August SEAD Lessons:
August 19, 2020
Today DeSana students participated in their first SEAD lesson for the 2020-2021 school year! Our SEAD theme for August is Light the Way, which focuses on self-awareness. We have all had many changes in the last six months, and it has been awhile since we have all been together at DeSana. Many emotions come with these changes. The start of the SEAD lesson today focused on providing students an opportunity to share with their Dragon Times their feelings about the past few months, if they chose to share. We then looked ahead to the 2020-2021 school year with a Rose, Thorn, Bud activity. Students and faculty members identified a rose (success), a thorn (challenge), and a bud (opportunity) for this year. In order to get moving, while maintaining social distancing, we played a game of Stand Up/Sit Down. Various images were displayed on the board (ranging from “Yay!! So excited to be back at school I’m dancing!” to “I went through some stuff during quarantine and it’s tough.”). If the student or teacher has felt (or is feeling) that emotion, they stood up. If not, they remained seated. Several rounds were played, and many nods of agreement were passed around Dragon Time rooms. We then read a poem “What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?” This poem is about declaring the change, working for the change, becoming the change of making 2020 the most important year of all. Students wrote letters of hope to themselves of what they would like this year to be. Our family challenge to you is this: Ask your student(s) what they hope for in the 2020-2021 school year. Tell them what YOU hope for…for yourself and for them.
August 26, 2020
It can be a stressful world no matter what age you are. When you cannot control situations, stress and anxiety can build. Our focus for today’s SEAD lesson was mindfulness and providing actionable tools for our students to help relieve stress and anxiety. Together, staff and students walked through mindfulness activities so we all have some tools at the ready for when we might need them. The family challenge was for your student to discuss with you the one they thought would be most useful to them. Some keywords that might prompt them in this discussion are belly breathing, releasing tension, and finding joy in the simple things.
September SEAD Lessons:
September 9, 2020
Students participated in the first Create Balance SEAD lesson of the year. Create Balance focuses on self-management and, today, our school focused on organization! We discussed external organization (the space around you) and internal organization (mental organization). We watched a short video on the six habits of highly organized people. For external organization, we broke into groups and applied those six habits to organizing a bedroom, a binder, or a locker. Students then compared and contrasted how they put those six habits to work with others groups. For internal organization, we played a memory game. Some classrooms had competitions to see who could make all their matches first, while others went digital with team memory games for group points! The family challenge is for your student to discuss with you the six habits of highly organized people and, possibly, organize something in your home. Some helpful tips for the conversation might be to ask what step is the easiest for your student? Which one is the most difficult? Why do they feel this way? Let them know your easiest step and most difficult…it might surprise you how similar or different your answers are!!
Today in our SEAD lesson students talked about and played games about self-regulation. What is self-regulation? Self-regulation refers to both the conscious and unconscious processes that affect the ability to control responses. It is a skill that has overarching effects on an individual’s ability to tolerate unmet wants or needs, handle disappointments or failures, and work towards success. Students played a variety of games to help develop this skill: red light, green light; the freeze game; wacky relay; self-control bubbles; and ready, set, go! These games focus on controlling your impulses in the game (body moving in red light, green light or the freeze game; not touching bubbles in self-control bubbles; etc.) and in real-life (sitting in class when instructions are provided; not touching lab supplies prior to lab beginning; not blurting out answers in class; keeping our hands to ourselves and not touching other students or their belongings; controlling emotions; etc.). Following the activities, teachers led discussions to connect the dots for students and to talk with one another about what was easy and what was hard during the activities. But do these games really help? Researchers Shauna Tominey and Megan McClelland demonstrated that kids who played twice a week for 30 minutes for eight weeks had improved on their self-regulation scores. The family challenge for today was to play one (or more) of the games with family members and practice self-regulation. Ask your student(s) to teach you how to play any or all of the games and enjoy a couple of rounds! Afterward, how did you do with YOUR self-regulation?
This week your young dragon participated in the first SEAD lesson for October. This month, we will focus on Leave a Legacy…centered around responsible decision-making. Our lesson this week was about legacies and inviting the students to think about what their legacy might be. We started by defining what a legacy is and looking at five people who have left a lasting legacy (Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Marie Curie). We then looked closer to home and watched a video from Ms. North about what she hopes her legacy will be. In order to get our young dragons focused on their legacy, we conducted an activity From Dream to Legacy based on Susan V. Bosak’s book “Dream.” In it, she identifies a dreamer as someone who can believe and do and think their ideas into reality. Students answered twelve questions and then analyzed their results to determine if they were a practical dreamer, a dynamic dreamer, or a creative dreamer. They then thought about what they would want their legacy to be at DeSana, when they go to the next grade, and some ways they might change their legacy as they move forward in life. We then watched videos on the legacies of Nelson Mandela and Roberto Clemente. Finally, we ended the lesson with the family challenge: “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief - WHY do you exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?” (by Simon Sinek) Family Challenge: Talk with a family member about their WHY and tell them about your WHY. How are you going to use your WHY to inspire others and leave a lasting legacy? We hope you will participate with us in this family challenge!
