Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“. I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance lessons.
Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:
OLLI#1 (The Hike)
OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)
OLLIE#3 (Mother’s Day)
OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)
OLLI #5 – (WANTED: Criminals of the Animal Kingdom)
OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)
This is a big week for educators in B.C. as schools open up and, once again, teachers, students, and parents are being asked to navigate a “new normal”.
For the last three months and for likely many more months to come, we have been faced with many “unknowns”. Unknowns can be accompanied with feelings of fear, sadness, and worry that can, at times, be overwhelming. There is anticipation and excitement about returning to school but these are mixed with fears and worries about keeping ourselves and our students safe and healthy. Right now, students, teachers, and parents are all wondering: “What will school look like now?” EVERYONE is going through a roller coaster of emotions that can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed.
I think it’s important during these first few days back at school to acknowledge these emotions, name them, share them, and talk about them. Knowing others are experiencing similar feelings can often help to ease ours. The most important thing we can do is to tell our students (and ourselves) that its OKAY to be feeling all of these emotions and and that they are not alone.
In addition to noticing and naming feelings, another way we can help students is to talk about actions we can take when we develop certain feelings. Taking action can help children develop some control over their emotions.
I believe that there are three main different categories of feelings – positive, negative, and anxious – each can be managed with different actions. Depending on what the feeling you are experiencing, you can “KEEP IT! CALM IT! or COURAGE IT!”
- KEEP IT: When we experience positive feelings – excitement, joy, love, gratitude, peace – we want to KEEP those inside because they fill our hearts and make us feel good.
- CALM IT: When we experience negative feelings – anger, hurt, hate, frustration, disappointment – we need to CALM those feelings and practice deep breathing and mindful techniques.
- COURAGE IT: When we experience anxious feelings – fear, apprehension, nervous, or worried – we need to “COURAGE IT” (poor grammar, I know!) by finding courage to overcome the feelings.
(I actually just made up the “KEEP IT- CALM IT- COURAGE IT” approach to feelings for this post – and I’m kinda diggin’ it!)
My thoughts for this lesson are to share the “KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT FEELINGS” concept with children through discussion and… wait for it… ANCHOR BOOKS! This can be done in three separate lessons in class or invite students to work on it over the week if they are working from home. Students can complete the template as you move through the three different feelings.
Start by brainstorming feeling words. Focus on the different kinds of feelings they have been experiencing during the past few months; feelings around having to stay at home, not being with friends or family, not being at school, coming back to school, etc. (You could likely fill an entire white board with feeling words!) Make sure you are sharing your own feelings with the students as well. They need to know that you are nervous and worried, too! Introduce the difference between positive, negative, and anxious feelings.
Next, ask the students, “What do we do with feelings when we experience them?”. Discuss that sometimes, holding feelings inside can make them grow bigger. Taking action with our feelings can help us to take control over them and that can sometimes help. Introduce the “KEEP IT – CALM IT – COURAGE IT” actions (see explanation above)
If you want to extend this idea into several lessons, you can spend one lesson on each of these three different types of feelings. Each lesson can begin with an anchor book and invitation for students to complete the “KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT FEELINGS” template.
Click HERE for the “KEEP IT-CALM IT-COURAGE IT Feelings template.
Part 1 – KEEP IT – Exploring positive feelings and actions – happy, joyful, thankful, excitement, peace, proud, amazed.
100 Things That Make Me Happy – Amy Schwartz
Love this joyous picture book that lists everyday things that make people happy. Written in rhyming couplets – great for reading aloud!
Click HERE for the online read aloud.
After students listen to the story, students can share what things make them happy. Explain that positive experiences create positive feelings that we can keep (in our memory pocket). Brainstorm things that make each student feel happy. Invite students to complete the first column of the KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT! FEELINGS template.
Part 2 – CALM IT – Explore negative feelings and actions: anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment.
