Calm Lamps and Calm Feelings

By ILIS Department members Sarah Beebe and Mary Catherine Coleman 
During their Integrated Learning and Information Science Department class time, SKers have been learning about different emotions—talking about what it means to be calm and the difference between that feeling and feeling energized. As part of the RULER Approach to social-emotional learning, students are engaging in different conversations and activities about identifying emotions and more. From CASEL: “The RULER Approach provides strategies for understanding context, working with bias, and customizing for context. This includes activities that focus on individual, cultural, social, and contextual differences in the experience and expression of emotions.”

To begin work on this project, SKers read the book Meena’s Mindful Moment by Asa Gillad and Tina Athaide. In the story, Meena visits her Dada and has a lot of energy during her visit. Her energy becomes the imaginary hurly-burly hullabaloo. Meena and her hurly-burly hullabaloo stick together, and when they get going, they can sometimes be disruptive to those around them. Throughout the story, she learns how to calm down the hurly-burly hullabaloo and, in turn, her own mind and body when she becomes overly excited. Students connected with the story and shared that they thought Meena’s hurly-burly hullabaloo was her mind when she was excited and that caused her body to get excited. Students talked about activities they do that excite their hurly-burly hullabaloos and then get the zoomies. 

The next step for SK students was to think about activities that make them feel calm and those they engage in to calm their minds and bodies. They created a big list that included cuddling with a pet, hugging a stuffed animal, hugging a grownup at home, relaxing with a book, watching a cartoon, bouncing a basketball, taking a walk, etc. The SKers were great at identifying activities that helped to calm their minds and/or bodies.

After they figured out things that helped them feel calm, SKers drew pictures of these activities/objects on plain white paper. Next, they cut out the pictures and used a glue stick to attach them to vellum paper. Teachers helped them tape their vellum into a tube shape, and they affixed round boxes on either end of the vellum to create Calm Lamps. The lamps are lit from within by an electric tea light that they can turn on and off. SKers will use their lamps at home when they want to find a moment of peace and turn them on to calm down. SKers successfully created their lamps and identified how they experience and express their emotions!

Click here for photos!
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.