Love

This week our Character Strength focus is “Love”.

Love can be defined in four different ways…..

Attachment love: parent for child; child for parent

Compassionate/altruistic love: kindness

Companionate love: friendship, and

Romantic love: spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend

The Giving Tree is one of my favourite books. It contains important messages about love.

Here are some love quotes.

When you think of love – who do you think of?

Kindness

At Barwon Heads PS Kindness means

“I do and say things to make others happy”

Some reasons for being kind…….

Being kind feels good.  Doing something for someone else really does make us feel good. Make someone smile and you’ll feel better for having done so.

Kindness broadens our perspective and gives us positive emotions. In order to be kind, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us.  As we notice more things and help others, we get a glimpse of other ways of looking at things.  A broader perspective helps us to be happier and to keep things in context.

Kindness softens our heart.  When we look for kind deeds, beauty, and the opportunity for kindness, we’ll find that we are more compassionate and more tolerant.  As we practice empathy, it opens our heart to others.

Kindness brightens our world.  When we are kind to people, it makes them happy.  The more people who experience kindness from us, the more happy people will be in our lives.  When those around us are happier, our world becomes a brighter, lighter place to live.

Kindness helps people feel respected and less alone.  By recognizing someone’s need for help and acting on it in a compassionate manner, it makes the recipient feel valued.  It also makes the giver feel better about themselves and more connected.

Kindness makes people want to be around us.  One of the most common responses to kindness is gratitude.  People appreciate what we’ve done for them.  Our kindness is very attractive, so they want to be around us and actually seek us out.

Kindness bears wonderful fruit.  Kindness begets kindness, openness, health and reduces the effects of stress on our bodies and our hearts

Kindness begets kindness.  When you are kind to others, the impact of your action doesn’t stop there.  There are a couple of sayings, “What goes around comes around”, and ” A simple act of kindness creates an endless ripple.” Many times the recipient of your kindness and others who see or hear about your kindness are inspired to be kinder.  The ripples of kindness are truly endless.

Student examples of acts of kindness

      Suri’s Wall   

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

 

When did you show kindness to someone else?

Prudence

Prudence means……..

“I think carefully and make good choices”

Motto: Think before you act.

“Make smart choices,” is a rule that can be easily applied to primary school students. There are many ways to share how it works. Discuss the smart and foolish choices made by characters in a story, famous historical individuals, students in the playground.  Before beginning a science experiment or art activity, ask kids to talk about the wisest and silliest decisions that can be made.

Some examples of books wherein the characters display prudence include:

    

“Can I Join Your Club” shows the main character being rejected by the other animals and making the decision to make his own club where everyone belongs.

“The Ant and the Grasshopper” is a fable wherein the organised ant plans for the Winter while the arrogant and lazy grasshopper makes fun of the ant. The grasshopper regrets his not so prudent decision making later!

Everyone knows the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and the boy’s unwise decision to trick the villagers more than once. His behaviour also backfires.

Finally, “How to Heal a Broken Wing,” by Bob Graham shows a little boy in a sea of adults making the prudent and kind decision to help a bird lying injured on the pavement.

Jemima wrote: Prudence means….Think before you act and make good choices. If you make a bad choice, at the end of the day think of three good things that happened today.

Matilda wrote: Prudence means….Making good choices and thinking carefully. I choose which path to follow, which line to draw, which balloon to float me and hopefully I choose right.

Can you think of a time when you or the character in a book have shown prudence?

Hope

At Barwon Heads PS, having hope is to look forward to the future and believing that good things are going to happen.

Motto: Be positive, especially when others are not.

Hope means that you expect the best in the future, and you work hard to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.

This is why we associate hope with setting goals. We set personalised smart goals that are:

According to research optimists are:

  • More successful in sport, work and athletics
  • Healthier and live longer
  • Less anxious        Reference:https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_benefits_of_optimism

An activity to activate hope and optimism is to write about things that you are looking forward to in the short term and/or distant future.

        

What are you looking forward to?

