Monday, July 17, 2017

Teaching kids about Resiliency

We all want the best for the kids we teach, and we all want each student to be able to reach their full potential. For the most part we as teachers have control over the lessons we teach and the classroom environment. We do not have control over what happens when the kids go home and issues such as poverty, trauma, and other factors in our student’s home lives. So what can we do? In my classroom I place a huge emphasis on teaching resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to recover, heal, or cope with trauma in our lives. We can teach resiliency in our classroom by using picture books! 

 My favourite picture books are: 

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
-My mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook 
-Have you filled Your Bucket Today?: A Guide for Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud
-Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
-When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children who live with Anxiety by Kari Dunn Buron
-You’ve got Dragons by Kathryn Cave 

When using picture books in my classroom I tend to use a place mat strategy where I give each student a piece of white paper and while I’m reading the story, I stop periodically and ask the students to write or draw their connections, predictions, questions, or observations based their learning and their personal experiences. 

Another strategy I sometimes use with picture books is to give the students play dough and have them create their connections to the story using the play dough.

Art is another medium that can be easily integrated into this heavy subject area, and it might be easier for students who have had traumatic experiences in their lives to express themselves more freely with art verses with writing. 

In my classroom I also explicitly teach students about emotions. We learn about the different emotions and different times that we may feel these emotions. We list emotion words, we write stories that include emotion words, and analyze different situations on emotion cards and how each person in the situation might feel and why based their body
language, facial expression, and other questions, we then role play and act out appropriate ways to react in different situations. I place a big emphasis on how it is okay to have emotions, and it is okay to talk about our emotions. Each of the resources mentioned can be found in my Social and Emotional Learning Unit. 

Another unit perfect for teaching about resiliency is my Friendship Unit. This unit is really an anti bullying unit, but instead of focusing on the bully, I believe it is best to focus on the positive and focus on how we can be better friends to ourselves and others. There are many activities includes in this unit including a kindness chain. This activity promotes kindness in the classroom by having students find ways to be kind to one another and writing down their kind deeds. This kind of
activity generates on ongoing culture of kindness in the classroom, is great for classroom meetings, and is a positive way for students to earn attention. Whats in my heart collage allows students to think about the people and things that they love and encourages students to be friends with themselves. The friendship bingo game has students talk to their classmates, ask them questions, find out commonalities. This unit is full of practical lesson ideas great for helping students be friends with themselves and others. 

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