Learning Something New: How Does It Feel?
We want our children to be curious, enthusiastic, and self-confident learners who
feel good about themselves. Learning something new can be a real boost to children’s
self-confidence, but their enjoyment of such new exploration is needed to ensure
success. In addition, the willingness to learn something new requires courage, and
a safe environment, like a familiar classroom, may be just what your preschoolers
- Chart paper, marker
- CD player or computer with speakers and Building Blocks Sing-Along Music CD’s “I Feel Many Different Ways” song and lyrics
- Art supplies: crayons, markers, glue sticks, two sheets of paper per child, yarn,
buttons, feathers, etc.
- With chart paper and a marker, write a list of the emotions that are described in
“I Feel Many Different Ways”: happy, sad, silly, mad.
- Write a verse of “I Feel Many Different Ways” on another piece of chart
paper, but leave the emotion and the expression of the emotion blank for students
to fill in.
- Gather students in a circle, and ask: How do you feel when you have to try something
new? (Answers will vary, but may include shy, scared, brave,
butterflies in my stomach.) Write their words on the chart paper list
from “I Feel Many Different Ways.” If they feel scared, ask them why.
What scared them? How does “scared” make them feel?
(Answers will vary, but may include sad, spooky, weak, like I want to hide, not
safe.) Have volunteers demonstrate how “scared” makes them
- Have students share new things they have learned to do.
(Answers will vary, but may include tie my shoe, zip my jeans, catch a ball, color
inside the lines, practice karate, ride a bike.) Then ask: Who helped you?
(Answers will vary, but may include my Mom, my Grandpa, my
big brother, my friend, my teacher.)
- Ask volunteers how learning a new thing made them feel.
(Answers will vary, but may include happy, strong, brave, proud, smart, I can do
it!) Write these feelings on the chart paper, and ask children to demonstrate
the feelings with their bodies. (The students may smile, jump
up and down, act silly, hide their face, shout, sing, etc.)
- Play “I Feel Many Different Ways,” pointing out each emotion and having
children move their bodies as the motion is described: happy—oh, wow; sad—boo
hoo; silly—zig zag; mad—no way.
- Now, use the list of emotions described by the students to write new verses for
the “I Feel Many Different Ways” song. Have children sing and act out
these verses. Then have them choose an emotion from their list and use the art supplies
to illustrate with color and lines how this emotion feels. Place the artwork around
the room, and have children share their feelings with the group.
Going Further: Pose this question: If you want to stop being scared
because you have to try something new, what do you do? (Answers
will vary, but may include not be scared, take a deep breath and go through it,
ask for help, hold my Mom’s hand.) If you weren’t afraid
but your friend was, what would you say? (Answers will vary,
but may include don’t be scared, I’ll help you, it’s OK, you can
do it!) Ask volunteers to role-play comforting a friend and, then, role-play
encouraging a friend who is afraid to try something new.
The National Summer Learning Association provides parents and educators
with resource tools to promote summer learning:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health
provides tips for parents to reinforce what their children learned during the past
school year, as well as prepare them for the next one, by setting simple summer
learning goals depending on the child’s age and interest.
Building Blocks for a Healthy Future
U.S. Department of Education
Help My Child: Reading
Resources provides parents and caregivers a list of resources to help children
learn to read.
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