Kindergarten Classroom Guidance
Learning Target: Students can demonstrate saying "Stop", naming their feelings, and calming down when having strong feelings.
Why This Lesson Matters: The concept that emotions can vary in intensity is repeated throughout the rest of the curriculum for greater comprehension. this concept also lays the foundation to teacher children to treat moderate levels of distressing emotions as cues to use emotion-management strategies. Simply naming a feeling can help decrease the intensity of the feeling, which can be useful to children when they are upset.
Activity: We began our lesson playing the Brain Builder game "Clap and Count" where they watched me do a series of claps and slaps (on my knees), they counted and waited for me to say "One, two, three, go!" then they repeated the claps and slaps. After our Brain Builder, we listened to Puppy and Snail's story of how frustrated Puppy got when he lost his bone and Snail helped him to name his feeling and calm down. Our next story focused on a boy named Caleb that was very frustrated with his classwork and eventually crumbled up his paper. We watched a quick video titled "Just Breathe" about kids that were interviewed about how their bodies feel when they get mad (hot, stomach hurts, head hurts, etc). I showed them a water bottle with water and glitter in it. We discussed that how when we are having strong feelings our brain gets all swooshed around (as I shook the bottle) and the glitter represents how our brain can't think clearly with those strong feelings so often we make bad choices when we aren't calm. After I shook the bottle, I walked the students through belly breathing, using positive self talk and counting to help them learn to calm their strong feelings down. While we did that, they watched as the glitter started to settle at the bottom of the bottle. We finished the lesson watching a fun dance video called "Calm Down Dance" which reinforced the calming down strategies we discussed throughout the lesson while dancing and having some fun!
Application: Get a water bottle and put some glitter in it with your child. Ask them to demonstrate how their bodies/brain feel with strong feelings (have them shake it) and then ask them how to demonstrate calming down those strong feelings by belly breathing, using positive self talk and counting quietly to themselves.
ASCA (American School Counseling Association) Standard: PS:B1.5 Develop effective coping skills when dealing with problems.