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.