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.