Dawson Elementary Super Science Spectacular Day: SEL Integration At Its Finest

One of the highest goals of Social and Emotional Learning is to integrate concepts and behavior practice into regular classroom curriculum.  Thus, when two SEL specialists were invited to present at Dawson Elementary’s Super Science Spectacular Day, we jumped for joy!  We immediately drew a huge brain…

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…and made a bunch of fuzzy amygdala models…

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…and prepared to present the science of calming strategies to first and second graders.  The goal was to have each student learn about the amygdala and its role in generating big feelings, and to learn how the frontal lobe manages the feelings from the amygdala and helps us make good choices when we are calm.  We talked about how sometimes feelings are so big that the amygdala takes over and the frontal lobe can’t help us think!  The students learned how to use their hand to create a model of the frontal lobe and the amygdala, and show how we “flip our lid” when the amygdala takes over and the frontal lobe is disengaged.

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Hand-Brain Model step 1

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Hand-Brain Model step 2

We then discussed calming-down strategies that re-engage the frontal lobe so that we can make good behavior choices even when our feelings are big.  Each student then created a take-home personal portable peace box. The boxes included items to help re-engage the frontal lobe by activating the five senses, like a maze for quiet focus, pipe cleaners for fiddling, a pencil to write or draw, a mandala for coloring, some cards showing calm-down strategies, and of course a cuddly amygdala model!  Students were encouraged to add their own personal calming objects at home.  Check out the science-y, SEL-y fun we had!

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Adding items to the peace box

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Choosing calming strategy reminders

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Practicing deep breathing

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