For Elementary Teachers: Month 5

Week One

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

This week we’re going to focus on creativity. On the board, write the following:

  • Everyone is creative

Today we’re going to watch a video on creativity. Pay attention to how the video defines creativity.

Show the video.

prompt

Prompt

Our sharing time is shorter because the video was long…  During your time to talk, tell your partner any new ideas you got from the video about what it means to be creative.

Connecting

Connecting

Instead of our usual sharing in pairs about what we had in common, today we’re going to do popcorn style, hands up, let’s have lots of you share with the whole class one new idea you got from the video.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today just look for things around you that someone created – pictures that someone drew, pictures someone took with a camera, things people built… just look around you for things people have made.  See if you can imagine how someone needed to be creative to make that item.

tip

Prepare

Thursday is a Community Circle. Please read this one in advance, as it’s a little different than the typical Community Circle.

Friday is a Blue Sky Moment.

Day 2
Introduction

Introduction

On the board, write the following:

  • “We all have creativity inside us.”

Today we’re going to do a quick activity to become more aware of the creativity we all have inside us.

prompt

Prompt

Today we’re just going to look around our room and see all the things that someone made.  Every single one of them used the creative part of someone’s mind because it started out as an idea.  For example, look at the chairs that go with our (desks/tables).  Someone had to think of many things before they could make them. They had to think about how they would be the right size for kids your age.  They had to make sure they would (slide under the table/fit with the rest of the desk).  They had to think of what they should use for materials – wood? plastic? And they had to choose what color to use.  So now, look around the room and choose something other than a chair, and tell your partner the creative thinking someone had to use to plan for how to make that item.

Connecting

Connecting

Were any of your ideas about a creative mind similar?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today when you are out for recess or at lunch, look around you for things that people made for us to use in schools, and think about the creative ideas they had to have before they could make those items.

Day 3
Introduction

Introduction

On the board, write “tree” and – if you are artistically inclined enough, perhaps draw several different kinds of trees… an evergreen pine tree, a big, leafy oak-type tree, an apple tree… just a small variety of trees. With this one, especially younger students may be all talked-out in a shorter time, so you may want to shorten their sharing time based on what you see.

Today we’re going to think about creativity again.

prompt

Prompt

I [drew these different types of trees on the board] or [put these images of trees on the overhead].

There are lots of kinds of trees in our world! When it is your turn to speak, talk about all the ways trees are useful in nature and all the ways we benefit from trees as well.

Connecting

Connecting

Talk with each other about the ideas your partner had that you didn’t think of.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Think about this!  Every idea that your partner had that you didn’t have is an example of a creative mind. And every idea you had that your partner didn’t have shows you that YOU have a creative mind.  Creativity is all about how we can all think differently about the same thing, and when it comes to creativity, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer!

Day 4
Introduction

Community Circle Day

Introduction

Write “Flexibility of thought” on the board.

This is probably an easy one for whole class. Have a whole class group discussion or divide into smaller groups if that works more easily for your group. This can be done while standing.

When we do the whole group circles and we’re generating ideas, I want each participant to get the same cheering from the whole group as everyone else. This is about participating, not being the best. We’re going around the circle three times.

  • The first time is to practice cheering for one another. Exactly the same for each person. So the first time around, step forward and greet the group. Just one big step, not into the very center. Say “hello” or “howdy” or whatever you wish. There aren’t enough greetings that we can all have something different. Just call out whatever comes to mind. Then EVERYBODY cheers.
  • Then the second time, each one of you steps into the circle and that time will be to show us with your body what kids look like when they are shy. YOU might not be shy at all, but what can you do with your body to show us what a shy person might do?  Everybody cheers.
  • And the third time, step forward into the circle and show us what someone looks like when they’re really excited. And everybody cheers again.
  • If we have time after that, I’ll ask for your ideas of what we can show with our bodies and maybe we can do another round or two.

Note: If you have some very shy students and this might seem too intimidating, you might suggest that they physically demonstrate an animal that is shy, and then they can say or kids could guess what animal they’re portraying…so shy might look like a bunny. Be sure to note that there won’t be enough different animals for everyone to come up with a new one. Just think of the animal that represents shy (then excited, etc.) and even if someone else did that one, it can be yours as well.

prompt

Prompt

First time around the circle:Just greet us. Everybody cheer for everybody.

