School is Different

School is Different Video


Pre-Video Conversation:

Today we are going to start a 4-lesson video series about a brother and sister named Cory and Tina. It is about their experience with their grandfather “Pops” in quarantine during the pandemic.

What does the word quarantine mean for you?
How is school different for us? How is school the same?
What do you miss about how school used to be?
How do you feel about school being different? What do you like/dislike about it?

Today’s video is about school being different for Cory and Tina, too. In this video, Pops is going to take Cory and Tina in the Quarantine Time Machine to show them that they have already developed skills to help them deal with all of the feelings they have about school being different.

Post Video Conversation:

How was Cory feeling at the beginning of the video?
What did Cory do to help himself feel better when he was in Quarantine? What did Tina do to help
herself feel better when she was in Quarantine?
What did you do when you were in Quarantine to help yourself feel better if you were down?
Just like Cory and Tina did, you have been through difficult things in the past and have had
success in problem solving. Who or what has helped you in the past to overcome these challenges?
How can those same resources help you now?


• School is Different Journal
• Make a “Feel Good” Plan

Home Connection:

• Send Parents & Guardians Mental Health Expert Advice on School Being Different
• Encourage students to find someone at home they can talk to about their feelings.
• Have students choose one activity from their “Feel Good” Plan to do as homework. Have them share their “Feel Good” plan with a family member or pet.
• Other ideas: Start a journal (or a piece of paper) where you and your parent(s)/guardian(s) can write back and forth to each other.

Possible 4th and 5th Grade Extension:

Teach your students how to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal. They can evaluate their progress toward their
goal after each lesson.


It is highly recommended that you give students the option to use their paper puppets when sharing in class conversations. For many students using the puppet helps them to be more comfortable, open, and honest.

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Draw or Write your responses:

Get a piece of paper or print out the activity pdf in English or activity pdf in Spanish.

What is school like now?
What do you miss about how school used to be?
Think back to the beginning of Quarantine. If you felt sad or frustrated, what did you do to help yourself feel better?

Make a “Feel Good” Plan:
Here are some things you can do to help yourself feel better… Remember, YOU GOT THIS!
Take a few breaths
Get a good night’s sleep
Find a trusted adult to talk to
Take a break in a quiet space
Get some fresh air
Enjoy nature
Do something nice for someone else
Think about what you are thankful for
Be kind to yourself

My Plan:
If I feel sad or frustrated about school being different, I can ________ or ________ to help myself feel better.

Which of the items listed above do you already do?
Which of the items above would you like to begin doing more of?
What is the first step toward meeting your goal to do more of what will help you “Feel Good”?(e.g., I will plan to go to bed 30 minutes earlier tonight, or I can do 10 jumping jacks during my break today.)


One thing that is certain right now is that things are very much uncertain. As our children continue distance learning or return to school in a hybrid setting, we can assume that almost all students will be grieving the loss of something in their lives (normalcy, freedom, health, life). There is hope, though! As we cope with grief it is helpful to think about how we can become more resilient (the ability to bounce back with adversity) during times of uncertainty. That flexible thinking can help us cope with some of life’s most difficult challenges. Since it’s so hard not knowing what the future holds for us, it can benefit us to think about what is in our control. As parents/caregivers and teachers we want to model resilient thinking and coping strategies for the children around us. They look to us for guidance on how to respond to stressful situations. If we react in calm, cool and collective ways children will respond accordingly. Resilience can be taught in large part by modeling effective coping and rational thinking/problem solving with a hopeful and positive mindset. Flexible thinking (thinking of something in a new way) results when we experience challenges, persevere and problem solve potential solutions. Here are a few tips to help boost your resilience:

• You’ve been successful in overcoming challenges in the past. Who and what resources helped you
and can they be applied in the present?

• Surround yourself with people who exhibit healthy coping and positive problem-solving.

• Determine whether your issue is a problem or just an inconvenience (What’s the size of your
problem? Your reaction should match).

• Have a growth mindset. What can we learn from our failures? How does change and adversity
make us stronger and thrive?

• Engage in an activity that helps you find purpose and provides some challenge.

• Think about alternative reasons why something has occurred (flexible thinking).

• Think about how you might be able to help others.

• Allow children to tell their story. Have them find a trusted adult and talk about experiences and

• Be available and present to listen to others’ stories.

• Model effective coping with anxiety and fear for those around you.

• Practice self-care (e.g., deep breathing, sleep, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, exercise, selfcompassion).

• Practice gratitude.

• Find something that brings you joy/meaning. A busy mind is less worried!

• Try to see things in a positive light. Work to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. What is
in your control?

• Use teachable moments and allow others to problem solve independently with your support.

• Ask for help if you are struggling with your ability to bounce back.

• Say positive things to yourself like, “I can do hard things”.


COVID-19: School Re-entry…Promoting Social and Emotional Wellness:

Talking With Children About COVID-19

Helping Children Cope with Change

Teaching Through the Pandemic

Social Stories About Changes at School and Home

Building Resilience and Managing Frustration and Anger

Khan Academy: Managing Stress


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