For Elementary Teachers: Month 2

Week One

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

Learning new things actually changes our brain; it does more than just put facts into a memory bank. And the more we learn all along, the easier it will be all through life to learn new things.

prompt

Prompt

What is something you’d be interested in learning in the next year or two?  It can be something that has nothing at all to do with our academic learning at school. It could be about the universe or something in nature or how something works or whatever interests you.

Connecting

Connecting

What did you find most interesting about your partner’s interests?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Learning is about a whole lot more than school. People who become mountain climbers have to learn many different things to become good and to stay safe. People who do long bike races need to understand how to fix their bikes and how to train. Whatever you want to do, there is likely lots to learn about it. Think of one topic you’d like to learn about over the next few weeks and tell someone about it!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who has a great thing to learn? Who heard about something really cool to learn from a friend?

tip

Prepare

Note: Tomorrow can either end in the usual paired conversation OR the last minute could be a moment when students write their best idea about the prompt on a post-it note and all the ideas are posted on a flip chart paper so students can look at everyone’s ideas.

Note: At the end of this week, you will have your first Community Circle.  Consider language that is fitting for your group when you decide what to call the circles. You might call them Community Circles, Circle Time, A Circle Gathering, or whatever might work.  This link has more information about the functions of having the circles and how you might approach them. Take the latitude you need to in order for them to work well with your students.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

Some of what we’ll do with our five minutes is share ideas to help one another. Today, talk about all the ideas you have for how to help yourself get to sleep at night. You can share your own ideas or those you’ve heard work for others.

Connecting

Connecting

Was there anything you had in common?

challenge

Daily Challenge

There are lots of different reasons we have difficulty sleeping sometimes.  Worrying about tests, worrying about people we love, stress, and even being really excited for something to come! It is really helpful to have lots of ideas for helping ourselves get to sleep. Look over our list throughout the week and see if you have anything more to add!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who will approach going to bed a bit differently tonight? I can’t wait to see how you all feel tomorrow!

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

This one is about nature. Share what you notice and what you like or don’t like about the seasons of the year. What activities do you like that are dependent on certain seasons?

Connecting

Connecting

For your last minute, have a conversation about why seasons are important.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Seasons give us options for different kinds of sports and different kinds of plants. Winters allow snow to get deep in the mountains so we can have water in our rivers and streams during the drier summer seasons. There are lots of reasons most regions of our world have seasons. Today, notice a few things that are great about the season we’re in right now.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who wants to share something about this season we’re in right now that they appreciate.

Day 4
Introduction

Introduction

Sometimes we’ll have topics that probably touch all of our lives, but we don’t have to talk from our own personal experience. For instance, the prompt might be “Talk about anger. What happens when people are angry? What happens when people manage their anger really well?  What does that take?” So with that example, you don’t have to talk about your own anger or anger that someone had toward you. We’re talking about it more generally. So the concept is not to talk about the people, but to talk about the emotion or attribute itself.  We’re starting with something other than anger today.

prompt

Prompt

Talk about the importance of honesty, or of telling the truth. What can happen when people don’t tell the truth, or only tell part of the truth?

Connecting

Connecting

What did you both notice?

challenge

Daily Challenge

There are so many reasons that being truthful is important. One that matters most is that whether people trust you often rests on whether they experience you as being honest. Notice today moments when you’re very truthful, and any moments when you might want to hide the truth a little. Do they make you feel differently?

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone feel good about remembering to tell the whole truth today? I hope we all feel that all the time, because it’s a really great feeling!

Day 5
Introduction

Introduction

Today is the first time we will do a circle instead of pairing up. We are going to use this Circle Time in several ways. One will be to create a greater sense of community in our class. Another is that if we have a shared dilemma, such as too many students talking during class time, or [give an example that might be true for your class], we can use circle times to quickly come up with ideas on how to solve that problem. We will also use Circle Time to learn new skills together and, most important, some circles will just be for fun. Because we just have five minutes and we have [30?  How many?] students, you’ll each just have 10 seconds [or how many seconds?] to reply to the prompt, so I’ll give us all about 20 seconds to think of our response. Narrow your reply into maybe two sentences. That’s all! And anyone who wishes can just say “pass” and it will move to the next person.

prompt

Prompt

Today we’re going to focus on lunch time. You can tell the group anything you’d like in your allotted [10] seconds. You can tell us what you wish the school would serve that isn’t now on the menu. You can talk about what you’d like done so you can have more options during lunchtime. Maybe you want to talk about the noise level. Whatever you’d like in terms of what you would like to see happen differently at lunch. Let’s take just a moment to think about it and we’ll begin.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, pay attention at lunch time to see what might help that time be more enjoyable for everyone. And to even try to understand why some of the rules are in place.

