This month, our lessons focused on Social Awareness and, more specifically, Empathy. In kindergarten through second grade, we read We're All Wonders, a picture book written by R.J. Palacio and inspired by her bestseller (and now movie!) Wonder. Throughout the story, students identified opportunities for kindness used perspective taking to put themselves in the shoes of the main character.
In third through fifth grade, we read the book The Potato Chip Champ. This book emphasizes the impact our perspective has on how we treat others and appreciate the things we have. Students identified opportunities the characters could have practiced empathy, as well instances of empathy in action.
We reviewed the Mood Meter and used it to help identify a wide range of feelings. Students then played a game allowing them to use their social awareness skills. Students looked at pictures of young people expressing different emotions and tried to use their social detective skills to interpret how they were feeling. We discussed the three clues we have to figure out how someone is feeling: facial expressions, body language and the situation.
Throughout the month of December, we visited each class to read the Principal’s Book of the Month, After The Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again. As we visited each class, we discussed the importance of perseverance and always moving forward. The choice to focus on perseverance at this particular time of year was very intentional. Often as we approach the winter break, students find it challenging to stay motivated. Fun parties, performances, schedule changes, impending travel plans, and thoughts of gifts and celebrations, though exciting are also distracting and exhausting. Kids and grownups alike find it hard to maintain focus this time of year, so it’s especially important that we practice perseverance.
When we lack perseverance and start to give up, we can also start to grapple with self-doubt and negative thoughts. We discussed with each class how we can shield ourselves from giving up and motivate ourselves to persevere by using positive self talk. Students created "Positive Self Talk Shields" by brainstorming positive affirmations they can give themselves to stay motivated!
This month our counselor led classroom lesson built on the the November life skill, Growth Mindset. During each classroom visit, we explored “The Power of Yet” as we read the story, The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do. In this story, Lou encounters a challenge: she has never climbed a tree. Throughout the story, Lou procrastinates and makes excuses to avoid climbing the tree. Eventually, with some encouragement from friends, Lou faces her fear and climbs the tree. But she falls! Despite her initial failure, Lou models a Growth Mindset, realizing she just can't climb the tree YET, and eventually tries again.
Students took time in each class to set goals and think about ways they can have a growth mindset at home or at school. In third through fifth grade, students also watched a video about a group of young boys in Southern Thailand who used a growth mindset to start the original Panyee Football Club in 1986.
. The Lifeskill for October is Cooperation and to further that concept as well as building on our No Place for Hate initiative, our October theme for SEL is "Everyone fits at BPE".
We began by reading the book Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson. This book explores the challenges of learning to be yourself and finding your fit through the story of Oliver, a puzzle piece. He knows he wants to be part of something bigger than himself. But when he begins to search for his fit, he finds that it is much harder than he realized. You can watch the book trailer below.
After discussing the book and the importance of being yourself to fit in, students had an opportunity to create and decorate their own puzzle piece. Each puzzle piece will become part of a giant mural puzzle that reminds us BPE is No Place for Hate and Everyone Fits!
During September SEL lessons, all students learned about the No Place for Hate program at BPE this year. To become a No Place for Hate recognized school, all students must sign the Resolution of Respect. We read and discussed this respect agreement prior to reading the book One by Kathryn Otoshi.
One tells the story of Blue, who is a quiet color. Blue gets picked on by Red, who is a bit of hot head. The other colors really like Blue and they don't like what they see, but they don't know how to help Blue. Then, One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. The book illustrates accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
During the reading, students discussed and shared how the Resolution of Respect could have helped the characters feel safe and happy. After reading the book and reviewing the promises in Resolution of Respect, all students signed their class' respect contract.