Materials: Teacher - A Paper or Canvas Bag with handles. Make it look special with the words MAIL BAG prominently featured.
Materials: Student provided scratch paper/half-sheet notebook paper.
Building Emotional Brain Bridges with your students, emphasizing trust, safety and openness to ideas.
Opening up avenues for free speech and self-expression.
Establishing the safety of openly sharing ideas in the classroom.
Seeking support from teacher and peers
Gain insight into the collective Emotional Brains of the classroom
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAIL BAG. READ ALOUD.
Students, now is the time for the activity called Mail Bag. Take out a writing implement along with a blank sheet, scratch sheet of notebook paper.
NAMES ARE OPTIONAL because this activity is one that endorses the power of open communication and orderly free speech. It's important that you write something, not so much that I know your name. Also, to preserve the integrity of the activity and your privacy should you choose to exercise it, you also have the option of writing the words PLEASE DO NOT READ ALOUD. If you would like a personal response from me, include your name and the words PLEASE RESPOND.
Now is the opportunity you've been waiting for. Now is the time you can write down something, anything about anything in the world. It can be about school but it doesn't have to be. It might be something you've been wanting to say for quite a while but haven't had the opportunity. Now is your opportunity to say that which you've been wanting to say.
Once you have written something down, fold your paper, raise your hand and I'll have them collected by (choose a student to collect for you.)
Upon collecting the Mail Bag offerings, shake up the bag to mix them up, and take out the first note. Remind students that once they are in your hands, you as the teacher have the power to read or not read particular notes. You're not going to read aloud insults, put downs, profanity, or fake notes pretending to be someone else's thoughts. You're the final arbiter of appropriate language and judging what gets read and what doesn't get read. Again, it's important that students be encouraged to write something and that you, the teacher, read it, not ignore it. As the teacher, though, you don't have to read anything aloud you don't want to.
Again, it's important for students to have a free speech outlet for what's going on in their Emotional Brains. And it gives you as the teacher insight into what's going on in your classroom and in your students' lives.