I think a while back I promised I would write up some awesome lessons from Connecting With Others: Lessons for Teaching Social and Emotional Competence. And somehow with everything going on, I forgot!
I began 2nd grade using Skill Area 4 of the program, Communication Skills.
Topics Covered: Respect, Acceptance, Communication Skills
During my first counselor lesson, I introduced the word respect to all of my groups. Through out the next set of lessons, I emphasize how listening to others really shows respect.
But how do we really focus our attention on the speaker? How do they know we are listening?
A lot of the CWO lessons I begin with a short story focused on a certain problem. I always tell the boys that we will practice our skill today so that we won’t run into these same problems.
“There was nothing wrong with Tom’s ears. He could hear, but he had a problem sitting still and paying attention. He always interrupted his teacher, friends, and family (I also relate this back to Howard B. Wigglebottom, whom they saw last year). Everyone would get so upset with Tom, they even began to call him names, like Wiggle Worm. Poor Tom, he didn’t like these names.”
When we pay attention and show respect, we listen with 3 things: our ears, minds, and hearts. We pay attention when we learn something new or when we are doing something important.
We can also do something neat by dividing out attention between 2 things. We normally do this when we are playing.
Listening is an amazing skill because we learn so many new things when we listen.
Before you can listen to what I’m saying to you, you have to FOCUS your attention on me. We do this by adjusting your mind and making eye contact. You brain is thinking about what I’m saying.
Now you are ready to listen with your ears and mind.
But sometimes even if your eyes are on the speaker, you mind starts to wander off. You may be looking at me, but your ears aren’t hearing what I’m saying and your mind might be picturing you playing soccer, going fishing, or something else fun. When this happens, we have trouble sitting still.
When a teacher sees you squirming in your seat, she knows she is losing your attention. When you lose your attention, you need to use your thinking steps to make a plan.
It’s best to do this when your mind starts to wander.
“Tom wanted to attend (pay attention), but often did things without thinking. One day in class, he started doing his work, then he interrupted the teacher, and forget to raise his hand. Five minutes later, he got up to sharpen his pencil and remembered that he needed something out of his backpack. That’s when Tom realized his mind was wandering. So, he used his Thinking Steps.
THINK – He thought to himself, “I need to pay attention so I can get my work done.”
PLAN – He made a list of things to get done before going to his backpack. 1. Finish Work 2. Sharpen Pencil 3. Check Backpack 4. Read Silently
CHECK – As he went down his list, he began to check off the things he had done.
For the first time all year, Tom had finished his work on time!
Once the lesson is over, we played an attention game. All the boys sat in a circle. We took turns saying one word. As we went around the circle people added on words, but not before repeating all the words said before hand.
2: Dog, Cat
3: Dog, Cat, Football
4: Dog, Cat, Football, Scissors
And you keep going until everyone has had a chance to repeat the entire sequence.
We followed the game up with an activity sheet focused on key vocabulary stated in the lesson.
And just for kicks . . . guess who is back!