(do that)

Second time around the circle: Show us the body language of someone who is shy.

(do that)

Third time around the circle: This time show us what someone might do  [or an animal might do] if they just won a contest or had some reason to be really excited.   (remind everybody to cheer)

(do that, and if you have more time, do more of them using the students’ ideas)

Now just popcorn style: Anybody pop up and tell us one of the replies you found most interesting.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today notice people’s body language and notice your own.

Day 5
prompt

Blue Sky Moment

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE. We recommend the Word Association one for this week.

Introduce the Blue Sky Moment time.

Connecting

Connecting

Let’s stand up and face into the circle. Are there a few of you who would like to talk about what you liked about this or whether you were comfortable or not comfortable? How was this?

challenge

Daily Challenge

In our busy world, especially with the distraction of social media, it is easy to be out of touch with how we’re feeling inside. When we can be in touch with what is going on inside, that is the beginning of being able to manage stress. Today, really try to tune into your feelings.

Week Two

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

Why is it important that people can be curious? Let’s take one kind of invention. What are some inventions of our time that keep us safest? What might have made someone curious enough to think about creating something that would keep us safe? Could they have been developed without curiosity?

Note: You might coach them that one example would be seat belts in cars, etc.

Connecting

Connecting

What is the lesson in this for us? Sometimes curiosity stems from a problem. What else creates curiosity?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today look for things that make you curious.

tip

Prepare

Thursday is a Community Circle and Friday is a Blue Sky Moment.

Day 2
Introduction

Introduction

So many things happen in our world because someone got curious. Sometimes curiosity leads to courage. Think about the first trip to the moon. Someone had to ask, “Would it be possible for us to travel up to space? What if we built a rocket to get there?” Here are a few of the challenges they faced according to Thrillest:

  • Astronauts were sitting on a whole lot of fuel to get them out our atmosphere? It was like a giant bomb!
  • They didn’t exactly know how they were getting back.
  • They knew they might be pummeled by asteroids.
  • Radiation from the Van Allen belts, sun, and cosmic rays might kill them.
  • They would be 240,000 miles from home with spotty radio contact.
  • There was a threat of unknown space germs.
prompt

Prompt

Courage can be large but sometimes it’s small. How can kids your age be courageous after curiosity? Answer this: “I wonder what would happen if…” and fill in the blank. Maybe your curiousity focuses on these types of things:

  • Kids sometimes bully others because they want to feel better about themselves. What would happen if we had a way to encourage one another instead, so no one felt bad?
  • What would happen if all the healthy food tasted delicious? How can we improve the way healthy food tastes?
  • Kids get hungry at school. What would happen if we had a way to make sure there was food for hungry kids? How could that happen?
Connecting

Connecting

How can we inspire curiosity and courage in others?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Continue to ask, “I wonder what would happen if…” throughout the rest of your day.

Day 3
Introduction

Introduction

Read the following one-minute story about the elephants:

Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller, The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons, and numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved ‘man-friend’. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence’s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly, for days, making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house. Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for a year and half! But yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who’d saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.

SOMETHING IN THE UNIVERSE IS GREATER AND DEEPER THAN HUMAN INTELLIGENCE.

Sourcehttps://www.truthorfiction.com/lawrence-anthony/

Note: More about this story can be read here.

prompt

Prompt

Cut the shared time down to 90 seconds each with a one-minute connecting at the end.

What does it mean for us that there are intelligences that are, in some ways, greater than what we as humans have? How do you explain that two wild herds of elephants would know that the person who saved them had died? What does it mean that they would come to that home and stay for days?

Connecting

Connecting

What other species might have abilities that would surprise us to understand?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, think about the lessons we might learn from nature if we took more time to focus on it.

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle Day

Divide students into groups of 4-6.

Prompt

Yesterday we heard the story about the elephants that came to grieve at the home of the man who had saved them.  The elephants clearly understood the importance of what (what is his name?) did to find them habitat and save their lives.  Today in your circles, share what you know about the ways animals on the earth are stressed and how they might need protection.  There are lots of different ways this is happening, from loss of habitat to pollution and many other ways as well.  This isn’t a time to correct one another or dispute someone’s perception.  This is more of a time for a deeper conversation about what’s happening on the planet.

