Health Education - 5th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 2
2 class periods of 60 minutes each
Students will learn of coping behaviors related to grief and loss. They will recognize the tasks associated with the grief and loss process. Students will also have an opportunity to identify common ways literary characters cope with loss.
Children ages 10 to 12 (cite: 1997, Cedar Valley Hospice, Inc.):
Have students read one of the following books before this lesson:
"The Giver" by Lowry
"Tuck Everlasting" by Babbitt
"Sounder" by Armstrong
"Where the Red Fern Grows" by Rawls
After reading a novel that deals with death, student will able to analyze the way death was written of. Students will be able to explain how the characters in the book react to the death. Students will also be able to identify feelings and behaviors related to grief and loss.
1. Read "Lifetimes" by Mellonie and Ingpen to the class. It is a short book on the cycle of life.
2. Have students write a paragraph or two in their writing journals about a loss they have experienced.
3. Have students form a circle for a class discussion. Stress the importance of respect and remind students there will be no putdowns during this discussion. Have those students who are willing to share, read from their journals. Lead the class in a discussion.
4. Have students re-tell the different causes of death in any of the four novels listed above. Discuss how the characters in the stories handled the deaths.
5. Teach the class as much of the following information as time will permit.
A. The grieving process is composed of a series of steps (cite: Sandra Fox):
*To understand that the death happened
*To go on
B. Death is a natural part of living.
C. (cite: Cedar Valley Hospice) Children need to openly grieve a death and discuss the situation with a trusted adult.
D. (cite: Rabbi Grollman) Children have the unique ability to grieve intermittently. It puzzles adults when crying children at a funeral service turn in to playful children at the luncheon.
E. Crying is natural. A newborn enters life crying for oxygen. Tears are wordless messages, a vital part of grieving.
F. when helping a friend in grief: (cite: South Florida Chapter forum for Death Education and Counseling)
* Remember that grief work is a normal and necessary process.
* Learn to be with the person, not to solve the problem.
* Allow the pain. Learn to enter into it, not try to take it away.
* Allow the expression of feelings (guilt, anger, sorrow, depression) without judgment.
* Listen when the story is told over and over again.
* Remember that the process of mourning takes time.
Allow students to chose a book that interests them from the Children's Book List Dealing With Death (see bibliography).
Class discussions. Completion of one of the novels.