For Elementary Teachers: Month 4

Week One

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

A word we’re hearing used a lot these days is “grit.”  Grit is a combination of passion, courage, and perseverance. People with grit work hard, keep commitments, and learn from mistakes instead of giving up because of difficulties that might arise. With your partner today, give examples of people you know or people you know of, either friends or people in history, who had grit.

Connecting

Connecting

What did your examples have in common?  Are there ways friends can help one another develop or gain grit?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, think about the lessons we might learn from people with grit and look for opportunities to help one another.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone notice grit today? Did someone keep going even when it was hard?

tip

Prepare

Note: Wednesday we’ll be watching a video.

Thursday, our Community Circles will be in smaller groups of 4-6. Everyone will participate in a sketching activity. You’ll need one copy of the sketching activity sheet for each group.

Day 2
Introduction

Introduction

Today we’re going to talk about creativity. Creativity shows itself in many ways. Sometimes it’s using the imagination to invent things or make things work better. Look around the classroom and notice all the things we have here: the glass in the windows or doors, our desks, our pencils and crayons. Fire hydrants, police cars, ballerina tutus… Someone invented all these things! And other people figured out how to get all the materials we need from our planet.

prompt

Prompt

What are some ways we can be creative?

Connecting

Connecting

What about your examples could inspire you to be more creative? What have you seen outside of your screen that inspired you and made you think differently about creating something? It might have been a sunset, a walk on the ocean or along a river, something clever that someone built or sidewalk art!

challenge

Daily Challenge

Take some time to notice the things around you today and let them inspire you to be creative as well.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who noticed creativity around them today? Who was inspired by what they saw?

Day 3
Introduction

Introduction

Sketching is to draw quickly without a lot of detail. It’s often used to capture an idea. It’s also a way to be creative! Today we’re going to talk about the value of sketching.

Watch the video about sketching.

prompt

Prompt

Because our video was 2:50, reduce the prompt response time to about 45 seconds each.

How is drawing a picture on paper different than writing words or talking?

Connecting

Connecting

Let students connect with one another for the remaining 40 seconds.

Think about all the ways we communicate with one another. Talk about something you remember because of the pictures that were used. We have maps in the classroom, and sometimes we [draw math problems, illustrate stories, explain things] to help us learn.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, notice the way drawings can tell us different stories than talking or writing might. Try grabbing a pen or pencil and paper to communicate something to a friend and see how it changes conversation. Maybe it’s as simple as a sticky note with a smiley face to leave on a desk. Or maybe it can help you solve a problem!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did someone draw something today to encourage someone or solve a problem.

Tomorrow we’re going to be in small group circles to do a shared sketch together. (groups of 4) Encourage your students to remember what you’ve viewed today because tomorrow they’re going to use it!

Day 4
Introduction

Introduction

Divide your class into groups of 4. Remind them of the sketching video and discussion from yesterday and pass out one piece of paper per small group. Consider a scenario in which there is a problem or difficulty. It could be blame for calling someone a name, spilling a drink on someone, forgetting to share, taking someone’s seat at lunch, etc. If you’d like, have the class come up with the idea.

Hand out one sketching activity sheet to each group.

prompt

Prompt

Today we’re going to create a sketch together about someone blaming someone for something. We want to find a way to make things better. [Name the scenario you’ve decided on for your class.]

  • For the first 2 minutes, have one person in your group sketch the basic situation. Pass the sheet to everyone in the group, and let each person adds something that keeps the problem going.
  • For the second 2 minutes, pass the sheet around again. This time, let everyone add something that tries to make things better. What a difference this can make!
Connecting

Connecting

Get with another group of four and take one minute together to share what your group learned by doing this.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, look for one time that you could sketch something that is happening between two or more people. Take time if you can at the moment, or if not, try doing one sketch tonight at home about something from your day. Sketches can show how things happen, not just one particular moment. Stretch it out a bit. Experiment with how it is different when two or more people share the process.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone have a chance to sketch today? Does someone have plans to sketch tonight?

Day 5
Introduction

Stress Reduction Circle Day

Introduction

We will do one more video on mindfulness today, and then we’ll start alternating some days when we just do mindfulness, and some days when we watch videos about it. This is a quick, fun video where kids share why they like meditation. Then we’ll have our Paired Sharing again, but for shorter times because of the video.

Today we’re going to watch a video together before we hear our prompt.

Watch the video together.

prompt

Prompt

Today you each have 1 minute to identify two or three areas that you can imagine improving when you learn to meditate. What kinds of skills or activities would you like to see be a little easier?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, just try this one thing… when you feel overwhelmed or upset or stressed, take one really deep breath and release your breath as quickly as your body wants to exhale. Sometimes just taking one deep breath gives us time to relax.  Try it!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

How many of you took deep breaths today when you felt overwhelmed or upset or stressed? How did it help you?