Forgiveness

“I forgive people who hurt me and give people a second chance. I put my sadness behind me and move forward”.

Forgiveness means letting go of hard feelings like anger, sadness, or frustration that happen when you or someone else makes a mistake. It’s saying “Thank you” or “That’s okay” when someone apologises and not staying upset about what they did. It’s having patience with yourself and others, and recognising that no one is perfect—everyone makes mistakes.  It’s letting go of hurt feelings, and moving ahead, ready to do things. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden what someone did doesn’t hurt or isn’t wrong. It means that you find it in your heart to give the person another chance.

In many ways Forgiveness is about taking power back by “flipping” the mood/situation as described to us by Martin Heppell. I use the analogy of the sparkle jars. Harbouring hurt or anger as a result of someone hurting your feelings can feel like a whirlwind in your tummy but as soon as you forgive it can lead to a sense of calm like when the sparkles fall to the bottom of the jar.

Little Life Message: The best revenge is to move on and find your happy.

Forgiveness Activities:

  • Take 20 minutes and write about the personal benefits that resulted from a negative incident.
  • Think of someone who wronged you recently. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their perspective.
  • Write a forgiveness letter. You don’t have to send it, but read it to yourself each day for a week.
  • If someone hurts or upsets you, try to understand things from their perspective, then think about whether your reaction is hurting them or you.

       

 

These are Jasmine’s beautiful words about forgiveness……

Persistence – Mindsets

What are Mindsets?

Mindsets are like beliefs that people have about themselves and their intelligence, talents and personalities. People with a growth mindset understand that their basic intellectual ability can be developed through dedication and hard work. This contrasts with those with a fixed mindset who believe that that they are just given their intelligence which can’t be changed.

 

Who developed the idea of mindsets?

Psychologist Carol Dweck developed this theory after years of research into achievement and success. She and her team have evidence to prove that teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity.

 

Importance of understanding theory

When educating students about the growth mindset, it is not enough to simply say to students that they need to have a growth mindset. Research has shown that to understand growth mindset, people need to understand the science and theory behind this concept.

 

The Brain

The brain is malleable and can get smarter and stronger. The scientific evidence proves this. Neuroscientists liken the brain to a muscle. Working on challenging things gives your brain the exercise to get stronger and is the best way to grow your brain.

 

Neuroplasticity

Students need to understand that they can cultivate their mindset and to do this they must know some things about neuroplasticity; the ability of the brain to form and reorganise connections.

 

How neurons work

The brain is made of cells called neurons. These neurons are connected to thousands of other neurons through networks.  When the neurons connect, signals are sent and everything that you do happens because of your neurons connecting. These networks change with certain experiences causing new connections to form or strengthen. People have the power to change how their neurons are wired together by doing things that they never thought that they could do. One way of doing this is to learn challenging things.  This strengthens the brain by rewiring it and increasing the person’s intelligence.

 

Skills needed to cultivate a growth mindset.

  • Recognise your (fixed mindset) thinking and use your inner voice to change your thinking (take ownership over your attitude)
  • Try harder and try new strategies, this will strengthen the brain.
  • Understand the magic of making mistakes
  • Learn the power of yet. Instead of saying “I can’t do this”, say, “I can’t do this YET.”
  • Set goals and take on new challenges with optimism
  • Cultivate grit (be intrinsically motivated)
  • Reward actions not traits

Sarah Mckays 8 tips for promoting a growth mindset in kids:

