PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) Program in Year 3

Our school uses this research-based program with students in Years K-6 to foster the skills they need to find positive, nonviolent solutions to social problems. The purpose of the PATHS curriculum is to enhance the social competence and social understanding of children, as well as to facilitate educational processes within the classroom.

Recently, our Year 3 students integrated PATHS with Technology & Enterprise, the Arts, Co-operative Strategies, Thinking Skills and Big Questions.

Whilst PATHS promotes alternative thinking strategies, Technology & Enterprise relates to the processes of applying knowledge, skills and resources to satisfy human needs and wants.

When introducing the PATHS unit Feelings Are Important we posed the big question "How do I show my feelings?"

The students were thrilled to use the new Year 3 Macbook Airs to take photos of themselves showing angry, jealous, happy, surprised, sad and calm faces. The photos were printed and used as covers for their Feelings Books. These books are used on a needs basis. The students record their feelings and use a PMI (Plus Minus Interesting Idea) to discover new ways of thinking about those feelings.

We also wanted to decide on the best way to share information about our feelings so that we could use it on a daily basis in our classroom. We began the investigation stage of the technology process by considering how information about emotions can be shared, by viewing examples of three forms of media; video clips, jingles and posters. Our decision-making process involved using a cross-classification chart in co-operative groups to think about the positives, negatives and interesting ideas of the three types of media. We agreed on making a poster.

In the devising stage of the technology process, we explored the concept of using colours to reflect different feelings, for example red with rage, green with jealousy, yellow with happiness and blue with sadness. A multimedia presentation was used so that the students could use visual images to help them make connections to these concepts. In co-operative groups, the students used the Round Robin and Placemat techniques to share ideas and explore the meaning of the feeling analogies. They chose one of those analogies and regrouped to use a Y chart and record how this emotion feels, looks and sounds.

Having had many opportunities to share ideas, all students had plenty of content to embark on the creating phase of the technology process. They used Comic Life to record and publish speech bubbles that reflected feelings and causes of behaviour and created collage portraits that showed real emotion. The end products are eye-catching posters that are relevant and purposeful for daily classroom use.

We drew on De Bono's thinking hats to evaluate the big question.The students used the yellow hat to think about why it is good to learn about showing feelings and the blue hat to think about how that helps their learning.

This is what our students had to say about why it is good to learn about showing feelings:

Breanna - "so you can make a sign with your face so other people know how you feel."

Montanna - "because if you don't show your feelings, your friend may not understand you."

Abbey - "because when you don't feel happy you might feel like an outsider so you might just have the sadness stuck inside you until you tell someone."

Leah - "because if someone knows you're sad, perhaps they can help."

Curtis - "so you can communicate to others about how you are feeling."

Helen Morcombe & Jodie Harrold / Year 3 Teachers