One of my favorite teaching tools that I've had the pleasure to use this year is MindUP. MindUP is a curriculum designed to help students understand how the brain works and how to deal with stressful emotions. I like the lessons being connected to the brain because I think students really start to understand that brains cause us to freak out sometimes, it's just what they do. MindUP takes that knowledge on step further and gives students strategies that will help them deal with stressful situations. MindUP is grade-level appropriate. There are 3 different versions of the book, depending on the age you teach. There are so many actives that you can do. Hands-on, pictures, graphic organizers, games, etc. MindUP really makes their curriculum easy for teachers to read and teach. I forgot one of the coolest things about MindUP, Goldie Hawn started it! Check it out! MindUP! MindUP Books
In October, I became Mental Health First Aid certified. I cannot speak highly enough on this training, it will change they way you look at Mental Health. This training was a 8 hour course on a Saturday. I recieved the manual in the above picture which I hope to dive into more this Summer. There is a lot I still need to learn! The training was targeted to youth but I also feel like it could be applicable to all children. We spent the first few hours discussing different types of Mental Health and the symptoms. This is useful in deciding what problem you might be facing. I am not trained enough to diagnose someone, but I someone was having a Mental Health crisis I can recognize the signs and respond in an appropriate way. After understnading Mental Health a little better, we became familiar with the steps to helping someone in a crisis. The part I found the most difficult was having to ask another person "Do you have a plan to kill yourself?" That's a hard sentence to say out loud but the trainers made it clear that you should not feel scared to ask that question. This training was very emotional. It's had to talk about suicide and Mental Health in youth. First Aid is one of those things that you never want to use but if there's a situation you'll be glad you know what to do!