Note: Make a comment of appreciation for efforts they made to stay within their timeslots or any other positive comment or compliment you can make.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Was lunchtime a bit different for you today? Did anyone learn anything new in observing lunch after our Community Circle time together?

Week Two

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

This is one of those prompts that gives you the choice to talk about something you’ve seen, not necessarily something that happened to you. Remember, when we do these, we don’t talk about a specific person, but just what we saw happen. So we’re not talking about the person, but about what happened to someone.

prompt

Prompt

Talk about a time you saw someone’s feelings get hurt. Include your thoughts about how you think that person may have felt, perhaps talk about what you did, and what you think that person wanted others to do to help him or her in that moment.

Connecting

Connecting

What did your stories have in common?

challenge

Daily Challenge

We often see someone’s feelings get hurt. What is important is what we do to help or encourage that person in the moment. When we see someone’s feelings get hurt, especially when we can see it is on purpose, we need to stand up for them in whatever way is safe – however we are able. Notice people’s feelings today and be ready to stand up for someone if you need to.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Were you paying attention to other people’s feelings today? Sometimes when we do that we notice what makes other people around us happy, too! That’s a great surprise we might not have known before.

tip

Prepare

Note: Friday will be another Community Circle Day.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

Have you ever been somewhere that was really interesting to you? Today we get to share about interesting places.  Depending on the type of place, you might talk about what the space was like, or the plants, or the people, or the activities that were a part of your visit.

Connecting

Connecting

What can you find in common in terms of what you both find makes a place interesting?

challenge

Daily Challenge

We understand people better when we go places outside of our normal everyday life. Travel is one of the best ways to do this, even if it isn’t too far away from where we live. More, it is going someplace out of your ordinary. Sometimes we forget that our ordinary is very different from someone else’s everyday life. Today, notice things that might make our own city / town interesting to someone who might be traveling here.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Was today a bit more interesting, just from looking at things from a new perspective? Who has something interesting to share about their day? We live in a pretty interesting place, even if it might be seem ordinary to us sometimes.

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

This one is just for fun… If you could change one school rule, what would it be and why? How would that make students happier? Even if it’s a silly rule change like bringing all our pets to school.

Connecting

Connecting

Did you have anything in common about your rule changes?

challenge

Daily Challenge

We all know that schools have to have rules so we keep everybody safe and we know where everybody is all the time, but if you really had a good idea for how something could be improved, let me know! Today, notice what makes your fellow students happiest about school. And also what frustrates them. This is a good place to start when we think about improving things.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did everyone notice what makes people happy today? Did anyone think of something we could improve around school to keep up that happiness?

Day 4
Introduction

Introduction

This prompt is in preparation for the stress reduction exercises. A great place to start is by having students identify all the kinds of stressors they can identify. At this point, we don’t want students feeling like they have to talk about their own stress from a personal place, but rather identifying all the kinds of stressors they see that people in our world experience.

Today we’re going to talk about all the ways that people in our world feel stress — things that make them worried or uncomfortable inside. This isn’t a time when you have to talk about what worries or makes you feel uncomfortable personally, but rather to help us see how many different types of situations can make people feel stress.

prompt

Prompt

During your sharing today, talk about circumstances that cause people stress. You might want to talk about people you see on the news. Certainly most people in our lives experience stress of some sort. Remember we can talk about something we know happens in people’s lives and not name the people. You might start your sentences, “People feel stress when _____.”

