Theory to Reality

I have advocated for a long time that we can teach students Emotional and Social Literacy skills.  At Farrington High School on Hawaii I actually did an activity with some students teaching them about perseverance when working towards long term goals.

The Grid is my classroom activity to have students experience the challenges inherent in trying to achieve a goal and to break through the barriers that might keep them from succeeding.  The Grid is meant to replace theory with practice, students should feel directly the frustration and barriers during this activity.

This is an EQ activity because students will feel the frustration, boredom, angst, and wanting to give up that they feel in real life when the blocks and barriers arise.  It is also an SQ activity because students must work together to accomplish the task and no team member can be left out. One wins when all win.

The grid is best used in conjunction with a goal setting activity as part of a process:

  1. Draw the comfort zone and show students how leaving their comfort zone can create a state of angst, frustration, fear etc
  2. Draw a star way outside of their comfort zone to represent their goals anddreams
  3. Explain that when they leave their comfort zone to achieve their goals, feelings of fear, boredom, frustration and wanting to quit may come up – Use examples – How many of you quit guitar lessons, piano lessons, etc.  What are some other goals you have given up on?
  4. Have students set short-term goals (1-6 month goals)
  5. Finally, students do the Grid

The Grid will bring feelings of frustration, wanting to give up, anger, boredom, blaming teammates for a mistake to the surface so that students can experience them.  This gives you an opportunity to coach students about how to deal with negative emotions that arise on the way to the goal.  It makes theory palpable and real so that students walk away with a real experience rather than a theoretical lesson.

One of the students at Farrington High, Mel, said to her Principal at the end of the day after doing the grid, “I will never be the same.  I now know what it will take to achieve my goals.  This was a life-changing experience for me.”

The lesson plan is here for you to download and use in your classroom

The Grid

You can share this classroom activity with your colleagues, but please ask them to come download it from my site.

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