OVERVIEW 

Student Activities

Purpose

These short, research-based student activities are designed to help teachers support students’ coping and recovery following a crisis. Each activity focuses on a topic or skill known to support students’ coping and well-being.

Delivery

Each activity is stand-alone, so teachers can choose the activities that meet their students’ needs. The activities are simple, require few materials, and can be adapted for remote delivery. Some are meant to be taught once, and others will be most effective if reinforced with ongoing practice.

 

Teaching Notes

Students are enduring stress and uncertainty right now. These activities may trigger strong feelings or prompt students to bring up difficult topics. Refer to Unit 3, Microlearning 6: Start Talking  to help you navigate these difficult conversations. If students show signs of distress, allow them to take a break. Then follow up with the school counselor, social worker, or other mental health professional if necessary. If you have questions or concerns before or after leading these activities, we encourage you to seek advice or support from a school counselor or social worker. If a student discloses information that leads you to suspect abuse or neglect, follow your school’s reporting policy and procedures.

 

Kindergarten and Grade 1 Activities

Creating a Support Tree

Students identify people they can go to for comfort and support. They create a “Support Tree” with each person they identify represented on a leaf.

Belly Breathing

Students practice belly breathing, a simple breathing technique that helps them calm their body and manage strong feelings.

Creating a Worry Jar 

Students record their worries in words or pictures and put them in a jar to contain them so they don’t dominate their thoughts.

 

Grade 2 and Grade 3 Activities

Naming Feelings

Students expand their emotional vocabulary by naming feelings they’re having because of the difficult event.

Managing Strong Feelings

Students practice belly breathing and discuss other ways to calm down. Then they make a plan to use calming-down strategies to manage their strong feelings.

Telling My Story

Students use words and illustrations to create a short story that describes their experience of a difficult event.

 

Grade 4 and Grade 5 Activities

Starting a Gratitude Journal

Students focus on the positive things in their lives and say thank you for them by practicing gratitude.

Making Movement Routine

Students plan ways to move more during the school day as a class to help them cope with stress.

Tracking Feelings

Students generate more specific words for each of the six basic emotion categories. Then they use these words to track their feelings for one day.

 

Middle School Activities

Getting a Good Night’s Rest

Students learn facts about sleep and stress. Then they assess their sleep quality and habits and identify one sleep-improvement strategy to try for a week.

Handling Grief and Getting Help

Students reflect on what they’ve lost since the crisis to help them let it go. Then they identify ways they want adults at school to support them.

Telling Your Story 

Students make sense out of a difficult experience by telling their story about it.

 

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High School Activities

Making Sleep Your New Best Friend

Students learn facts about sleep and stress. Then they assess their sleep quality and habits and identify one sleep-improvement strategy to try for a week.

Naming Feelings Accurately

Students learn how naming emotions can help them manage them. Then they apply the emotion-naming strategy to accurately label strong emotions they’ve experienced recently.

Processing Through Personal Narratives

Students make sense out of a difficult experience by telling their story about it.

 

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