All educators are anxiously awaiting what this fall might look like. Some still aren’t sure if kids will be in the classroom or virtual—and things could change quickly. Most students are also feeling anxious, not really knowing what school will look like in the fall. Some are anxious about possible changes, leaving home, being around other kids, wearing masks/not wearing masks, etc. Students will need extra emotional support from their teachers, counselors, and admin as they navigate this new territory. How can you help?
First, you know that all kids are not made equal. Some kids will prance into school just happy to be there—and some will be terrified—feeling anxious, worried, and unsure of themselves. Their ability to adjust and cope will run the spectrum of feeling happy and inspired to being lost and confused. Get to know where your students are at, you can even create a numbers system putting 1-5 next to their names showing your perceived level of their anxiety. But how do you really get to know where they are at—here is a simple and free tool that will help the student express what they are feeling and give you a sense of what’s going on in their hearts and minds. This tool is called The Imagine Project. The Imagine Project is a powerful tool that K-12 teachers can incorporate into their literacy programs (it meets many core standards BTW)—and it’s FREE. The Imagine Project will give students at least part of the extra emotional support they need to adjust to being back to school and the new norms it brings.
The Imagine Project gives emotional support through expressive writing. It’s a simple 7-step process that encourages students to write about a time or experience that has been difficult for them—all using the word Imagine… to begin every sentence. The word Imagine allows the writer to connect with the creative side of the brain to help bring healing, and it gives a safe and simple way to talk about a challenging time. Here is an example:
Imagine…leaving school one day, not knowing that would be the last day of school for the year.
Imagine…having to complete school work every day at home, not being able to hear your friend’s laughter, voices, or even your teacher telling you to “SHHH” while doing the waterfall hand motion.
Imagine…looking outside your bedroom window at the sky, wondering when the next time you will be able to give your friends and teachers a hug
Imagine…you had a sense of hope.
Imagine…you had a sense of thankfulness, thankful for current technology in being able to see your friends and teachers over a computer screen.
Imagine…spending more time with your family than ever before, discovering new activities and playing games with each other.
Imagine…you had a superpower to change anything in the world, and you chose to cure all disease.
Imagine…the world healthy and strong, getting to see your friends and teachers again.
Imagine…there is no pain, no worry, no strife in the world.
Imagine…everyone living with happiness and joy.
Hope, 2nd grade
Using The Imagine Project will allow students to express what’s in their hearts, learn that others have had similar experiences (if they read their stories out loud to the class which is encouraged), and bring camaraderie to the classroom or group. It also gives the teacher or counselor a better understanding of where the kids are at emotionally—all while meeting core standards!
To learn more about The Imagine Project go to www.theimagineproject.org. Remember it’s free, easy, and powerful. You can even write your own story—supporting your own emotional health. If you decide to read it to your kids—they will love it! Download the journals now!
Good luck and happy Imagining!