For Counselors: General Prompts

Table of Contents

As you advance through each month of 5 Radical Minutes, additional content will become available.

General Prompts 1-5

Note: Be sure to read the introductory content to your students before jumping into these general prompts. It will help all know what’s coming, and what amazing things you’re going to accomplish together.

Week 1
Introduction

Introduction

Remember to have your bell or cymbal or chime at the ready so it is easy to let students know when you’re moving from paired sharing to finding what they have in common. Using the bell to get their attention will allow you to give the instructions to find what they have in common without having to raise your voice.

Just like in your classroom, we’re using the five minute listening activities where we take turns listening to one another from a heart-centered, compassionate and caring place. We’ll also start with a moment or so of deep breathing and using the stress reduction techniques so we have ourselves in the calmest, most caring place possible as we share our group time together.  I’ll use the bell for when we begin deep breathing, I’ll ring it again when we can open our eyes and face our partner and again when it is time to trade from the listening to the speaking, and finally, when it is time to move to the time when we look for what we have in common.

Let’s begin by taking a moment of breathing deep into our bellies and, each time you exhale, relax a little more and just let go.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Share someplace you went that turned out to be better than you expected, or an experience you had that you maybe weren’t looking forward to but ended up feeling good about it.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Was there anything you found you had in common in your stories?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

When you’re feeling fear or dread about a situation you have to face, remember that it isn’t always as bad as you expected. Think about anything you can do to make it easier in preparation, but also look for what is actually OK about it.

Week 2
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

What is a lesson you learned by someone else’s mistake?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did you have in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

We would all do really well to watch other’s mistakes with compassion, but also to learn things we don’t want to do ourselves. We can save ourselves a lot of heartbreak if we learn from what we see. Focus on being compassionate this week, especially when someone around you makes a mistake.

Week 3
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Talk about a time you saw someone’s feelings hurt. Remember, we are describing an event, but not naming people.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did your stories have in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

Let’s take this week to think about whether it would be helpful to stand up for a person whose feelings are being hurt. (We can’t always, it just depends, but we need to unless there is a reason not to do so.)

Week 4
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Talk about a time your feelings were hurt.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did your stories have in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

This week, watch out for others. If you see someone’s feelings getting hurt, quickly think whether there is a way you can step in with kindness and help the situation.

Week 5
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Talk about anger.

Note: You might go further and suggest they talk about their own anger, but you can also leave it open.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Were there some common threads in your talking about anger?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

This week, notice the things that make you angry, and when you very first notice it, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is any of what is happening my doing or my attitude?” Sometimes we can quiet ourselves down just by being aware.

General Prompts 6-10

Week 6
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Talk about a time you know you hurt someone’s feelings.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Talk about the kinds of feelings you have in common when you know you’ve hurt someone else’s feelings.

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

One Step Further

One Step Further

After they’ve connected in pairs, ask the whole group to help you make the longest list they can of the kinds of feelings we have that bring us to want to hurt someone’s feelings (perhaps anger, fear, frustration, and then make the longest list you can of the feelings we have after we’ve cooled down (perhaps guilt, regret…).  Finally, make a list of the things you can do instead of hurting someone’s feelings (walk away, wait to respond, talk to a trusted friend…)

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

Usually we know that we’re about to say something that will hurt someone’s feelings. This week, watch if that happens for you, and see if you can take two or three deep breaths first, and give yourself that time to make a different decision.

Week 7
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Describe someone whose values you admire. Someone you look up to, who is an example of how you want to be when you’re at your best.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did your descriptions have in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

One Step Further

One Step Further

Have students brainstorm the longest list them can of attributes of people they admire. Generate discussion about how those admired people become the kinds of people they are. Reinforce that one thing they have to do is to continually be willing to make the decision to do what’s best for the situation whether anyone is looking or not. These people have an attitude that takes others into account. These kind of people aren’t just born, they’re supported by school staff and parents, but they also make decisions daily that hone the skills and attitudes they have toward the world.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

This week, look for moments when you have a choice about your reaction or response to a situation and see whether you can bring to mind this person you admire.

Or: Challenge students to look at the list of attributes admirable people have and choose just one that you are going to work on this week.

Week 8
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

What is something you wish adults understood about what it is like to be a kid today?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did you have in common about this?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

One Step Further

One Step Further

Let’s brainstorm ways that you could let adults know those things that would be really helpful for them to know from your perspective. Let’s talk first about who are the safe people for you to try this with? What might you tell them to help them be ready to listen more deeply?

Suggest that they say something like,

I have something that means a lot to me that I’d like to tell you, so I want you to think about when you might have enough time that you aren’t hurried, and that you could just really listen.

When I tell you this, I don’t want your advice or your suggestions or your help right now.  I just want you to listen, and think about it for a whole day, and then maybe we could talk about it again.

Point out that this is different than a 5 Radical Minutes activity, even if that adult knows how 5 Radical Minutes works. Students can certainly teach their parents and others how to do the 5 Radical Minutes process, but there are also sometimes when the most helpful thing for students is to know they’ll be heard, and to know that they won’t have to be on the defensive right away as a parent or adult tries to help them see it another way.

Ask students what else they can think of that will set the stage for adults to listen to them more openly.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

We can’t control whether others will listen to us, especially whether adults will really deeply listen to kids, but there are some ways to approach them that might make it more likely. This week, notice who the adults are that really listen to you. You might take a moment to thank them!

Week 9
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

If you could change a problem we have in our school, what might that be?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Was there anything you had in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

One Step Further

One Step Further

  • Let’s make a list of the kinds of problems you all identified (do so).
  • Let’s brainstorm whether there is just one of these that we think we could do something that might make a difference, and what would that be?
  • What would the very first step be?
challenge

Weekly Challenge

If there was something your group thought they could tackle, encourage them to take that first step. If not, suggest they be on the lookout for a suggestion they could bring to the group.

Week 10
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

What are the traditions you have in your family that you will want to continue as an adult?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Instead of looking at whether you had traditions in common, tell your partner at least one thing that makes a tradition meaningful.

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

One Step Further

One Step Further

What are the traditions we have in our school that you like? What makes it work? Are there any you don’t like?  What makes that so?

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

This week you might think about whether there is a tradition we should have in our group. Let me know if you come up with something.

General Prompts 11-12

Week 11
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

We expect that all of you will be adults some day. What is one thing you would like to do for all the kids in your life when you’re an adult? Not necessarily a parent, but just all the kids that might be in your life… neighbors, maybe associated with your work…

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Did you have anything in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

This week, notice the adults that do things with or for kids, and think more about who you might want to be to the kids in your life when you’re an adult.

Week 12
prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the teacher is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the teacher is not paired with a student, the teacher could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

What was the kindest thing someone ever did for you?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of sharing time.

Note: Two-minutes is the goal, but these first few prompts may go quite a bit more quickly. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

How were your stories similar?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This goal is based on our weekly prompt, and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge throughout the week.

See if you have an opportunity this week to do something remarkably kind for someone.