A Fun (No, Really!) Way to Discuss the Five Stages of Grief

fun way to discuss five stages grief kubler ross

We’ve been discussing Erikson’s Stages of Development and I think Integrity vs. Despair is a great time to discuss the Five Stages of Grief.

Although it’s an important topic, the grieving process is not especially a fun one. It can be especially raw for some students. I share my experience of losing my sister-in-law and the challenges my husband’s family and I went through. I think it’s best to start with real examples instead of just launching into the fun stuff or it could seem like I’m making light of student’s potential pain.

After I share my examples and admit that discussing grieving is quite the downer, I explain that we’ll transition into a lighter discussion of the stages.

I start by showing this clip of Teen Titans experiencing the five stages of grief after losing a couch.

Then I divide students into groups and have them write a story about the stages of grief in a non-death situation. As the students read their stories aloud the rest of the class identifies how they are going through the stages.

An example I share is starting your car to find your battery is dead. We’ve been there… How many times do we turn the key before taking the next step? This is classic denial phase. 🙂

My students thought of some great examples:

  • Getting pulled over. “Why me? The car ahead of me was speeding too!” “Oh no, my parents are going to kill me!” “I can’t be getting pulled over… Maybe they are just trying to pass me!”
  • Being down by 20 points in the last two minutes of a state championship basketball game. Players get angry and foul others. They make wild shots. Finally they accept the results bring in second string so everyone can have a chance to play at the state tournament.
  • Finding your Ipod in the pocket of your fleece that has just been through the washer and dryer
  • You’re without a laptop charger and you have an online quiz due soon.

We laughed a lot and had a great time identifying with the stories.

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