Students work together as a class to combine small-group visions into a larger vision of balance for the class.

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a personal definition of balance
  2. Define balance in terms of self, others, and environment
  3. Create a class definition and vision of balance

Materials

Pen/paper, large post-its or poster paper, markers, and space for groups to brainstorm, materials to create a class vision of balance (mural paper, paint, etc)

Exercises

Time Activity Notes
3 mins
Introduction

As an opening to class, give each student silent and independent time to answer the question:

  • “What is balance?
  • What does it mean to feel balanced?”
Little or no prompting is necessary before this activity so that students can bring their own ideas to the conversation without feeling like there is a “right” answer. Encourage students to respond authentically.
2 mins
Balance Vision

Explain to the class that, rather than telling them what balance looks like in your class, you would like them to create their own class-wide definition.

They are going to work together in small groups to create a “balance vision” for the classroom establishing what being balanced and helping others to feel balanced means to them.

Each student already has his or her own definition, which they will use to work with a small group and create a list of things that they would like to see used in the whole-class vision of balance.

Once the class has created small group definitions, you will take time to examine each group’s definition, take the best ideas from each group, and put them together in one final vision of balance for the classroom.

This will be put up in the room and can be used to remind the class and others what balance looks like in this class.

10 mins
Small Group Brainstorm

Give students time in a small group to discuss their individual definitions of balance and brainstorm a list of things they can do to feel balanced and to help others feel balanced. Consider the following prompts:

  • What does helping oneself to feel balanced look like? What does helping others to feel balanced look like?
  • What about creating balance in the classroom environment?
  • How can each of those be added to the class vision of balance?

These brainstorms can be on large paper and posted on the wall in the room for logistics in the next lesson activity.

Things to consider in guiding student brainstorm:

To the extent that the you feel it’s appropriate:

  • Provide t-charts for brainstorming, with “balanced” on one side and “not balanced” on the other
  • Ask students to provide examples of actions that create balance
7 mins Every student should have a writing utensil for this phase of the lesson.

  • Once groups are done brainstorming, make sure each brainstorm is posted on the wall or somewhere all students can see it and write on it.
  • Then, have each student (as an individual now, no longer in small groups) walk around the room and read the ideas on the other groups’ papers.
  • Encourage students to make notes on the other groups’ papers when they agree strongly with another idea and would like to see it in the balance vision (you may want to set expectations for no negative comments).
  • Students can also be encouraged to ask questions or add more information to other ideas in the room. (This activity should be done quietly and independently to give students time to read and process all of the other ideas.)
You can establish a code for writing on other groups’ posters for ease: a star means “strongly agree”, a question mark means “I don’t understand”, etc.

 

 

10 mins
Group Consensus and Drafting

Lead the group in examining the notes written on the posters and identifying trends in the ideas and the most popular ideas.

When guiding the group to a consensus, aim to hear all student voices, avoid personal biases or their own definition of balance, and honor the students’ vision of balance.

Depending on the developmental and skill level of your students, you may want to step out of this phase of the lesson and allow the group to come to a consensus on the ideas in the balance vision without you.
5 mins
Final Draft

The group should establish a means to create a final draft of the balance vision, whether that is selecting a student to write it out, having you create the large poster, or some other means of writing it.

5 mins
Reflection

See the questions under “Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment” below.

Have students answer these questions in a format that works for your class, whether that is on paper, in smalls groups, as a whole-class discussion, etc.

3 mins
Closing

Post the final vision of balance visibly in the room and remind students that it will remain up so that they can hold themselves, each other, and you accountable for the ideas that they have created.

Connections to Other Emotions

Creating a balanced environment may also foster the emotions of happy/joyful, allowing students to feel content or happy with their classroom interactions and experiences.

Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment

  • What will our class be like if everyone follows the vision of balance?
  • Do you think your original definition of balance is captured in the class vision? Why or why not?
  • What is one specific way (please give a concrete example) that you can help our class live up to its vision of balance?

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