Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Guidance Lesson: Teaching Social Filters in Elementary School


The Social Filter guidance lesson is utilized to teach children when to share words and when to keep thoughts to ourselves.  A social filter is a barrier everyone uses to decide when to share verbal ideas, comments or questions or when to keep them inside. We have different levels to our social filter; we may say something to one person, when we don’t say it to someone else. This is a great tool to help children learn what things are appropriate to say, and what things could hurt other people’s feelings. It’s also a great way to address what things you could tell a school counselor that you might not want to tell anyone else.
  • Coffee Filters (enough for every student)
  • Glitter or Confetti
  • Water in a large jug
  • Plastic or Paper cups
  • Coffee Filters with different scenarios drawn on them or glued on 
  1. Begin by asking the children if they know what a social filter is, introduce the topic, and then state that that’s what you’re going to talk about that day.
  2. Pass out plastic/paper cups to each student.
    1. place a coffee filter inside each cup
  3. Pour the water (mixed with glitter) through each coffee filter, into the cups.
  4. Explain how the water passed through the filter (words you should share) while the glitter stayed inside the coffee filter (thoughts you should keep to yourself)
  5. Show the students how the coffee filter is like a social filter, a barrier to what words should be said and what thoughts should be kept to ourselves
  6. Draw circles on the whiteboard placing the individual in the middle circle, safe adults (doctors, school counselors, etc.) in the second circle, friends and family in the third circle and everyone in the last circle.
  7. Present the students with different everyday scenarios written or pictured on coffee filters.
    1. “John comes to school wearing dirty clothes”
    2. “Yay! It is snowing outside”
    3. “Sally has weird glasses”
  8. Ask the students when they would share these scenarios with other people.  Do they stay to ourselves?  Do we share them with our friends and family?  Our school counselor or other safe adult? Have each student/group place their scenario on the board within the appropriate social realm (self, safe adults, family/friends, or everyone).
  9. Explain to the students that some thoughts should be kept to ourselves.  These thoughts should not be shared because we don’t want to hurt another individual’s feelings.  Other thoughts can be shared with close friends or family and some thoughts can be shared with everyone.  
  10. Give each student a coffee filter with with the words “social filter” written on them to take home.  This gives the student a visual representation of the guidance lesson to take home and share with their family.
  11. Ask the class, for data, how many of the students could explain what a social filter was to their friends and family. Have a few students volunteer to explain what it is to the classmates who didn’t raise their hands.
  • Challenge the students to come up with experiences where their social filters weren’t implemented
  • Challenge students to come up with scenarios in the future that they could use their social filters
  • Make sure to fill up the jug of water and mix in the glitter prior to the start of the lesson
  • Do a cup with a coffee filter yourself to demonstrate how it works and to add your own insight and “be one” with the students
  • If a student happens to spill their glitter/water, make it into part of the lesson, and say that we sometimes make mistakes, but that it’s okay if we “clean up our messes”, and that school counselors are here to help them do that.

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