Second grade teacher Ms. Leena and their English teacher, Ms. Sandra, helped English Class second graders learn to shift classroom focus from competition to cooperation by having pupils play an interesting game of musical hoops. While music played pupils danced around hoops laid out on the floor throughout the classroom. When the music stopped, pupils were directed to step into a hoop. After each break in music,one of the teachers removed a hoop. Pupils, however, were not eliminated. This challenged the children because there was a greater need to coordinate the activities of each pupil. The children realized “we are all in this together” and the game became an increasingly cooperative activity of squeezing everyone in.
They quickly understood the importance of working together, friendship, and trust. The skills they developed include communication, empathy, listening, problem-solving and trusting others. As they celebrated the final phase of the game the second graders realized the power of cooperation. Active pupil-involved process-based learning as mandated by the new Finnish national curriculum requires good cooperative skills.
After this exercise the children listened to Julia Donaldson’s story, A Squash and a Squeeze, which is a delightful story about space (or a lack of space) and the fact that everything is relative.