Lesson 1: Intro to Warrior Within

Pre-class Preparation

  1. For Activity 1, print out or write paper signs with the numbers 1-10 on them. Tape the signs to the floor from one wall to another in increasing order.
  2. For Activity 2, print out the given pictures from the Warrior Within website under Lesson 1 and place one on each table available.
  3. For Activity 3, prepare a stack of sticky notes for each table group in the class, and tape up a piece of poster paper on the wall.

Activity 1: Human Stress Spectrum

1. After the students enter the classroom and settle down, ask a few prompting questions:

  • Raise your hand if you have ever felt stressed.
  • Raise your hand if school ever stresses you out.
  • What are the most stressful aspects of school? Accept 2-3 answers.

2. Explain that the scale on the floor is a stress spectrum. For the following questions, the students are free to    stand up and move around wherever they like on the spectrum. If they do not feel comfortable answering a question, they may sit down or otherwise not participate.

              On a scale of 1 to 10…

  • How stressed have you felt today?
  • How stressed have you felt in the past week overall?
  • How stressed have you felt in the past month overall?
  • To what extent has your stress come from school?
  • To what extent has your stress come from personal relationships?
  • How comfortable do you feel talking about stress?

3. Once all questions have been answered, get students to return to their seats. Prompt them by asking, “Why do you think we did this activity?” Accept 2-3 answers. If there is little response from the class or the following reasons are not offered, explain:

  • Recognizing the level of stress we have been experiencing today, the past week, and the past month helps us identify how emotionally vulnerable we are, and if our coping strategies have been effective.
  • Figuring out what areas of our life are causing us the most stress is the first step towards problem solving in those domains.
  • It is important that in the context of this curriculum, we are aware of our comfort levels with talking about stress. Furthermore, it is crucial we respect the emotional boundaries of our peers.

Activity 2: Film Screenshots 

1. Ask students to stand up again, and ask them to take a minute to choose a table with a picture that appears interesting or meaningful to them. 

2. Once seated, give the students two minutes to analyze the screenshot on their table silently. Offer prompting questions:

  • Why did you choose this picture specifically?
  • What emotions are represented or otherwise associated in this shot?
  • What words come to mind when looking at this shot?
  • What sensations do you think the person in the picture would feel? Do your own sensations mirror these projections or do they differ?
  • Hypothesize the story or context of this picture.

3. Ask students to discuss their answers to these questions as a group for three minutes. At the end of this period, they will present their picture and observations as a group.

4. Call upon each of the groups to briefly explain their interpretation of their chosen picture, giving each presentation about one minute.

5. Announce that the pictures are actually screenshots from the same film, Warrior Within, which they will be watching for the next activity.

Explanation of screenshots

Activity 3: Film Screening & De-brief

1. Introduce the film to the students. An example introduction could be: “We are about to watch the film Warrior Within. This media discusses the topic of stress and anxiety in an academic environment. I encourage you to keep an open and creative mind, as it has no linear storyline nor dialogue, and only one actor. The various symbols and events are meant to be regarded subjectively by each viewer.”

2. Instruct the students to write any reactions or observations on the sticky notes as they watch the film. Clarify that there are no set criteria for the writing of notes. Content can range from visual drawings, one word, or multiple sentences. However, students should ideally create at least 5 notes during the screening. Relevant prompts include:

  • Finding their chosen screenshot and deciding if their original judgement was similar to the context given in the film
  • Identifying physical cues of stress
  • Interpreting a symbol or motif in the film as how it pertains to their own lives

3. Play the film (below) for the class. After the it is finished, ask students to share individual sticky notes with their group (to the extent that they feel comfortable). Suggest that the table groups categorize notes with congruent topics into clusters.

4. Using a marker, title the poster paper on the wall “Themes in Warrior Within”. Ask the students to stand up from their seats and stick on their table group’s categories onto the paper. Then, encourage them to work together as a class in order to group homogeneous clusters into larger classes. Ask the students to name each of the classes on the poster paper, giving them a marker to label them.

5. Request students to sit back down. Ask them the following questions, and any additional questions based on your own discretion. Call on 2-3 responses per question.

  • What similarities or differences did you notice between your individual notes and your table groups?
  • What similarities or differences did you notice between your table groups and the class poster paper?
  • Which class on the poster paper seems most important to you? Why?

6. Save the poster paper to use as a recap for the next lesson.

Activity 4: FEAST Analysis

1. Hand out the FEAST analysis worksheets (one sheet per student). Emphasize that the sheet will not be collected, to respect private content, but it will quickly be checked at the door for completion. If there is not enough time to complete this activity in class, assign the sheet as homework for next class.

2. Read from these speaking notes: 

  • FEAST is an acronym that can be used to break down the physical, psychological and emotional components of a past experience or event.
  • The acronym stands for:
    • F: Feelings. The primary feeling(s) encountered (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear).
    • E: Events. Objective occurrences that are outside of the individual’s control.
    • A: Actions. Performed by the individual in reaction to the events.
    • S: Sensations. Physical experiences in the individual’s body.
    • T: Thoughts. Specific thoughts relating to the situation.
  • A FEAST analysis involves recording the specific elements of a past distressing experience. This can help you identify:

    • Situations or events in which you are most emotionally vulnerable. 
    • The actions, sensations, and thoughts that occur when you undergo certain feelings.
    • If your actions and thoughts are realistic and benefit you or if they have a negative impact on your well-being.
  • FEAST is a useful tool in recognizing future situations that may provoke distress, and finding strategies to cope ahead in advance.

3. Encourage students to now read their sheets and complete the activity. If they seem unsure of what exactly to write about, offer some common stressful situations:

  • How have you felt before performing a presentation in class?
  • How have you felt when someone has said something unkind to you?