Week Two

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

When people lived a very long time ago, tribes were very important for safety. People needed more than just their family to survive the rigors and threats of the jungles or forests. Tribes helped one another make it through life every day! Now think about cliques in our school. They are a little bit like a tribe, in that they are people who might think like we do, want to help us feel better when we’re sad or bad things happen, and maybe they dress sort of like we do. But now that we don’t have lions and tigers and bears chasing us, our need for tribes or cliques is very different. Not letting others join our group or club or clique has negative impact to people on both sides – those who don’t let someone in and those who are left out.  With your time, talk about the ways in which you see cliques having negative impacts on students and our school as a whole.

Connecting

Connecting

With your one minute of connection, see if you can come up with one idea for how kids could open up their cliques and groups and include kids who might not be just like them.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Try looking at the people around you differently today. Maybe you could say hi to someone you wouldn’t normally, or compliment someone to add a smile to their day. Today, turn to your partner and state, “Today, I will….” then fill in the blank. Here’s an example: “Today, I will talk to someone I don’t know very well, who might be very different than me.”

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

How did your “I will…” statements go today? How did you feel about making those happen? Was it scary? Did you feel good afterwards? Who wants to share?

tip

Prepare

Note: Thursday we’ll be watching a video and Friday is a Stress Reduction Day.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

Our culture puts a lot of pressure on men and boys to “man up” or to be tough. Because of this, we make it really difficult for men and boys to show their emotions. What are some down sides of this? Who ends up getting hurt by this? How does it keep boys from understanding their own feelings and those of loved ones?

Connecting

Connecting

Based on the response to today’s prompt, talk about some ways we can encourage men and boys to feel safe sharing how they feel.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Expectations can be difficult to face. Before you respond to things today, take just a few moments to ask yourself WHY you’re responding as you are. Knowing we don’t have to behave a certain way just because people expect us to can feel really good! Rather than depending other people’s expectations, though, our expectations of ourselves needs to be that we are respectful of others and kind.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone’s expectations of themselves change today? Did you think a lot about being respectful and kind to others?

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Generate the longest list of women who have done some amazing things, but not because they were beautiful or feminine; rather because they were bright and strong and had grit?

Connecting

Connecting

When you look at the list of women you and your partner named, what things did they have in common that helped them become successful? Are they just “girl talents” or can everyone learn those same qualities? What can you do to learn similar things?

challenge

Daily Challenge

What is one of your positive qualities that you could use today to excel or to more openly be who you really are, in ways that are kind and generous?

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Who used their positive qualities today? Who was kind and generous to others? Did it feel pretty great?

tip

Prepare

Note:  Next week you’ll be using a template for students to draw their anger on a t-shirt.  So you’ll have time to run off copies, a link to that download is here.

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle

Prompt

Divide everyone into groups of 4-6. Play this video up to 1:15, just the boy running and the boy at the baseball game.

Go around the circle and share what this short video meant to you when you think about greatness. Why did they show such different examples of greatness – a kid who looks like he is really good at his sport and a boy who is really having to work hard to run.  What makes them both great?

Connecting

Connecting

How can you pursue greatness? What’s something you’d like to learn or grow in?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today be mindful that everyone has the potential for greatness. Imagine the best in everyone you see!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did it help to look at everyone around you as having greatness inside? This is a way we can respect others and really make our world a better place.

Day 5
prompt

Stress Reduction Day

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE. The goal for today is to help students get comfortable with silence in the room and to quiet down internally.

When it is your turn, share with the group one part of your day that you would enjoy more if everybody were more kind.

Connecting

Connecting

See if a few students want to share how this quietness might be changing how they handle various stressors in their lives.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Think about the things covered in today’s Blue Sky Moment and consider using these tools whenever you feel stress throughout your day. What seems like a very simple practice of breathing can really help calm you down!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did anyone have the opportunity to practice their breathing today? How did it help change how you felt?

Week Three

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

Our culture puts a lot of pressure on girls to be pretty, to be attractive, to be a certain way.  We now have lots of role models who aren’t that way, but there is still a lot of the old messaging in advertising and media. How do those kinds of negative role expectations limit girls and young women?  Who makes these decisions and what do THEY gain when you follow these expectations? What gets lost for those who believe this message?

Connecting

Connecting

Talk about the difficulties kids your age face when they try to meet these appearance standards. How can you remember that you’re beautiful the way you’re uniquely made?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, take some time to notice the people around you and compliment them on things that aren’t appearance based: their personality, their smile, their laugh, their kindness, etc.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did you pass out meaningful compliments today that were about WHO a person is rather than what they look like? Our class is getting more and more kind every week!

tip

Prepare

Note: Tomorrow we’ll be watching another video together. Thursday’s Community Circle requires post-it notes.

Day 2
Introduction

Introduction

It may be helpful to read today’s video as it plays so your students don’t miss any key concepts.

Today we’re going to talk about the difference between being smart — what the video calls intelligence — and being wise. Here’s a video that describes 6 differences between the two.

Watch the video here.

prompt

Prompt

Shorten the response time to 2 minutes to keep things within the allotted 5 minutes.

