Lesson plan

Soaking in the Good

In this lesson, students will explore how sadness, loneliness, gratitude, connection, and love feel in their bodies. They will also learn about negativity bias and practise “soaking in the good” by savoring positive feelings.
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Students will be able to understand, practise, and explain the importance of savoring positive feelings to counter negativity bias.

(20 minutes)
Soak in the Positive Like a Sponge!
  • Place images related to community, isolation, happiness, and loneliness around the room.
  • Tell students that there are images around the classroom, and they will be moving through a gallery walk to observe these images. Explain that this means that they will move around in silence to look at the different images. Then, they will write down what they notice about each of the pictures and reflect on how they feel when looking at each image.
  • Hand out papers for students to write down their observations, questions, and emotions.
  • Give students 3–4 minutes to move around the room in silence.
  • Ring a chime, or make a sound/gesture, after four minutes to signal the end of the gallery walk.
  • Bring students into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Project each image on the board in front of the room, and ask the class to share their observations, questions, and how the images make them feel.
  • Ask students to describe where they notice the various feelings in their body.
  • Ask if any of the pictures stand out for them, and if so, ask them why.
  • Ask students the following questions, one at a time: "How does disconnection feel? Where do you notice that in your body? How does being a part of a community feel, or feeling a sense of belonging? Where do you feel this in your body?"
  • Explain to the class that sometimes negative experiences or images can stick in our brains.
  • Ask students to raise their hands if the negative images stood out most to them.
  • Explain to them that scientists who study the brain (neuroscientists) have found that every person's brain is wired in this way and that this is called "negativity bias."
  • Write "negativity bias" on the board.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that Negativity biasMeans that negative experiences, words, or images stick like glue to our brains, and that more positive experiences easily fall away.
  • Ask the class why they think negative things stick in our brains. Then, explain that this wiring in our brain has helped us stay alive for thousands of years. Because of negativity bias, we know when to fight, run (flight), or freeze. We are wired to scan for the negative so that we can stay alive!
  • Share an example: "Our ancestors thousands of years ago had to constantly scan and know where the predatory animals (e.g. tigers) were in order to stay alive. The fear they had back then made sense for the time at which they were alive. Even though our world has changed and we aren't being chased by predatory animals in our daily life, we are stilled wired in this way. Therefore, we give a lot more importance to negative things than positive things."
  • Explain that it is possible to reverse this wiring by noticing the good more often and soaking it in.
  • Ask students to close their eyes or soften their gaze and think of one positive thing that happened to them in the past week. Maybe a friend said a kind word or they received a good score on a quiz.
  • Ask them to notice how this feels in their body, and to soak this in for at least 20–30 seconds.
  • Guide them to take a few deep breaths. Then, have them open their eyes.
  • Ask students, "What did you notice? How did you feel?"
(5 minutes)
  • Ask the class if they have any questions.
  • Explain that they will be going back to their seats to complete a worksheet to help them soak in the good.
  • Read through the worksheet instructions for creating their own book called "Soak in the Positive like a Sponge!"
  • Demonstrate for the class how you would draw a picture connected to each phrase on the worksheet.
  • Ask the class if they have any questions.
  • Send them back to their seats to work independently on the handout.
(15 minutes)
  • Allow students to independently complete the Soak in the Positive Like a Sponge! worksheet.

Enrichment:Ask students to practise soaking in the good for three days and journal about their experience daily.

Support:Work one on one with students and lead them through the practise of soaking in the good.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe students during the independent working time. You may also collect their worksheets to check for understanding of questions and concepts.
(5 minutes)
  • After all students have completed their worksheets, bring them back in a circle.
  • Ask the class the following questions:
    • Would anyone like to share their pictures from their story?
    • What was it like to soak in the good?
    • Where could you keep your book to remember to soak in positivity?
    • When is another time you can practise soaking in the good for at least 20–30 seconds? (Examples: When they recieve a compliment, score a goal in a game, or play with their friends.)

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