Reflective Writing Using Prompts
This activity can give many learners a voice when they have a difficult time speaking up or expressing themselves orally. Give students regular times to write freely about what’s on their minds or have them use prompts like these:
- Today I was proud of myself because …
- I was anxious and stressed today because …
- One thing I wish others knew about me is …
- What can I learn from my mistakes today?
Begin by talking with the class about the importance of recognizing other people’s feelings:
- “Raise your hand if you can tell when another person is happy? Mad? Scared? What are the clues that help you figure out what the other person is feeling?”
Explain that we can tell a lot about how someone is feeling through their body language and facial expression. Have students come up with a list of emotions. Ask one student at a time to act out an emotion word and the rest of the group must guess the emotion. Help students reflect on the activity by asking:
- “What cues did you use to guess what another person was feeling during the game? If it was easy at times, what helped make it easy? What made it challenging?”
Help children realize that it can be difficult to know what another person is feeling. Explain that the best way to know and understand another person’s feelings is to ask him or her. Suggest the following response:
- “It seems like you may be feeling ,would you like to talk about it?”
Remind students that it is okay if the other person does not want to talk about their emotions. Offer this suggested response for that situation:
- “Okay, I understand. If you change your mind, just let me know.”
Team Building Activities
Tell the children a story in which the characters are in conflict and stop at the conflict. The children must decide on a solution to the conflict by discussing their ideas together. Once students have completed the activity, they will share their solutions with the class.
Don’t Touch the Lava
Students are divided into two equal teams and given an equal number of rubber dots (one less than the number of students in each group). Students must get from one side of the room to the other without touching the lava (aka the floor). Each team should come up with a strategy on how to get all of their teammates across safely. Students can only be in the lava zone if they are standing on a rubber dot. If players step off into the lava, they must return back to the other side of town. If a rubber dot is placed into the lava without being constantly touched by a player, the whole team must return back to the other side of town. Have a post-discussion on why communication and cooperating were important during this activity.
Creative Boosting Activities
Pair students in groups of three or four. Give each group an envelope with 6 checks in them. Each group has the same checks. The checks show the person who wrote them, the person or company the check is made out to, and how much the check was for. Groups are asked to pull out 3 checks and write down an implied story based on what the checks say. Once students have written down their story, they will pull out the remaining three checks and modify their story. Each group will write their story on a piece of chart paper and share what they came up with to the class. Once students have shared their implied stories, share the true story behind the checks.
Students will pick a traditional fairytale and put their own spin on it. They must incorporate parts of the original plot while manipulating parts of their choosing.