Monday, December 11, 2017

December 2017: Mindfulness

"Being in control of your mind, rather than letting your mind be in control of you." Jill Rathus &Alec Miller

This month students will being revisiting the topic Mindfulness and what it means to be in the moment. We will be reviewing and discussing what it means to be mindful. We will also be talking about how Mindfulness relates to our previous discussions on Growth Mindset and Size of the Problem. 

Students will have the opportunity to practice being mindful using the following guided meditation videos. 

Next, students will practice clearing their thoughts and focusing on one thing at a time. They will do this by picking an object in the room to study for 1 minute. They will be advised not to judge the object but only to study it and notice details. Students will break off into partners and describe their object to their partner. 

Lastly, we will play two mindfulness games. This will help give the students a better understanding of what it is like to only focus on the present. 


Sound Ball: Students will throw sounds to each other. To receive a sound you need to repeat it. While playing the game, students will need to be aware so that they are always ready to receive a sound. They will also need to have a new sound prepped and ready to throw. 

Zoom: Students will stand in a circle and we will pass the sound "zoom" around the circle. If a students says "eek" the sound will reverse and travel around the circle the opposite way. Each student will be able to use one "eek" during the game. The students will have to stay engaged to be ready to say "zoom" at the right time and also to know which way "zoom" is traveling.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 2017: Size of the Problem/ Size of the Reaction

Size of the Problem
Students will be learning that there are different problems we may be faced with, some are bigger than others and how we react to those problems is important. This activity is designed for students to learn the basic vocabulary about the size of the problem and how it relates to the levels of emotions people experience and expect within various situations.

As a class we will discuss problem solving steps. Students will be given real life situations and while working in pairs they will determine the size of the problem and the expected reaction (worksheets below).

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

October 2017: Growth Mindset

Do you have a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset?

Grade 5 video:

Students will be watching the video/videos and discussing what it means to have a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. They will be given examples and have the opportunity to decide which mindset the thought belongs to. 

Students will then work with a partner or in a group to come up with a growth mindset thought instead of the given fixed mindset thought. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

April Social Skills Lesson

Cooperation and Team Building

Students in grades K-5 will be learning about cooperation and team building this month. We will be discussing what it means to be a team player and how it is important to cooperate with your classmates. Students will be coming up with characteristics of a good team player. 

Videos about teamwork:
K-1 video:

2-5 video:

What does a good team player...?
  • Look like
  • Do
  • Say
  • Does not do
After we discuss what it means to be a good team player, students will be broken up into small groups. They will be working together as a team to build with paper cups. The expectation will be to build the tallest tower of cups without it falling down. Students will be making a plan and working together in groups of 4 or 5 to build their tower. 

We will be wrapping up with questions on how their team worked together.

  1. Was anyone frustrated at all during this activity? If so how was it handled?
  2. Why was teamwork so important for this activity?
  3. Are you ever in a situation where you must use teamwork? Is this always easy for you? Why or why not?
  4. What are some skills needed to be a good at teamwork?
  5. What is so hard about teamwork?
  6. What did you do today to contribute to the teamwork on your team?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March Social Skills Lesson

Bullying and Cyber-bullying
"Sometimes it just takes ONE"

Grades K, 1 and 2:
Students will be listening to the story One by Katherine Otoshi.
Image result for one by kathryn otoshi
One is a story about colors and numbers. Blue is a quiet color and Red is a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see and don't know what to do to stop it. When no one speaks up, things get out of hand. Red gets bigger and bigger. Then, One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. Sometimes it just takes one voice to make a difference and make everyone count.

After listening to the story, the students will break up into groups. Each group will be assigned a color and they will discuss what they would do if they were that color in the story. They will also talk about what they could do to make a difference and stand up for one another.

Students will go back to their seats and write one sentence on how they can make a difference.
Image result for one by kathryn otoshi

Grades 4 and 5: Cyber-bullying
Students will be reviewing what they have already learned and know about bullying.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is the repeated use by one or more students [aggressor(s)] of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target's property; (ii) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to him/herself or of damage to his/her property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the target; (iv) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of requirements related to this law, bullying shall include cyber-bullying.
Bullying Criteria (RIP):
  • Repeated
  • Intentional (i.e. harming someone else on purpose)
  • Imbalance of Power (2 against 1, difference in age, size, ability)

After we discuss our previous knowledge on bullying, we will introduce Cyber-bullying.


