Self-Injury Classroom Exercises
REALITY AVENUE – “Self Injury: Where is the REAL Pain?”
Each Reality Avenue program has a set of Follow-Up Discussion Prompters, Classroom Activities & Assignments that have been created with corresponding Sunshine State Standards. They are designed to be used by school staff following the viewing of that specific program. To view the Reality Avenue program, “Self Injury: Where is the REAL Pain?”, please click here.
Follow-up Discussion Questions
Questions can be utilized as a resource for an interactive teacher driven activity or as a prompter for written assignments. Classroom ground rules for the discussion should be set, if not already, for confidentiality (no names – “I know someone who…”), respect (all ideas accepted), what is said in the class stays in the class, we all get a chance to talk, keep an open mind, etc.
- Based on what you know and what you have learned through Reality Avenue, define self injury.
- Is excessive body piercing and tattooing considered self injury and why or why not?
- Do you know anyone who is self injuring? (No names please) How common do you think self injury is in today’s schools? What do you think about the statistic that states only 1% of people self injure?
- What do you believe is the primary reason people self injure? What life issues would cause a person to begin the process and what maintains it?
- What does a “cutter” look like? In other words, are there physical, fashion, personality or cultural traits that all “cutters” share?
- What are the warning signs of self injury?
- How is self injury a coping skill?
- How could self injury be or become an addiction?
- What are the short-term and long-term consequences of self injury?
- Based on what you have learned today through Reality Avenue, what are the best ways to respond (verbally, physically) to someone who shares that they are self injuring? What are the worst?
- What are the best ways to help someone who is self injuring?
- How does giving an ultimatum to someone who self injures affect them and their behavior? For example: if you tell a self injurer, “if you do that again, I will have to…” tell a teacher or hospitalize you, etc.
- What would YOU do if someone you cared about was self injuring, but he/she doesn’t think he/she needs help?
- Who can you go to for help if you are faced with self injury in your life?
- What did the Reality Avenue interviewees say about “hope” for the future?
- How has today’s show helped you to better understand the issue of self injury?
- What role can you play in your school/community to help others facing self injury?
Classroom Activities or Assignments
(for middle and high school students)
For Middle School
|LAA1.3, LAA23, LAB1.3, LAB23, LAC1.3, LAC23, LAC3.3SSA23, SSA3.3, FLA1.3, FLA23, FLB1.3, FLC1.3, DAB1.3
THA1.3, THA23, THE1.3, VAE1.3
HEA1.3, HEA23, HEB1.3, HEB23, HEB33, HEC1.3, HEC23
For High School
|LAA1.4, LAA24, LAB1.4, LAB24, LAC1.4, LAC2.4, LAC3.4, LAD1.4, LAD2.4, LAE2.4, SSB2.4, FLA1.4,
FLA2.4, FLA3.4, FLB1.4, FLC1.4,
THB1.4, THC1.4, THE1.4, VAA1.4, VAB1.4, VAE1.4
HEA1.4, HEA2.4, HEB1.4, HEB2.4, HEB3.4, HEC1.4, HEC2.4
Exercise #1: “Inquiring Minds”
Topic Area: To be able to talk about ourselves helps us to build self-esteem. This verbalization of facts and information about our life is reinforcement for self-expression and the fact that we have self worth.
Directions: On a piece of paper (2X4), have each student write one (or 3 if you choose) question about their life. It must be open ended, not one that can be answered with a yes, or no.
- What was a fun Saturday that you had recently?
- What kind of house do you live in?
- If there was a fire in your bedroom, what you would you save first?
- What have you done in your life that you are proud of?
Everyone must find a partner. The taller of the two people must ask his partner the question they have written down. The person answering the question must talk for a minimum of 30 seconds, and a maximum of 60 seconds.
Reverse roles, when both have answered the question they wrote, they exchange papers, and find new partners. They will now ask the question on the piece of paper they received in the exchange. From now on, each time they find a new partner they will exchange pieces of paper and ask someone else’s questions.
Exercise #2: “Motivational Metaphors”
Topic Area: Students will learn how to use metaphors to describe their personal characteristics and use them as motivational tools.
