Sunday, December 06, 2015

How to Help Beat the Holiday Blues

The holidays are upon us and though they can be a joyful time for many, there are large numbers of people who are alone, and unhappy. Others may feel alienated from their families leading to depression and in extreme cases, suicide. Our students are not immune. Perhaps their parents are separated, or just come from negative environments.. In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some ideas with you to help alleviate the holiday blues.

We all know that kids love to send notes to each other. This activity allows them to do just that. We begin by talking about kindness, and I give an example of a time when a kind word meant a great deal to me and enabled me to get over an obstacle in my life. We also talk about how important it is to tell the truth when complimenting others. Then the class shares examples that they might have.

I introduce the lesson, “Note Giving,” and stress that this activity can be powerful since we rarely see how others view us. I let them know that they will have an opportunity to give everyone in the class, including myself, a truthful and kind compliment. It’s veryimportant to let them know that they should only mention the good things. We talk about why the notes should be positive and not negative. We brainstorm about the types of things that we can write to each other, and I put them on the board. Here are some examples:  I love the way you’re so willing to help. You are so artistic, I love your drawings. You have a great sense of humor. You’re fun to be with.  If they can’t think of anything to say about a particular child, I privately help them. No one should feel left out.

This lesson may take a few days so make sure you leave enough time for its completion.

Envelopes, note cards, masking tape, stapler.

What to do:
1. Give each child an envelope and a piece of masking tape, Have them write their name on the envelope. Each envelope should be taped to the board in alphabetical order.
2. Distribute note cards. Have the class write their compliment. We all know, as teachers, that some kids don't have many redeeming qualities, however, they too have some positive attributes. So no children should be skipped. If someone is having a really hard time thinking of something nice to say, help them. It's fine if they get similar compliments. Once a note card is completed, it should be put into the appropriate envelope.
3. The teacher should participate by writing and receiving compliments, too.
4.  After this activity is completed, the teacher should read as many notes as he/she can, esp. for those who might tend to receive negative comments. When I’ve used this activity, I read all the notes, just to be safe. It will be worth it in the end.

Below are a few items with some holiday flare. The first is a freebie containing note cards that go along with the post.

How to Beat The Holiday Blues Values Lesson

December Literacy & Math Center
Addition & Subtraction Practice Grades 1-2 & Sp. Ed
Multiplication & Division Practice Grades 2-3 & Sp. Ed
Literacy & History Center Grades 2-4 & Sp. Ed

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This blog post is part of our Teacher Talk Blog Hop for December. Please read the 
great ideas that these educators are using for the month of December and beyond. 

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