Everyday objects have proven to be effective teaching props for Marilyn Englander.
The other day, a teaching colleague showed me some fancy new curriculum materials she’d bought to teach social emotional skills. This is fundamental work for students. Kids can’t learn unless they feel they have friends and there is trust in the group.
But I chuckled, thinking of the very simple tools that have served me well for years: the bottle, the roll and the fishing pole.
A kid who feels anxious about acceptance will make incessant bids for connection. He’ll fish for compliments, and that’s a surefire way to drive a wedge between him and others.
One day I fashioned a silly miniature fishing rod out of a pencil, a bit of string and a bent up paper clip. When Jeff once again started begging for praise, I pulled out my pole and dangled it in his direction. Of course, everyone giggled, including Jeff. Irritation faded, and Jeff got the message. Other kids learned the lesson too.