Our Senses

How do you say “Hello”?

  • Time Length
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    < 1 hour

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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    easy

Question and Wonder:

  • How do you greet your family? Your friends? A stranger?
  • What is the purpose of a greeting? How does it feel to be greeted by someone?
  • Why do you greet different people in different ways?
  • Any idea how people greet each other in different countries?
  • Do you greet people differently on a phone or video call than you do in person? Why?

Imagine and Design:

  • What are all the different ways you can greet someone?
  • How would you say hello to someone who does not speak the same language?
  • Try out different expressions in front of a mirror as you say hello. How do you think people will react to the different expressions on your face?
  • Does your expression matter if you are on the phone? Why?
  • Design a whole new way to say hello. Share it and explain your approach.

Test and Discuss:

  • Test out your new greeting. How did people react? Did they know you were saying hello? How do you know?
  • Try the different facial expressions. Did people react the way you thought they would?
  • Did you try the different expressions on a phone call? What happened?
  • What senses are you using when you greet someone or they are greeting you?
  • Imagine meeting your favorite superhero or movie character. How would you greet them? Why? Write a story or draw a picture about the meeting.
  • How would that meeting change if it were not in person?

Did you Know?

Some kids have trouble handling the information their senses take in—things like sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell. Besides these common senses, there are also two other, less well known ones that can be affected—proprioception, or a sense of body awareness, and vestibular sense, which involves movement, balance, and coordination.

Kids with sensory processing differences experience too much or too little stimulation through these senses. They may also have difficulty integrating sensory information—for example things that they see and hear simultaneously, like a person speaking—might seem out of sync for them.

Greeting someone with sensory differences can be difficult but making a chart like the one below is a good place to start. Then you can let them choose how they are comfortable saying “Hello”. Some teachers even incorporate this approach as they greet students entering the classroom, letting the student pick their preferred greeting for the day.

During this time of social distancing, we’ve all had to adjust our normal greeting routines and have included yard signs of encouragement, uplifting drawings on our sidewalks, social media posts, songs and musical instruments played from porches and windows, zoom calls and more.

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