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Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
Pros: Kids will relate to the everyday problems and learn strategies for dealing with them.
Cons: Belly-tapping and bubble-popping run a bit long for young attention spans.
Bottom Line: Highly effective tool for whole-class instruction or one-on-one intervention.
Although Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is designed for parents to use at home, teachers can use it in class as well. Teachers or counselors could work with kids individually or in small groups, using the scenarios to model calming and decision-making strategies. Teachers could also use it as a whole-class, culture-creating activity. They could start the school year with a mini-lesson a day on how to handle a frustrating situation, working on breathing, thinking, and doing. The class could adopt the phrase "breathe, think, do" as a reminder to themselves when they're getting frustrated. After working through the five scenarios, kids could work in small groups to create skits about frustrating situations not included in the app, showing how they could work through them using the "breathe, think, do" technique.
Sesame Street's newest human resident, Mando (introduced in the fall of 2013), narrates while kids and a blue monster together tackle everyday frustrations -- like struggling to tie shoes, dealing with separation anxiety, taking turns, and going to bed -- and learn how to deal with them. Students must work through one problem before unlocking the next. Animated video clips show the blue monster's problem, then kids tap his belly to help him breathe deeply and calm down. When the monster is calm, students tap thought bubbles, which produces three possible strategies. Students get to choose which strategy the monster will try and then see him do it in another animated video clip. The technique of breathing, thinking, and doing is reinforced throughout.
Kids will identify with each of the five problems, and they'll not only learn to calm down with deliberate deep breathing, they'll also be introduced to three possible strategies for working through each problem. While waiting for a turn on a slide, for example, kids learn they might sing a song, count items around them, or ask a grown-up for help. The parent section includes even more tips for helping kids develop resilience by giving them tools for solving everyday problems. Every detail is backed by research. Most scenarios include an option for going to an adult for help, so kids will learn to try to solve their own problems, but still know they can go to a parent or teacher for help.