Can we introduce grace and courtesy, walking on the line, and silence game, in a big group?

Grace and Courtesy lessons are usually given to a small group of children, however, there can be certain situations in which you might give a lesson to the entire group.  For example, if a special visitor was anticipated, you might give a lesson around introducing oneself and offering the visitor a chair.  These situations are exceptions to the general rule of grace and courtesy lessons. A small group might be formed based on the age and experience of the children in the class; they might be based on situations observed in the workings of the class but they are generally situations that need some refining in the overall functioning of the group.

Walking on the Line is generally a whole group lesson, with perhaps a few “outliers” who may be engaged in other work.  Certain aspects of Walking on the Line may be given to a small group who are having some challenges but the activity is generally carried out by a large group. Additionally, there is always the option for one or several children who want to walk on the line to be able to do so, just as they can choose any other piece of work to engage with.  This is one of the reasons that furniture should not be placed on the line - nor is the line to be used as a mechanism for gathering all of the children to sit for a whole group lesson.  The line should be treated as any other piece of material in the room and as such is not used as a sitting place for a lesson.

The Silence Game is always a large group activity (with one exception) due to the purposes of the activity.  The one exception: if there are one or two relatively new children in the class and everyone else has been adequately prepared to make silence, the one or two new ones could go off with a class assistant to do some special work outside the classroom,e.g., find some metal inset paper, or some bird seed for the bird feeder – some activity that the class needs – perhaps even fold the laundry.  The Silence Game can be seen as an indication of the normalization of the group; it is never used to correct children’s behaviour.

The Silence Game is very important for today’s children as many children rarely experience silence.  To choose to be silent does require quite a bit of preparation, individually and collectively.  The preparation exercises/games can be begun the first week of school but the actual Silence Game is usually only possible later in the year – after the children have been prepared.

Children sitting in a group circle