Classroom Ninja Training: Bravery

Aug 23, 2015

As I mentioned earlier, we are ninjas this year and will work on the following qualities with our students: bravery, perseverance, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, being strategic, and curiosity.  We wanted to start our year off by focusing on one word a day and really helping the students to understand that trait.  Day one of our "ninja training": Bravery!

The very first thing that we wanted to do was help them to understand that bravery does not mean fight.  It does not mean that they have to put themselves  into a dangerous situation.  We explained that bravery means something completely different for a first grader.  So we read:

Molly Lou Melon is brave because she stands up for who she is and is not afraid of that.  Throughout the book we emphasized the importance of being you and feeling proud of what you can do.  Then we connected this to math.  We explained that many times we may come to solutions in different ways.  It is may feel risky to share that different way or to share an answer that may or may not be correct.  But taking this risk is being brave.

We totally understand that this is a hard concept.  But with continued support, emphasis, and practice our hope is that our firsties will start to embody this bravery and take these types of risks.

And because this concept is hard to understand, we tried to make it real for them.  Here's what we did...

 Jess put out any and all supplies that she could think of: markers, pencils, crayon boxes, pattern blocks, wood blocks, dominoes, tissue boxes, round chips, Popsicle sticks, dice, glue sticks, and the list goes on.

The students were asked to work in teams of four to build a house using the materials provided.  They were to take only what they needed.

This is taste of what we got:

It was complete chaos in the best way possible.  All 60 students were engaged, happy, and working together.  When we stopped them and asked them to look around, they realized that not one house looked the same.  Each house was different and unique, but still a house.  Jess and I emphasized that taking a risk means completing a problem the way it works for you.

We wanted to follow up on this concept of bravery and taking risks in the afternoon with the book Swimmy.  But you know how plans go....sometimes they just don't work out!

The Ninja Training continues with...perseverance!


  1. Love this lesson very much! Your team is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. This is something I could do...

  2. This sounds like a great way to start off your year! I am reading the posts backwards, so I'm off to read your "introduction" to the year of the ninjas. I'm sure your kiddos love it!



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