I love the concept! Of course, we know that connection is vitally important to well-being. Student well-being is enhanced through positive relationships and community connection. We are often surprised to learn that some students don't even know the names of all their classmates.
View the clip first before sharing with your students to ensure content is appropriate. You may choose for your class to view an excerpt only or to provide a class ball-pit experience instead.
You could easily set up a ball-pit experience as Soul Pancake has done in the classroom or playground or perhaps provide a simplified version having some conversation starters on cards for pairs to use. Some sample conversation starters are provided below.
multiple sclerosis (3:20)
What were the benefits for the strangers in getting into the ball pit to chat?
- Learning from each other (what is curling? 1:00)
- Finding common ground
- Getting to know another person and possibly making a new friend
- Sharing personal stories
How do you think the strangers felt before climbing into the ball-pit?
This question should provide some excellent vocabulary to display in your classroom. (You could ask students how they feel about going into a ball-pit if you provide a classroom ball-pit.)
- Examples could include; apprehensive, anxious, scared, fearful, tentative, sceptical, challenged, excited, exhilarated, nervous, thrilled, ambivalent.
What personal qualities did you recognise in the strangers?
- They were risk takers (Could have been mocked or ridiculed for their responses)
- They welcomed each other (introducing themselves/shaking hands/smiling) 0:26
- They listened to each other without interrupting
- They showed respect (e.g.: "Is it ok to talk about a religious person?" 2:27)
- They showed respect in their response to the other person's story (e.g.: "I quit everything I try" 1:28)
- They asked questions (e.g.: "Aren't you afraid of drowning?" 0:58)
- Their body language was positive
- They were open to sharing and accepting another's ideas
What could we do in our school/class/family to provide a 'ball-pit' experience without using a ball-pit?
These suggestions could provide a weekly focus where skills are explicitly taught and then practised
- Greet others around the school or in the classroom
- Have a daily 'circle-time' activity to learn about each other; names, favourite foods, games etc
- Respond positively to the greeting of others
- Offer to help students, teachers and parents (Carrying books, opening doors, providing directions etc)
- Compliment others (and accept compliments graciously)
- Welcome school visitors
- Invite other students to play
- Buddy new students
How do 'ball-pit' conversations fit in with our school values?
Most schools articulate values that fit in with developing positive relationships, respect, understanding and tolerance for others.
Having a 'ball pit' conversation has so many wins
Win 1: Meaningful conversation and learning about others is a valuable life long skill to develop and refine.
Win 2: Connection with others provides a 'feel good' boost to both parties..... a win for you and them.
Win 3: With practice we can improve our ability to compliment others and to accept compliments.
Win 4: While creating conversation you're providing a positive example to others, especially children.
Win 5: Happiness is contagious and this is one small way we can contribute to goodwill and happiness in our community.
Classroom Ball-pit Conversation Starters
- Share an activity you would love to try
- Talk about a sport you love to watch or play
- Who inspires you. How do they inspire you?
- Share your favourite holiday experience
- What has been the most enjoyable activity for you today?
- What is one thing you learnt today?
- Share a time you have been lost
- Give an opinion; laptop or pencil?
- What is your favourite subject?
- Give an opinion; Homework helps your learning
More great clips are available at www.soulpancake.com
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Feel free to add others ideas in the comments section.