This school year has had some very definite ups and downs. We have had some moments of devastating sadness, immense pride, overwhelming joy and lots of other feelings in between. It has been a year of learning in all shapes and forms! Despite the challenges, there is still no place I would have rather spent the last 9 months and no other people I would have rather spent that time with. Here's to a restful summer and a fresh new start in the fall. :)
Because of other lessons that were added this year district-wide, I had to give up some lessons that I have done in the past that I really love. One of the lessons that didn't make the cut is the feelings volcano in 2nd grade. Just thinking about my kids not getting that lesson made me so sad!! I talked to the teachers and they graciously let me squeeze the lesson into their busy schedules this week :)
We talked about things that cause tough feelings--moving, family changes, loss of a pet, etc. We discussed coping strategies to deal with those feelings such as deep breathing, positive thoughts, talking to adults we trust, petting an animal, punching a pillow, etc. But what happens if we DON'T let those feelings out? They can make our bodies feel sick--stomach aches, headaches, crabby mood, tight chest. Eventually those feelings will come out! Like our volcano, we may EXPLODE! Then I use my volcano (with some diet Coke and MENTOS) to show what that might look like :)
4th grade is doing career path stations! I LOVE this lesson and my awesome fourth grade teachers for being flexible with their time to make this happen :)
We do a one-hour lesson. I set up a station to represent each of the four career paths. I put students in small groups and they spend just over 5 minutes at each station exploring some activities that represent each of the career paths. At the end of the lesson we talk about what paths/ jobs the activities might represent, what they enjoyed most and why, and how they can connect what they did to jobs they might want to explore.
Business- sorting and counting "money," alphabetizing words, correcting mistakes in a paragraph
Health- assessing a patient's leg injury and bandaging the wound (my giant bear's silly putty accident ;) ), using a pulse oximeter to measure their pulse when resting and after running in place
Helping- giving advice for tricky situations, solving riddles, and filling someone's pizza order
Nature- assembling a dinosaur skeleton, doing animal research, and completing a science experiment about refraction
Fixing, Building, and Technology- building a unique structure out of LEGOs
Creative- three objects were presented: a fake apple, a plastic snake, and wind up chattering teeth with eyeballs. students could draw a picture, create a comic strip, or write a short story involving one or more of the presented objects
Transition and Change. All grade levels spent time reviewing or talking about life changes and changes that might be coming up for all of them in the next few months. All of us have a change in common: going on to the next grade!! We talked about how all feelings are okay and discussed coping strategies for dealing with the big feelings that sometimes come with change. Below are the grade-level specific things we did in addition to this conversation...
K- Read The Night Before First Grade.
*The lesson before they finished up talking about careers by reading Busy People and discussing the tools used by people in different jobs.
1- Read The Koala Who Could. I also did a magic trick to show how important it is to use coping strategies to deal with big feelings in a positive way.
2- Read Don't be Afraid to Drop
3- Read Little Tree
4- Talked about changes coming, concerns they might have and how to handle those concerns.
5- Reviewed ALL the things we have learned in counselor class in the past 6 years that will prepare us for the future, practiced opening combination locks, and discussed feelings about middle school.
K- Growth Mindset. Talked about how if we say "I can't" and give up, we miss out on learning. Instead, we need to add the magic word: YET! We can say, "I can't do it YET" and keep trying and we can do all kinds of things!!! Read The Little Engine that Could and talked about how it was hard and took a lot of time, but the didn't give up and they made it over the mountain!
Started talking about careers. Discussed why work is important and why people have job. Read Berenstain Bears on the Job and discussed the jobs in the books. What do we like/dislike doing at home and at school? How could that information help us choose a job we would like?
1- Careers- Learned and talked about the 6 career paths. We read LMNO Peas and talked about what career paths the different jobs would in.
2- Careers- We reviewed the 6 career paths and how interests help people choose jobs. Spent a few minutes talking about the activities they did on the STEAM bus. Read When Poppy and Max Grow Up and talked about the jobs-which path they go in, what they need to be interested in or good at. Finished up with a career guessing game- I say the path, skills, and responsibilities of a job they try to guess what it is.