Connecting

Connecting

In your circle, each person can share one thing they learned from someone else in the group today.

challenge

Daily Challenge

When  you leave school today, look up!  Put your phone in your pocket and notice the landscape. What kinds of animals might have been here before us? Where are they now?

Day 5
prompt

Blue Sky Moment

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE.

Connecting

Connecting

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

Let’s stand up and face into the circle. Are there a few of you who would like to talk about what you liked about this or whether you were comfortable or what we could do to make thiss more comfortable?  How was this?

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!

Week Three

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

Queue up today’s video on emotional intelligence and play until 2:34.

This week we’ll be focusing on emotional intelligence. Today we’ll just define what it is through a video.

prompt

Prompt

Shorten your sharing time to accomodate the time spent on the video.

Intelligence means to know things well. The video explains that emotionalintelligence is the ability to deal with many problems we face in our relationship with ourselves and others in a way that is patience and imaginative. How is being patient, insightful, and imaginative helpful in our everyday relationships?

Connecting

Connecting

What was similar about your observations?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, be mindful of practicing patience and imagination when dealing with other people.

tip

Prepare

Note: Thursday is a Community Circle and Friday is another Blue Sky Moment.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

What are some ways someone’s reaction might hide their true feelings, whether intentionally or unintentionally? What might be at the root of this? Here’s an example: sometimes we’re tired or hungry and don’t really handle the things the same way as when we’re rested or have full stomachs.

Connecting

Connecting

What are some ways we can remind ourselves to investigate our own reactions so they’re a more in line with how we really feel?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, when you feel strongly about something, take a moment to think about that feeling and what might be behind that strong emotion. Sometimes our reactions are exactly what we know they should be. Other times, we might find that something else is making us behave a certain way.

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Skepticism means to doubt the truth of something. Being emotionally intelligent means that we refuse to blindly trust our first reaction or the first feelings that show themselves. What are some situations you can think of where someone didfollow their first reaction and it got them in trouble? (Don’t use names, just talk about the situation.)

Connecting

Connecting

What are some ways things could go better for people if we learned to be skeptical — to doubt the truth — about our initial impulses and feelings?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, try practicing a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to your initial reactions to people and situations.

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle

Prompt

Feel free to divide your students into groups of 4-6 or do as a whole class circle.

What are some ways our school could help grow our emotional intelligence? What are the possible outcomes of such education?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Take an idea or two from today’s conversation and implement them in your personal life. One way to change our school culture is to change ourselves!

Day 5
prompt

Blue Sky Moment

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!

Today, let’s make a commitment: “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.”

Week Four

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

What is forgiveness?

Connecting

Connecting

What does the forgiver need to do? How does one know when he or she is forgiven?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Forgiveness is a part of every single day. Someone might cut you off in line, bump you in the hallway, not smile at you, or not reply when asked a question. Today, try to readily forgive others.

tip

Prepare

You’ll need post-it notes for Thursday and Friday will be a Community Circle.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

How do we ask for forgiveness? How do we accept someone’s apology?

Connecting

Connecting

Were there similar ideas that you both appreciate when it comes to forgiveness? How does being forgiven make you feel?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, be open to someone else’s acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and be willing to own your own behavior that may be hurtful (whether intentionally or not) as well.

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Which classroom and school rules and expectations are clear and which are not? Are school rules evenly applied to all students?

Connecting

Connecting

How does lack of clarity effect the ability to enforce a rule? How can we communicate rules more clearly?  What happens when they’re not evenly applied?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, work on being clear in your communication and appreciate clarity in others.

Day 4
prompt

Prompt

You will need post-it notes for today’s activity.

List all the things that we could compliment people on that don’t rely on whether they’re beautiful, attractive, or have a certain brand of clothes.

Connecting

Connecting

How does complimenting someone on their character or actions make you feel? How do you think it makes them feel?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Encourage the people around you for who they and not just what they look like or what they wear.

Day 5
prompt

Community Circle

Prompt

What are some ways we can all encourage and respect one another more here at school? Think about the whole school, not just our classroom.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Choose one of the ideas we spoke about today and try fostering an attitude of respect towards those around you.