Tag Archives: Activities

What’s Most Important

Purpose: To become aware of values and priorities.

Materials: One copy for each participant of the handout, “What’s Most Important” handout; scissors; tape or glue; one piece of blank paper for each participant; one business envelope for each participant; whiteboard and markers or chalkboard and chalk

Time: 40-50 minutes

Planning Notes:

  • Read the handout and add values statements of your own, if you wish, before duplicating the handout.
  • Cut the individual handouts into strips. Place each set of strips in an envelope, creating a packet for each participant.
  • Create a poster of prioritized values for Step 3, one for each value statement. The priorities should read from MOST IMPORTANT to SECOND MOST IMPORTANT and so on, down to LEAST IMPORTANT.

Procedure:

  1. Review the concept of values. Talk about choosing from a series of coins/bills and how the largest value is the one we pick first and so on.
  2. Explain that for, this activity, the participants will choose among several intangible items, rating which they value most, second most, all the way to which they value least.
  3. Go over instructions for the activity
    1. I will give each of you an envelope containing 20 strips of paper. Each strip has the name of something intangible written on it. Arrange these strips so that what is of most value to you is on top and what is of least value is on the bottom. (Display the illustration you have drawn.)
    1. Move the strips around until the ranking matches how you really value them. Then tape or glue your strips in the correct order to the piece of blank paper I will also give you.
    1. This may be somewhat frustrating because you can have only one top priority. Sometimes, we have conflicting priorities. You must just do the best you can.
  4. Distribute one envelope and one piece of blank paper to each participant. Ask participants to begin. Circulate, offering help if anyone who is having trouble understanding what it is you asked. Caution the adolescents to work slowly and think carefully about each item.
  5. When all or most of the participants are finished, call time. Conclude the activity using the discussion points below.

Discussion Points:

  1. What were your top three or four values?
  2. Was it easier to choose the things you value the most or the least? Why?
  3. Were there items on the list that that you had never really thought about before? Which ones?
  4. Were you surprised by your completed list of values? Why or why not?
  5. How do you think your ranking of values would compare to your parents’ ranking?
  6. How might you stand up for your top three values?

A Centering Exercise

Often clients come into sessions agitated and unable to focus. Sometimes it’s walking into a group setting that can trigger this. Centering exercises are designed to calm the mind of racing thoughts and relax the body. While there are many options out there, here’s an easy one to try.

Have the clients sit comfortably in a chair, with their feet on the floor. Instruct them to close their eyes and breathe slowly in through the nose, hold the breath for a moment, then breathe out through the mouth until their lungs are empty. Ask them to notice any thoughts that come into their mind. Remind them, all they need to do is acknowledge and then let go of the thoughts that come to mind. Have them continue breathing in the same pattern for several minutes, just observing the thoughts coming and going. Then, when they are ready, have the clients open their eyes. Ask the clients if anyone wants to volunteer their observations on the thoughts they noticed, but don’t require it of clients when completing a centering exercise. Allow time to discuss any thoughts or observations should clients choose to do so.

And there you have it. A quick and easy centering exercise. Remember the main goal of this exercise–peace and calm. Dealing with those thoughts and feelings are for another time.