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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Feeling Words and Gratitude Journal; Feelings 1

Feelings Introduction
A good book to accompany the activities below, for children pre-school to 2nd, I Feel Silly (and Other Moods), by Jamie Lee Curtis.  Story recommendation for older children, Chicken Soup for the kid's Soul, Where's My Kiss Then, by M A Urquhart, (Adapted from an An Landers column)
Understanding feelings is essential for children, in learning to accept themselves and each other.  There is quite a bit of talk about *IQ, however, *EQ, emotional quotient, is just as important.  Studies have shown that people who have a high EQ, are likely to be better adjusted and more successful in their careers.  

The following activities, and the activities that will follow next week, are steps for children to understand their feelings and to build emotional health.  Whether the materials are used in a structured environment, or altered and played as a game in the car (such as brainstorming words for joy), the results seep in to give our children self-esteem and healthy confidence.  Children who have self-esteem and healthy confidence are far more likely to be able to problem solve and get along with their peers. 

*Intellectual Quotient: IQ measures intellectual intelligence as in logical reasoning, word knowledge and math skills.
*Emotional Quotient; EQ measures emotional intelligence as in one’s understanding of their own feelings and the feelings of others. 

Brainstorm Feeling Words
Have children brainstorm feeling words, as you make a list of the words they come up with.  If they get stuck, act feelings out for them to guess.

Feeling Words
happy, joy, glad, excited, proud, love, Shy, lonely, sad            worried, scared, embarrassed, confused, afraid, upset, 
mad, angry, jealous                                

pleased, amused, cheerful, delighted, blissful, content,
joyous, jubilant, thrilled, grateful, fabulous, elated, dismayed,
annoyed, frustrated, irritated, aggravated, exasperated

Gratitude Journal
Copy and paste the jornal below or e-mail me for template.  Fill out the gratitude journal, and draw a picture or decorate in the space provided.  This gratitude journal is unique since it involves three of our senses.  

I am grateful for...
I am grateful for the sound of...
I am grateful for the feel of...
I am grateful for the sight of...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Apples Inside, and The Sassafras; Same and Different 1

Apples Inside
Buy three different color apples, such as red, green, and yellow, (the closer in size, the better).  Ask your child/children what is different about the apples, getting to the fact that the skins of the apple are different colors.

Then, explain that there is something wonderful and the same about the apples.  The apples are alike!  Take a knife and cut a large slice out of each apples.  Show the apples to the class explaining; The apples are all alike inside.  The skin on the outside is one color, but on the inside the apples are the same.

People are like the apples.  People have different skin colors on the outside.  But, on the inside we are alike.  Have your child/children brainstorm on all the ways that make people alike, (we have feelings, we bleed the same color blood, we need air...).

Same and Different (The Sassafras)
When children understand how we are all far more alike than different, it helps to promote harmony with their peers.  Read the story, then follow the directions for the art project.  Optional; brainstorm how we as people, are similar, (Need shelter, food, water, air, love...). 

The Sassafras Story: (Scroll down to the bottom.  Print out a copy of the leaf patterns.  To make a master, you will need to greatly enlarge the leaves.  All three leaves just fit one 8x11 sheet of paper).                          

Three different shapes of leaves; one that looks oblong, one that looks like a mitten, and one that has three lobes.  What kind of trees do you think these leaves grow on? 

What if I told you that they all grow on the same kind of tree!!  Only one type of tree!  It is amazing that there is only one tree out of HUNDREDS of different types of trees, that has more than one type of leaf growing on its branches.  This tree is called the Sassafras Tree.

The leaves are the same because they are all leaves, but the leaves are different since they are different shapes.  And, in the fall the leaves turn from vibrant green, to beautiful colors of red, orange, yellow and purple.  The leaves are the same because they are all leaves, but the leaves are different since they are different shapes. 

The sassafras tree is like you and me.  We are all people, we need air, food and water to live.  Some days we feel happy and laugh, and other days we feel sad and cry.  And, just like the leaves of a Sassafras Tree, we all come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  Even so, we are far more like each other, than different.  The leaves of this tree grow side by side in harmony; they are the same and a little bit different.  So, remember that we grow up side by side and can choose to walk in harmony.  We can get along with each other if we try.  After all, we are all far more alike, than different.