What’s the biggest difference between being really smart and being wise?

Connecting

Connecting

Where or in whom do you see wisdom in our school?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Choose something about wisdom that you can practice today. Here’s a list to remind you:

  • Wisdom tries to change inside instead of changing others
  • Wisdom doesn’t blame others
  • Wisdom is happy
  • Wisdom supports others and their efforts
  • Wisdom stays neutral
  • Wisdom strives to be a friend
High Five Finale

High Five Finale

How many wise students are in this classroom? What did you learn by practicing wisdom today?

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Describe how it would look if you were going to design a line of clothing, or a special t-shirt or shirt with a logo or image that best describes you.  This isn’t to focus on the brands of clothes that are cool.  This is about your own self-expression.  Talk about the importance of color, of words or pictures on the clothes, and how bright or subtle images would be to match who you are on the inside.

Connecting

Connecting

How would it be different if everyone really dressed in a way that exactly expressed who they really were?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today let yourself look past what kids are wearing and try to see who they really are on the inside.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did you see the people around you with new eyes today? Who learned something they want to share?

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle Day

Prompt

Divide the classroom into groups of 4-6. You will need post-it notes for today’s activity.

Traits are particular ways people behave. It doesn’t describe what they look like, but more about the person they are on the inside: courageous, patient, compassionate, fair. For the first three minutes, with your group, come up with as many positive traits you can. These are all the reasons we might especially enjoy someone, respect someone, admire someone, or really like being around them …. Put each positive trait on a post-it note.

Connecting

Connecting

Invite everyone to assemble these ideas all together and leave them up for a while. (chalkboard, flipchart, bulletin board, etc.)

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, make a commitment to notice positive traits in others: “Today I will ….” Here’s an example: “Today, I will find something unique and specific about someone and compliment them on it – something I respect or admire or enjoy.”

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

How did your intentional statements go today? Who found something unique and specific about someone around them today and complimented them on it?

Day 5
prompt

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Make this commitment today: Today I will find at least three times when I can use breathing to calm myself down, increase my focus or take time to be more patient.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

We committed to finding three times to use breathing to calm ourselves down today. How did that go for you? Does someone want to share how it helped today?

Week Four

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

If a movie star, musician, or famous YouTuber could come to have lunch with you here at school, who would you want that to be and why?

Connecting

Connecting

Did your famous people have anything in common?  Are they of interest because they’re popular or because they inspire you in some way?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Let’s all remember to be encouraging today!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Were we all inspirational and encouraging to one another today? Who wants to share what someone did or said that encouraged them today?

tip

Prepare

Note: You’ll need post-it notes for Wednesday. Thursday will be a Community Circle Day and Friday will be a Blue Sky Moment.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

When you want to be alone with your thoughts, where are some of the places you go?  Are there ways you can create that kind of space for yourself every now and again during the school day? How can we respectfully let people know we need space?

Connecting

Connecting

How can we be more conscious of other’s need for space at times? What are some things we as a school could do to create those opportunities for people throughout the school day?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, notice whether others’ needs for space may be greater or less than yours. If you find that you or someone around you needs space, remember that it isn’t about not wanting to be with you all of the time, but that we all need balance. So we don’t have to take that personally.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Did you have conversations with your friends today about needing space? Did anyone learn anything interesting?

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Who are some of the people at school or in your life who understand how to help kids with positive self-esteem? What do they do that is helpful or supportive? What is it that they do that is encouraging? Talk about their behavior, actions, and attitudes you really appreciate.

Connecting

Connecting

What are some of the first steps you could make to support one another in building positive self-esteem? Write your ideas on post-it notes so everyone in the class can learn together.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, go out of your way to support someone around you. Remember that sometimes even people who appear confident need an extra shot of positive reinforcement.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Were we all encouraging to one another today? What was something that some did or said that was encouraging to you?

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle

Prompt

Divide students into groups of 4-6.

In your group, come up with at least one but maybe several ideas for what students could do to help make school a more positive experience. This could be posting inspirational quotes or creating posters…. Maybe visual things or something altogether different.  It could even be a collaborative art piece… be creative!

Connecting

Connecting

For today’s connecting time, each group has 30 seconds to share their best idea. We’ll still collect ALL ideas.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, think about ways you personally can improve school climate. Start acting on them today!

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

How was your day different as you focused on making school a more positive, encouraging place?

Day 5
prompt

Stress Reduction Circle Day

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Think about the things covered in today’s Blue Sky Moment and consider using these tools whenever you feel stress throughout your day. What seems like a very simple practice of breathing can really help calm you down!  You can learn to use this to improve your concentration when you’re doing tests or when you’re needing to be patient or understanding.

Consider this I WILL statement: Today I will find at least three times when I can use breathing to calm myself down, increase my focus or take time to be more patient.

High Five Finale

High Five Finale

Were test or quizzes a bit smoother today as a result of remembering to breathe a little differently? Did anyone use breathing to help in another way today?