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Addressing Our Needs: Maslow Comes to Life for Educators and Students

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. The bottom two levels reflect basic needs, the next two reflect psychological needs, and top reflects self-f lfillment needs. !mage "redit# $. %in&elstein via 'i&imedia "ommons . !n the mid-()*+s, h manistic psychologist Abraham Maslow created a theory of basic, psychological and self-f lfillment needs that motivate individ als to move conscio sly or s bconscio sly thro gh levels or tiers based on o r inner and o ter satisfaction of those met or nmet needs. As a parent and ed cator, ! find this theory eternally relevant for st dents and ad lts, especially in o r classrooms. After st dying it over the past co ple of years, my grad ate and ndergrad ate st dents have decided that every classroom sho ld display a wall-si,ed diagram of the pyramid, as st dents and teachers ali&e place pins and post-its on the varying tiers based on their own feelings, behaviors and needs. 'hat do act al brain-compatible strategies loo& li&e on this pyramid-

Tier One Meeting Physiological Needs in the Classroom


(. Water ottles and water rea!s" .. #ocused attention $ractices: These practices, involving breathing, imagery and so nd, last one and a half to two min tes as st dents close their eyes or foc s on an ob/ect of attention, practicing 0 ieting their minds from the free-flowing tho ghts that bombard o r thin&ing every day. 1. Physical surroundings: These incl de room arrangement, color, temperat re, plants, etc. 2. #ood: 3rovide a mixed snac& bar and have the class designate times to grab some energy bites and contin e wor&ing. *. %nstrumental Music" These elements contrib te to brain-compatible learning by creating a physical environment that is inviting, warm and friendly4

&uestions to As! Myself


(. 'hat do ! need.. Am ! tired1. Am ! h ngry(

2. How m ch water have ! had over the past .2 ho rs- !s it eno gh*. 'hat reso rces 5people, activities or experiences6 co ld assist me in reaching my small and larger physiological and psychological goals-

Tier Two
Sta ility' Safety and Security' #reedom from #ear
(. Attitude: 7ometimes it is eno gh to have a personal affirmation that creates feelings of safety and sec rity. %or example# 89ight now in this moment ! am safe. ! am breathing, ! am aware, awa&e and ! can thin& and feel48 .. Worry dro$ o(: As yo enter the room, drop a written concern in a box sit ated by the door. 9esearch shows that writing o t o r concerns and worries frees p the wor&ing memory and relieves anxiety. 1. Pin)u$s: The class assigns vario s st dents to physically post a compliment or affirmation each day. 'e all need to feel validated and often lose sight of o r strengths and talents beca se the brain is wired with a negative bias. These pin- ps help s foc s on positive experiences and behaviors instead of fa lts and mista&es. 2. Common e($eriences: :evelop class g idelines together. "reate a class blog. !nvite o tside spea&ers that promote service and safety# police officers, co nselors, former st dents who have risen above diffic lt sit ations, etc.

Tier Three
*elonging and Lo+e
(. Classroom ser+ice $ro,ect" .. Partnered wor!" 1. Cele rations: "reate special and celebratory days all year long# birthdays, ;!3 days, strength day, progress days, colorf l days, etc. 2. Wor!ing together: Assign these roles within the class# o <istener o 9ecorder of feelings and tho ghts o 7mall gro p of decision-ma&ers o 7t dent who 8cares for8 the teacher, office staff and other st dents o 3oetry reader o :esigner of classroom decorations o =ate&eeper who chec&s for disp tes and conflicts *. Community circle: %or 1-(+ min tes at the beginning and ending of class, share a time where empathy is defined, disc ssed and bro ght to life. >o might also share movie clips, personal narratives, or a story to / mpstart the day. ?. %dentity: A classroom theme, flag, song, flower and animal totem.

&uestions to As! Myself


(. .. 1. 2. How do ! handle negative sit ations- 'hen these sit ations occ r, what do ! typically say to myself'hat statement wo ld enco rage me'hat are three negative emotions ! feel most often'hat are three positive emotions ! feel often or sometimes-

Tier #our
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Achie+ement' -ecognition and -es$ect of Mastery' Self)Esteem


%or st dents to feel capable and s ccessf l, we m st create an environment that lends itself to this type of mastery. (. E($ert .ay: 7t dents get to demonstrate personal expertise. .. Career .ay: @ring in college st dents and comm nity members to share the possibilities of academic and professional s ccess following high school. 1. .is$lay s!ills as a class: "reate and design 0 i,,es, assignments and instr ction for st dents in other classes and grades.

Small /oals % Am Mastering


(. .. 1. 2. *. ?. A. B. ). 'or& completion :ialog ed abo t fr strations 7tayed foc sed on assignments 7howed respect and compassion for others 9egro ped and contin ed to wor& after a fr strating time Helped another st dent or teacher "ontrib ted ideas and s ggestions to a conversation Csed positive lang age in describing a need or desire 7elf-reflected abo t my daily wor& and interactions

&uestions to As! Myself


(. .. 1. 2. *. ?. 'hat statement wo ld enco rage me'ho are my heroes- 'hat character traits do ! admire that ma&e them my heroesHow will ! &now ! am on the right trac&- 'hat will tell me if ! stray from p rs ing my goals'hat are my strengths'hat are my challengesHow will ! foc s on these strengths &nowing that my tho ghts and feelings drive all my words and actions-

Tier #i+e
Self)Actuali0ation and Self)#ulfillment Needs
This is level of self-eval ation related to service. 'e begin to explore and model, designing, eval ating and analy,ing information o tside of o r own basic needs, serving others. To become creative thin&ers, we have to begin discovering the problem, not / st coming p with a sol tion. !n this tier, st dents become self-assessors and self- reflectors. They are able to see and nderstand how their actions, tho ghts and feelings affect all lives.

&uestions to As! Myself


(. .. 1. 2. 'hat is my p rpose in life'hat are the challenges in reaching my p rpose and the lives of othersHow can ! serve the world'hy is there conflict and war- 'hat can ! do- 'hat can we do-

Have yo ever enco raged self-examination and self-reflection among yo r st dents- 3lease share yo r experiences in the comments section below. 1