If you would like to take the “quiz” from the activity, the questions are below as well as the analysis. How do you compare to your student(s)?
- Do you believe (a) “what is” is really difficult to change, (b) “what is” can definitely be changed, or (c) “what is” can probably be changed?
- Would you rather play with (a) a puzzle, (b) a ball, or (c) blocks?
- What colors would you be most likely to paint your bedroom: (a) a gray or beige, (b) red or yellow, or (c) blue or green.
- Which of these stories is your favorite: (a) The Wizard of Oz, (b) Jack and the Beanstalk, or (c) Cinderella.
- You’re stuck in a large, deep hole with a picnic basket, some boards, and some rope. What would you do: (a) try to construct a ladder to climb out, (b) keep shouting until someone hears you, or (c) sit down and eat.
- Which of these people do you feel you’re most like: (a) Albert Einstein, (b) Mohandas Gandhi, or (c) Leonardo da Vinci.
- If you could have been the one to invent it, which would you have most liked to invent: (a) calculator, (b) motor, or (c) space rocket.
- When you face a big challenge, your very first instinct is to (a) hide your head under the covers of your bed, (b) throw off the covers, pull on your clothes, and march out the door, or (c) peek out from under the covers to see when it might be okay to get up.
- Would you rather (a) water and care for growing plants, (b) harvest the ripe fruit from a plant, or (c) plant seeds.
- Who do you think most needs improving (a) me, (b) other people, or (c) our society.
- You’d rather live (a) in the past, (b) right where you are now, in the present, or (c) in the future.
- What would your ideal Dream Chest hold (a) knowledge, (b) health, or (c) money.
If you answered mostly a, you're a Practical Dreamer. Your personality tends to lean toward the Think in Believe, Do, Think. You analyze things before you do them and then evaluate the results you achieve. You wait to see results before you believe. Your weakness is that you can put off action and miss opportunities. Your strength is that you use your mind to your advantage. Other Practical Dreamers: Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Bill Gates.
If you answered mostly b, you're a Dynamic Dreamer. Your personality tends to lean toward the Do in Believe, Do, Think. You like to get out there, get into action, and get things done. You bring a lot of energy to everything you do. Your weakness is that your energy can taper off as you do a task, and you may not think as much as you should before you start something. Your strength is that you're courageous in pursuing a goal and effective in motivating others. Other Dynamic Dreamers: Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey.
If you answered mostly c, you're a Creative Dreamer. Your personality tends to lean toward the Believe in Believe, Do, Think. You have lots of ideas and you're able to come up with unique solutions to challenges. You can often see the merit in things others can't. Your weakness is that you may not follow through on ideas or can get distracted by too many ideas. Your strength is that you always see many exciting possibilities and can lead people to wonderful new places. Other Creative Dreamers: Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, George Lucas.
Today students and teachers participated in the second SEAD lesson for the month of October all about DECISIONS! We began the lesson by watching a video on the teenage brain. The video focused on the science behind why teenagers do what they do. The limbic system controls emotions, while the prefrontal cortex controls rational thought. You guessed it – the limbic system develops first! Which probably also explains many of the decisions we see our teens and pre-teens making. Did you know that the prefrontal cortex is not fully-developed until around the age of 25? (While not fully developed as a teenager, it can still be used. It just requires pausing and thinking before acting.) We then ventured into the science behind bad decisions…why do we make irrational choices? In this video, we learned about loss aversion and heuristics. (Ask your young Dragon about those words.) Many times, knowing a bit more about a situation can help when making a decision. Teachers and students talked about how a little knowledge about a decision can alter how a decision is approached as well as how it can potentially improve an outcome. The activities in this lesson focused around varying difficulties in the decision-making process. For example, playing Would You Rather involves making quick decisions for the most part. Most students immediately know if they would rather be a bird or a bat. They can even decide if they would rather go without TV or without junk food for the rest of their lives with relative ease. But some decisions require a bit more thought…like Musical Chairs. You have to pace how you walk to the music with the chairs available as well as the other students and where they are located to be sure you can get to a chair first when the music stops. Or take a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Seems pretty easy and non-complex. However, if you factor in that you are not only strategizing how you can win but also making decisions based on how you can keep your opponent from winning, the decisions become more involved. Lastly, some decisions are much more involved and carry greater consequences. Students played a game called Stuck on a Deserted Island. This was the scenario: You and a couple classmates are stranded on a deserted island. In the plane crash, you were able to carry three items (from a list of about ten) from the wreckage to survive until you were rescued. You have to decide on the items with your castaways. The consequences for making the wrong choice could mean life or death (if that were a real situation), so a lot more thought goes into those decisions. Finally, students watched a video on decision-making strategies. One of the strategies consisted of the two-minute diversion. Distract yourself with a two minute activity that you find moderately difficult. Your brain will process the decision subconsciously. This brief window of time will help you internalize important details so you can make better, more insightful decisions.
