As promised part 2 of my best learning experience! This was a lesson I taught while on prac at a state school with a lot of behaviour issues in a low socioeconomic area. I was to deliver a lesson on social skills specifically anger management to a group of 5 year 6 boys. This was a club the school had formed called The Volcano Club, likening the frequent eruptions of anger to a volcano (fantastic!). The school was trying to educate students to react to their strong feeling in ways other than fighting, yelling and swearing. I was very nervous as these boys were the ‘high fliers’ of the school. The first thing I did was to forget everything I had been told about their past indiscretions and went into that class with a fresh perspective for these students who needed help controlling and understanding strong emotions. At the beginning of the lesson expectations were discussed such as respect for others.We played a game rolling a ball to each with questions written on it that asked students to act out being angry, what does your body feel like when it is angry and ways to calm down. The boys participated well and seemed to enjoy this activity.
The next part of this lesson was a sorting game called Filter the Anger where the boys sorted into groups angry things that should be filtered out and things you could say. I used the visual of a bucket of sand and a sieve where most sand, the nice words went through but the big pieces, the angry words got stuck and were not said. The boys watched this closely as it appealed to the visual learners in the group. I photocopied a page out of the book What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems With Anger ( D. Huebner, 2007) that gave strategies to cool down, laminated it and gave it to the boys to take home.
There were no ICT actually used in this lesson but I felt I got through to these boys, they listened, they participated, they treated me and each other with respect. My mentor’s feedback was great, saying it was one of the best social skills lessons she had seen. This came from someone who has many years experience working with disengaged students . She went on to say that she was pleasantly surprised with how respectful they were and this came from me setting the expectations initially.
My two parts of my best learning experience describe two very different but equally as important situations with vastly different students. I feel very fortunate to have experienced both. Moments like those help keep the enthusiasm going when the study seems overwhelming and the end seems so far away.