Friday, January 27, 2017

Putting the "Pressure" On

Welcome back to school, Seisen students! It's been a couple of weeks since we've all returned from holidays locally and abroad which, for most, included lots of time spent with families and close friends. We hit the ground running in Grade 5, as their current Unit of Inquiry, Human Growth & Development, is nearing its end (booo!). Once again, I have absolutely loved being a part of it and getting the chance to work with our fabulous 5th grade tweens. Though their parents may feel a bit of anxiety/nervousness about their daughter's impending adolescent changes, I can't help but feel excited for them. Yes, being a teenager can be scary, uncomfortable, awkward and stressful, but I also remember it as a time of building close bonds with fellow classmates, new experiences and rights of passage. There is a feeling of invincibility that accompanies adolescence that cannot be duplicated or recreated in adulthood, unfortunately.

The focus this week has been on:

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships 

Peer pressure (direct/verbal, indirect/nonverbal) and what this looks like, sounds like, etc.
Many thanks to www.thecoolspot.gov for the "Bag of Tricks" used to pressure kids outlined above. The goal was to have the girls recognise features of each and their basic differences. Check out the role play videos from Mr. Carroll and Ms. Christine's classes demonstrating these very concepts. They were amazing!
5A-"Reasoning"


 5B-"Rejection"


 
5B-"The Look" 

Building awareness, in addition to knowing that the student's can make connections to their own lives, especially moving forward, is my primary focus when teaching this unit. I absolutely want the girls to have a "bag of tricks" of their own for dealing with peer pressure.  Here's what I thought were some good strategies. Can you think of any more? 
I also utilized the video clip below to demonstrate direct/verbal/spoken peer pressure. The girls really seemed to enjoy watching part of this episode of Full House, where sixth grader Stephanie is pressured to smoke by a group of older seventh grade students. This clips also portrays the complicated friendship dynamics of middle schoolers, which was an added bonus!
Additionally, it's important for the girls to know that friends can be very positive role models, and encourage you to make changes for the better. This "positive peer pressure" is one of the reasons why we should choose our friends wisely, and move away from relationships that we feel are unhealthy. Here's hoping that our girls rely on one another to make good choices, and confide in us when they are unsure about which path to take.

~Ms. Carnright

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