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How Our SEL Activity Teaches Students to Embrace Their Total Selves

“People carry their secrets in hidden places, not on their faces.”

— Steven Toltz

When you see a beautiful butterfly, do you ever think to yourself, “Wow, that used to be a caterpillar?”

Probably not, right? And you wouldn’t be alone.

In our fast-paced world, people are far too busy and don’t have time to ponder the duality of butterflies.

Speaking of duality, as a teacher, you’ve probably wondered about each of your student’s lives outside of the classroom at least once. But with your intense daily schedule of non-stop meetings, grading papers, and helping your pupils thrive, finding the time to learn more is rare.

What if we told you there is a Social and Emotional Learning exercise that you can incorporate into your existing schedule that allows you to uncover the hidden side of your students?

We understand just how hectic your job is, and we want to help! We’re educators, too, with a combined 30 years of experience under our belts, and we poured that knowledge and expertise into our SEL curriculum box, “Ice Breakers and Team Builders to Build Social-Emotional Skills”. One of the sweetest activities is called “Metamorphosis”.

Our Social and Emotional Learning Activity Uncovers Your Students’ Inner Caterpillar

social and emotional learning activity

“Like the butterfly, your students also have two sides.”

Despite how well you know your students, your perception of who they are is never the full story.

The “class clown” may be quite shy outside of the classroom. And the shy kid in class may have an outgoing personality when they’re with their family.

Students’ outward behavior is also an indicator of what’s going on inside. If one of your students is distant or constantly distracted, they may be battling with an internal conflict. Likewise, students who appear happy on the surface, even those who are bubbly, may be covering up their true feelings with a smile.

Simple SEL activities like our Metamorphosis exercise can provide insight for teachers and fellow classmates alike and encourage empathy, compassion, and authenticity.

SEL Can Help Your Students Paint a Masterpiece of Their Total Selves

Students are given a butterfly cut out and decorative items such as sequins, markers, and feathers, and told they have 20-30 minutes to decorate both sides. One side represents what they think other people believe about them, and the other represents what they keep inside.

The reason why this exercise is so effective is because it allows students to reveal their true selves to their peers and even to themselves.

Sharing intimate information with their friends and peers fosters deeper, more authentic relationships because they’re revealing their total selves to one another. Teaching students how to navigate life with their whole selves is a crucial 21st century learning skill that they’ll need to succeed inside and outside of the classroom, and a key component of the social-emotional learning that our curriculum teaches.

Also, feel free to take part in this Social and Emotional Learning exercise with your students! They’ve allowed themselves to be vulnerable in front of you, and reciprocating the sentiment will also strengthen your existing bonds.

A two-way street of communication between yourself and your students is healthy, encourages them to trust you, and shows that you respect them enough to be honest with them.

So, when you look upon your little butterflies every day in the classroom, remember the stories of the hidden caterpillars that live inside each of them.

Ready to Try Out This Activity With Your Students? Buy Our Icebreaker and Team-Building Exercises now.

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