Developing social, emotional, and character competencies and attitudes doesn’t just happen. Like learning skills in math, science, art, or any academic area—children need to practice prosocial skills over and over again in order to be able to put them into practice when situations occur in real life.
Listen to one elementary school counselor describe how children grasp these skills.
The AIM Buddy Project sessions were developed to help young children foster knowledge and connections that allow them to get along with others, understand differences, and be kind to one another. Ongoing reinforcement beyond the AIM sessions is critical to ensuring students really grasp the foundational learning that happens in these sessions.
Integrating the language, skills, and attitudes learned in the AIM sessions can happen organically throughout the school day. Opportunities to use the vocabulary, explore the topics in other disciplines, and acknowledge the skills and attitudes as they occur can be found in the classroom, at the playground, at lunch–or during any part of the day.
Watch the video to see how two elementary teachers have found opportunities to reinforce the learning in their classrooms:
Here are a few activities that can help you get started reinforcing the AIM learning throughout the school day:
- Morning meeting: Start the day by asking students how they feel today. [To help students create an emotion vocabulary of their own so they can recognize emotions in themselves and in others.]
- Art: Create a “Feelings” class book. Have children illustrate and write about feelings of characters in a story recently read to the class.
- Writing: Have kids self-reflect and write about a time they experienced or witnessed the emotion illustrated in the “Feelings” book.
- Math: Give pairs a bowl of buttons (or any small item). Have them work together to share equal amounts. Ask: What would you do if another friend joined you? How would you decide to share the buttons?
- Social studies: Create a “Learning From Others” quilt. Before exploring different religious, community, and family customs, ask questions and record responses on index cards. Assemble and display the “quilt”. Have children add to it throughout the month. Sample questions:
What is an assumption? Why do people make assumptions about other people and cultures? Why is it sometimes hard to admit you don’t know something? What can you do if you don’t know something about a person or a culture? What can you do when you make a mistake about someone or something?
For even more ideas, go to “Reinforce the Learning” on page 15 in the AIM Buddy Project Teacher’s Guide.