The District’s SEL Focus for the third 9 weeks is Social Awareness and Empathy. Ms. Ashorn visited 1st and 2nd grade classrooms to reinforce this skills through the monthly counselor lesson. Students watched a video of kids explaining what empathy means. We learned that empathy is perspective taking and imagining what it would be like to experience what someone else is experiencing .
Next we read the book, We're All Wonders by RJ Palacio. Many students have seen the movie, Wonder, based on the chapter book by the same name. While reading the book, we imagined what it would feel like to be Auggie. Students practiced using the Mood Meter to put themselves in Auggie's shoes. We also discussed opportunities characters in the book could have used empathy.
After reading the book, students played a game of Kahoot! to use their social detective/social awareness skills. They looked at pictures of young people expressing different emotions and tried to guess what they were feeling. We discussed how to read facial expressions and body language to decide how someone is feeling.
Ms. Ashorn visited 3rd-5th grade classes in October to learn about recognizing strong feelings and how to effectively manage those emotions. This lesson actually follows up on our SEL Lesson from October 2016, which can be viewed here.
Using the hand model of the brain, students reviewed/learned how their brain works when they are feeling strong emotions, which we call "flipping our lid". We used an analogy of the upstairs and downstairs brain. The upstairs brain is responsible for thinking, planning, creativity and problem solving. While the downstairs brain, also known as our "animal brain", controls our reactions and impulses (fight, flight or freeze) to strong emotions (like anger and fear).
Next we read Steps and Stones: An Anh's Anger Story, which is the sequel to the book we read last year. In the Anh’s friends decide to play a different game at recess and he feels left out. Just as in the first book, Anh's Anger, a red hairy creature, shows up when something doesn't go Anh's way. But together they learn and use strategies that can help them calm down.
Last, students learned a new calm down strategy for their tool box called Finger Touch Focus. Ask your student to show you this tool at home.
During September SEL lessons, Ms. Ashorn visited Kinder through 2nd grade classroom to discuss the No Place for Hate program at BCE this year. To become a No Place for Hate recognized school, all students must sign the Resolution of Respect. We read and discussed this respect agreement prior to reading the book One by Kathryn Otoshi. Students also reviewed/ learned how to use the Mood Meter to identify feelings based on the energy level and pleasantness/ comfort of the feeling.
One tells the story of Blue, who is a quiet color. Blue gets picked on by Red, who is a bit of hot head. The other colors really like Blue and they don't like what they see, but they don't know how to help Blue. Then, One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. The book illustrates accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
During the reading, students discussed and shared how the Resolution of Respect could have helped the characters feel safe and happy. After reading the book and reviewing the promises in Resolution of Respect, all students signed their class' respect contract.
Students in Kinder and 1st learned how to be a Social Detective this month. We read the book You are a Social Detective! by Michelle Garcia Winner. Students learned how we each have unique "smarts" but everyone has social smarts. We use our social smarts to figure out what behavior is expected in the different places we play, learn and go. We also learned that people around us have different thoughts and feelings about our behaviors. Our behaviors can cause some to move to a different place on the Mood Meter.
Students learned to use their eyes, ear and brains to figure out what is expected. Ask your child to explore expected and unexpected behaviors with you and where that may put someone on the Mood Meter. This is how you can practice being a Social Detective and using your social smarts!
For February, we focused on the challenging task of being honest without hurting someone's feelings. We began with a discussion about what is honesty and the importance of it. Then, we read the book Being Frank (check it out below) which tells the story a little boy who struggles with being a little too honest. This creative and clever book teaches kids to always stay honest, but to use their social detective skills to be mindful of how their feedback affects others. We discussed the difference between "feel good feedback" vs. "constructive crisiticism". At the end of the lesson, students had an opportunity to role play practice giving the two different types of feedback.
*Please note that 5th graders have a modified schedule and will be receiving the December lesson on the Meta Moment and Growth Mindset.