Emotional wellbeing is about our feelings, our thoughts, our emotions and our moods. Looking after our emotional wellbeing is just as important as looking after our physical health.
Over these past two years, we have been through something that we could never have imagined. Did we ever think that schools would shut and we wouldn’t be allowed to see those people in our lives that we really care about? When we are experiencing something difficult and challenging like the pandemic, our hearts, our minds and bodies can find it difficult to cope with everyday situations. We often revert to a fixed and negative mindset, which can often be very limiting. When we are scared we become defensive and we often struggle with creative thoughts. The pandemic gave us a unique opportunity to reflect on what is important to us and what we want more of in our lives. We had time to think about those things we missed most including time with people we love, things that inspire us and activities that make us happy. When we are happy we create an environment that we need to thrive and grow. We now have an opportunity to take the lessons we have learned and move out of our fixed mindsets into a more positive way of thinking.
Crook Crusaders is the chance to take these lessons and move out of our fixed mindsets into a more positive way of thinking. It is with this growth mindset and resilience that we can create a world with endless possibilities. In order for a child to develop a strong growth mindset they need the input, support and comfort of others.
Children were asked what they think failure is. How does it make them feel when they fail?
We watched the motivational video about 'failing your way to success' and never giving up.
The children were asked if they have heard of 'trial and error'. We explored this is a way of working each day when looking at Maths problems and considered other areas of our lives when we use this approach.
Attempting some Maths problems, children wrote down words to describe how they felt whenever they failed. They recorded all of their attempts so that they could see the number of times they failed. We did not try a new problem until they succeeded at the first one.
The person or pair that tried the most number of times received a round of applause at the end as they have shown great resilience, which was the aim of this session.
Halfway through the lesson we stopped to ask them how it felt and where they felt it in their body. Asked: Is there anything useful to think about at this point to help you to keep going rather than give up?
We ended by discussing how we can focus on positive thoughts at these points and remember that there is something valuable to learn in this process.
Good Try': Children sat in a circle with one person standing in the centre. The person in the centre had an everyday object which they used to mime a common activity (such as brushing the hair, ironing, speaking on the phone, etc.) The children had to guess the activity. When one of them guessed correctly, the person in the middle said 'Well done', swapped places with the child who got the correct answer and gave them the object. The new person in the centre thought of a different mime. If someone gave a wrong answer, the person in the middle said 'Good try' and carried on until someone guessed correctly. We then decided on the six most important skills involved in learning. There are no 'right' answers. The important thing is what the children thought makes a good learner. We created a display to remind children of the skills and emphasised how anyone can learn them and we will refer to them during learning across the curriculum.
We began by listing as many emotions as we could., using adventurous vocabulary. We gave examples of when we felt these emotions. We described how experiencing these emotions feels, both mentally and physically.
We also discussed the different courses of action that be taken in these situations. E.g: When happy, we can share this with someone else to try and make them happy too; when sad, we can talk to someone we trust to work out a way to make things better; when angry, we can practise relaxation techniques and cool down before we take decisive action on how to overcome the issue.
We watched the Presentation: Choose your destiny example and discussed what other choices there would have been in that situation.
We created our own 'choose your destiny' story based on different emotions and shared with the group.
We began by watching a clip from the film, 'Toy Story', where Woody pushes Buzz out of the window. The scene shows Woody feeling jealous of Buzz.
We discussed the key questions:
• How does Woody feel?
• What might he like to do?
• Why do you like having friends? (They are people to have fun with/talk to when you have a problem or are feeling down/share news with).
• How do friends make you feel? (Cared for, understood, like you belong, happy).
• How does a friend do this? (Listening to you, playing with you, talking to you, seeing what you are feeling, doing things to make you feel happy).
We then wrote instructions for 'How to build a friend', which contained all the qualities of a good friend and explained why these are important and how they can make us feel.
Using instructional writing skills, including adverbs and imperative verbs, our instructions included illustrations and a 'You will need' list detailing all the attributes of a great friend.
In our sessions this week we were able to describe what has caused us stress or worry, understand the importance of relaxation, perform relaxation stretches and were able to describe how these stretches made us feel.