3- Careers- I handed back the Multiple Intelligence surveys they took earlier this year. We watched a video created by DESE and some talented people in Missouri, called: What is a Career Path? We discussed how the areas of intelligence (on their surveys) connect to the career paths and could help them choose a job someday. I assured them that they can change their minds anytime! I just want them to know what tools are out there to help them figure out their interests as they related to work in the future :)
4- No lesson during this time because of MAP testing. We'll make it up in May :)
5- Careers- most students hadn't finished their career research so we continued to use our resources to learn about different jobs. A few kiddos who had finished their original research were given the task to find the most unusual job they could--one that no one had ever heard of before! In classes where we had time, students shared some of their research.
K- Learner skills! We've been working really hard on our skills for being awesome in first grade! We continued to talk about how and why to be a great listener. The first lesson we read Lacy Walker, Nonstop Talker and talked about the consequences for us and those around us when we interrupt instead of raising our hand and waiting to be called on. We also talked about what a question is and how to ask questions.
The second lesson was about listening and following directions. We talked about the consequences of not following directions and how we have to LISTEN to know what the directions are! We read Listen, Buddy! and did some activities to practice listening and following directions quickly :)
1- Careers- We discussed why jobs are important. We brainstormed some of our strengths and interests. We discussed how our strengths and interests help us choose what job we might like to do. Read People in your Neighborhood and for each job in the book we discussed their possible strengths and interests and if they might like doing that job.
2- Careers- Why are jobs important for individuals and for society? They practiced their cooperation skills by working with a partner to write information about an assigned community job. For each job they wrote: the career path, why it is important, the school subjects related to that job, and other skills someone would need to do that job.
3- Careers- We talked about careers and the roles and responsibilities of different jobs. Each student go a card with a career on it. After brainstorming about their career students came up two at a time to tell the roles and responsibilities of their jobs and then the class compared and contrasted the jobs.
4- Careers- Students took a survey about things they would want to do or not want to do in a job. We talked about the 6 career paths and how using your interests to connect you with a path can help you explore jobs you might be interested in someday. We connected their likes and dislikes from the interest survey to the different career paths.
5- Careers- We used the same website as last lesson, Missouri Connections, to take a career interest inventory. The results helped us research a job that we could be interested in. We learned about using MO Connections to find out about jobs and about some book resources that are available as well.
K- Learner Skills. We started talking about the increased expectations in 1st grade. We talked about how to use our whole body to learn: quiet legs & feet, quiet arms & hands, ears listening, eyes on speaker, mouth quiet, raise hand and wait to be called on. We read Howard B Wigglebottom Learns to Listen and talked about the problems Howard had when he was not listening. Then we talked about the positive consequences he received when he DID listen! :)
1st- Learner Skills. We talked about how to use our whole body to learn: quiet legs & feet, quiet arms & hands, ears listening, eyes on speaker, mouth quiet, raise hand and wait to be called on. We read I Just Want to Do it MY Way! and talked about the importance of staying on task, following directions, and asking for help when we need it.
2nd- Careers. We talked about how they are all on a journey from birth to a career! We brainstormed things they have learned so far in their lives and how those activities connect to the 6 career paths. Then they took a career interest inventory that I will be using to put them into groups for a fun activity in a few weeks! :)
3rd- Test Taking. We talked about strategies for dealing with stressful or anxiety-producing school activities such as taking a big test. (We also reminded ourselves that tests are just FEEDBACK! We should take them seriously and do our best, but we don't need to worry too much!) We read Tyler Tames the Testing Tiger and learned to: develop a relaxing routine, talk and think positively, don't get stuck, practice to make progress, and prepare our bodies physically (sleep and healthy food).
4th- Time Management. We talked about how to schedule our time to make sure we get everything done that we need to. We listed activities we might do each week, put them into categories (scheduled things we have to do, unscheduled things we have to do, and things we want to do), and then put them onto our calendars. We also talked about breaking tasks down into pieces and starting early to make sure we get everything done that we need to ON TIME! :)
5th- Careers. We started using MO Connections to do some research that will help us with future career plans. The first activity was a "Reality Check" that let kids choose what kinds of things they might want when they grow up and will have to pay for. The website figured for them how much money they will need to make each month and their total annual salary. This gives us a starting place for what kind of job they will need to support their anticipated standard of living. If the job they want doesn't support their cost of living, will they find a different job? Change what they expect?
