Are your students a little reluctant to engage in social-emotional discussions? In this unit, students use their imaginations and have a blast while addressing affective gifted and talented standards from the National Association of Gifted Children. Your kids will be enthusiastic participants in the spy training academy while sorting through key ideas in the social-emotional realm. Sound a little far-fetched? Well . . . after all . . . this IS top secret stuff. Some of it may be amazing.
Note: if not all of your students are identified gifted and talented, this lesson works fine with all students. As a lesson about self-esteem and imagining a positive future, it works for everyone.
This social-emotional unit is lifted from the huge and extremely cool Spy Training Academy cross-curricular unit for upper elementary GATE. I’m still writing and kid-testing the unit now, so watch for the full unit in the spring of 2017. It will be a full semester pull-out unit of about 100 pages.
Our spies must undergo psychological training in order to understand others and in order to understand themselves—their strengths and limitations. Students read a case study of a student who thinks he is heaven’s gift on Earth, analyze this student’s behavior, and role play advice they might give. Our fictional student must have unrealistic self-esteem . . . but what is that anyway? We better learn about realistic and respectful self-esteem while we are in training.
Understanding of self-esteem in hand, it’s time to go on a training mission—helping ourselves and a friend with an affirmation. We write these affirmations and deliver them in a stealthy manner befitting a spy. In other words, we write the affirmations on tiny slips of paper, tuck them inside gel caps, and leave secret instructions for others to find the gel caps in a dead drop inside the school. Gads! This is cool stuff!
What legacy would a person want to leave? How will they want to be remembered? What would they like others to say about them? If we’ve learned respectful and realistic self-esteem, then we can easily imagine a positive legacy. Working from our legacies, we—as spies in training—must imagine a legend for ourselves. As undercover agents, we’ll have to create a fake identity—or legend. Why not make this legend the hopes and dreams for our future? Why not imagine the ways our talents and abilities might take us into an exciting career into the future? We will set about creating a case file for our legendary selves—complete with items confiscated from our pockets (metaphors for our good qualities), a future certificate of achievement, and a page torn from our “hopes and dreams” diary.
Time: At Least 4 Hours
Level: 4th through 6th GATE