Social-Emotional Learning at a Prep School

Students with a variety of learning challenges often struggle to understand their feelings and emotions. Atlanta Prep makes social-emotional learning a priority each day. Our younger kiddos begin learning about feelings and emotions with Diane Alber’s A Little Spot of Feelings.

Scribble Spot is the main character in the book. Through the eyes of Scribble, our students learn feelings are small and if they get out of control, they can become a BIG ball of EMOTION.

Diane Alber’s books introduce our students to Peaceful, Happiness, Love, Anxiety, Sadness, Anger, and Confidence Spots.

They learn the facial expressions of each emotion and calming strategies to always bring them back to their Peaceful Spot.

Learning About Anger at Atlanta Prep

Atlanta Prep’s younger students learned about feeling angry as we read, A Little Spot of Anger by Diane Alder. This book taught us about the facial expressions of someone that may feel angry.

We also met Katie in Rachel Vail’s Sometimes I’m Bombaloo. This is a sweet story with very colorful illustrations. Katie is a really good kid most of the time, but sometimes she gets so mad she’s just not herself, she’s a BOMBALOO and uses her feet and fists instead of words. With a little time-out and a lot of love and understanding from Mom, Bombaloo calms down and Katie feels like herself again. As we read the book, we discussed some things that made Katie a good kid, what made her angry, and things that make us angry. We discussed what it means to become Bombaloo, how it feels, and reviewed our calming strategies that help us get back to our Peaceful Spot.

Learning About Anxiety at Atlanta Prep

Diane Alder introduced us to our Anxiety Spot in A Little Spot of Anxiety. We learned about different feelings that can bring about our Anxiety Spot (worried, nervous, anxious, or scared). We also learned to recognize anxiety clues on our bodies and were introduced to a new calming strategy.

One day I began our social-emotional lesson wearing a heavy backpack. Our kiddos assisted me in removing the items that were useless at school, like a single flip-flop. They identified the useful items such as notebook paper and pencils and decided to leave those items in the backpack. After removing the useless items, the backpack was much lighter for me to wear! Through this analogy, our students were introduced to “spinning worries” and “useful worries.” As we read A Little Spot of Worry by Diane Alder, we learned more about the difference in these worries and how we experience anxiety when our “spinning worries” get out of control. It was a good time for us to review the strategies we had learned to get back to our Peaceful Spot.

Another great book we used while studying anxiety, was Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook. This is a fun and humorous book that addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety. With Wilma, we learned about worries she can control and those she can’t control. The students completed a sort of “Out of my control” worries and “In my control” worries. This activity was used to generate conversation with the kiddos about the things they “think” are out of their control but are actually in their control.


We also met Nick in Elizabeth Cole’s book, I Am Stronger Than Anxiety. Nick feels worried about going on a camping trip with his dad. He worries he won’t be able to sleep without his favorite toys, worries about thunder, seeing monsters, and getting stung by a bee. All things a kid might actually worry about. Nick interacts with a few animals in the woods and learns several techniques to help take him back to his Peaceful Spot. He learned that writing down his worries and throwing them away can help take him to his Peaceful Spot. Nick also learned that singing and doing yoga will help calm him.

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