Feeling explosions can happen when we experience negative emotions – anger, frustration, disappointment, hurt. These feelings can fester for a while but can quickly grow too large to hold inside our bodies. These emotion explosions can be difficult to manage, so helping students recognize that it is okay to have these feelings but teach them strategies to help manage them. Rather than telling a child to “calm down”, we need to show them how, including tapping into those “KEEP” feelings from the previous lesson.
There are many books illustrating this “explosive” feeling of anger and frusration. When Sophie Gets Really, Really Angry is one many of us know. Sometimes I’m Bombaloo is also a great one for illustrating someone who experiences the “anger explosion”.
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo – Rachel Vail
Click HERE for the online read-aloud.
After students listen to the story below, discuss connections they were making to tempers and not being able to control them sometimes. Invite students to make connections by sharing things that trigger these explosive feelings. Ask students what actions they could take to reduce these negative feelings: deep breathing, thinking of happy memories, opening and closing our fists, etc.
Either of the books below are great ones for showing children some breathing techniques that can help to “CALM IT” when those negative feelings overwhelm us.
Click HERE for the online Read-Aloud
Alphabreaths – The ABC’s of Mindful Breathing – Christopher Willard
(This is an excellent book with lots of movement and breathing exercises the students could try!)
Invite them to complete the second column of the KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT! FEELINGS template.
Part 3 – COURAGE IT! Explore anxious feelings and actions: afraid, nervous, intimidated, uncertain, worried.
If you have students in class this week, they will be likely experiencing some level of anxiety around being back at school. In fact, during these past few months they have no doubt been feeling various degrees of uncertainty and anxiety about many things, as we all have. We can help them by letting them know it’s OKAY to be feeling this way and teaching some simple and effective tools on finding courage to deal with stressors in their life.
When You are Brave – Pat Zietlow Miller
This is such a wonderful book for helping students learn to flex their courage muscles! After reading the story (or listening to online) students can complete the final column of their “KEEP IT-CALM IT-COURAGE IT” Feelings template.
Click HERE for the online read-aloud.
Once you have introduced the students to the three different FEELING-ACTIONS and they have completed the template, reflect on what they have learned about feelings. How has your thinking stretched? (ie. that feelings can be positive, negative, and anxious; that we can take action with our feelings; that different actions help us have more control over our feelings; that courage can help us feel less anxious, that mindful breathing can help us feel less angry or frustrated; that remembering happy times can make us feel happy)
Simplified Lesson and Additional Anchor Books About Feelings:
For those who would like a simpler lesson, start by brainstorming feeling words. Focus on the different kinds of feelings they have been experiencing during the past few months due to having to stay at home, not being with friends or family, not being at school, coming back to school, etc. (You could likely fill an entire white board with feeling words!) Make sure you are sharing your own feelings with the students as well. They need to know that you are nervous and worried, too! Choose any of the anchor books about feelings to share with your students. (almost all of them can be found as an online read-aloud) Identify which feelings are positive, which are negative, and which are anxious.
Primary students can write about their feelings on the My Feelings template HERE
Intermediate students can write about their feelings on the Read-Think-Connect-Reflect template HERE
Additional Anchor Books About Feelings
(I know there are LOTS of books about feelings but I’ve tried to include ones that you may not already know about.)
Everyone – Christopher Silas Neal
Out, Out, Away From Here – Rachel Woodworth
The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions – Anna Llenas
Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) – Keith Negley
I’m Worried – Michael Ian Black
All Bout Feelings – Felicity Brooks
Visiting Feelings – Lauren Rubenstein
The Great Big Book of Feelings – Mary Hoffman
Whether you are returning to school to teach students in person or whether you are staying at home to teach students online – I’m sending you CARE and COURAGE as you bravely forge ahead into a week of unknowns. Thank you for all you are doing, for all the time, work and care you are devoting to your students and for BEING BRAVE through it all.
Have a great week, everyone! Hope these lessons inspire some ideas for your online or in-person learning this week. Happy reading and happy gardening!
You are doing an amazing job! There is a light at the end of this tunnel! You can do it!!!