Connecting

Connecting

What did your examples have in common?

challenge

Daily Challenge

We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can control how we respond. In future days, we’re going to have some time to learn how to manage stress. It will help us for the rest of our lives! Today, just notice when you start to feel stress levels rising. Very soon we’ll learn ways to help ourselves handle stress.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone notice when they started to feel a little stressed? Keep noticing and you’ll be able to catch it earlier and earlier. And soon we’ll learn what to do about it so we can feel better when we experience stress.

Day 5
Introduction

Introduction

Today for our circle, we’re each going to describe one thing that people do to show that they care about one another. We aren’t going to name names, but just describe what someone could do. So you might say, “Friends might help you with your homework.” Or “Friends might want to spend time with you outside of school.” “Or, friends like to listen when you have a story to share.” Take a moment to think about one example of how friends show one another that they care.

prompt

Prompt

Share one example of how friends show one another they care.

Connecting

Connecting

Let’s hear from a few of you. What did you notice about our comments?

challenge

Daily Challenge

For the rest of today, notice when people do something supportive for someone else!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who saw someone caring about someone else today? As you watched, did it make you feel better too? Our actions impact other people, and sometimes we don’t even know it. Keep caring about other people as you go home today.

Week Three

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

With your partner today, talk about the kinds of things your teachers do to help students feel safe.

Connecting

Connecting

For your last minute, see if there is anything you’d like us to do in our school to make sure students feel more safe.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, notice times you feel the safest here at school.

challenge

High Five Finale

Feeling safe is one of the best feelings ever, isn’t it? Did you all feel safe today? Who wants to share a time they felt really safe today?

tip

Prepare

Note: This Friday’s circle is the first stress reduction circle activity. Review this guide so you are prepared on Friday. Also, please watch the one-minute videoahead of time.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

We learn a lot from the lives of people in history. Many people from long ago were really, really smart! If you could have dinner with one person from history – someone who died before you were born – who would that be? What would you want to ask? What would be interesting about that person or his/her life?

Connecting

Connecting

What made your choice of people interesting?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Sometimes we get so used to our devices that we don’t think to learn things that could be helpful if we lose them. Think about this: a very long time ago, sailors who crossed the oceans knew where they were by looking at the stars. Think how lost we would get if we tried to find our way around by looking at the stars! Today, think about the skills we have lost because of our electronics. It might inspire you to learn some new skills!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone think of something they’d like to learn that people use electronics for right now?

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

If you could have some time with someone you really admire, who would that be and where would you like to go together or what would you like to do together?

Connecting

Connecting

What did your people have in common?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, see if you can find good qualities in someone around you. We can usually find one or two things we can admire in people when we really look, even in people we might not know that well. And even in people we might think we don’t like!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did someone see a great quality in someone that they might have missed before? Don’t name the person but tell us what that great quality was. Sometimes finding good qualities in people can feel like a treasure hunt!

Day 4
prompt

Prompt

When life is tough, there’s usually something we reach for to make things feel better, and often it’s food. We call these “comfort foods.” Do you have a favorite food that makes you feel better? Is it good for you or maybe not so healthy?

Connecting

Connecting

Did you have anything in common about your choices in comfort food?

challenge

Daily Challenge

One thing for us to think about is that some comfort foods we choose are probably healthy enough for us, but maybe some are not. Today, notice what other options you also have for when you’re wanting comfort.

High Five Finale

High Five FInale

Did someone wish for their comfort food today? Did someone maybe think about changing up their comfort food?

Day 5
prompt

Introduction: Stress Reduction Circle Day

Stress is the uncomfortable feeling we have when we have more homework than we can finish in a night and we have to make choices about what to leave undone.

Stress can be the uncomfortable feeling we have when we have to choose between finishing homework and getting enough sleep.

Kids can feel stress when their parents work long hours and the kids in the family have to take on more responsibility than they feel they can manage.

Although we all know that stress is an uncomfortable feeling inside us, there is more to it than that. Stress can make other things hard, too! It keeps us from being able to concentrate on school work, it can make us distracted and take us off task. Stress can make it hard to concentrate on tests, but it also interferes with how well we can play sports and how healthy our friendships are. Before we start our paired sharing, we’re going to watch a one-minute video of someone many of you will recognize – Kobe Bryant.  Can anybody tell us who he is?  [Let a student tell the class he is a basketball star.] He has become really successful, and he has a skill that can help anyone improve in sports, in school; it could be helpful in any kind of skill.  So let’s hear what he has to say.

prompt

Prompt

In your paired sharing today, you’ll each have 90 seconds to talk since we took a minute for the video. Your prompt is to each name all of the areas in students’ lives that could improve if they could control stress. Each of you make the longest list you can.