(Note: Sassafras trees are found in Eastern North America, from southernmost Ontario, Canada, through the eastern United States south to central Florida and west to southern Iowa and eastern Texas…)

Art Activity: Sassafras Tree
Make copies of the leaf patterns below.  Lighten and enlarge the leaves to make a master; the 3 leaves together just fit an 8 x 11 piece of xerox paper, (if you would like a copy of my full size master, e-mail me at,, and I'll e-mail them back to you).  Make copies of leaves and Cut out.  Draw the outline of a tree on butcher paper, or the backside of wrapping paper.  Have each child pick a leaf or leaves to color.  They can choose one or more of the colors to decorate their leaf or leaves; green, red, orange, yellow, and/or purple.  Glue the individual decorated leaves on the tree.  On the tree trunk write, "We are more alike, than different."  Remind everyone that we are all the same since we are all people and need air to live..., but we are a little different since we come in different sizes, colors...  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am Lovable & Capable, Younger; Bully 1a

I am Lovable and Capable; adapted from Sid Simon; Younger Child
(Scroll down to bottom of Lovable and Capable for an Older Version and for boy shape)
Explain what inside self means; how we feel inside our body when we are sad, hurt...
Explain what capable means; doing things as good you can.

A little boy (or girl), woke up feeling fine.  He got dressed and walked into the kitchen to have breakfast.  “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, you put your shirt on backwards!”  His sister says laughing.  He looks down and sure enough his shirt was on backwards.  He tried not to let it bother him, but he felt part of his inside self slip away.  He felt a little less strong and not nearly so loveable and capable.  (1. FOLD BACK A PART OF THE FIGURE).  So, he went into his bedroom and put his shirt on the right way.   He wanted to pretend that his sister’s teasing really didn’t bother him, but he felt embarrassed.

He went back into the kitchen and sat down to eat his breakfast.   As he reached for his glass of milk a little too fast, it tipped over and spilled all over the table and his shirt.  “Why do you have to be so clumsy?  Why don’t you stop and think about what you are doing?”  Says his mother.  (2. FOLD BACK ANOTHER PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  Poor guy, he felt a little more of his inside self slip away.

The boy changed his shirt and left the house to go to school.  At recess he was playing four-square and completely missed the ball.  One of the children playing with him said,  “You are not good at four-square, we don’t want you to play with us; go away!!”  Poor guy, he felt hurt.  He felt himself grow a little less strong, less loveable and capable.  (3. FOLD BACK ANOTHER PIECE OF THE FIGURE).

Every time someone says something that is not nice to the little boy, it hurts him inside.
“I don’t like you.”  (FOLD)
“You are ugily.”  (FOLD)
“Go Away.”  (FOLD)
The little boy feels more of his inside self slip away.   He feels less strong, less loveable and capable.  (UNFOLD PAPER BOY AND SHOW HOW HIS INSIDE SELF FEELS).

After reading the story, follow up with this:
Fold the paper boy back up.
Have students say nice compliments to the boy.
With every compliment, unfold a piece of the paper boy, until he is completely unfolded.

I am Lovable & Capable, Older; Bully 1b

I am Lovable and Capable, adapted from Sid Simon; For Older Children
(make a paper cutout of a boy or girl figure, 6 to 8 inches or so tall; during story, fold in 4 sections when prompted; scroll down for outline)

I am going to tell you a story about a person.  (SHOW the FIGURE).  This cutout represents the inside feelings of a boy, or girl.  For this story I will call the figure HE.  This boy woke up feeling good, got dressed for school and walked into the kitchen to have breakfast.  "Ha, ha, ha, ha, you look stupid!!!  "Look, you have your shirt on inside out!" his sister said.  The boy looked down, and indeed he did have his shirt inside out.  He tried not to let it bother him, but could feel part of his inside self slip away.  He felt  not nearly as loveable and capable.  (1. FOLD BACK A PART OF THE FIGURE).  So, he went into his bedroom and put his shirt on the right way.  As much as this boy tried not to let his sister's teasing get to him, he felt hurt and embarrassed when she laughed at him, and completely uncomfortable inside of himself.

