Saturday, January 23, 2021

Helping Students Navigate Tough Times

Over the past 10 months, we know Covid,  politics, and civil unrest have taken a toll on us as adults: mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, children often have a difficult time processing what they are feeling. Since we are home all the time now,  kids are bombarded by images on the news or overhear adults talking. How to help our students navigate an uncertain world?

I was thrilled to discover Skills for Big Feelings , written for educators and mental health professionals as a 12-week guide which seeks to empower children aged 6-12 to cope with their feelings, manage anxiety, and learn to thrive. It includes a coloring workbook for kids, trauma-informed guided relaxation scripts, family handouts, letters, surveys, S.M.A.R.T. objectives, and more. The author, Casey O'Brien Martin of Whole Child Counseling initially developed the activities in this book for use in small and individual counseling settings. However, it is perfect for whole class instruction, and especially during distance learning. 

Skills for Big Feelings complements our health unit; focusing on mental, social, and emotional health. Each week's lesson is on a different topic with action steps, a guided meditation (mindful moment) and an informational parent letter.  My students LOVE these lessons!

There is a hard copy book or e-book option, plus the digital bundle includes everything set up for Google classroom or your LMS.  The 12 weeks include: 
  1. Naming Our Feelings
  2. Triggers
  3. Helpful and Unhelpful Thoughts
  4. Changing Thoughts
  5. Measuring Challenges
  6. Equal Measurements
  7.  My Relaxing Happy Place
  8. My Sunny Breathing Words
  9. Positive Self-Mistakes and Supports
  10. Mindfulness and Gratitude
  11. Closure
I was little skeptical at first, thinking the kids might not take it seriously. Was I wrong! We've incorporated these short lessons into our morning meeting and students eagerly ask what the new strategies are each day.  The biggest testimonial is emails from parents, saying their child has been teaching their whole family what they've been learning. They've even been making them practice the calming techniques together!
Each week is carefully laid out and builds in progression. I cannot wait to for my students to reflect on and gauge their progress in a few more week! Be sure to check out Casey's website; it's filled with so many resources, helpful information and her Facebook group is so helpful! Every teacher needs these tools to help our  students feel empowered to navigate tough times.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful resource and thorough review of Skills for Big Feelings. Your website is amazing and I learn so much from your posts! Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Kathie!!!

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