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Be Assertive! Be Be Assertive!

The students have been learning assertiveness skills - how does assertive look, how does it sound, how does it feel. Being assertive means asking for what you want or need in a calm, firm, respectful voice. Being assertive helps us be successful in a variety of social and academic situations.

We might need to be assertive when we ask a teacher for help with an assignment, when someone is treating us unkindly, if a friend asks us to do something we don't want to do, or if we simply want to join a group at recess. This lesson is a great lead-in to discussions about bullying and peer pressure, which are soon to follow - stay tuned!

We are learning the assertive look:

  • Stand tall

  • Shoulders back

  • Feet planted

  • Body still

  • Eye contact

  • Polite but serious face

We are learning the assertive sound (I tell students to use their teacher voice!):

  • Calm voice

  • Polite voice

  • Polite words

  • Strong voice

We discuss examples of times you might need to be assertive:

  • When someone is asking you to do something you don't want to do.

  • If you need help with something.

  • If you need someone to stop bothering or hurting you, or someone else

  • If you have a problem you need to solve.

  • What else?

We practice our look and sound with these phrases:

  • "Please stop, I don't like that."

  • "Can you please help me with this?"

  • "Can we please talk about this?"

  • "That hurt, what happened?"

  • "No, I am not doing that."

  • "No thanks, I don't like that."

  • "Please stop, that's not OK."

  • "Excuse me, I was here first."

The students have been doing an AMAZING job with demonstrating assertive behavior. Even at the kindergarten level they are getting it. As part of these lessons we are also discussing what passive behaviors and aggressive behaviors look like and how we might struggle to get what we need if we use these types of communication. We tie in the Zones of Regulation as well - passive behaviors often resemble the blue zone, and aggressive behaviors often resemble the yellow or red zones. Assertive behavior might resemble the green zone (even if we are feeling nervous and are in the yellow zone, we look like the green zone when we are doing assertive properly!)

So if they're in the right mood (!), ask your children to show you assertive behavior, or compliment them when you see them acting assertively. (You may need to help with properly pronunciation as we often forget how to say "assertive!")