Morning/Class Meetings:

1/13 -1/17 (Zest & Optimism)

Monday: January 13th: All Grades

Zest Talk


What are some things that you get excited about naturally? (Those are you easy ZEST moments)

What are some areas where you think you should show more ZEST? (These require more effort).

What's a part of your school day where you think you would benefit from showing more zest?

Tuesday: January 14th: All Grades

Have students watch the short motivational story below about two seeds. (Below)


Discussion Questions:


How did the one seed show zest and optimism when approaching life?

How did it help him succeed?

How did the other seeds lack of zest and optimism get in the way of his success?

Does having zest and optimism sometimes take courage?

Wednesday: January 15th: (All Grades)

Part of being zesty is knowing what brings you joy. Have your class quickly discuss a time/or something that brings them joy.


Additional Discussion Questions:


Why does knowing what brings you joy help you to be zesty?

Is Joy sometimes just as much of a choice as zest?

Thursday: January 16th: (All Grades)

Talks with students about a visual/picture that says comes to mind for you when you hear the word ZEST. (If you have a picture to share with them, that's even better.) Have students students share a visual/picture that comes to mind when they hear the word zest. If time permits, students can draw the picture on a small sheet of construction paper.


Additional Activity if Wanted: Make a class ZEST quilt of all pictures.

Friday: January 17th: All Grades

Team Building Ideas:



1. Classroom Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt activity is a great way to help your students get to know the setup of their new classroom while also learning how to work together as a team.

Make a list of several important items in the classroom, such as reference books, art supplies, staplers, paper and more. Then, in teams of two or three, have the students locate each item on the list. A simple, but effective, game that will have everyone feeling more at home in no time.


2. Tennis Ball Transfer

This game requires small groups to focus and collaborate on a task—building on skills students will need in the classroom and beyond.

Each group of about four to five children will need a cup, string, a large metal washer and a tennis ball. The students will need to work together to decipher the best way to hold the strings and balance the tennis ball on the washer while walking toward the cup. (The teacher should determine how far the students need to walk based on age/grade level.) Once the team arrives at the cup, they’ll need to work as a group to figure out how to drop the ball into the cup without touching either object.


3. Trust Walk

This is a classic kids’ team building activity which can be done in either pairs or groups. The ideal playing area is a safe, enclosed outdoors area (like a backyard or small park), in which there is a start area and finish area. One kid is blindfolded and spun around (not too fast – we don’t any kids getting dizzy!). Move the kid around a few steps so that he isn’t in the same exact position as he was before. Then have another kid come over and act as a guide. The guide must get the blindfolded kid to get to the finish area – but he can’t touch him, and can only give verbal cues. To make the game more difficult, (and meaningful in terms of building team chemistry and such), the guide can’t use any directional language. So instead of simply saying “go forward 5 steps, then go left five steps”, the guide can only say directives such as “walk until you step on a branch”, followed by “now head toward the tree”, and the kid will be guided by the location of the voice of the guide. This game can be mixed up a bit to include multiple players, making it trickier and more competitive.

Ana Travis

School Counselor

Sonntag Elementary