Once again, a sketch from Zoe and Joey begins this session. This sketch is called, ‘Talking to Myself’.
Play film: Talking to Myself
In the sketch, Zoe’s voice in her head is talking to her. It is raining outside and she is thinking that life is rubbish. This makes her feel rubbish. Then Joey bounds in, full of beans, and goes to give her a high-five but she leaves him hanging. The sketch is then repeated. This time, Zoe thinks the rain is wonderful because the flowers in the garden will grow. This makes her feel good. Then Joey bounds in, full of beans; he goes to give her a high-five and she responds with gusto.
Explain to the pupils that we are going to explore Thoughts, Feelings and Actions. Note that pupils will have briefly discussed this previously if they have already covered Module 2, Unit 3, Session 2: Changing Behaviour.
Explain that in the sketch we have just watched, Zoe’s first thoughts about the rain were downbeat, which made her feel sad, and this led to a negative reaction when Joey entered. In the second scenario, her thoughts were positive, which made her feel good, and so she reacted positively to Joey.
Click to explain:
• Thoughts – the words that we say to ourselves about what is going on around us. Sometimes we have lots of thoughts at once.
• Feelings – How we feel each day or each moment. They come and go and can change quickly. Some feelings are uncomfortable but aren’t necessarily bad.
• Actions – What we do, how we behave. Thoughts and feelings have a big effect on how we behave. If we feel great, we’re more likely to do nice things, but if we’re upset or angry, we’re more likely to do nasty things.
Explain that this session will focus in on our thoughts.
Play the follow-up film, “Talking to Myself – Explained”.
Zoe and Joey inform us:
• Sometimes the little thought-voice inside our head can tell us we’re great and make us feel very confident.
• Other times it can put lots of pressure on us and make us feel sad or stressed.
• We call this thought-voice ‘self-talk’.
• We are in control of that little voice, and can make sure what it says is positive.
• Positive self-talk can really help us build good, healthy relationships with others.
In this section, explore with the children how negative self-talk can sometimes be positive because it helps us to avoid risks.
• Introduce the character of Naomi on the screen.
• Click to reveal Naomi’s internal thoughts; she says that she would really like to do a backwards somersault in the air right now!
• Then click to reveal her ‘self-talk’ – the thought-voice in her head, which is a negative. She is scared because she has never done a backwards somersault before, doesn’t know how to do it properly and might get hurt.
• Discuss with the class whether Naomi’s negative self-talk is a good thing or a bad thing. Guide pupils to reach the conclusion that the negative self-talk is actually helping her to avoid risk of injury.
• Invite suggestions for how Naomi might respond to this self-talk and turn it into something positive.
• Click to reveal how Naomi responded to this negative voice in her head. She says, “I will go to a gymnastics class and learn how to do backwards somersaults safely under the guidance of an instructor.”
• Click to reveal the statement:
Sometimes negative self-talk can be positive because it helps us to spot risks and prepare for them.
This role play activity should be carefully facilitated with small groups of children in front of the class. No rehearsal is necessary. The purpose is to show that we all have the capability to talk both positively and negatively to ourselves, with both thought-voices often speaking at the same time. We have to choose which voice to listen to, and sometimes find a balance between the two. It should also demonstrate that positive self talk has a very strong influence on our relationships and inclination to engage meaningfully with others.
1. Invite three children to the front.
2. Sit Child #1 in a chair and give a character name, e.g. ‘Michelle’.
3. Stand Child #2 and Child #3 behind ‘Michelle’, one behind each shoulder.
4. Introduce Child #2 as the negative thought-voice and Child #3 as the positive thought-voice.
5. Explain that you will read out a scenario. Then when you tap each ‘voice’ on the shoulder they should speak their mind. After Michelle has heard what they’ve got to say, ask her how it makes her feel and what it makes her want to do.
• Scenario: Speaking to someone new.
• Negative Thought-Voice: “I’m dull, they won’t want to talk to me.”
• Michelle: “I feel frightened and don’t want to go over and say hello after all.”
• Positive Thought-Voice: “I’m interesting, they’ll love me!”
• Michelle: “I feel excited and will go over and see what happens!”
6. Ask the audience which voice they think Michelle should listen to and why. Ask what affect each voice would have on Michelle’s relationships.
Extension: As an extension, you might like to remind children of the key learning point earlier, “Sometimes negative self-talk can be positive because it helps us to spot risks and prepare for them.” So:
Having heard both her positive and negative self-talk, Michelle realises that maybe the new person will be interested in her, maybe they won’t. She has much more balanced expectations, and is prepared to risk going over on the off-chance she can make a new friend.
7. Swap over children at the front and use a new scenario.
• Giving a talk to the class
• Asking if you can join a game
• Giving an opinion
• Asking to borrow something special
• Trying something new
Children should complete the Self-Talk activity in their Module 2 Activity Workbook.
Today’s activity asks children to generate both negative and positive self talk about different situations, and observe how it affects their feelings and relationships. There is an opportunity for extended personal writing about pressure and self-talk habits.
It is advisable for children to complete these workbook activities independently. You might like to play music in the background to encourage focus, before bringing the class back together to conclude.
Click to play the song for this Unit: Be My Stronghold