I love the phrases Body in the Group and Brain in the group. They are perfect phrases to prompt what is expected when hanging out with friends or working on a group project. They are easy to deliver and give kids the cue to make a change. You can see their bodies moving before you finish saying ‘oh your body rolled out of the group – pop your body back in the group’. These statements also come into their own in the schoolyard. You need to get your body in the group if you want to play with your peers. If you are standing all the way over the other side of the oval, away from the group, your potential friends don’t know that you want to hang out. Explaining this to kids and parents is powerful.
Body in the Group
When working on ‘body in the group’, I also like to discuss personal space and how our bodies move in groups. When people join a group, everyone in the group automatically adjusts the distance from each other to allow the new person space. I also find it fascinating to watch how we use our shoulders to include or exclude people from the group. Who else has had the experience of approaching a social group but at the last minute, feeling like the group isn’t going to open for you, you walk on? Me! This is a great activity in my secondary kids’ groups where we have lots of practice to ensure that our bodies are moving appropriately in groups. We practice having members join and leave the group while watching our bodies move accordingly.
Brain in the Group
After there is a solid understanding about ‘body in the group’ we move on to talking about getting your brain in the group as well. We need our brain in the groups so that you know when it is your turn to speak, know what to talk about and make relevant contributions.
My current primary boys are big Youtube fans. I like to use video so that we can stop and rewind, discuss and point out great behaviours but also when it doesn’t go well. Here are a collection of videos we use when talking about body and brain in the group.
Up – Dug the Talking Dog
This cute video shows Dug who puts his body in the group. You can use the video to discuss personal space as Dug excitedly talks to the people in the video. At the end of the video, Dug’s brain rolls out of the group when he is distracted by a squirrel.
Flummox and Friends
This video shows kids discussing the ideas of being in the group. It introduces the concept of the social fake and talking within the group.
It’s Smarter to Travel in Groups – De Lijn
It’s smarter to travel in groups! This is a collection of advertisements from De Lijn. This shows groups of animals who have their body and brain in the group and are following the group plan.
Jimmy Dean – Spaced Out
The planets are not working within the group. Their bodies are out of the group, doing their own thing.
I have done this playdough demonstration so many times. It is extremely powerful. It’s a winner!
Have fun working on Body and Brain in the Group. Look out for the next Youtube collection post.