Each month Mrs. Bishop will go into the classrooms and work with students on various topics such as character education, friendship skills, feelings, etc. Check back each month to see what we are focusing on and how you can help reinforce these things at home.
My first lesson with all of the classes at Picolata was an Introduction to the School Counselor. Students learned what school counselors do. We talked about the things that school counselors can help them with such as problems they have at school or at home, helping with feelings or friendships, etc. We also talked about how school counselors may work with them one on one and how what we talk about stays between us, unless someone is in danger. Students learned about other things school counselors do such as working with students in a small group and coming into the classroom for a guidance lesson. Students in second, third, fourth and fifth grade completed a needs assessment to help me better understand their needs. This will help me as I plan classroom lessons and small groups for the upcoming year and also help me to get to know each student better.
During the month of October, our kindergartners learned about personal space. We read the book, Hands Off Harry by Rosemary Wells. Students participated in several activities to explore the concept of personal space. We used a hula hoop to demonstrate the amount of personal space that we all need at school. We also talked about keeping our hands to ourselves and respecting each other’s personal space.
Our first grade students learned about self-control. We started the lesson by allowing students to pop bubbles that were blown their way. Then bubbles were blown and students were told not to pop the bubbles-no matter what, even if they landed on their nose! We talked about how that feeling of really wanting to do something and not doing it is called self-control. Students were then given a marshmallow and told they could eat it right away or they could save it until we finished watching a video and then they would receive a second marshmallow. Most students decided to practice using self-control and waited to eat their marshmallow so they could have a second one. While they waited, students watched a video about Cookie Monster learning about the vocabulary word “resist”. The word resist means to control yourself from doing something you really want to do. Students shared how they were able to resist eating the first marshmallow they were given and how the resisted popping the bubbles. We learned that there are three steps to using self-control: 1) Stopping 2) Thinking 3) Making a choice. We then talked about ways they could show self-control at school.
Some of our second grade classes read the book Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. This book is about a boy who has an enemy. He tells his dad about him and Dad suggests they bake an Enemy Pie, which will help him get rid of his enemies. While his dad is baking it, he tells him the only way it will work is if he spends the whole day with his enemy. After spending the day with his enemy, he realizes they actually have fun together! We talked about how sometimes even our enemies can become our friends if we give them a chance and we get to know them.
After reviewing the data collected from our students, I found that the thing students in third and fourth grade struggled with the most was worry. This month, with all of our third and fourth grade classes, worries and how to get rid of worries. We began by talking about how our bodies feel when we are worried. Then we read the book Wilma Jean the Worry Queen by Julia Cook. This book is about a little girl named Wilma who worries about everything! Wilma learns that there are worries she can control and worries she cannot control. We discussed how we can control our worries. For example, if we are worried about a test, we can control it by studying and paying attention in class. There are some worries that we cannot control, so we discussed other strategies we can use to help get rid of our worries. Each student was given a sheet to keep with a list of strategies they could use. We practiced some of these strategies together such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and thinking happy thoughts. There were many other strategies listed such as drawing, writing, getting active, talking to someone and making sure they got enough rest. Students were encouraged to keep this handout so they could refer back to it whenever they felt worried about something.
According to the needs assessment students completed, our fifth graders struggle the most with stress and worry came in a close second. During my lesson with our fifth grade students we talked about what triggers stress, how it affects our bodies and how not all stress can be bad. Students watched a video that taught them more about stress. Then we discussed strategies we can use to help us de-stress. We practiced deep-breathing, muscle relaxation and thinking happy thoughts. We also learned about mindfulness and watched a video about this. Students were given a handout to keep with a list of strategies they can use when they are feeling stressed. Some of the other strategies we discussed were talking to someone, getting active, using a stress ball, drawing, writing, getting good rest, staying active and being around people who make you smile and laugh.