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 School or Community

  1. Self-Reflect: Complete a “Yes…AND” self-reflection about something you are currently struggling with, either in school, with friends, or at home.
  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. Write their responses as “Yes…AND” statements.
  3. Engage in Service: In small groups, students draw a pair of giant perspectacles on a poster. Then, they brainstorm and write kind and encouraging words on the perspectacles. Choose whether students will hang them throughout the school or in the community. Brainstorm as a class where in the school OR community they want to hang them. If hanging in the community, ask permission before doing so.
  4. Reflect on Service: Draw or write about a time you used kind and encouraging words to help you choose a wide perspective. Or draw or write about a time when you used kind and encouraging gestures or words 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?

“Inside of every problem lies an opportunity.” -Robert Kiposaki

Additional Resources