Teachers have students in their classrooms who have suffered loss from death, divorce, moving to a new neighborhood or school, etc. How can a teacher best handle the classroom impacts of these changes? Teachers are a trusted adult and may be the only place that students receive support.
This Lesson Plan focuses on helping students build empathy and learning ways to cope. It can be customized to most any age groups by changing the Stand up Activity questions. I’ve also demonstrated this Lesson with adults; it effectively breaks the ice and does an effective job of putting everyone on the same “level.”
Age Group: All
Setup: About 20 minutes
Goal: Students will be given the opportunity to reflect upon the topic of loss, understand its impact on our
lives and learn ways to heal.
Objective: Students will be able to define the word loss and name at least 2 different forms of loss.
Students will be able to name at least 3 coping mechanisms for dealing with a loss/trauma. Students will
name one person they can go to when they need help.
Setup: Chairs will be in a large circle (Optional) – Classroom style works just as effectively
Material: Healthy Coping Ideas (pdf file) – Can provide each student a copy, print only a few, and/or have viewable in the room
Lesson Plan & Activity:
- Teacher explains objective of lesson.
- Teacher asks students how they would define Loss.
- Teacher provides the definition: Loss: the state or feeling of grief when deprived of something or someone of value
- Stand up Activity – Ask students to stand up or sit down for any of the statements that are true for them: (In the end, everyone should be standing.)
- Have you ever had something stolen?
- Have you ever stopped talking to a friend?
- Have ever changed your school?
- Have you ever moved houses?
- Have you ever had your parent’s divorce or separate?
- Have ever lost a pet?
- Have you ever had a family member or friend die?
- Activity debrief –
- Teacher explains that now we know that everyone experiences Loss, and because of this, we are never truly alone. Look around and you’ll see someone who is hurting or has hurt too!
- Teacher continues to the discussion on what do we do with the feelings that we have about loss. When someone we know and love has died, what do we do with the feelings that we have? Lead the discussion on the different ways that people can choose to cope with grief, both unhealthy (drugs, alcohol, extreme solitude) and healthy (prayer, meditation, writing, singing).
- Review Healthy Coping Ideas and ask the students which ideas they would try or have tried.
- Closing – In closing, remind students that they can support one another, you are there to support them, and so are others leaders in the school.