Self-Awareness for Student Success

Self-awareness; is it just the latest buzz word or too "woo woo" and touchy-feely? Does is have a place in the classroom setting? Particularly since coming back to school in person after Covid, I've noticed my students needing more strategies for self-regulation, interpersonal skills and for developing grit; coping with challenges, than ever before.
Several years ago, 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.  Read more about this amazing program HERE.

Another meaningful lesson is to have your students create a class mission statement. Ask, "What do want to be known for? What do we value and believe in?" Read Creating Classroom Culture for step by step directions.
This year, one of my parents is a life coach. She has been coming in to lead social emotional learning activities with my class. We are so blessed to have her! In January, in conjunction with our Goal Setting morning meeting theme, she came to class with tons of magazines. She shared her own vision board and explained the collage of pictures. Students selected words and photos that described who they are as a person, as well as the vision they have for their future. They LOVED finding, cutting, and gluing it together but the best part was hearing them explain their board. Of course, they had to write a reflection and it was awesome to see how intentional and thoughtful their choices were.

This week, she facilitated a session helping students examine, evaluate and rank their core values. Students used a deck of cards with a value listed on each one: honesty, diversity, health, collaboration, etc. Next, they sorted the cards into three categories: least important, somewhat important and most important. 

After coming back together, kids shared their 10 most important values and we came up with a class list of common traits. 
Then the discussion started! Students were so engaged and eager to share their opinions on which of our values were most appropriate for school and in our classroom. 
We grouped similar values then debated specific word choice and the nuances they each entailed. I especially loved when they learned the difference between equality (everyone is treated the same) and equity (everyone is given what they need). They voted and changed our class core value to equity.  
And here is our final list!
Teaching students to be mindful and self-aware is a sure recipe for thoughtful and intentional learners!

Check out more great teaching ideas below!

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