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Leah Davies
The Teacher Counselor

Students' Social
And Emotional Growth


Schools have an opportunity to enhance children's social and emotional growth as well as their academic knowledge. The following activities are provided to foster self-understanding, positive peer interaction, initiative, and learning.

A "Me Collage

Have the children list on paper their age, height, color of hair and eyes, and any other description you would like them to include, but not their name. Then have them make either a "Me" or "Things I Like" collage using magazine pictures and/or a variety of art materials. Have them staple their list to the corner. Read the description as you hold up each one, and have the children guess the creator's name. Then offer the child an opportunity to discuss his or her picture. To further a sense of belonging and to stimulate dialogue, display the works of art in an "Exhibit Hall." [content block]

"All About Me" Story
Ask the children what they would like to know about themselves when they were younger. List the questions on the board. Some examples:

  • In what year was I born?
  • Where was I born?
  • Did I live in any other city or state?
  • What was my favorite story?
  • What did I like to do best?
  • What was my favorite game, toy, or song?
  • What food did I like best?
  • What did you like best about me?
    Have children think about or copy the questions they want to ask their parent or guardian. Then have them to draw and/or write a story about themselves based on the adult responses. The students may want to include photographs in an "All About Me" story or book to share with the class.

    Family traditions and keepsakes. Have the students think about a family tradition and/or family object they would like to learn more about. Ask them to inquire about the history of a tradition or special object. For example:

  • Why do we celebrate ?
  • Why is a necklace, picture, painting, or other family item special?
    Have them draw a picture and/or write about what they discovered. Then give them an opportunity to discuss their findings with a partner or the class. If a child reports an unusual holiday or tradition, with his or her permission, ask the child or a relative to share the information on their special day.

    Identifying Students' Strengths
    Ask the children what they do well. Students might say identify strengths such as their ability to run, read, help others, cook, babysit, play ball, draw, spell, do math, skate, sing, tutor others, fix things, do puzzles, swim, dance, act in plays Because children who have goals are more likely to be self-motivated, have each child explore future occupations with their own strengths in mind. Ask them to identify what they want to be or do when they grow up. Clearly, it is not important that the child ever fulfills his or her specific career goal; instead, this activity helps the child to visualize him or herself as successful. Have the students draw self-portraits that depict themselves in future roles. For example:

  • Athletic (a professional ball player?)
  • Reader, a librarian
  • Cook, a chef
  • Swimmer, a lifeguard
  • Fix things, an engineer
  • Help others learn, teacher
  • Take care of people, doctor
  • Singer, performer.
    Provide an opportunity for children to explain their future goals to their classmates and/or a group of younger children. Have them brainstorm what they need to do to meet their goals. Put the list on a poster to help them remember to always do their best.

    Article by Leah Davies, M.Ed.
    Reprinted with permission from the
    Kelly Bear Web site,