I consulted with a Kindergarten teacher on the topic for my September lesson. She said since the school year is just beginning, she thought it would be a good idea to start off with a lesson on students keeping their hands to themselves. Being a first-year, part-time counselor, I am on a budget. After introducing the topic, I started with a video and discussion. Then I moved into an activity. I finished with a song and a review of what we covered.
Video and Discussion
I found a video about keeping your hands to yourself on WonderGrove. The video shows students how people feel when we don't keep our hands to ourselves. The kids seemed to like the video. As a class, we discussed why it is important to keep our hands to ourselves and how people feel when we don't keep our hands to ourselves. Many students referenced the video and said that other people get upset or uncomfortable when we touch them without asking.
Next, I used bubble soap to have students practice keeping their hands to themselves. I told students that I would be blowing bubbles, but they have to keep their hands to themselves. I suggested that they sit on their hands to prevent themselves from touching the bubbles as they float past them. I explained that this is practicing self-control. I told them that if they kept their hands to themselves and asked politely when we were done the first time. When we finished with the bubbles the first time, I would blow the bubbles again a second time. The second time, they were able to pop or touch the bubbles. I tried to preface this with a discussion of not pushing each other to touch the bubbles. I also explained that not everyone will get to touch or pop the bubbles. I still ended up having students push each other and cry because they didn't get to touch the bubbles. Their teachers had to pull them aside to talk to them. I felt bad about it, but I didn't want to give in to the crying. If you give in to the crying, kids will learn that they can cry to get what they want. They also need to learn that you will not always get a turn.
I also had students listen to a song called Hands to Yourself by Jack Hartman. I played the song three times. The first time we all listened to it. The second time I showed them dance moves. The third time I let them join in with the dance moves. I provided the teachers with the lyrics. The teachers like to sing songs with their class, so I figured they might be able to use the song as a reminder.
Overall, I liked how the lesson turned out. It didn't seem like Julia Cook's Personal Space camp was developmentally appropriate for the specific kindergarten students I am working with. However, you may want to give it a try for your students. I used it last year with Kindergartners at a different school and it worked fine. I may consider updating the lesson using Hands are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi and Feet are Not for Kicking by Elizabeth Verdick.
If you are looking for a way to connect this lesson to the Seven Habits, consider Habits 2 (Begin with the End in Mind) and 5 (Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood). With Habit 2, students need to think about their behavior before engaging in it. If they use Habit 5, they will use empathy and understand that they may upset or hurt others by touching them without asking, therefore they need to practice self-control. Habit 2 is traditionally about having a plan. Keeping your hands to yourself does require students to have a plan in that they have to think before touch others or others property without asking. In this lesson specifically, they have to plan not to touch the bubbles.