Chief students develop Emoji campaign to help manage emotions

Chief Umtuch Middle School’s DREAM Team wants their peers to know that they are not alone in what they are feeling during the pandemic. To get the word out to students learning at home, the team has developed a social-emotional campaign featuring expressive and relatable emojis on a series of trading cards that will be distributed beginning next week. 

From happy and sad to “meh,” each card features one emoji and a corresponding emotion with information on how to identify, process, and manage that feeling. The goal is to help provide support for the social-emotional needs of every student that the team can reach at home. 

“I’m excited to help my peers in whatever small way I can,” said team member and 8th grader Addisyn Heller. “If we were back in school learning in person and I saw a friend or fellow student in distress, I would want to try and help them get back to a positive place. Creating emoji cards and sharing positive, encouraging messages is the best way that we’re able to replicate the experience of being able to help our friends with difficult emotions.” 

sample emoji cards

The campaign will last several weeks, with a new card and emotion each week through winter break. The DREAM team has partnered with Battle Ground Public Schools’ Nutrition Services department to include the cards once per week in the grab and go lunches that are distributed on specific campuses each school day

Students can collect the cards not only for the valuable information and resources, but will also have the opportunity to exchange the cards for small trinkets or treats.

One of Battle Ground Public Schools’ strategic goals is to educate students in social-emotional topics that help them learn resiliency, emotional-management, and other life skills. “Everyone has emotions, and everyone experiences changes with these feelings,” said Blake Bowers, Chief Umtuch Middle School’s Health and Fitness teacher and the DREAM Team advisor. “Sometimes, strong feelings can be a distraction to your life and learning. We’re trying to reach students and teach them that what you do with your emotions can affect your entire day and your ability to learn.”

This is not the first time the DREAM Team has stepped up to provide peer support for issues facing teens and pre-teens. Chief Umtuch’s DREAM Team is the youth club of the Prevent Together Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, which focuses on reducing substance abuse in our community. The DREAM team won a pair of awards for work it did last school year to educate students on the risks of vaping. Through these projects, students on the team have been able to expand their own skills in marketing, public relations, business and communications.

As a precursor to the campaign, and inspired by Suicide Prevention month in September, the DREAM team distributed 800 cards in sack lunches this week to encourage students to “ACT” if they hear someone talking about hurting themselves or others. A.C.T. stands for Acknowledge, Care, Tell, and the cards instruct students to Acknowledge by listening to your friend; Care by letting your friend know you care; and Tell a trusted adult so they can help. 

“We want all of our students to know that your emotions matter, that you matter, and that you belong,” Bowers said. 

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