Building on the PAWSome Pledge
“Responsibility … where have we heard that word before?” Principal Cristy Harris asks Jenn Rutigliano’s second grade class. She’s in the teacher’s rocking chair, reading “I Promise,” the November Community Read, to the students gathered on the classroom carpet.
Hands are up before she can finish her question. “In the PAWSome Pledge!” answers one student. She’s right; responsibility is a core concept in the set of school standards that everyone at Katonah Elementary School says each morning:
We Choose Kindness
Safety Comes First
Guest Reader Principal Harris
A Thoughtful discussion about a big idea
Responsibility is also what “I Promise,” by basketball great LeBron James, is all about. It introduces the I Promise School that James founded in Akron, Ohio, where students say a school pledge each morning, much like KES! The book connects students to the power each of them has in shaping their days and working towards their goals.
Each page is a conversation starter and Rutigliano’s students flex their skills in building on each other’s thoughts, speaking in full sentences, and listening with their eyes and ears.
Led by Principal Harris’s questions, the class enters a thoughtful discussion.
Building vocabulary, considering goals
I promise to respect my elders and my peers the same.
“What is an elder?” asks Principal Harris. “An elder is someone older than you,” answers one student.
I promise to remain strong yet humble with every win and defeat.
“Humble means being nice when the other team loses,” comments another student.
After reading the book’s set of promises, Principal Harris asks students what promises they would like to make to themselves. After a turn and talk, everybody shares. I promise to … "Be a good friend." "Help the earth." "Use my manners." "Never give up." "Have fun." "Be myself."