Child Safety and Abuse Prevention!
Over the last 4 weeks, all my classes (with the exception of a couple KD classes that will get caught up this week) have had two lessons intended to help them handle safety issues.
The first lesson covers safe, unsafe, and unwanted touches. Students have the right to assertively refuse all unsafe and unwanted touches. We talked through different age-appropriate scenarios and practiced our assertive refusal skills. We also talked about our ability to report if someone hurts us or makes us feel uncomfortable.
The second lessons reviews the first week and then adds another safety rule: that no one should look at or touch the private parts of your body except to keep you healthy. We talked about adults who can help us if something like this ever happens to us. A letter should have come home with your child after the second lesson. The letter outlines our lesson and gives an access code to the online materials so you can see the lesson yourself! I can't post the codes online because they were purchased by our district just for our use and my website is public. If you are a current Fairview parent and didn't get your letter or lost your code, email me and I can send it to you! :)
5th- The importance of an educational plan. We talked about what happens when you don't plan- you don't end up where you want to. We talked about ways to plan in middle school and high school. **Due to crazy weather days, not every class got this lesson. Some will make it up later in the year!
4th- Goal Setting. Continued working on our goals from last lesson. Finished up our steps for setting goals and practiced writing a specific, measurable educational goal with an action plan, timeline and plan for self-assessment.
3rd- Multiple Intelligences. Used our survey results from last time to talk about areas of strength and areas of personal growth. We discussed how we can use what we know about ourselves to figure out ways to grow and stretch our brains and learn more!
2nd- Listening. Talked about the steps for being a whole body listener and sang our listening song. We also discussed following directions. Read The Worst Day of My Life EVER! Did a smartboard activity to practiced listening and following directions.
1st- Problem Solving. We reviewed our STAR cheer, S, and T, then we learned A-Act. This means after we think about our choices, we act on one that will make the problem smaller/better, not bigger/worse. Then we learned R- REVIEW. If our first choice doesn't solve the problem we can try another positive choice. We read What Should Danny Do? a fun, choose-your-own-adventure book that let the kiddos make good and bad choices for the main character to see what would happen.
-We reviewed our basic feelings and how to identify them. Then we talked about anger. We met Cloud who keeps his feelings in his tummy and practiced some different strategies to use when WE are angry (different ways to breathe, thinking positive thoughts, taking a break). We read Cloud's Best Worst Day Ever.
-We talked about how some people associate feelings with colors. We used The Magic Coloring Book of Feelings to identify how other people were feeling and why. We read The Color Monster then students threw their feelings into our coloring book to color the pages!! It was magical :) Once we gave their feelings back, we let them actually color a person to represent their feelings.
5th- Organization. We talked about different tips to organize our work, agendas, lockers (next year), desks, work space, etc. We discussed the benefits of being organized and the consequences of NOT being organized!
4th- Goal Setting. We started talking about the steps to setting goals. The main focus for goal setting in fourth is setting educational goals and being able to self-assess. To be able to self-assess, our goals had to be specific and measurable! We spent most of today figuring out what specific and measurable goals sound like--not as easy as it sounds! :)
3rd- Multiple Intelligences. We talked about how they are ALL smart kids!!! There are different kinds of "smart" and they all have different strengths and areas for personal growth. We took a survey to see in which areas we might be strongest or most interested.
2nd- Growth Mindset. We continued talking about making mistakes and trying new things. We read When Sophie Thinks She Can't... and discussed the magic word: YET! We filled out a paper that helped us identify some strengths, areas for personal growth, and things we could do to persevere when tasks are tough!
1st- Problem Solving- We started learning how to be STAR problem solvers! We started by learning a STAR cheer. Then we discussed the first step:S- STOP. We talked about strategies for calming down and deciding if our problem is kid sized or adult sized (tattling vs reporting song). We used A Kid's Guide to Staying Awesome and in Control to learn some calming strategies. Then we started on step 2:T-THINK what are my choices? We practiced with a few situations.
K- Feelings. We are working on identifying feelings in ourselves and others. We read Happy Sad Grouchy Glad. We identified how the characters in the book were feeling and talked about what we could do if we or someone else had that feeling.