  1. Help children understand that the brain works like a muscle,that can only grow through hard work, determination, and lots and lots of practice.
  2. Don’t tell students they are smart, gifted, or talented,since this implies that they were born with the knowledge, and does not encourage effort and growth.
  3. Let children know when they demonstratea growth mindset.
  4. Praise the process.It’s effort, hard work, and practice that allow children to achieve their true potential.
  5. Don’t praise the results.Test scores and rigid ways of measuring learning and knowledge limit the growth that would otherwise be tapped.
  6. Embrace failures and missteps. Children sometimes learn the most when they fail. Let them know that mistakes are a big part of the learning process. There is nothing like the feeling of struggling through a very difficult problem, only to finally break through and solve it! The harder the problem, the more satisfying it is to find the solution.
  7. Encourage participation and collaborative group learning.Children learn best when they are immersed in a topic and allowed to discuss and advance with their peers.
  8. Encourage competency-based learning. Get kids excited about subject matter by explaining why it is important and how it will help them in the future. The goal should never be to get the ‘correct’ answer, but to understand the topic at a fundamental, deep level, and want to learn more.

http://yourbrainhealth.com.au/8-ways-to-encourage-a-growth-mindset-in-kids/

Sarah Mckay PhD blog post

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl9TVbAal5s

10 Minute Animation in which Carol Dweck explains praise and Growth Mindset

 

         

We teach Mindsets under the banner of the Persistence Character Strength.

Can you think of a time when you had a growth mindset?

 

Fairness

The Character Strength “Fairness” belongs to the category of Justice. Fairness means giving everyone a fair go and treating others as you would like to be treated. As a teacher, fairness is about giving everyone the opportunity to succeed and going out of your way to ensure that this is happening. For children, fairness is about being empathetic and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is also about being considerate, honest and respectful of others.

This is our house  by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Bob Graham is about a boy called George who will not let girls, small people, people with glasses etc play in his cardboard house. The tables are turned and George finds out that it’s more fun to share and include others.

        

Fairness is one of the most rewarding character strengths to teach students because it is a strength that is all around them. They see it in others and practice it themselves in the playground each day.

Tell us about any incidents of Fairness that you witnessed today. 

This website has some tips for parents:   http://www.yessafechoices.org/parents/character-education-corner/fairness

 

 

Self-Belief

Self-belief is about having an inner confidence that enables people to understand their purpose in life. It also helps us to realise that our beliefs shape our actions.

Self belief is how we value ourselves; it is how we perceive our value to the world and how valuable we think we are to others. Self-esteem is similar to self-confidence and refers to the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities and affects our trust in others, our relationships, our work – nearly every part of our lives.

The VIA Character Strength that we take Self-Belief from is Spirituality – a tricky concept for children to understand. “If Spirituality is your top strength you have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you”.  http://www.viacharacter.org/www/character-strengths/spirituality

Two picture story books that I use to demonstrate self belief (spirituality) to children  are Matt Ottley’s Miss Millie’s Painting and Mem Fox’s Possum Magic. 

 

        

Gratitude with Toni Powell

On Monday night, I attended a presentation by author, Tony Powell. She was introduced as a person whose wisdom, honesty and rawness gave her an ability to connect with people. What an accurate description this was!

Tony talked about how to reduce the elephants (the things that come in and trample on your happy life) in our lives. She described how dealing with anxiety and fear can be done by talking yourself, or your child, through what they are afraid of so that they understand that their fear is unlikely to happen. Toni gave the example of monsters under the bed.

She talked about the importance of finding activities that take you into “the zone,” such as surfing, walking and dancing, to calm yourself. Toni explained that if you are worried about something, the situation doesn’t have to change but you can change your thinking to help yourself.

Toni spoke about gratitude and how it can change your life. According to Toni, gratitude can be used in any situation and is the best bet for a happier life. We are the architects of our own brains and our thoughts and emotions effect our brain structure (or neural pathways). If you are constantly putting your mind to stress or anger, you will create default patterns in your mind. However, if you use mental discipline to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis you are, in effect, training your brain and improving your life in a profound way.

So, yesterday in our staff meeting, the importance of gratitude was spoken of. When I asked my students, at the end of the day, today, what the best thing about their day was, many said that writing down a list of things that they were grateful for was. And they said this with a big, happy smile!

   

 

Toni with her book; “The Yellow Car.”

http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/lettherebelight/default.htm

http://www.happyandwell.com.au/words-toni-powell-5-reasons-gratitude-drug