Being Our Best Selves
- Students will be able to identify a time when they were their best self over the past week.
- Students will be able to practice heartfulness in partners.
- Join students together in a circle, seated on the rug or in chairs.
- Divide the class into groups of five to form small circles.
- Explain that each group will receive a hula hoop. Their goal is to lower the hula hoop onto the ground without letting it fall, using only the tip of each pointer finger to hold the hoop (their finger can not bend).
- Tell them that only one person is allowed to talk, and have each group choose their speaker.
- Go to one group, and model for the class how to lower the hula hoop onto the ground without dropping it.
- Have the groups begin.
- Afterwards, ask the class, "How did it go? How were you able to work together? What supported teamwork?"
- Tell groups to go again. However, this time tell them to try doing it in silence (without a speaker from each group).
- Afterwards, ask, "How did it go? Was it more challenging without the speaker? How were you able to work together? What supported teamwork?"
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(15 minutes)
- Explain to students that each person had an important role and responsibility in their group. When each person followed directions and was in tune with the rest of the group, it impacted themselves and their teammates.
- Tell the class that today, we will be focusing on the positive qualities that they bring to their teams, class, and community.
- Show them the posters around the room, and read through the questions on them (be sure to prewrite one question on each poster and hang them prior to the lesson):
- What gifts do you have that contribute to the classroom community?
- What does it mean to be your “best self”?
- What would communities look like if everyone practiced living as their best selves?
- What does “community” mean to you?
- How can our classroom encourage community more often?
- How can our classroom support individual talents and encourage individuals in being the best that they can be?
- Explain that students will move around the room to answer each question on their own.
- Hand out paper and clipboards.
- Ask the students to each move to a poster.
- Tell them that they will have 1–2 minutes at each poster to answer the question.
- Have them begin.
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- After students finish answering the questions on the posters, ask them to find a partner.
- Have them share their answers for 3–4 questions with their partners.
- Remind them to take care in listening to their partners.
- Tell the class that they will be practicing loving kindness for their partner. Explain that "loving kindness" is when you send kind wishes to yourself or someone else.
- Ask them to stay standing, relax their body, and be as still as they can.
- Have them close their eyes or look down, and place one hand on their heart.
- With each breath, ask them to notice their chest rise and fall at their heart center.
- Tell them to think about their partners. Have them bring to mind what they appreciate in their partners and all of their unique qualities.
- Ask them to repeat, in their minds, the following kind wishes to their partners: "May you be happy." (Pause.) "May you know how appreciated you are." (Pause.) "May you feel peace." (Pause.) "May you feel loved." (Pause.) "May you know how valued you are to this class and this community." (Pause.)
- Have them repeat these kind wishes for their partners in their mind again.
- Tell the class to take a few deep breaths into their bellies and slowly open their eyes when they are ready.
- Ask, "What did you notice? How do you feel? What was it like to send kind wishes to your partner? What is it like to know someone sent kind wishes to you?"
Independent working time(25 minutes)
- Tell students that they will be creating a timeline of the past week depicting times they showed up as their best self in a team, in class, or somewhere else.
- Ask them, "Why is it important to know how important you are to a community? Why is it important to focus on moments when you have been your best self?"
- Review the instructions of the My 'Best Self' Timeline worksheet, and show your sample timeline.
- Dismiss the class back to their seats, and allow them to begin working.
Enrichment: Ask advanced students to write a letter to their future self to remind them of all of their positive traits.
Support: Work one-on-one with some students to help them create their timeline.
- During the independent working time, move through the room and connect one-on-one with as many students as possible.
- Check for understanding by asking them to share what it means for them to be their best self.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- Bring the class back together in a circle, and ask them to bring their timelines.
- Ask them if anyone would like to share a moment from their timeline when they were their best self.
- Ask, "How can we focus on the value of each member of our classroom community? How does this create a sense of community in our classroom and in our school?"