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Chains of Strengths
- Students will be able to identify their strengths and gifts.
- Students will be able to describe their peers' strengths.
- Bring the students together in a circle, on a rug or in seats.
- Write the words "Personal Strengths" on the whiteboard.
- Ask the students to come up in silence and participate in a "chalk talk" activity, in which they will write words or phrases connected to the words "Personal Strengths" around the board (in different colors).
- Explain to students that coming up in silence allows them to think and reflect on their own. Reinforce the importance of silence in this activity.
- After they have written their responses, ask different students to go up to the board and talk about what they notice about the activity.
- Ask the class why it is important to recognize our different and unique strengths.
- Explain to the class that they will each be creating a chain that holds some of their strengths.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(5 minutes)
- Explain to students that they will be creating a chain of their special talents at their seats.
- Model for students how to read through each talent on the Creating Chains of Strengths worksheet. Choose some of the talents to cut out and staple or glue together to create a chain.
- Ask them to take a moment and think of at least one talent they have. Pause to allow them time to think.
- Then, ask students to share their talent with a partner.
- Ask the class if they have gained new talents over the past year. Have them share their responses with a partner.
- Ask the class if anyone would like to share their talent(s).
- Show students the sample chain of strengths that you made.
- Ask if anyone has questions.
Guided Practice(5 minutes)
- On the board, write some of your unique strengths in order to show students that it is helpful to brainstorm in the beginning.
- Then, show the class how you wrote additional strengths on the last few lines of the worksheet before cutting out the chain links.
- Explain to the class that they will also be making a chain that will go up in the classroom. They can choose from the prewritten strips or write in their own strengths on the blank lines. Let students know they can add strengths to their chains, either alone or with classmates, throughout the school year.
Independent working time(25 minutes)
- Ask students to return to their seats and complete the worksheet to build their own chains of strengths.
Enrichment: Advanced students may write a letter to their future self, reminding themselves of their strengths and gifts. The teacher will hold on to the letters and return them later in the schol year (or mail them home).
Support: It may be helpful to work in a small group with students who find this activity more challenging.
- Observe students during the independent working time. You may also collect their worksheets as a check for understanding.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- After everyone has completed their chain, pass out one more blank chain link to each student.
- Ask the class to write a strength for the person sitting next to them. Have students share the strengths they wrote for each other and place them on the other person's chain.
- Ask if anyone would like to share a strength they wrote down (either about themselves or their classmates).
- Ask, "How did you feel when completing this activity? How did it feel to name your strengths? Was it easier to name your own strengths or the strengths of someone next to you? Why?"
- Ask the students to reflect on the many different strengths we have as a class, and to consider why it may be useful to work on a diverse team of people who complement your strengths.
- Place all the chains up in the room.
- Guide students through a gallery walk. This should be a silent time for students to go around and read the chains of their classmates.
- Ask follow-up questions about what the students noticed. What surprised them?
- Ask students if they have questions.
- Explain to the class that their chain of strengths will be placed up in the classroom, and that they will continue to add to the chain as the year progresses.
- Ask, "How can being aware of our strengths help us? How does this connect to healthy and strong relationships with ourselves? With others? What will you think of when you look at the classroom chain?"
- Thank the class for their participation, attention, and special talents.