Metaphors are symbols one uses to describe someone or something. For example, if someone is very organized a calendar or palm pilot would be a symbol of that strength. Metaphors can also help to motivate people and include symbols that describe something one can do well to help encourage them during difficult times. Example – visualizing yourself as a turtle to deflect abusive words, visualizing yourself as a very young child being hugged, protected and nurtured by the older you.
Directions: Name some of your personality traits. After each trait think of a symbol or metaphor that represents this characteristic. See the examples and then create your own. You can either draw or write the symbol/metaphor and then discuss or make into a writing assignment your response.
Personality Traits Metaphor
Caring………………………..A stuffed animal
Sense of humor…………….A feather
Insight………………………..A light bulb
Exercise #3: “Name That Tune”
Topic Area: Music can be utilized as an approach to help teens manage their pain, reduce stress and learn top relax. Music can be a powerful tool for facilitating self-awareness, evoking forgotten memories, communicating feeling, and bringing people together.
Directions: Write actual songs or the kind of music that comes to mind for each question below. Then share how the music makes you feel.
1) What kind of music do you listen to while with your friends?
2) How does it make you feel?
3) What kind of music do you listen to when you are alone? How does it make you feel?
4) Name some songs that when you hear them, you usually become sad.
5) What are some songs that make you feel happy, energized and encouraged?
6) What type of music do you listen to when you need to relax?
Exercise #4: How Healthy is YOUR Coping Style?
Topic Area: Students will describe how they typically respond to various feelings and explore how healthy or unhealthy these coping styles are.
Directions: See below – take the Feeling Word (alternating pleasant and unpleasant ones) and describe in detail how you typically respond to it. If you have trouble, imagine a scenario or a recent event. Then take each Feeling Response and discuss/detail why this may be healthy or unhealthy. If unhealthy, what might some better ways to respond? If you have come across healthy responses, what are they and how might you incorporate them into your personal lifestyle?
Feeling Word: Afraid
Feeling Response: Avoid that person or situation
Healthy/Unhealthy: Healthy – some situations are truly scary and possibly dangerous (being jumped on the way home) and avoiding them or confrontation is the safest alternative possible.
Feeling Word: Afraid
Feeling Response: Become angry and yell
Healthy/Unhealthy: Unhealthy – because it usually involves my parents when I think they are going to ground me and then they just get more angry as I fight with them and they ground me for longer. It would be a much healthier way to cope if I could pause, reflect back to my parents what they are saying or how they are feeling and then just apologize and say I will try harder or do better next time and that my intent was not to hurt them or break the rules.
Other Feelings to explore: Angry, Happy, Sad, Excited, Lonely, Playful, Hurt, Love
Exercise #5: Role Play
Topic Area: The best way for students to learn is often through acting or role playing. Through this exercise, students will be given the opportunity to assess and act out alternative coping mechanisms for dealing with stressful life circumstances.
Directions: Break the class into groups and have them role play the specific scenarios below. Make sure each group’s play has a beginning, middle and an end; does not give away the plot before beginning; is brief and time limited; and ends without completely resolving the conflict.
Role Play Ideas –
Peer Pressure – getting talked into doing something you don’t want to (drugs, violence, rumor spreading). Have one or two in the group try and talk the person out of doing the behavior as well.
Secrets – one person shares something personal with a student and then the student starts sharing the secret with others (pregnancy, STD, bulimia, cutting, being abused, gay, thoughts of killing self, etc.).
Life Stress – various coping with family situations – angry or alcoholic parent, verbally or physically abusive parent, bullying big brother and uninvolved parent, overprotective parent trying to communicate with child, single parent family, etc
Afterward, have them review the themes of the role plays and discuss the following
1) Describe the characters and their feelings.
2) What was the conflict in the play?
3) What are some possible best (healthy) resolutions or ways to cope with this conflict?
4) Can you relate this problem to your life circumstances?
Give the group to a chance to act out a final chosen (healthy) solution to the conflict as determined by the class or group.
One step further: Have the students write and act out their own script of life challenges and solutions.