Students worked in groups to show their learning about pirate ship design using KEVA wood planks.
Our goals were to cooperate in a group, to share our ideas and to listen to the ideas of others. Students realized that it was easier to create a single design when they were respectful of the ideas of their peers and thoughtfully communicated their own thinking.
This week primary classes enjoyed this wonderful book by Kate Jane Neal. Words and Your Heart is a great book to spark discussion about the power words can have, both positive and negative. We shared the story and then worked in groups to build structures whilst at the same time ‘building each other up’ with kind words. After clean-up, we reflected on our collaborative work and how the powerful words made us feel.
Titles were selected as authentic Indigenous sources or are resources selected and shared by the District Aboriginal Department. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but rather to provide a window into how Indigenous titles may be used to reach school-wide SEL goals.
Indigenous perspectives have also been outlined as well as a final section on further supportive digital resources. See also links to resources for discussing Residential Schools and a full list of our Indigenous resources.
We shared Daniel Kirk’s ‘Ten Thank You Letters’ and discussed the importance of showing appreciation for the thoughtfulness of others. Using some dollar store items we created thank you letters in a bottle.
A Buddha Board is calming way to paint and then watch your creation slowly disappear. The white board is mounted onto a black water tray and you use the brush to paint with the water. The brush strokes show up in black. As the water evaporates, the board becomes white again. We have been experimenting with our new Buddha Board in the Learning Commons and figuring out some ways it could be best utilized.
Our first use of the board in the classroom was as a calm down tool for students. The board worked in much the same way as Mind Up tools. Bubblers or glitter jars can be useful in helping students to self regulate and the board offers one more strategy for this calming activity. Students are able to create an image, for example, a representation of their frustration, and watch it slowly disappear as they practice their mindful breathing techniques. The image can take about 5 minutes to evaporate and the process repeated if necessary.
It was also handy for an impatient or anxious student to look at to help understand how long it would be before the next activity or recess. ‘ When the picture is gone’ was more concrete than ‘in 5 minutes’. The board was also helpful for a student who just needed a break from the current activity.
All of the students who tried the board liked the way the brush felt as they painted. They liked the idea that the creation would slowly disappear. Mistakes were not important and it didn’t matter if they felt themselves to be ‘good artists’ or not as there was no permanence to the painting.
We also video taped some Social Emotional Learning words as they disappeared, reversed the film and sped it up so the words seem to appear. As students create their own videos to show their learning we could imagine using this technique for adding titles, credits, thought balloons etc.
I am wondering about using the board as a ‘End of Day’ tool, i.e. ‘Let’s see if we can pick up all of the lego before the image disappears’. Overall, we are looking forward to experimenting with the board. It is great to be able to create with a brush without the problem of getting actual paint all over the library. We have the larger board but smaller ones are available. The larger one was about $35CAD at Chapters and Amazon .The smaller boards are about $16CAD but at just 5″ square, they looked a little too small to be useful.
In her book Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, author Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can act as animal guides for children seeking to understand themselves and others.
This little book is great resource for exploring SEL. We made connections using Coast Salish designs for our follow-up activity and students made the link between the animals, the text and identifying their own varying emotions, strengths and feelings.
Gr. 3 discussions and art took two 40 minute periods inc. book exchanges.
After exploring Coast Salish mask art, students used their own creativity to complete the activity. We also took the opportunity to use ‘fancy frames’ to offer students a little recognition. Remaining masks were displayed in the hall.
With the new school year just around the corner, it’s a good time to highlight some of our favourite books to ease back-to-school jitters. Reading about and discussing a character’s nervousness or anxiety can help ease a child’s worries during this new and exciting time.
MakerSpaces can be a great catalyst for the growth of social-emotional learning. Facilitating a maker culture can give students a venue for the development of the tools they need to recognize, understand and manage emotions and to make the responsible decisions that are critical to being a successful learner. These life long skills must be clearly articulated and deliberately discussed so that they become an intrinsic foundation for the emotional health of the student.
There are many excellent social emotional learning titles that can be used to encourage SEL development. However, a few of these also blend very well with a Maker mentality and build on some important tenants of social and emotional well being.