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Use this SEL Activity to Help Your Students Process Pandemic Grief and Loss

Grief and loss are two profoundly human emotions. Use this ’After the Rain, the Rainbow’ SEL activity to help your students process their experiences of it.

By iThrive Games
May 13, 2021

For many teens this last year, grief and loss have been a part of life. For some it was the loss of in-person schooling and the accompanying social activities and for others it was missing or needing to adapt milestones and rites of passage, or grief that stemmed from sick family members or the over 500,000 souls in the U.S. lost to Covid. Whatever the specifics were, loss has been palpable both personally and collectively.

And now, as vaccinations are on the rise and we begin to emerge, the opportunity to see the rainbow after the rain is also here. We created iThrive Curriculum: A Moment in Time, to support teachers and teens in navigating these emotions together.

Grief and Growth in iThrive Curriculum: A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time is a game-based learning unit for high school English Language Arts classes. Created in collaboration with iThrive staff, high school ELA teachers, and teachers in training, the unit uses the interactive story and video game Florence as the central text. Students follow Florence's journey through a few major life changes and see how she copes and grows as a result. It's a wonderful opportunity to support students in reflecting on their own journey with grief, loss, and change this past year, and exploring some positives that were on the other side of that storm.

According to one 10th grade teacher who piloted the iThrive Curriculum: A Moment in Time, "The students really got into it and went into a lot of depth in their reflections."

We look forward to educators' downloading the unit when it is launched at the end of May. In the meantime, we'd like to preview one exercise from the unit that can be of service as a standalone activity before the year ends, to help students process how they experienced the grief and loss of the pandemic. 

An SEL Activity for Grief and Loss: "After the Rain, the Rainbow"

Step 1: Invite students into present-moment awareness using a tool of your choosing. We like to set a timer for 45 seconds and invite students to take 10 belly breaths during that time. 

Step 2: Offer these journaling prompts for their self-reflection:

  1. How have you coped with a loss in your own life? Write down a strategy or two.
  2. What have you discovered about yourself in processing the loss?
  3. What is one positive thing that came out of the experience, even though there was loss?

Step 3: After sufficient journaling time, put students into pairs and allow them to discuss their answers to journaling prompt #3. 

Step 4: As a class, invite anyone to share with the whole group. 

This social and emotional learning exercise invites students to nurture their self-awareness and self-management skills while reflecting on their experiences of grief and loss. The iThrive Curriculum: A Moment in Time unit touches on the same themes across eight pre-written lessons for 9th and 10th grade ELA and humanities classes. Bring it to your classroom today!