Connecting

Connecting

How many things were similar in your lists?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, notice when stress interferes with your life.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Stress can really affect, can’t it? Even little choices like who to sit with at lunch or what to say when your name is called. Who experienced stress today?

Remind students that everyone feels stress from time to time so it’s not uncommon or abnormal.

Week Four

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

The Olympics are special in several ways. They bring all different cultures from around the world together to watch people who are really talented athletically and dedicated to a particular sport. There are people who make it into the Olympics who come from very ordinary backgrounds, just like us.

prompt

Prompt

If you could have a ticket to go to the Olympics to watch one sport or competition, what would it be and why?

Connecting

Connecting

Did you have anything in common?

challenge

Daily Challenge

If you are good at something, or if you very much enjoy something, keep striving! Keep trying! Nobody ever looks back when they’re older and says, “Oh, I wish I had never been any good at sports or piano or whatever.” More often, we look back and wish we HAD done something more creative, or had practiced more, or worked harder. Today, really think about what you’re good at. See if there’s a skill you already have that you’d like to improve, or one you’d like to learn.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did you realize your talents today? Is there some skill you decided you want to improve? It’s exciting when we make those kind of discoveries about ourselves.

tip

Prepare

Note: Thursday is a fun day and Friday another circle day… look ahead to plan accordingly. On Friday, students will watch another video. Please watch this ahead of time and have it ready.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

Describe one or several people with whom you most enjoy spending time and talk about why. It might be that they make you laugh, or that they listen, or forget about your problems… And we’re practicing not naming names, but rather describing that person’s traits – what they do that we so enjoy.

Connecting

Connecting

How were your descriptions of enjoyable people similar?

challenge

Daily Challenge

It is wonderful to have a range of people we enjoy. One thing about using this program is that some of you will find new friends in the process. Today, look for traits you appreciate in the people around you. There might be more than you think!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone realize that they’ve made new friends this year? Using 5 Radical Minutes every day will help you make more and more friends throughout the year.

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

People in other countries often live differently than we do here in America. They have different traditions, different foods, and often dress differently as well. When groups of people live the same way, we call it “culture.” Take a moment to think about culture, and then share your thoughts about a culture that is quite different from ours that could be interesting to visit. What makes that culture of interest?

Connecting

Connecting

What thoughts did you have in common about other cultures?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Being with people from other cultures can make us both appreciate our own more and also help us see the beauty and value of how other cultures live. Today, look for things in our own culture that are unique and really beautiful!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who noticed beautiful things about our own culture? Who wants to share what they noticed?

Day 4
Introduction

Introduction

Today is a fun day again… use a circle format.

prompt

Prompt

Introduce your activity… whether it be a video, dance, skit, etc. Remember that the goal today is laughter!

Connecting

Connecting

With your partner, just talk about what you enjoyed most.

challenge

Daily Challenge

It is good to just have fun sometimes! Notice things that make you smile today. Do you have suggestions for your teacher that would be great for our fun days? Please let him or her know!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone remember to keep smiling today? Fun adds to much goodness to our lives, and helps make our days go better.

Day 5
Introduction

Introduction: Stress Reduction Circle Day

Today we’re going to watch a little longer video, and at the end of it, instead of our usual paired sharing, you’ll just be doing the connecting part this time, so we won’t be doing the talking/listening part as usual, just connecting for the last minute.

prompt

Prompt

Watch the Mindfulness Basics video here.

Connecting

Connecting

Who were you most surprised to see in the video? Did you already know that music stars are using breathing and mindfulness in order to be better musicians, but also to be better people? So who was a surprise?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, continue to be aware of what stresses you out both at school and afterward.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did you remember to keep noticing stress in your body? Soon we’ll be learning ways to make these stressful times a bit easier to handle.