Family Resources on Self-Control

Lesson Topic

Being calm and friendly

Essential Questions

Why do we need self-control?

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Getting Ready for the Conversation

Conversation Starters and Practice at Home Activities

School to Home Resources on Self-Control


Previewing Activity:

The following can be asked/done before watching video.

  • When have you heard people use the term “self-control”?
  • What does self-control look like?
  • Why do we need self-control?
  • Demonstrate “out of control” behavior and have students describe the correct way to behave or how to get oneself under control.

Activity 1:

Watch video: Self-Control [3 minutes]

Activity 2:

Discussion questions following the video.

  • What are some of the ways the students in the video worked on self-control?
  • Why did they need to work on self-control?
  • What kinds of events or behaviors make you angry or make you lose your self-control? Why do you think this happens?
  • How do you work through these situations to regain self-control?
  • What would happen if everyone lost self-control?
  • Why do you think it is important to maintain self-control?

Activity 3:

Self-control Dance


Tell students you have a saying that you like to repeat to yourself when you start to feel like you are getting very angry or very excited or very upset. It helps you calm down and get self-control again.

  • When I control my feelings, I can have more fun.
  • When I control my body, I can have more fun.
  • When I control my words, I can have more fun.
  • Teach this to students and ask them to help you with hand movements for the chant.

Direct Instruction:

Explain that self-control comes in handy when we are angry, but it also comes in handy when we are being very active and need to calm down. Sometimes we get very excited and need to remember how to control our bodies. Today’s lesson is about self-control when we are excited.

Place one mat or dot on the floor and sit on it. Explain to students that this is your space and you need to use self-control to stay on it so you can do the self-control dance.

Place another spot on the floor on the perimeter of the room and tell students this is the “Get it Back Together” spot. That is for anybody who forgets to use self-control and needs a minute to calm down and ‘get it back together’ to rejoin the dance.

When anyone is on the “Get it Back Together” spot, that person can watch the group, take a few deep breaths, hug their body, slow count to 10 – or 100: any one of the practices we saw the students in the video do to calm down.

Play exciting music. Show students how the music starts in your fingers and finds its way to all parts of your body until you need to use your whole body as you are able to dance.

Show them how you are using self-control to stay on your mat/spot. Stop the music and freeze.

Check yourself – are you on your spot?

If so, you can dance again.

Play slower music and dance, paying close attention to staying on your spot. Self-narrate how you are using self-control to stay on spot.

Dance again and continue to dance when the music stops. Talk to the students about how that was an “Oops!” and you need a moment on the “Get it Back Together” spot. Model breathing and slow counting to regain self-control.

Ask children if they think they can use the same self-control to dance on their own spots.

Guided Exploration (We do):

Place mats or dots around the room and assign one student to each mat. Explain that this is their space for the self-control dance.

Point out the “Get it Back Together” spot for anyone who needs to take a few deep breaths or count backwards to regain self-control.

The rules are simple: you can dance as long as you use self-control and remain on your spot and freeze when the music stops.

Try fast and slow music. Tell students to check their spaces. Are they using self-control?

Independent practice

Play several rounds of the self-control freeze dance.

If students are doing a good job, give them another challenge: the next music must be used to change their spot. They must use self-control and move through the room without touching anybody else to get to a new spot. Self-control! If the teacher sees people touching, they must sit on the “Get it Back Together” spot until ready to join the group and follow the rules again.


Ask students to sit on their spots with crossed legs as they are able. Play calm, quite music or natural soundscapes. This is the cool down section of the game.

Tell students to sit up straight and tall and practice breathing to come back to a calm place and gather their self-control.

Have them stretch their arms up and lean forward toward the floor. Then have them sit up and hug themselves.

Say the chant they learned at the beginning of class:

  • When I control my feelings, I can have more fun.
  • When I control my body, I can have more fun.
  • When I control my words, I can have more fun.

Breathe in and out two more times and slowly stand up as they are able.

Talk about how they used self-control to do the freeze dance.

Ask the how the cool down exercises might help them any other time they need to use self-control.

Vocabulary and Definitions

communicate (v): to exchange information or conversation with other people by using words, signs, letters, etc.

  • After Tracey moved to a different state, she communicated daily with her best friend by sending email.

manage (v.): to deal with a situation that needs to be controlled in some way.

  • Mia manages to control her temper by counting to 10 each time she feels angry.

self-control (n.): the state of being calm; the ability to behave calmly and sensibly even when a person feels very excited, angry, etc.

  • Coach Gonzalez lost his self-control and screamed at his players after the team missed the field goal.
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