Teaching Full Value – The Full Value Norm of “Be Here”
Being present with each other takes an effort, as does being present with a task. There are so many distractions that pull us away from each other and/or what we are trying to accomplish. I remember being in my office, meeting with a staff member, and being distracted each time an email popped onto my computer screen. The solution – turn off the computer. As the world inexorably moves toward an online platform for communication, being present becomes even more of a challenge. Full Value provides activities that promote focus and connection between people.
Here is an activity that offered opportunities for sharing and connection via the medium of activity. For as we learn about each other it enhances the probability of attending. It has been used successfully with students and, aside from building relationships, also gets them to start thinking about creating a space of clarity in their tumultuous home existence; a place where they can focus on their studies and on their own needs.
The more we matter to each other, the more we attend.
An online adaptation is provided:
The Island of Healing Circle
Here is an activity I came up with a long time ago called the Island of Healing Circle. It can be adapted for all sorts of purposes from ice-breakers, to teaching any of the Full Value Behavioral Norms. I have been using it on virtual platforms with success.
In the same physical space participants would gather around the outside of a rope laid out in a circle. When using it online, ask people to define an inside/outside space wherever they may be. This could be a hula hoop, a paper plate to stand on; whatever – you get the idea.
Walk them through a visual imagery exercise, asking them to close their eyes but also giving them permission to keep them open. In this example, it will be to go to their safe space.
“Think of a place that you go which feels safe, secure, and peaceful. It can be with or without other people, it can a physical place or somewhere you go in your imagination. Try to see it, smell it, taste it, feel it. Take your time and when you get there, step into the space that you have created. Once you are there try to keep your eyes closed and stay in that safe space.”
Once you have given people some time to go through the activity, give each person the opportunity to report out. This should be optional. The good facilitator may choose to lead by example, sharing your safe space first. Use silence as a way of prompting for responses. As more and more people contribute, it becomes easier for those who are reticent to chime in.
The larger group reflection would begin with asking a few questions.
Reflection: This activity connects to our work with mindfulness. It provides students with a technique to be in the moment and to then reflect on that moment and the positive emotions associated with it. It is an exercise in being present within oneself. Some questions for students to consider:
• How does knowing something personal change how you feel about people in your class?
• Were you able to go to and stay in your safe space? What process did you go through in your mind to get there?
• How does this connect to being present? How can the thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that you used to go to your safe space contribute to developing Be Here behavioral norms and distractors?
• How did it feel for you to be in your safe space, and why?
• Why did you choose that particular place to go to?
• How does this help us as a class to work together
Enjoy using this activity!
From: Maizell, R., Schoel, J. with Grund, G. (2019) The Full Value School: A Social Emotional Learning Community. Calais, Vermont: Full Value Communities, LLC.