First Grade Social Studies curriculum is, "Understand that good citizens work hard in school and play fairly." When I read that, it was kind of a 'Duh!' moment for me.. as in "Duh! Everyone knows that!". But, wanting to do my job well and make sure I taught what I was supposed to teach, I headed to the internet to find some ideas. One of the first ones I found was for Friendship Salad and I remembered making this when I was student teaching. I thought it was ridiculous then, and I thought it was just as ridiculous as I wrote it in my lesson plans. Summer brain has made it quite difficult to once again put myself in the place of a six-year-old to think about what is funny or cool or too hard. Alas, we made the salad and they loved it and I think they might've actually learned from it. Ha ha.

The idea behind Friendship Salad is that you build a fruit salad with each piece being symbolic of something in the classroom.
Grapes - Students. (I told my kids they were the closest fruit I could find to looking like a head). These stand for smart, tidy, helpful, and kind students.
Strawberries - Hard-workers. Students who try their best and finish all of their work.
Mini-Marshmallows - Sweet, nice words that we say to one another.
Yogurt - The happy, good feelings we get when we are using these words. The bond that holds our class together.
Mix it all together and talk about how beautiful and yummy it looks. Then, you pull out a rotten banana and act like you're going to put that in. The kids all say, "Ewww. Don't put that in. Why would you do that? Etc." Then we have a little discussion about what kind of "rotten bananas" we can have in our classroom (fighting, mean words, disrespect, selfishness, laziness, etc) and we all agree that we don't want that. Then we eat the yummy salad.
"Show me your best "Rotten Banana Face'"
You may think this is the corniest thing you've ever heard of, and I would agree wholeheartedly. It was clearly thought of by someone way more Kindergarten-y than me. However, it does provide a good reference point for the future when kids are showing 'rotten banana' behaviors and gives us something to can refer back to.

Oh, and did I mention it was super yummy?


  1. Sounds like maybe I need to do this one too! The "Crumple Girl" has made an impact and we named her Isabella today. You are a great teacher and co-teacher! Thanks!

  2. I think it's a cute idea. I never would have thought of it. You're way more kindergardeny than I am. Just think about how much power you have over shaping their thought processes for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. That outta keep you going. :)

  3. From the counselor's perspective, your lesson gets an "A"! And I agree, tying the hurtful words/actions to the tangible "rotten banana" allows you to continue making reference to and learning from the initial lesson.