We began by considering and sharing our thoughts on how relaxation can affect the body and why it is important; not only is it part of staying generally healthy, but it also improves our resilience. We watched a video on the science of yoga to show how this form of meditation can positively affect the body and mind.
We then tried some of these stretches, then described how we felt.
Next we came up with ideas as to when we could fit this into our day. First thing in the morning? Before going to bed? After doing their homework?
Then we considered where a good place would be to do this. (Bedroom, living room, garden).
Finally, we thought about whether there is anyone who might like to join in. (Siblings, parents, friends).
This week in our Crook Crusaders group we learned:
• To understand that there are different ways to communicate
• Hoe to communicate my meaning without talking
• How to listen and show that I'm listening
• To know how to be a good listener
We discussed what we mean by 'communication'.
Then watched and listened to the video on link: 'Shaun's story' on the BBC Bitesize website':
When discussing how Shaun communicates, we looked at how he understands what other people want to say and how he lets other people know what he is thinking and wants to do.
Children then played charades, using cards provided. In both games, words are forbidden, however facial expressions were used to let teammates know if they were on the right track.
We discussed that we communicate meaning in more than one way, and, the non-verbal cues are equally important.
Children were asked how they can tell when someone is listening to them:
• eye contact
• asking questions about what is being said
• summarising point to show understanding
• not doing other tasks
We discussed how we can tell if someone is not listening to them:
• looking around or at their phone or watch
• doing something else at the same time
• talking to someone else
• doesn't say/do anything or make any facial expressions in response
Children briefly acted these out at their tables to make the distinction.
We discussed that there is more to being a good listener than just looking like one.
We also discussed any vocabulary and phrases that we are unfamiliar with, e.g.: empathy, sympathy, open questions, encouragement.
Children finished by creating a 'Good listener guide' using a template and headings provided, adding examples of these and why they are important. (The headings: 'Questions', 'Show you're listening', 'Respond', 'Empathise'.)
We began by asking children what a job is and encouraged them to think about their parents' jobs and other adults they know.
• How do you think it feels to be good at your job?
• What skills would be useful across a range of jobs that you can start developing in school? For example, confidence, creativity, communication, determination, enthusiasm, flexibility, problem-solving, working with others.
• What am I good at?
• What would be the perfect job for me in school?
• Am I the listener?
• Am I the 'ideas person'?
• Am I excellent at tidying up?
The children prepared a job application for their chosen role within school, e.g.:
• Book Reviewer: Reads books to recommend to people, writes reviews to be displayed in class.
• Discussion Manager: Makes sure that in any group discussion, everyone gets their say and reaches a solution that everyone is happy with.
• Spokesperson: Listens to ideas, concerns, suggestions of others and presents them in front of a group or the rest of the class.
• Play Leader: Organises games to play outside.
• Wet Play Leader: Organises activities to do inside.
We discussed our strengths and why they are suited to their chosen job, we gave at least three examples.
When finished, we shared our chosen job with the other people on their table, explaining why they have chosen it and what they would do in the role.
By the end of the lesson, children completed a written application.
In Crook Crusaders this week we identified what is important to us and how to take responsibility for our own happiness. We discussed that all emotions are important and that we can control some things but not others.
We watched the 'Inside Out' video clip called 'Meet your emotions' which is about the different emotions that we feel.
We discussed why different emotions are useful and how all emotions serve a purpose and these lead us to behave in different ways. We talked about that we have a choice as to the action we take; given how we feel.
Children completed thought bubbles by drawing a picture of what would make them happy, then writing what they themselves could do to make this happen around the image. We wrote down things that we can have a positive impact on RATHER than events that we can't control.
We finished with the group discussing that it is important to focus on ways in which we can make a difference to our own and other's happiness.
This week we looked at planning for a healthy lifestyle and the importance of a healthy diet, good oral hygiene, rest and relaxation and physical activity.
We began by watching the BBC Bitesize- 'Keeping Healthy' clip, highlighting what is good and bad for our body and asked the questions; questions
• How can you keep yourself mentally and physically healthy?
