Grief & Loss

Grief and Loss can be a difficult and sensitive topic to talk about let alone teach. So a big THANK YOU goes out to Darci Friberg of Missouri for sharing her Grief & Loss lesson! This came about during the pandemic when Darci was struggling to describe what she was feeling which was grief. The lesson is not only therapeutic, but devotes time talking about a topic many avoid.


  • Begin the lesson by having students participate in the “Story of the Seasons” activity. The purpose of this exercise is to show the feelings associated with loss, death, losing functions, skills, etc.
  • After students are left with one strip, discuss the follow-up questions focusing on how they felt about giving up items.



  • After the introductory activity, students are introduced to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grieving. Students add this information to their note-taking chart. The stages include: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
  • Students are then assigned an article to read and take notes on titled, “That Discomfort You Are Feeling is Grief“.
  • Students watch the movie, Bucket List. As they watch, they are to identify the stages of grief that Edward and Carter experience, documenting with specific details from the movie.
  • After the movie, students will participate in an instructional strategy known as Chat Stations. If you need a guide on chat stations, view this facilitation video. Chat station discussion questions can be found HERE and the Chat Station Response Sheet is a freebie from Teacher’s Pay Teachers. If you’re in need of a timer, try this 3 Minute Timer from YouTube.
  • To capture what it means to leave a legacy, show students the following: Muhammad Ali is talking about the importance of his name. In the time capsule project, students are asked to share the story behind their name. The clip from the movie Dead Poets Society talks about contributing to society through poetry and self-expression. The TedTalk features a woman’s story about a pair of pink shoes given to her by her mother who was battling cancer.
  • All of these videos challenge students to consider their legacy and how to leave a legacy. It’s the perfect introduction to the final project.
  • For the final project, students are provide with three options. In the past, all three were required assignments, but Darci discovered that some students really struggled with completing all three (or they excelled at one, but really struggled with another). Simple solution: Student choice. The Last Letter seems like one of the easier options, but Darci warns students that it is a very emotionally draining process. The Time Capsule is a great option for seniors; they can share a bit of wisdom with the younger students. Many students gravitate towards the Bucket List activity. It seems simple, but coming with 101 meaningful activities is a bit daunting.
  • NOTE: Darci recommends planning 2 full days for the movie, a half day each for the notes and chat stations and then 1-2 days for the final project.


Photo by Jennifer Griffin on Unsplash

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