Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes
- identify their own senses.
- recognize their surroundings.
- use grounding techniques to counter anxiety.
Language Learning Outcomes
- Describe in all major time frames about familiar and general topics.
- Use high frequency general vocabulary.
- Connect content about the Five Senses to background knowledge.
- Listen for specific information.
- Understand explicit main ideas.
Being aware and appreciative of the world around us is key to well-being and happiness. We usually perceive the world through our five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Explain to students that today we are going to talk about being more aware of things around us by focusing on our five senses. Explain that we will also be using our five senses to help us calm down when we are nervous or feeling strong emotions. This can help us especially when we are learning a new language.
Activate Background Knowledge
Ask students to discuss the following questions with a partner. Before they begin to discuss, model possible answers for students.
- What makes you nervous?
- Ex. Giving presentations in class makes me nervous OR Taking the TOEFL makes me nervous.
- What physical reactions do you have when you are nervous?
- Ex. My heart beats really fast OR I feel sick
- How does being nervous affect your ability to do well?
- Ex. When I am nervous I forget what I studied OR When I am nervous I can’t focus.
Explain to students that being mindful or aware of ourselves and the things around us can help us calm down when we are nervous.
Activity 1: Listening/Vocabulary
What are the five senses? Use the following video (play from 0:00-1:25) to help explain what each sense is and examples of how we can use it.
Explore Beyond Your Door - Episode 5: Exploring the Five Senses
Have students discuss this question in small groups. Model possible responses before splitting them into groups (ex. When I am nervous, I can’t focus and I look around a lot.)
- How does being nervous affect our five senses?
Activity 2: Vocabulary/Grammar
Explain to students that talking about the five senses uses a lot of descriptive adjectives. We use adjectives to describe nouns. Common endings of adjectives are -y, -able/ible, -ous, -ed, -ing, -ic.
Give students the Five Senses Adjective Handout. Split the class into small groups and have them work together to categorize each adjective under a sense. One handout per group will be enough, but giving one to each student is also an option. Demonstrate an example first if needed. Example: “sweet” can be used to describe the taste.
Note* Students may need to use other resources (dictionary, translation, etc.) to help them with this activity.
Activity 3: Listening
Explain that we will now describe things using our five senses in a technique called “grounding.” Begin by asking students what they think “grounding” could mean. Give the definition (slide 9):
Grounding techniques are exercises that use your five senses. They help you refocus on the present moment . They help you distract yourself from anxious feelings.
Then, explain to the students that they will now watch a video explaining what “grounding” is.
Give each student a 5-4-3-2-1 Notes Handout. On this sheet of paper, they need to write down 1) what grounding helps us do and 2) what each number means and examples of each number.
*Note: The video does not directly say what grounding means, but instead gives what it can help us do.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Method: A Grounding Exercise to Manage Anxiety
After watching the video, have students review their notes with a partner. Then discuss as a class what 1) grounding means and 2) what each number means with examples.
Activity 4: Speaking
After learning about what grounding means, have students discuss the following question:
- Learning a language is stressful. How can we use grounding techniques to help us?
Discuss the question as a class. Some examples might include before taking a test, when you have a bad day in class, doing a presentation, etc.
Explain that students will now practice grounding techniques, first with a partner then by themselves.
5 - Identify and describe five things you can see in the room. (use adjectives!)
4 - Point out and describe four things you can feel.
3 - Listen for and describe three things you can hear.
2 - Detect and describe two things you can smell.
*students may need to pick something up to smell it
If possible, for this part hand out a small snack students can taste, such as gum, chocolate, hard candy, etc. If not, have students imagine the taste of something they love.
1 - Put the snack in your mouth. Describe what you taste.
Repeat the activity individually. As the teacher, guide the students through each step. You might want to move to a different location so students can practice describing different things. Remind students that this time, they will be silent while they think of their answers.
For the last step (taste), explain that students can think of a taste instead of actually eating something.
Have students respond to the following question by writing a list down:
- What stressful activities do I have this week?
- Ex. taking the TOEFL, going on a date, giving a presentation, etc.
Tell students that their homework is to use grounding techniques when they feel nervous about these activities this week.
Have students stop whatever they are doing and simply look around the room. Give them about one minute and have them try to find something they have never noticed before inside the classroom. The teacher can demonstrate one thing as an example before beginning; this can be something as simple as “there’s a piece of tape on the wall.” After one minute, students can share with the class what they saw.
Discussion question: A lot of times our memories are linked to smells and sounds and thinking about them also makes us more mindful of these moments.
- What is your favorite smell and sound?
- Are there any specific memories or experiences that connect to those smells or sounds?
Follow up on the students’ experience using grounding techniques by asking the following questions:
- When did you use the grounding technique this week? Describe your experience.
- When did you feel nervous or anxious this week? How did this affect your day/week?