To make each child strong means to give them the intra- and interpersonal skills to lead themselves, and part of this leadership requires self control.
How do we help students to learn to control themselves in multiple situations and thus give themselves the power they need to live well.
The book provides a number of activities which you can personalize to the your students and classroom agenda.
The first "Peanut Butter Pit" activity is one I would like to try as an early activity to use to focus on teamwork. As I read about it, I wondered what activities our physical education teacher uses to boost this skill and students' ability to lead, work together, and be led. I also wondered as I read this if teacher candidates should have to participate in Outward Bound or similar programs to boost their own experience with this kind of learning--that wasn't around when I was first training to teach, but I suspect that some of my younger colleagues may have experience I can tap in this area.
Working as a team to figure out the solution to a personal challenge is recommended in the book--this activity can be rich with regard to helping students visualize solutions to problems that might arise as well as to build the vocabulary and good thinking related to self control with words and concepts related to mindfulness, self-control, creativity, self discipline, and strategy. Similarly when students study what it means to fear snakes and how to overcome that fear, they will build strategy together to gain greater self control.
I will make the math exercise less challenging and give more choice as I know the exercise will make some students too anxious. I will use that exercise to review expressions and equations while also teaching students about the control they have over the choices they make related to completing assignments.
I will further introduce students to a self-regulation continuum. I'll tell them that as a teacher it's my goal to support their learning from dependence on me to independence from me which means that at first I am often in control of the learning, but by the end they are in control of the activity, learning, and follow-up events.
To move from dependence to independence with learning requires questioning, observations, models, mentors, practice, trial and error, strategy, mistakes, and tests.
Good examples of this include learning to ride a bike, walking to the store for the first time, learning to drive a car, baking cookies. I'm sure students will think of many more.
As I continue to review the many learning experiences in the book that lead to greater social emotional learning and skill, I recognize that many of these lessons will be fit in throughout the year as I can find time. Adding to the list below will help me to have a plan about that teaching.
First Weeks of School - Building Classroom Culture and Getting to Know One Another
- Who are You? Strengths and Challenges (Weaknesses) - visualization, "window (shield)" activity, "right sized" proud pig activity.
- What is a Hero? Who are your heroes? Identifying honorable characteristics, finding people to look up to, learn from, and follow in real time, history, and literature, sharing the story of Malala.
- What is your point of view or perception? The birds story, a discussion on classroom needs, wants, and desires.
- Active Reading: The Student Handbook: What do we do well and what can we get better at--how can we shortlist the handbook rules and protocols to a memorable phrase, sign, poem, or acronym? How can we make these rules and protocols are own?
- Just Breathe: Making the most of the mindful moment and other morning routines.
- Goal Setting: Your one word
Math/Science SEL Lessons
- Using visualization in math and science as we learn about and practice with essential tools: color continuum, number lines, rulers, thermometers, place value chart.
- Equations and Expressions: Using self control and choice to assist your learning and performance (Integrating SEL. . .p. 62-68)
- Visualization and Empathy to understand historic context and roles as we read historic texts.
- Self Awareness with Timelines: Students will create a time line that includes a parent or guardian's main event before they were born from birth onward, their own main events, and 4-5 events they imagine for their future. This will be done in technology class.
Team Building and Personal Development Lessons and Activities Throughout the Year
- Think Positive activities and study Note that several of these activities can be integrated with physical education and music class too.
- Self Control Lessons (Integrating SEL chapter 5)