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This week, we will continue to focus on the competency of Self-Management. Earlier blogs have offered help with this through the objective to “regulate emotions and behaviors by using thinking strategies…”. These blogs focused on the emotions of anxiety, anger, and sadness. Tools were suggested, for increasing calm, managing anger, and building more joy. I will begin this blog by offering additional expressive arts tools towards this end.

In order to help students manage anxiety, it is important to reinforce the belief that many things we worry about are likely to be fine. Towards this end, students can be asked to develop a rap, a poster, or a song that supports this idea. They can also develop a pantomime or a scene, showing them going from worried to calm.

In order to better manage anger, students can be helped to remember that they can choose to let go of certain things about which they used to get angry. They can draw a large balloon and fill it with a list of those items. Students can also practice using kind words to express their frustrations, developing and enacting scenes in which they use their listening and “I Message” skills.

Students can be helped to remember that an attitude of gratitude can increase one’s joy, and that they can make the choice to look at life as a glass that is half full and not half empty. They can do so by drawing and filling up a “Gratitude Glass” with a list of things for which they are thankful. They can also visualize a place that they could go to in their minds where they would feel happy, and then draw or act out an imaginary tour of their happy place.

In earlier blogs, we also discussed the first competency, of Self-Awareness. We looked at opportunities to fulfill the first objective, which was to “demonstrate an awareness of personal emotions.” The remainder of this blog will focus on another important objective of the self-awareness competency. We will build understanding of and tools to fulfill the objective to “demonstrate a sense of personal responsibility…”

Students can be reminded that they are always choosing, often without their awareness or intention. They need to understand that our choices have consequences, affecting us and those around us. You can give examples such as choosing not to clean up our mess and your mom and dad having to do so. Another example is choosing to yell instead of use kind words, leading to a classmate’s feelings being hurt.

It is important for students to understand that we are responsible for our choices and the effects they have had. We are accountable for our choices even if they were unintended, if we were unaware that we were making them, or if we were going along with a choice that others have made.

Students can also learn that we can choose the sort of person who we would like to be. If we feel it’s important to us to be kind, we can make the kindest choices possible. We can do so if we take others into consideration when making choices, in addition to ourselves.

Students can be helped to see that they can choose to be responsible friends. You could brainstorm with them to determine ways in which to consider the needs and feelings of their friends when making choices.

You could discuss the importance of using their listening skills so that their friends feel heard. You could discuss the importance of compromising so that everyone wins. You could discuss the importance of using I messages to work out any conflicts that may arise. This might necessitate patience, and sacrifice on their part.

Students can learn that they can be responsible family members. They can be helped to understand that as a member of a family, they are part of a team. Students can choose to take every family members’ needs into consideration when making choices, and not just their own. An example of this would be babysitting a younger sibling instead of going to a friends house, which they would have preferred.

Students can be helped to act on the information about responsibility by doing a storyboard. Have students draw a line from the top middle of a paper to the bottom middle. Then have them do so from the left middle of the paper to the right middle. They will then have a piece of paper with 4 sections.

On the top left side, ask the students to write a sentence and draw a picture to show themselves avoiding responsibility. So that might read “I am not watching my sister”, with a picture of them frowning at their sister. On the top right side, ask them to write the word “Pause”, and draw a picture of something that reminds them to pause, like a remote, a hand, or a stop sign.

In the bottom left, ask the students to write a sentence and draw a picture of what they are doing to help them make a better choice. So that might read “Remember to be a good brother.” In the last section, ask them to write a sentence and draw a picture of themselves being a responsible brother. The sentence might read, “Playing with my sister” with a picture of them pushing their sister on the swings.

Encourage students to take action based on their storyboard, and seek other opportunities to be responsible. Students can be helped to see that being responsible can help them be proud of themselves, and lead to others being proud of and trusting them. There are stories, books and songs listed in this website that can further reinforce the benefits of being responsible,

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