Back in December, I switched my character skills to some that might have more learning potential than our original 6 traits that we practiced in the past. You may remember my post about this. We began with Grit, moved into Optimism, and then on to Zest.
Today, I want to share with you the lessons I did on Zest for K-4th graders. My lesson for optimism was good, but it still needs a bit of tweaking . . . we can try again next year and hope it’s post worthy . . . see me being gritty? See how I also have lessons that flop? It happens to the best of us.
The lessons for all grades are very similar with obvious extension for the higher grades. Look for the modifications for each grade level throughout . . . they will be in blue. I will start by showing you the 3rd and 4th grade lesson since it has the most additions.
I began all my lessons by showing a picture from the Lego Movie.
I asked the boys to reflect on what they noticed about the picture? How does this person feel? After everything they said, I related it back to optimism and being happy. I had quite a few that wanted to talk about pieces from the movie, but I kept redirecting them back to what they actually saw in just this picture.
Next, and much to their delight, I showed a clip from the Lego Movie where they sang, “Everything is Awesome.”
After the video, we discussed:
- What is happening in the video?
- How does the main character feel?
- What were examples of everything being awesome?
We took some time to discuss what zest looked like in the classroom, at recess, at home, during sports, while playing video games, etc. We also discussed the difference between zest and being out of control . . . remember I teach all boys . . .this differentiation was crucial!
Next, we watched the video again, this time identifying examples of zest.
We show zest by looking at things and thinking, “Wow this is going to be great.” We see the positives in the possibilities.
What could we have zest for? What could we show excitement and energy towards? It is endearing to listen to their answers and remember how easy it is for children to know all the good and excitement in the world. They are truly the most resilient people in our lives. Given 100 minutes, they’d tell you what they had zest for, for 95 of them . . . the other 5 would be spent arguing with another friend over who truly had more zest for Minecraft.
What does zest sound like?
At this point, I posed possible scenarios and had them respond to the situation with zest.
- Imagine you had a fight with your best friend.
- Imagine your teacher told you she wants to read a new book.
- Imagine your older brother is able to stay up late to play video games.
Because zest has a lot to do with working from your strengths as a person, we began to identity our own strengths. I found the page below from the website, GoStrengths!.
I did this piece of the lesson with 2nd – 4th graders only.
What’s Wrong With this Picture
I did this piece of the lesson with all the grades!
I wanted the boys to begin to think about how our brain works. I had them look at the picture below (also from GoStrengths!).
Looking at the picture find everything that is wrong with it.
How hard was it to find everything that was wrong? Pretty easy, right?
We do this a lot. We will think about something and only think about the bad things or the worst parts of what could happen. Like if you’ve never ridden a bike before you might think, “Oh no, I will fall. And if I fall I will hurt myself. And then I’ll scratch my bike. . . .”
Our brain’s are wired and are made to work to keep us safe. They always want to be sure that they know about danger so we don’t get hurt. But with zest, we change the way we think. So now . . . .
Find what’s right with this picture!
Circle everything that is right in this picture. This seems to be harder to do. It is harder to see things in good ways than bad ways.
Zest teaches us to work very hard to see all the good.
I did this piece of the lesson with only 3rd and 4th graders.
Thinking about your strengths from before, write a strength story describing a time you exhibited that strength. How did you overcome your problem with zest?
I think this is a perfect skill that helps us award our little Jack Rabbit students. All those little students diagnosed with ADHD who have excitement for just about anything . . . let’s allow them to shine!
Anyone out there use this skill before? What lesson did you use? I had a hard time finding resources for zest . . .