Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't Be Caught Being Angry, Be A Smart Fish

I did not write this metaphorical story,The Story of the Smart Fish, but I do like to use it with my anger management group.  I found it at Counselor's Room. Basically the story goes like this...A fisherman fishes in the same spot everyday. The fish figure out the bait is not really a dinner, but brings danger.  They decide to become "Smart Fish" and not take the bait, day after day, no matter how much bait the fisherman uses.  Eventually the fisherman gets tired of not catching anything and moves on to a new fishing hole.

Students really understand this metaphor when compared to others who are "fishing" for a reaction.  After I read the story to the students, we go back through the story and compare it to what others do to make you angry.  The "bait" they use is mean words. And even if you ignore those mean words the first time, the people will come back and add more "bait".  It may take several times of ignoring the "bait" before the people move on to a new fishing hole.

I use a Smart Board to illustrate The Story of the Smart Fish and ways to ignore the bait and avoid the danger of getting angry.  1) Become a brick wall, students can push you, but if you act like a brick wall, and do not budge, they will not get what they want.  2) Remember that it takes two to play, if you don't join in, they will move on. 3)  Remember the truth, good feelings will protect you.

To culminate our group lesson, we made "Smart Fish" from old computer CD's.  (Our computer teacher had a stack of CD's of an older program that she was no longer using. So she upcycled them to me so I can use them for instances such as this.)  I printed the strategies to ignore on a CD label and glued them on to the CD.  Students then decorated their Smart Fish with fins, sequins, and markers


  1. I stumbled onto your blog through pinterest. I am now your newest follower. I am LOVING all your ideas on here. I have a very challenging class this year and I am struggling with 'where to next' as I try to teach my students how to deal/cope with all the 'challenges' in our class. Going to try out some of your fantastic ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Is there a way to get a copy of the story? I clicked on the link and it isn't working for me (it could be me, but my tech guy said he unblocked me...). I would love to do this with my class.