Meet the Bad Guys

By: Jillian Klatt
During a game of Pictionary™, one of the students drew his perception of the Brain Eater on Mrs. O’s white board.

Mrs. O gave the Superhero Summer Camp its name to highlight the idea that students can learn to be their own superheroes by communicating effectively. To stick with this theme, Mrs. O is beginning each day of summer camp by introducing an Unthinkable Villain taken from the Superflex program by Michelle Garcia Winner. The students must overcome these villains by channeling the skills they are learning—their superpowers! When working with a high energy group of individuals, such as a group of 5- to 9-year-olds on summer vacation, it can be very helpful to establish the importance of staying focused right off the bat.

Meet the Brain Eater. He is a monster who gets in students’ heads and causes them to become distracted from the important parts of a lesson or speech therapy session. Last Wednesday at camp, Mrs. O and Mrs. M showed the students how the Brain Eater can disrupt their learning with a skit. Mrs. O and Mrs. M were having a conversation in front of the group when Mrs. O suddenly blurted out that she could see a dog in the distance, throwing the conversation off track and causing both Mrs. M and Mrs. O to forget the important topic they were discussing. Once the kids understood the problems that the Brain Eater can create, the group brainstormed ways to combat the evil villain like pausing and taking a deep breath or asking their conversational partner to help them understand the message.

Later in the day whenever the students got distracted from the camp activities, Mrs. O and Mrs. M were able to remind the students to stay focused with the simple mention of the Brain Eater. We will continue to see Mrs. O teach students abstract skills such as attention and emotion management by embodying their counterparts in villains throughout the Superhero Summer Camp. Together we can take down the bad guys with skillful communication strategies!

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