- Learn about the three different zones (low, okay, and high), and what feelings and behaviors someone might experience in each zone
- Share about personal experiences with the three zones, and coping strategies that are helpful in returning to an okay zone
When students are able to recognize and manage their emotions, research shows that this ability is linked to higher academic performance and better relationships with educators, peers, and family members. Educators should help students practice (and reinforce) skills around mindfulness and self-care to identify, manage, and express their emotions, and self-awareness and kindness as they consider how their behavior is shaped by their emotions, and how they can manage their emotions to treat others with kindness and respect.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Engage students in a conversation about the three types of “zones”. You might explain: “We all experience different zones throughout the day, which can affect our feelings. Our mind and body also work differently depending on which zone we are in. These zones are: low, okay, and high. What feelings and behaviors do you think we might experience in each zone?”
- Write down students’ ideas on a digital or physical board that is visible to everyone, and guide them towards the following definitions and examples:
• Low Zone: When someone is in a “low zone”, they might feel sad, lonely, or tired. They might have trouble paying attention or remembering details, or notice that it’s hard to speak to others or feel motivated to do something.
• Okay Zone: When someone is in an “okay zone”, they might feel relaxed, happy, and confident. They are probably focused and calm, and more likely to make positive, healthy choices.
• High Zone: When someone is in a “high zone”, they might feel annoyed, scared, or frustrated. If they are feeling especially hyper or anxious, they might even notice that it's hard to control their feelings or actions.
- Remind students that it’s normal and okay to feel all these emotions - it’s part of being human! However, we should also feel comfortable recognizing and managing our emotions so that we can make healthy choices, overcome challenges, and treat others with kindness and respect.
- Engage students in a conversation about self-regulation by asking the following questions:
• How do you feel today? What zone do you think you are in?
• When was the last time you were in your okay zone? Do you remember how you felt? (e.g., spending time with friends and feeling happy)
• When was the last time that you were in a low zone? Do you remember what caused it, and how you felt? (e.g., not getting enough rest and feeling tired)
• When was the last time you were in a high zone? Do you remember what caused it, and how you felt? (e.g., preparing for a big test and feeling worried)
• What do you notice about the way that you treat other people when you are in a low or high zone? Are your actions different when you are in an okay zone?
• When you are in a low or high zone, what helps you return to an okay zone? For example, some people find it helpful to go for a walk, count backwards, take deep breaths, play with a fidget toy, or share their feelings with someone.
Optional Extension Activities
Continue to reinforce the practice of students sharing their emotions and using coping strategies, especially when students seem like they are in a low or high zone. For example, students might feel anxious before an Empatico virtual exchange.
Engage students in frequent mindfulness breaks (e.g., by using the Developing Personal Resources, Reset Now!, or Three Kind Wishes activities), or using the Kahoot! game below as a morning or afternoon check-in.
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.