The lesson concluded with the Family Challenge. We invited the students to play a game of “What if?” with family members. On pieces of paper, write down “what if” questions and go around the room deciding what you would do. Some examples might be: (1) What if you found $100? What would you do?, (2) What if your sister/brother took something from your room without asking? What would you do?, and (3) What if an alien knocked on our door right now and asked to eat dinner with us? What would you do? You can be as serious or as silly as you wish!!
The month of November is all about relationship skills – Be There When You’re There. In our SEAD lesson yesterday, we looked at the importance of establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse groups of people. In this lesson, discussed what diversity really means, identified some examples of diversity, and examined how diversity adds value to our society. We performed a few activities to demonstrate diversity amongst our students at DeSana. The first activity had students coming together and stepping apart in Step Apart, Step Together. Teachers read various statements aloud, and students either took a step toward or away from peers if that statement is a similarity or a difference. At the end of the activity, we realized that, while we have things that move us away from others, there is always something we share that brings up back together. The second activity was about looking at the diversity in each Dragon Time. Students listened while the teacher named a concept, item, or title of something. Students then moved to an area of the room based on how they rated each of the statements. After the activity, teachers and students talked about the level of similarities and differences of the various statements. The final activity had students decorating a piece of a puzzle with something that identifies them as the unique person they are. Dragon Times then compiled their puzzle pieces into one large puzzle to demonstrate all the separate components coming together to form one larger community. To conclude the lesson students watched two videos. The first video showed why it is important to not put people in boxes, and the second video was from Apple about why they intentionally want a diverse work force and how it is advantageous for their company. The Family Challenge for the lesson was to discuss with your children the diversity within your family through the generations: what is the origin of your last name; who are some of your ancestors; what does family mean to you; what makes your family unique; and what does your family share with other members of your community.
Part of being able to see another’s perspective and empathize is being grateful for what you already have. Our SEAD lesson today focused on gratitude. Students participated in Alphabet Gratitude where they listed the letters of the alphabet (yes, all 26!) and had to identify something for which they were grateful that begins with that letter. Some Dragon Times had a competition to see who could list something for each letter, while others shared the craziest thing they were grateful for on their list. Even others tried to see how many items in common were on the lists.
This month we are also challenging students to perform acts of kindness. We have a SEAD-themed bulletin board “We can light up the world with kindness!” There are 100 examples of acts of kindness on the board (75 toward others and 25 toward oneself) along with Bingo cards. Students are encouraged to grab a Bingo card and write down an act of kindness in each square on the board that they have performed. Once completed, they are able to take the card to the office for a sweet treat! Our SEAD reminder this month is: “The world is full of kind people. If you can’t find one, be one!”
Today students participated in the first SEAD lesson of 2021! We have circled back around to Light the Way (self awareness), which was our theme in August. Today’s focus was on perspective and why perspective is important. Students first played a game of “Who is right?” by looking at an image of a shoe and then a dress to determine which colors everyone saw when looking at the article of clothing. Turns out, no one is “right”, but what we see depends on our perspective! We then watched a video explaining the science behind what we saw and why. Then we looked at perspective in storytelling. We first heard the story of the Three Little Pigs, and then we listened to the story from the Wolf’s perspective. Students performed a variety of activities during the lesson all aimed at trying to see another person’s perspective. In order to understand different perspectives, we read an example from Jamake Hightower, a Native American who is now an art historian and writer in New York City. The Family Challenge is to play games that rely on perspective: charades and Pictionary. No game board is necessary to play either one of these games, and how you draw or act out the clues depends entirely on your perspective of the word. We hope you will enjoy a Family Game Night as you try to understand another person’s perspective!
In our SEAD lesson today, students learned about and discussed the danger of a single story. The lesson was our last one for January in the Light the Way theme centered around self-awareness. The focus for today was on assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices and how those lead us to the “single story” – knowing only one aspect of a person, group of people, or place. We began by looking at a cartoon, Street Calculus, that makes us think about the assumptions we make on a daily basis and segued this into what we believe the terms stereotype and prejudice mean. From there, we watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, and discussed various aspects of the video and how to change a single story to create balance. We then listened to writer Jesús Colón reflect on an incident on a subway ride in New York City in the mid-50s. Finally, we looked at the impact that assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices have had at various turning points in history. We concluded the lesson with the Family Challenge asking students to talk with family members and choose a place or group of people that you know little about. Research different stories so that you are no longer tied to a single story in your understanding of that place or group of people. We hope you will join us in this enlightening Family Challenge!
Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day! As such, our SEAD lesson focused on random acts of kindness that others have done and what students can do for others. Students first watched a video about the science behind kindness. Then they watched five videos about others around the country who have performed random acts of kindness as well as a video with 20 ideas that students can incorporate into their day, week, or month to show kindness toward others! The family challenge for this lesson is to decide on a random act of kindness to complete with family members and do it. Have fun spreading kindness everywhere you go!