Before getting started, become familiar with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) competencies that are referenced at the beginning of every lesson. Each lesson touches on one or two specific areas and it is helpful to understand why you are doing the activities in each lesson.
Decide on the rules that you will have during the curriculum that might be different than the usual classroom rules. For example, students should understand that if someone shares something personal it should not be shared outside of the Strong Kids lesson and that everyone has the right to pass if they are uncomfortable sharing (confidentiality and participation).
Read through the lessons to see if there are any current classroom or school wide interventions that can be related to the Strong Kids material. It can be helpful for kids to have something to connect what they are learning to what they already know.
It may be beneficial to practice reading the opening and closing paragraphs in a slow and calming voice to help the students relax during these times.
Before each lesson get any supplies, handouts, and visuals ready. If applicable, you can substitute your own images to make them more relevant for your students (i.e. using your school’s mascot or your students’ favorite recess activity).
Strong Kids provides multiple activities for each lesson so decide which activities your students will benefit from most, in case you become short on time.
Decide if you want to give out the homework at the end of the lesson, this can be a great way to reinforce some of the lessons learned during Strong Kids.
Note: For implementing for students with a different skill set you might need to make modifications to the Strong Kids curriculum. For example, for students who have trouble writing, they may benefit from doing the writing activities verbally, as a group or with a partner. If students have a hard time understanding a concept when you describe it, acting it out using role play may be effective. It is encouraged that you use Strong Kids in the way that best meets your students’ needs.
We have found that program implementors may feel more comfortable teaching and working with the lesson content when they consider how it pertains to them personally or someone they know. After reviewing the Teacher Reflection section, consider whether you might find further explanation, discussion, or consultation helpful. Talking with a trusted colleague or program consultant can be very helpful and reassuring.