Resilience Toolbox

At the end of the school year, Tracy Lyons, our Resilience Consultant & Program Manager, reflects on her time leading social emotional learning lessons (Project Resilience) and shares thank you notes from her students.

Facilitating Project Resilience lessons has been a particular joy for me in my work at Acknowledge Alliance. I have the privilege of working with entire classrooms of students, getting to know the teacher and teacher’s aids, getting to know the culture of the school, and getting to know students as they participate each week in our social emotional learning (SEL) lessons. We currently offer SEL to grades 3 to 7 and pack so much into our 10 lessons! 

Character strengths, understanding emotions, communication skills, empathy, and decision-making are just a few of the resilience tools we hone in our time together. Students work as teams to understand and brainstorm coping skills. For instance, whole classrooms work together to communicate in the midst of frustration as they try to lower the “helium stick.” Small groups practice what it’s like to work in silence to solve the puzzles of “broken circles” – teammates have a piece they need but the instructions explicitly state: “you cannot take pieces, you can only give.” 

At the end of our program, it’s not uncommon for me to receive thank you notes from students. It’s such a joy to see what they highlight from our time together! This is a small collection of cards from my students in Project Resilience this year. I love how their words and illustrations show what they’ve learned and value most in our lessons.

But wait until you see what’s in the Resilience Toolbox! Mindfulness paint and kindness paintbrushes, conflict resolution tape, friendship gloves, a self-control nail – Wow! The time and attention to detail it must have taken them to create each of these “resilience tools” is just amazing!

All of these topics and each of our activities build skills essential for their resilience. I remind students that these are lifelong skills that most adults are working on developing and perfecting, too. Sometimes the work I do as a counselor feels a lot like planting seeds and tending the garden, but without the opportunity to see the fruits of that labor. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have the chance to see some of the social emotional seeds I helped plant come into full bloom in this group of students!

-Tracy Lyons, MFT
Resilience Consultant & Program Manager