• What do you currently do to stay healthy?
We looked at the four categories: diet, exercise, rest/relaxation and dental health, then discussed what the children do to look after themselves in each of these ways:
• Diet (e.g. eat fruit as a snack, have a filling breakfast)
We discussed how different food groups affect our bodies in different ways and the importance of hydration.
• Exercise (e.g. walk to school, run around at playtime, dance club)
We recalled the positive effects on the body as well as finding something active that we enjoy.
• Rest/relaxation (e.g. get a good night's sleep, practice calm breathing once a week)
We recaped ways to prepare for sleep or rest and how it affects the body. We also considered our Relaxation lessons from previous years, thinking about different techniques suitable for different situations.
• Dental health (e.g. drink lots of water, brush teeth twice a day)
Review why teeth and gums are useful and how to look after them properly.
We listened to each other's responses as these helped give us ideas for what else we might want to incorporate into our own routines.
Children filled in the Activity: My healthy body and mind grids and in one colour, adding what they are already doing for each of these four areas, based on the ideas discussed, then, in another colour, they add something new they will try.
We watched the Disney Pixar 'Partly Cloudy' clip, and thought about what advice we would give to the stork in this scenario, relating their ideas to diet, exercise, sleep and relaxation.
The session ended with children sharing what they will do to take responsibility for their own health and relaxation.
This week we focused on the skills and values we want to have when we grow up.
For inspiration, children considered adults they admire, thinking about which skills or values make them a source of inspiration, e.g: a favourite scientist because they are passionate and determined, or a parent since they are loving and kind.
Children drew a picture of what they would like their future selves to be like, labelling skills and values that cannot be seen, such as kindness, understanding, bravery, adaptability, listening skills, and perseverance.
In pairs, we discussed how we could work towards becoming this version of themselves by considering:
• What will they need to learn?
• How should they interact with people?
• Who could help them achieve these goals?
We discussed that we can get better at something by starting off small, then gradually improving. For example, if they want to be braver, start by challenging themselves to do something small every day or every week that is outside of their comfort zone; if they want to have a good memory, start to play memory games with a friend or sibling, making them more and more challenging each week.
We noted all the actions we want to follow to help develop the skills to achieve our goals.
We ended with children sharing the values or skills they would like to develop.
In this weeks session of Crook Crusaders, the children created a resilience toolbox.
We started by thinking of challenges we have faced, things that have made them want to give up or not try in the first place.
Using these we considered positive ways to tackle them, drawing upon their learning of resilience in previous years:
• When and who to ask for help (who from?)
• Accept what is and isn't within your control
• Break down an issue into smaller actions
• Learn from mistakes/failures and appreciate what they have taught you
• Use relaxation techniques to allow you to view a situation clearly…
Children recorded five different strategies and shared these with the rest of the class, adding to their ideas as they listen.
Children were given the opportunity to reflect on what resilience is and why it is such a valuable quality. Children were to consider the best ways of communicating and modelling resilience to the rest of the school.
We then shared inspirational descriptions of resilience and also used real examples of ways they have used a growth mindset to help them succeed, we then summarised our thoughts and ideas in a creative mind map, showing keywords, phrases and stories linked to resilience.
This weeks session will focus on making the people around us happy. We will think about many different questions and aim to find as many ideas as possible to make other people happy. Children will be encouraged to note down any ideas that spring to mind during the lesson.
Start by asking them to consider what someone else could do to make them happy. Get children to share these ideas, encouraging as many different answers as possible to help reinforce the concept that people are different. Therefore, what makes them happy may be different.
Watch the video 'Life Vest Inside - Kindness Boomerang - One Day' (link below), about acts of kindness being passed on. How did the characters feel when someone did something unexpectedly nice for them? (Grateful, it made them want to do something nice for someone else).
Children to think of a time when they have made someone else really happy.
• What did they do?
• Why did it make that person happy?
• Was it difficult to do?
• How did it make them feel seeing that other person happy?
Children will understand that what they do and say has an effect on other people; the 'Domino Effect'.