This month, we focused most of our classroom lessons on feelings. In kindergarten, we discussed how to know what you are feeling, and how to show what you are feeling. We got to watch a video clip from Daniel Tiger and read a really fun pop-up book titled “Color Monster.”
In second grade, we discussed showing concern for another and dealing with anger. We were able to practice these skills, and watch a fun video from Brain Pop Jr. where Annie and Moby discuss being angry. We also read a book titled “When Miles Got Mad” that discusses Miles getting angry with his younger brother, how his anger manifested itself into a monster. Through talking about what he was angry about, Miles got the monster to shrink and was able to manage his anger.
In third grade, we started our lesson by discussing how to deal with someone who is angry. While it is important to know how to manage our own anger, like we discussed in second grade, it is also important to know how to help those around you who are angry. The rest of the lesson was focused on giving compliments. This may seem like something simple, but we really discussed the minutia of where and when to give a compliment, what a compliment is (not just saying “Thank you”), and how to be specific when giving a compliment (“You did a great job lining up quickly and quietly,” versus “Good job”). Students then identified three people to whom they could give a compliment, what they would say, and where and when they could give the compliment. It was a very fun exercise to end the lesson.
Fourth grade started the fourth grade lessons with a review of bullying. We discussed how to recognize, report, and refuse bullying, as well as what to do if you are a bystander to bullying. We then discussed how to show how we are feeling in an appropriate way, and how to manage fear or worry. The lesson concluded with an activity during which students wrote down their fears or worries on “Worry Beads” and then identified the top fears they had. This was a great opportunity to talk about real versus imagined fears, and how while both types of fear feel the same to us, we can manage them a bit differently.
Fifth grade’s lesson was about having self control and problem solving. The steps to having self control include calming down, thinking about how you’re feeling, thinking about your options (move away for now, talk about how you’re feeling, write about how you’re feeling, doing a relaxation exercise), and then doing on the options. Problem solving involves being calm, defining the problem, thinking about ALL the ways to solve the problem, trying one way, and then evaluating how the problem was solved. We ended the lesson with identifying what fifth graders are worried about as they transition to middle school. The top three answers were schedules, lockers, and homework. I have worked with the Park Middle School counselor to get information about these areas, and we will be discussing these worries in May.
While the rest of the grades focused on feelings, the first grade teachers requested our lesson be on kindness this month. Therefore, we focused on how to be kind, what examples and non-examples of kindness are, and how when we are kind, it can be transferred to others being kind too. A fun video we watched was the kindness boomerang.
We also watched as Mark Ruffalo explained empathy with a Sesame Street puppet.
In May, classroom lessons will focus on friendships. Students will also answer some questions about our school climate, so that we can “take the temperature” of our school.