A recent Spring Leadership institute in Lakeside, AZ had some great communication lessons for 7th and 8th grade students.
During our lesson about “Effective Communication Skills and Barriers to it” We hammered nails into a wooden heart. We were talking about the impact words can have on ourselves (self-talk and what others say) and the impact it can have on others. One of the students asked… “Are we going to leave our heart looking like this? It looks so sad and broken.” Another student added, “It’s depressing how damaged our hearts are, can they ever heal?” We discussed this as a class and talked about using our life experiences (good and bad) to learn and grow. We talked about how we can choose to heal, but we can’t control if others heal from our hurtful word/actions (even when we are sorry). On the last day of the SLI we combined the Communication lesson with another lesson “Web of Support” We reviewed the communication lesson and then took the heart and wrapped yarn around the nails on the heart (showing that we can make the best of every situation, even when it hurts) Each student took a turn and shared with the class One student said. “I’m so glad we didn’t leave it ugly!” Another student asked for suggestions about a situation she was struggling with. The students were very enthusiastic about the activity and everyone participated.