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This lesson would work well in a larger space, like a hall.
Explain that no one really likes being told what to do! But there are some types of behaviour that are inappropriate.
Hold up the four Action Words from Appendix 1: OK, Unacceptable, Unhealthy, Risky. (Do not show the words ‘Resilience’ or ‘Thankfulness’ yet). Explain what each one means, then display them in the 4 corners of the space you are working in.
OK – appropriate behaviour
Unacceptable – inappropriate behaviour
Unhealthy – an action that might cause harm to your health
Risky – an action that might cause you or others physical or emotional harm
Ask children to listen to the scenarios listed below (or create your own), and walk to the corner that they think best describes that behaviour.
• Calling someone names
• *Singing in front of people
• Eating food from the dustbin
• Jumping down the stairs
• Swinging on your chair
• *Going on a bike ride
• Eating lunch without washing your hands
• Throwing stones at cars as they go past
After each one, discuss with children why and how they made their choices, and then give an opportunity for people to swap corners if they wish before moving on to the next scenario. Reassure children some of the scenarios could be a mix of corners!
*Nb. These are ‘OK’ but could also be described as risky, either in terms of safety or emotional challenge. Discuss how you could make these safer (wear a helmet) and easier (practice).
Using Appendix 2: Miming Scenarios, facilitate the following short, guided improvisations:
1. Select volunteers to play characters in each scenario
2. Read the scene line by line
3. Encourage the pupils to act out the scene using mime
At the end of each scenario, discuss how and why the characters acted the way that they did. The key point here re-emphasises the point made in the previous session that feelings and pressure can lead us to act inappropriately.
The scenarios are:
• Chris is throwing stones at cars as they go past, and wants Ryan to join in. Ryan doesn’t want to, because he doesn’t want to get in trouble or hurt someone. Chris starts throwing stones at Ryan instead. Ryan gets angry and throws a big stone at Chris and it hits him.
• Caitlin and Farrah are excited about their first sleepover at their friend Monica’s house. They plan everything together. When they arrive, and start getting their sleeping bags set up, Caitlin starts laughing when she sees Farrah tucking her old battered teddy bear into her sleeping bag. Caitlin calls Farrah a big baby and Monica starts to laugh too.
• Amelia is building a den in her back garden and she is very proud of it. Then her younger brother, Leo, comes along and kicks the den down, which makes Amelia feel upset. In her anger, she runs after Leo with a stick.
Display the printout of the word RESILIENCE (Appendix 1) and ask the pupils if they know what this word means.
● Explain that resilience means not letting a feeling influence the way you act.
● Being resilient is a very good character trait.
● Building resilience is a bit like practising at something to get better.
● Give some specific examples of things that children in your class have practiced and got better at (eg maths, writing, exercise, sports)
● Make the key point that one of the best ways to build resilience is to be thankful for all of the good things in your life.
● Display the printout of the word: THANKFULNESS
Return to the miming scenarios played out earlier. This time, when the main character feels like behaving in a certain way, they remember something different and become thankful for it; this helps them to make a different decision.
After each scenario is played out, discuss with the pupils what the character was thankful for which helped them to make a different decision.
If you have been working in the hall or larger space, now might be a good time to return to class.
Using Appendix 3: Being Thankful, ask children to write or draw a list of things that they are thankful for today and things that they are thankful for in their lives.
Encourage children to think of big things and little things. (E.g. Being alive! The sun is shining! I had my favourite food for lunch!)
• This is a personal, reflective exercise. Some children may need more help identifying the things in life that they are thankful for.