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December 16, 2006

The Horror of Sharing

Sharing space, sharing time, and sharing attention can be quite difficult for many adults…imagine teaching how to accept those realities in life to four year olds!  For my student Kevin, who exceeds most of the other children in academics, the idea of sharing is, simply put, horrifying.  He breaks down in tears when he doesn’t get picked for passing out the mats or if another child wants to play with the toy of his choice.  As an only child being raised by his grandmother he is not accustomed to sharing with other children.  Yet now, as a member of our classroom community, he faces thirteen peers, each with an equal right to the same toys and attention he seeks to hoard for himself. 

My aide, Ms. Morrison, and I, consistently remind the class of the fairness and value of sharing.  As the wise philosopher Dr. Pooh once said, “The more you share with others, the more they’ll share with you.”  We do not give in when the anti-sharers cry.  We provide plenty of opportunities for students to have special jobs and to explore our materials.  We also facilitate discussions between classmates focused on how we feel when our friends don’t share.  And yet, Kevin’s tears and wailing keep coming. 

Last week we tried to invest the whole class in our sharing goal by introducing a message they could send to each other and themselves: “Oh, well, I feel sad, but I’ll get picked another time.”  Results?  Too soon to tell.             

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