Exploring the feelings when “you can’t do this”

  • thoughtWrite a poem using ‘I Can’t Do This’ as the title (encourage children to explore the feelings felt at this time).The idea of adding the YET could be explored as an extension to this.
  • Make a display of children pulling facial expressions that show how they feel when they are stuck on something.
  • Go on to explore these feelings so that children realise that what they are feeling is normal and not to be feared but worked through.
  • Freeze frame in a group the term ‘I can’t do this’. Photograph for a display.
  • Use ‘ I can’t do this yet’ as the title of a role play or instruct the group that the last line of their role play should be ‘I can’t do this yet’.
  • Discuss the scenario portrayed and how the feeling was dealt with – was it in a positive of negative way? Could it have been dealt with differently? This could be extended by other groups taking the same scenario and dealing with it in a different way.
  • Explore ideas about how you can avoid giving up. Come up with a class list of strategies (e.g, the 5B’s to see if they help you- Brain, Board, Book, Buddy, Boss (the teacher who is the last resort as you want to encourage independence.)
  • List their ideas and see if you can come up with a creative way of remembering and referring to this. This is a discussion that should be constantly referred to throughout future learning. If the children help to develop this, they will own it and it will mean more to them.
  • Ask children to think about a time when they felt like they couldn’t do something and they gave up.
  • Discuss what they could have done as a group.
  • Role play the scenario with the give up ending and then replay when they didn’t give up – how did the situations end differently? Which do they think was the most positive/constructive?
  • Diamond Nine
  • Why should we not give up when we feel like we can’t do something? Brainstorm by taking ideas and writing them on the board/flip chart.
  • When the ideas have stopped flowing, go through each one in turn and ask, ‘ Is this one worth discussing in more detail?’
  • Take votes for each and cross through those that get no votes.
  • Discuss the remaining ideas in more detail and finally choose one by voting.(The ideas could be displayed- children could take one idea and make a sign to go up in the classroom).
    The ideas created in the activity above could be used to create a ‘Diamond Nine’ (make sure you have nine ideas that you have agreed on as a group).
  • In smaller groups, write these ideas on cards and position them in a diamond shape – one card at the top, then two on the next level, three across the middle, two on the next and then one final one at the bottom, creating the shape of a diamond. The most important reason why we should not give up should be placed at the top of the diamond down through the levels in order to the bottom card which is the reason they think is least important. The levels where there is more than one card should be considered similar in terms of importance.
  • What feelings do you experience when you can’t do something that make you want to give up? The children could also do this activity by thinking about the different feelings they experience when they can’t do something.
  • Nine ideas could be written onto cards. The children then order the cards with the one they think is the feeling that makes them want to give up the most at the top down to the one at the bottom that they think can be felt but is not so strong an influence to them giving up on something. The cards on the other levels where there is more than one are those that are similar in terms of how they make them feel about giving up or not.
  • Both of these ‘Diamond Nine’ activities are about the thought process behind what feelings really affect them and make them want to give up. Therefore, the discussion about why they positioned the ideas as they did is important. It is a vehicle for talking about how we feel when we can’t do something.
  • Create a piece of artwork that focuses on the feelings you have when you feel like you can’t do something.
  • Get children to create facial expressions that show the emotions they feel when they can’t do something.
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