ResilientKids™ Teacher Guide

Self-Management & Responsible Decision-Making

This section defines the key concepts covered in this chapter. These are the central themes upon which the activities are based.

♦ PERSEVERANCE

Perseverance is a character trait shown to serve children well in the future. Whether this means working through a complicated math problem or not dropping out of high school, developing staying-power in the face of adversity is an important skill that can be taught.

♦ SELF-MOTIVATION

Developing an intrinsic drive requires skills such as open-mindedness, focus, and the ability to shift perspective. By looking internally for the source of that motivation, we can reconnect with our resilience and manage curve balls or setbacks along the way.

♦ SELF-DISCIPLINE

Once we connect with our motivation, then we can turn our attention to the effort required for everything we do. Students will learn about the quality of their effort, applying focus and perseverance while remaining caring and compassionate toward themselves and others. This requires a fine balance, clear perspective and a level of comfort amidst the discomfort.

♦ OPEN-MINDEDNESS

Assimilating new ideas and information into our view of the world enriches the way we experience life. It can also prove difficult when the new information challenges mindsets or beliefs we have held for a long time. A willingness to be open to new ideas requires students to call upon their curiosity, perspective-taking, self-awareness, listening and empathy skills, all of which are strengthened through the practice of mindfulness.

♦ BRAIN SCIENCE #4: REST

Our brains are amazing super-computers that help us do thousands of things every day. In order to function optimally, our brains need rest in a form that is different from sleep. In this chapter, students will learn about the active and rest modes of the brain and have multiple opportunities to practice various forms of “doing nothing,” or resting.

This section offers direction as to where the program is headed in this chapter and some notes about things to look for in your students as you answer the reflection questions at the end of Chapter 4.

♦ STRENGTHEN IMPULSE CONTROL

Not acting on impulse is foundational to self-management and responsible decision-making. Learning to insert a momentary pause in between stimulus and response is a life-skill that requires self-awareness and practice. Something as simple as taking a breath before starting the next task, turning the page of the book or starting standardized testing can help develop this skill.

♦ INCREASE FOCUS

Kids are told all day long to “pay attention” but never actually taught how to do this! The skill of focusing includes elements of listening (with your whole body), concentrating, and remembering, all of which are enhanced when staying present in the moment. In these lessons, students strengthen their “concentration muscle” just as they build their physical muscles in physical education classes. This provides students with multiple tools they can use to manage their attention, ultimately increasing learning-readiness.

♦ MAKE CARING AND COMPASSIONATE CHOICES

We are presented with choices all day long. By building upon students’ self-knowledge, self-trust and self-confidence, they will more innately look inward to make more intentional decisions or offer skillful responses. No matter the age, how students interact with peers, choose language in-person or on social media, or respond to peer-pressure, the influences among kids are strong. When students are confident in their ability to stand up for what is right, they become less susceptible to the influences all around them.

♦ FEEL EMPOWERED

One way students learn to believe in themselves is by setting goals, initiating action and reflecting on the process. Each of these elements requires students to take skillful initiative, respond to constraints and conditions, enlist creative problem-solving skills and call upon their self-knowledge and self-trust. These all lead to students feeling empowered and confident.

♦ MANAGE EMOTIONS

Knowing that emotions influence our behaviors and the behaviors of those around us, both positively and negatively, emotional intelligence is an important skill to learn early in life. At this stage, the first step is to become aware of feelings and emotions as the foundation for building strong social connections and recognizing behaviors.

♦ MANAGE STRESS

Rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise, largely due to the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) which children experience. Despite tracking adverse experiences as though they are one-time events, often our students are living in adverse environments where they are repeatedly exposed to trauma. This puts them at a higher risk for chronic health issues and physiologic disruptions to their developing brain, widening health disparities. The practice of mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress. Middle and high-school students using the ResilientKidsTM curriculum report a 30% reduction in stress.

The questions on the Chapter 4 Teacher Reflection Form are listed below so you can keep them in the back of your mind as you progress through the chapter.

1. Do students show improved tenacity?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

2. Do students recognize moments where they're making intentional choices?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

3. Do students return to previous activities that resonate with them?

A. If yes, which categories do they return to most frequently?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from doing this?

4. Can students manage their emotions and stress?

A. If yes, describe a time when you observed this in your students.

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

5. Do students approach new information or situations with open-mindedness, care and compassion?

A. If yes, which do they show most frequently?

    • Curiosity
    • Perspective-taking
    • Self-awareness
    • Empathy
    • Self-trust
    • Self-knowledge
    • Confidence
    • Other

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

6. Have students increased their time on task?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from doing this?

7. Please use this space to provide any additional information you would like us to know.

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