Mindful Service Learning Curriculum Module 1 Unit 2

Choosing a Wide Perspective


Students learn to pause, breathe, and notice their perspective.

Students practice choosing a wide perspective.

SEL Competencies

Emotion Regulation, Growth Mindset


When we experience stressful or unpleasant situations, our threat response system is activated. When this happens, our perspective narrows, our brains become velcro for the “negative”, and we focus our attention on thoughts and feelings that undermine our ability to learn and grow our minds. When we pause, breathe, and notice this response, we begin to soothe the threat response system (i.e., the sympathetic nervous system) and activate the “rest and digest” system (i.e., the parasympathetic nervous system). This engages the “thinking brain” (i.e., the prefrontal cortex), which empowers us to choose a wider perspective.

Core Concept

Students are empowered to choose a wider perspective by pausing, noticing, and naming their feelings and using kind and encouraging gestures and words. This approach acknowledges that we can have multiple perspectives at the same time.

Example: Yes, I am feeling disappointed that I did not make the soccer team AND I am going to keep practicing so I can try again next year.

Student Extension

Create Perspectacles with Kind and Encouraging Words for the Classroom or School Campus

  1. Self-Reflect: Write about a time when you learned how to do something new.
  2. Brainstorm: Read several scenarios to students. Ask them to pause, breathe, and notice how they would feel in that situation. Brainstorm ideas about kind and encouraging words they could say.
  3. Engage in Service: Students write/draw their own kind and encouraging gestures and words on EITHER individual perspectacles OR a giant pair created in a group.
  4. Individual Option: Create a space in the classroom, for example on a wall, for kids to hang their perspectacles. When students are struggling, consider having them choose kind and encouraging gestures and/or words to try or say. This will help reinforce the practice of choosing a wide perspective.
  5. Group Option: In groups, students draw a giant pair of perspectacles on poster board, brainstorm kind and encouraging words they would like to share with other students, and write them on the perspectacles. Brainstorm as a class where in the school to hang the posters and then hang them in those spots.
  6. Reflect on Service: Write about a time you used kind and encouraging words or gestures to help you choose a wide perspective. Or write about a time when you said kind and encouraging words or gestures to help someone else choose a wide perspective.

Optional Reflection

When you used kind and encouraging words to choose a wide perspective, how did it make you feel? What is something in your life that you are currently struggling with? What kind and encouraging gestures or words could you use to help you look at it with a wide perspective?

Additional Resources