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Grade: Middle
Subject: Health

#1282. Dealing with Death and Dying

Health, level: Middle
Posted Tue Nov 7 05:44:56 PST 2000 by Mandy (cbkh@grove.iup.edu).
IUP, Indiana, PA
Materials Required: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson; beads in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures
Activity Time: 30 minutes
Concepts Taught: The death of a loved person or pet produces a variety of intense feelings which is natural.

Health-Death and Dying
5th Grade
Instruction Time-30 minutes

II. Rationale and Background
The purpose of this Health lesson on Death and Dying is to provide students with an opportunity to openly discuss the variety of feelings and emotions they may experience when someone or something dies. Students will identify emotions they have experienced and learn that experiencing a wide range of feelings is normal after the loss of someone or something.
Students have previously read the book Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and are familiar with the plot and characters in the story. Many of them have had experience with the death of a person or pet either in their personal life or through a movie, TV show, etc.. All students have the experience of reading about Leslie's death in Bridge to Terabithia.

III. Lesson Objectives
1. TLW compare the feelings Jess experiences after the death of his friend Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia with similar emotions they may have felt after the loss of someone or something he/she loved. (cognitive)
PI: After listening to the short excerpt from Bridge to Terabithia, students will participate in a class discussion in which they verbally compare their emotions with those experienced by Jess in the book.
2. TLW communicate through speech feelings he/she experienced after the death of someone of something he/she loved. (psychomotor)
PI: Each student will verbally compare emotions felt after the death of someone or something with three beads chosen from a jar of beads of various colors, shapes, and textures.
3. TLW identify and express emotions he/she has experienced while dealing with the death of someone or something personally or has observed another experiencing. (affective)
PI: Students will verbally identify and express emotions they have felt after the death of someone or something personally or have observed another experiencing through a class discussion.

IV. Resources/Materials
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
beads in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures
containers for spreading out the beads

V. Concepts
The death of a loved person or pet produces a variety of intense feelings in those adjusting to life without the deceased.
It is natural for people to experience many emotions or be confused about these emotions when dealing with death.
VI. Procedures
A. Introduction and Motivation
Tell students that today the class will be discussing a variety of emotions and have them name some they have experienced.
Explain to students that they will be focusing on feelings we experience when someone or something dies. This can be a very sensitive subject for some children, especially if they have recently experienced a loss, so inform students that if at any point during the lesson they feel overwhelmed to let the teacher know.
Review the story line of the book Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson with the students. Have them recall as much of the story as possible before filling in any important aspects they may have forgotten.
Read the part of the book in which Jess finds out that his best friend Leslie has died and instruct the students to think about the feelings Jess is experiencing.
B. Lesson Body
After reading the short section of Bridge to Terabithia in which Jess hears the news of Leslie's death, allow students a few minutes to think about how Jess reacted to the information.
Ask students what they felt Jess was experiencing at this point in the book.
Lead the class in a discussion of Jess's feelings and then encourage students to find similarities and differences between the book and their personal experiences.
Allow each student to volunteer information about feelings they experienced while dealing with death.
After providing opportunities for each student to contribute to the discussion, tell them that now they are going to get a chance to associate their emotions to beads.
Spread the beads out in the containers making sure each has beads in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures.
While spreading out the beads, explain to students that they will be able to pick out three beads that they feel best represent three emotions they or a character experienced after the death of someone or something they cared about.
Give students three examples holding up the correct bead each time:
"This sparkly blue bead represents the mixed emotions I felt after my best friend's dad died. The blue color stands for the sadness and tears I felt and the sparkles are the little moments of happiness I felt because he was no longer in pain."
"This orange bead reminds me of when my first goldfish died when I was in kindergarten. I cried for a long time and didn't think anyone understood what I was feeling."
"This round red bead makes me think about how angry I was when I heard a man I knew in my neighborhood died. He was pretty young and left behind a wife and three children. I was mad because I didn't think it was fair for him to die."
Allow students time to pick out three beads that they can match to their own feelings.
Circulate around the classroom and help students who need some extra assistance. Encourage students to talk with those around them about their bead choices.
After every student has had ample time to choose three beads, give each student a chance to share with the class their feelings and beads.
As students share with the class, encourage them to compare their responses with others and help them see the similarities and differences.
C. Closure
Point out the variety of emotions students have associated with their beads.
Ask students if all of those emotions are natural or if there are certain feelings they should experience when someone or something dies.
Make sure all students are aware that the variety of emotions is natural and that it is important for them to talk about these feelings and share them with someone they can trust.
Answer any questions students may have.
Bring the lesson to an end by reading the short excerpt from Bridge to Terabithia in which Jess talks to his teacher Mrs. Myers about Leslie's death.

VII. Evaluation
Students' ability to identify, communicate, and compare their feelings and those of others after the death of someone or something will be assessed informally by the teacher through two class discussions. The first discussion will occur after students hear the first section of the book Bridge to Terabithia read to them. The second discussion will involve the students associating their emotions with beads of various colors, shapes, and textures.