Using “The Bad Seed” to Talk About Self Image and Mental Health

It didn’t take long before my teaching partner and I discovered that the students we were remote teaching really needed some support around mental health topics. To respond to this we started developing mental health ‘mini lessons” that paired together read alouds, and writing prompts. These mini lessons inspired so much discussion and reflection that I thought we’d share them here for other teachers to use!

The topic of our first mini lesson was self image and we used the picture book “The Bad Seed” by Jory John and Pete Oswald as a mentor text. This was our very first picturebook read aloud, and we used think aloud prompts such as “what do you notice?” and “what do you wonder?” to encourage students share their thinking. Sharing is rarely mandatory in my remote learning class, and students have the choice to share what they wish, using either the chat function or by unmuting their mics and speaking. As this was our first read aloud experience as a class, the conversation took some prompting to get going. Once we were done the read aloud, we introduced writing prompt found below:

This prompt ties in nicely to the self image theme introduced in “The Bad Seed”. Some of you may recognize this prompt from my YouTube series “MsMcLauchlanWrites”, and I’ll link to that video here. As a follow up to this writing prompt I asked each student to complete an Iceberg of themselves as seen here:

If you’d like a to download this template, click here.

We found that the student created versions of their own “Iceberg” were very powerful. It was the detailed student response to this assignment that affirmed the need to have more conversations around mental health in our classes.

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