  • Cyber-bullying is a difference of power or strength between the perpetrator and the target and this behavior takes place through technology.
  • Some interactions on social media can be positive but some could be very hurtful and unkind.
  • Some studies have shown that people are more likely to be unkind through social media because you can’t see or hear people so it’s easier to pretend we don’t see what’s going on.
  • Remember that people we talk to and play with online are real people. Think what you would say if they were really sitting next to you.
  • Online communication can be recorded and shared, we don't know who and how many people will see anything we do.
  • It is hard to to tell if someone is just joking, or hard to tell if a joke you’ve made  has gone too far and really hurt someone. Has that ever happen to anyone?
Students will watch a video on Cyber-bullying

After the video, students will break up into groups. They will answer the following questions:
  • How is talking to people online (video games, social network, texting, Instagram, Facebook, email, etc.) different than talking to people face to face?
  • How can we stop Cyber-bullying?
Ticket to Leave
How is talking to people online (through video games, social network, texting, Instagram, instant messaging) different from talking to people face to face?
Online vs. Offline

Helpful Information:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Feburary Social Skills Lesson

"Be in control of your mind"

This month students practiced being mindful and reviewed
what they already know about mindfulness.  We also introduced what it means to be present. This lesson demonstrated how it is important to be in control of your mind rather than letting your mind be in control of you.  We discussed how being mindful can slow you down and help you notice your emotions, thoughts and urges. Being mindful can help you have more control over your body and your actions.

During the lesson students participated in a few activities to practice being mindful and present in the moment. We explained to students when practicing mindfulness the goal is to only have one thought at time.

  • Students colored for less than 5 minutes. Students were instructed that if their mind and thoughts wander off to "label" them and come back to the task of coloring. 
  • Students played the game Sound-Ball. Sound Ball is played by passing a sound around to your peers. When receiving a sound, students need to be attentive so that they are continuing to think of a sound to throw to another classmate. Sound Ball is a great game that helps students practice being present and in the moment.  
  • Students listened to the story "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said The Sloth" by Eric Carl. Students were asked to raise their hand every time they heard the phrase, "slowly, slowly, slowly" which kept them engaged into the book. This helped the stay in tune with the movement and practice being present. 
It was recommended to students and teachers to continue to do these activities to help carry over the mindful strategies that were taught in this lesson. Continuing to practice being mindful and present will help students control their mind instead of having their mind controlling them. 
Coloring page

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January Social Skills Lesson

Teaching Tolerance
It is OK to be different

We will be having discussions with each classroom about differences, diversity and what a community is. Students will learn how a diverse community makes our classroom stronger.  

Grades K-2:
We will be teaching about diversity. In each classroom, we will have a discussion about what it means to be different. We will also talk about communities and which communities we belong to. Students will learn that it is okay to be different because diversity can make our community stronger as we all come from different backgrounds. 

We will be reading the story "It's Okay to Be Different"

After the read aloud, students will participate in a movement activity called "The Warm Wind Blows". We will not only be learning about the differences that we can see with our eyes but we will also be focusing on differences we can't see. Students will learn how we can celebrate these differences in the classroom and at school. 

Some examples:
"The warm wind blows if you you have traveled to another country"
"The warm wind blows if you have a brother or a sister"
"The warm wind blows if you were born outside of Massachusetts"

Grades 3-5:

Students will learn about the terms diversity and community. We will discuss how diversity is important in a community. Students will share ways they are different from one another and how we can celebrate these differences in our school and classroom communities.  As a class, we will talk about how being a diverse community can make our classroom stronger.

Students will participate in a human scavenger hunt to learn more about their classmates and the diversity of their classroom community. The activity is called, "Find Someone Who...". Students will need to find someone in the room who applies to the question being asked. 

Some examples are:
Find someone who speaks more than one language.
Find someone who has a weekend tradition.
Find someone who has traveled to another country. 

Students will then share and discuss something they have learned about a classmate. We will end the lesson with a few final thoughts about how being different is okay and we will encourage students to celebrate the things that make them who they are!