It is now November, which means that Halloween, along with its candy, costumes, and masks, is officially over.
But when the candy is eaten and the costumes exchanged for pajamas, do the masks really come off?
Yes, the physical ones, the ones we can see, come off, but what about the ones we can’t see? The smiles and the toughness that hide pain and fear? Sadly, these masks do not go away when Halloween is over. Instead, they are worn on the faces of children throughout the school year as they deal with bullying, troubles at home, and other difficult issues...
While children can typically identify when someone is angry or upset, they may find it difficult to understand that the emotion one is displaying may not be the emotion one is feeling and may in fact be the result of a different emotion. Victims of bullying often fake smiles, and bullies themselves wear masks of toughness to cover their pain and confusion. Helping our children understand this is a big step towards ending bullying. When kids grasp that problems have roots and that there may be more to a person or situation than meets the eye, then they are in a better position to begin identifying and working through those issues and understanding their peers.
Because this is such a vital lesson, the earlier it is taught, the better. To help children learn that sometimes one emotion or attitude is hiding another, we have created a fun mask-making craft! This craft has been designed to go along with the reading of the picture book This is A. Blob, by L.A. Kefalos, however, it can be modified to fit with your current lesson. This is A. Blob follows a sticky, purple blob named A. Blob, that wreaks havoc on the playground with its bullying ways. As the story progresses, readers learn there may be more to A. Blob than first meets the eye. Not only does the book show bullying from the perspective of both bully and victim, it was written specifically for younger children, making it a perfect intro to the topic of bullying and emotional masks. To read a longer review, check out our previous blog, In a New Light.
Let’s get started!
I chose fairly basic materials so that this craft could be easily mastered by young children, but feel free to adapt to your tastes and the needs of your classroom!
The kids won’t be making their masks until later, but this lesson calls for yours to be made at the beginning, so I’ll go ahead and insert instructions here:
First, read This is A. Blob out loud to the class. Discuss what it means to be a bully and why they think A. Blob is a bully. Encourage the students to connect A. Blob and its story to real-life people and situations.
Introduce the idea of emotional masks to the children. Bring out the mask with A. Blob on it. Hold up the side with the angry face and have the students describe you: what are you feeling? What assumptions might be made about your personality? Then flip the mask around and ask the same question. Remind the students that both faces are part of the same mask and the same character.
Next, explain how we all sometimes wear emotional masks because we are too afraid or hurt to show our real emotions. Explain how we must be careful not to judge a book by its cover, or a face by its mask.
To illustrate further, have the students make their own masks. On one side, show an emotion such as a smile or anger and on the other side, show the emotion that is being masked. Have students show their masks to the class and explain why they chose these emotions and these masks. Talk about what situations might cause a person to use an emotional mask. To help drive these ideas home, have the students do some role play.
This is the basic outline of the craft and lesson. The wonderful thing about this craft is that it can take so many different directions and can be used with just about any age. The masks can be as simple or as complex as you would like, the role playing can span one day or multiple days, and the masks themselves can be utilized as a tool to help students sort through their emotions and the emotions of others throughout the school year.
If you try this out in your classroom, share pictures of your masks and let us know how you used them in your lesson!
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.