Shimmer the Glowworm Finds Her Glow Review
“My students were completely captivated by the movie. They fell in love with Shimmer immediately and by the second day they realized that every time Shimmer helped another character, her glow would shine brighter. It is very common for one of my students to say “just like Shimmer” whenever we read a story in which one character helps another. Because my class is a Language Classroom where most students are just learning English, I chose to do the partner activities in which students were encouraged to speak using newly learned vocabulary such as “wisdom” and “peace”. Instead of the typical “all about me” that teachers usually assign on the first day of school, I chose to do “Drawing Your Dream”, which not only provided and excellent segue into goal setting but it gave me insight as to what each student sees in their future.
The module begins with a section called Intentions. It sets the tone for focusing on desired behaviors and attributes instead of emphasizing negative qualities. Right away, this appealed to me because we are a PBIS school where we teach expectations by modeling desired instead of undesired behaviors throughout our entire school, from K to 6th grade, everywhere from the parking lot, to the restrooms, walkways, and especially inside the classroom.
The second section described the “ME TREE”. Upon first reading it, I felt that the “I AM BEAUTY” would be too abstract for second graders to understand. I was hesitant to use that language with my language learners because typically when teaching them English, we would say, “I am beautiful”. But I was pleasantly surprised that the students quickly embraced qualities such as “MUSIC, ART, BOUNCE” as words to describe the part of themselves that can’t be seen physically. After watching the “KIKI the Kangaroo” section a little boy in my class, who in the last two years had spent much time isolated due to his “hyper” behavior said, “I am bounce!”. I said, “you are, and I really love the energy you bring to the class”. The conversation that ensued made being hyper just as ok as being peaceful. We discussed places and times where it’s great to be “bounce” and other times where we need to calm down. This conversation created a culture of acceptance for each student’s uniqueness. As all educators know, lowering the affective filter in the classroom benefits everyone’s ability to learn.
Because I teach an intervention class of students who are delayed for a multitude of reasons, I found Unit 2 on uniqueness to be very powerful.
It was almost a celebratory feeling in the air as they colored their individual “color” leaves to represent themselves. The Cray story teaches children that those things that make them unique are to be valued. When students ultimately placed their leaves on the class me tree, they took so much pride in how their individual leaves came together to create something colorful and beautiful. I do find that this year more than any other year, the kids are more kind to one another. The module has many activities that I intend to bring back as the year goes on when we revisit the lessons from Shimmer.
In my 23 years in the classroom I’ve never read a story that explains what confidence is to kids. After watching the Kiki the Kangaroo video, the idea that we all have talents to share with each other became a concept easy for them to grasp. Again, here was another opportunity for the children to speak and share and for me to get to know them better. The Glow Circle was a perfect speaking opportunity and an opportunity for kids to hear a compliment from a peer. Naturally they loved holding the ball and asked if we could do it again the next day. The Glow Circle became a daily activity during this unit.
Unit 4 focuses on Curiosity and thinking outside the box. For children this comes naturally but unfortunately the traditional classroom hasn’t been a place where being inquisitive and thinking outside the box has been valued. With the trends in education moving towards more open-ended responses, inquiry based learning, and multiple strategies for solving a problem, this lesson was a perfect way to teach kids that being curious and approaching learning with an opened mind will only enrich them as people. I chose to do the Alternative Uses Activity. It was engaging and gave kids who are usually very quiet a chance to
shine. Again, there are several differentiated extension activities that I’d like to revisit later in the year to reinforce these concepts.
The entire unit culminates with the Show Your Glow song which is especially endearing because it is sung by children. Not only do my students enjoy singing the catchy and meaningful song but it is a great way to keep everything they’ve learned fresh in their minds. We plan to sing it to the entire school at one of our Tuesday morning assemblies.
Overall this curriculum enhanced and supported both our PBIS and Second Step socio-emotional curriculum for our students. The characters are lovable and relatable. The students learned words to express who they are on the inside instead of the basic happy or sad. Promoting a classroom environment that embraces everyone’s unique qualities makes me feel great as a teacher.”
– Soraya Flores, Teacher Grade 2 – Danbrook Elementary