Do you wonder how your students are feeling? Wondering why that one student is by themselves again for the third day in a row? Are they dragging their feet when coming into class? My single objective in creating a safe space in my classroom is the ability for my students to discuss their emotions openly without fear or judgment. Our students are faced with decisions every day. Some they understand and some they do not and with that uncertainty comes frustration and that is a lot for our learners.
With Chadwick International Year Goal being Student Wellness, how do I do my part in opening that discussion in music? Let me show you!
200 Students Oh My!
I had a stoplight of emotions created by students that they would high-five on their way out. I would take note of how many “sad” and “happy” faces there were. This was a quick and easy way to help identify the amount of each, but it became too difficult to keep track of and calculate percentages. I also had students not comfortable with sharing how they truly were feeling with other friends nearby looking on. So I had to change how I approach the beginning of sharing our feelings.
I brought this problem to my good friend, Sean Forde (check out his twitter here), and he had a solution immediately. Google Forms! So I created a form that had our stoplights of emotions found on Twinkl. Then created a QR code that students could scan and fill out quickly identifying how they were feeling that day. This allowed for the day to day data and instant percentage from week to week of how my students were feeling overall. This was done as an exit ticket when walking out the door. Many students saved the form as an app on the iPad so they could access it even quicker.
Easy for my young students to quickly identify and select and submit.
Using technology to quickly compile data efficiently.
All this data, what now?
I took two weeks of data and asked my students to complete a “See, Think, Wonder” via Seesaw. What did they see? What did they think of this information and what do they wonder? We then shared this information with each other and we noticed a number of students that were sad. This discussion continued on how we can help students that were sad move to “ok” or “happy”. This conversation had students create actions they could take on helping our friends who were alone or upset. Some of the student actions are listed below:
- Asking a friend to work with us.
- Play with new friends at recess.
- Listen when someone is sharing.
- Taking turns and sharing tools.
These actions were used day to day to help create a community of learners where everyone was valued and respected. Because these actions came from data that was collected by them, it was immensely more valuable and authentic to them. It was much easier sharing how our actions make others feel when I could point at the X number of students who selected they were feeling sad.
Creating Empathetic Learners
The IB philosophy is to help create globally-minded students. This is something that draws many educators towards the IB program. Coming from a small town in Kansas, it is this specific philosophy that keeps me coming back to the PYP. In creating globally-minded students, we must first learn to identify how we are feeling. Then be open to sharing that with others. By making this a priority we are teaching our students that our and other people’s emotions are important. By creating a safe space to share we are teaching students about being open-minded to other people’s emotions. Also learning to help others when they are down. We are creating ways for students to be empathetic and see their actions actually improve someone else’s day.
How are you identifying your student’s emotions? How are you creating a safe place for them to share? Share yours in a comment below!
As always, continue sharing your learning!