He returned to the kitchen and sat down at the table to pour himself a glass of milk.   He reached for the milk a little too fast; his hand hit the milk container and it tipped over.  The milk spilled all over the table and the floor.  His mom says, "Why do you do everything so fast?  I've never seen anyone more clumsy!  Stop and think about what you're doing!"  (2. FOLD BACK ANOTHER PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  Poor guy, he felt himself getting smaller and smaller inside, he felt less capable and lovable.

By this time it was getting late and he had no time to eat breakfast.  So, the boy ran out the door and all the way to school, but he was late anyway.  As he hurried into his classroom the teacher sarcastically said, "Well, thank you for deciding to join us today.  Get up earlier and get here on time, you have disrupted my class.  Take out your math book.  Math book?  He had totally forgot to bring his math book.   (3. FOLD BACK ANOTHER PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  This boy is supposed to start learning right now, but his inside self feels torn up and he is having difficulty trying to concentrate on schoolwork.  He looks whole on the outside, but he's not on the inside.  The boy walked to his seat, and as he was sitting down he could hear the boy next to him snicker and call him a loser.  (4. FOLD BACK ANOTHER PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  This boy was having a rough day, and being called a loser made him feel a little more tore up inside, his feelings were hurt, and he feels worried about his inside self. 

A girl sitting on the other side of him said, "Would you like to share my math book?  I've left my math book at home before and know how it feels."  The boy felt relieved and thought," wow, someone does care."  (1a. UNFOLD A PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  Even though he felt much better, the boy spent his math time looking whole on the outside but not feeling whole on the inside.  When it was time for recess, one of the boys called out, "Be on our team!"  He was great at sports and knew he would play the game well.  He felt his inside self grow stronger and feel capable. (2a. UNFOLD A PIECE OF THE FIGURE).

The boy spent the day in school whole on the outside and a bit torn up on the inside.  When it was time to go home his teacher said, "I'm sorry I was sarcastic with you this morning.  I guess I'm having a rough day and took it out on you."  That meant a lot to the boy, he felt pretty good, and a lot more loveable and capable.   (3a. UNFOLD A PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  When the boy walked in the front door at home his mom said, "Ive been thinking about you all day.  I know you didn't spill the milk on purpose and  I'm sorry I was so angry."  (4a. UNFOLD THE LAST PIECE OF THE FIGURE).  When this boy went to bed that night he was whole on the inside and whole on the outside.   In the morning if things did not go his way and again begin to chip away at his inside self, like they do all of us, at least he was starting out fresh.

But, most kids might not be lucky enough to sit by a girl who would share her math book, (1b. FOLD A PIECE BACK AGAIN).  Whose teacher would not apologize for being sarcastic, (2B. FOLD ANOTHER PIECE).  Who were not good in games at recess and was not asked to join in, (3b. FOLD ANOTHER PIECE BACK).  And, whose mom would not apologize for being frustrated that morning.  (4b. FOLD THE LAST PIECE).  If that was true of this boy, when he went to bed that night, he'd go to bed whole on the outside but torn up on the inside.

And, when he got up in the morning and things began to chip away at hiim like they do to all of us, he wouldn't have much of the inside self left.   (5b. FOLD SEVERAL TIMES MORE UNTIL A SMALL PIECE OF PAPER IS LEFT).  The boy would say to the world, "Leve me alone, leave me alone!!!!"  (UNFOLD THE PAPER AND SHOW HOW WRINKLED THE BOY IS ON THE INSIDE).  We are lucky that our boy was whole on the outside and whole on the inside.


November 16, 2011
Dear Friends,

This is a Character Education oriented blog. My name is Lorinda Wise Williams, and I am not only a former dance instructor, but a former Guidance Technician for the Cajon Valley Union School District. As a guidance tech., I taught character education to classrooms of elementary school aged students, with lessons in feelings, self-esteem and bullying.

It is my hope to develop a site where ideas can be shared; A blog where parents and teachers can find materials to guide their children/students toward self-worth, self-esteem and empathy toward others.