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Monthly Classroom Guidance Lessons

This year Mrs. Bishop is working with all of the classes during the week they have Media as their resource. Mrs. Bishop will 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.

September: 

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.

October:

This month our kindergarten students learned how to apologize to others. Students learned the “Ice Cream Cone Apology”. Starting with the bottom of the ice cream cone, students learn to first say “I’m sorry…”. Then we talked about adding the scoop of ice cream to our cone, which is when we say…”for” (and say what we did that we are apologizing for. Finally, the most important part of the ice cream come apology is the sprinkles, which is when we say “Will you forgive me?”. Students role played different scenarios and practiced using the ice cream cone apology.

Our first grade students were introduced to Bug Feelings. Bug feelings are those feelings that we don’t like to have and want to get rid of (anger, sad, lonely, confused, embarrassed, etc.)  Children often display undesirable behaviors (fighting, tantrums, disrespect, etc.) simply because they do not have the feelings vocabulary to properly express what they are feeling. We will be focusing all year on how to get rid of bug feelings (or de-bug). During this lesson, we talked about the rules for letting out our bug feelings. 1. I may not hurt myself. 2. I may not hurt property. 3. I may not hurt others. One of the main ways that people hurt themselves is by holding in their feelings. These feelings then come out in physical ways such as queasy stomachs, headaches, etc. Many people think that it is OK to slam a door or throw something that breaks. While this may make you feel better momentarily, there are always consequences for our actions. Not only are you still mad or sad, but you have broken property. Finally, we discussed the two ways we hurt others: with our bodies as well as with our words. Neither are OK ways to deal with bug feelings. Students also learned the first strategy for “de-bugging”-bubble breathing (or deep breathing). Students learned how to slowly breathe in through their nose and then blow out, like they are blowing a bubble, through their mouth. This is something that can help us calm down, no matter our age!

Our second graders will be focusing on friendship skills this year. This month we compared the properties of a magnet to our personal behavior. A magnet can either attract other magnets to it, or it can repel other magnets to it. People are the same way. The things that we do either attract others to want to be around us, or they can push people away and make them not want to be around us. Therefore, it is very important to think about a behavior or action before doing it. In class, we made a list of attractor behaviors and repellor behaviors and then played Attractor and Repellor Tic-Tac-Toe.

Our third graders learned about the different types of conflict. We talked about the differences between a disagreement, a rude moment, a mean moment and bullying. These are all often confused and all mistaken for bullying, so it is important to learn the difference between each type. We learned that a disagreement is when people have different ideas about something and usually no one’s feelings are hurt. A rude moment is hurting someone’s body or feelings on accident. A mean moment is hurting someone’s body or feelings on purpose and it happens just one time or every once in awhile. Bullying is hurting someone’s body or feelings on purpose, more than once and the person doing it has more power (older or bigger, more than one person or someone you are afraid of). Students worked in groups to examine situations and decide which type of conflict each was.

Our fourth and fifth graders, completed a Classroom Guidance Needs Assessment at the beginning of the year and both grades showed that they wanted help with dealing with worrying and anxiety.   We talked about what worry is, how our bodies feel when we are worried. We also learned that everyone feels worried sometimes and that there are things that we can do to help when we have a lot of anxiety. We talked about many different strategies that may be helpful when we are feeling worried. Students were given a handout with ways to calm their worries to keep with them so they could reference the strategies we discussed.

November/December: 

Our kindergarten lesson this month focused on sharing and taking turns and why both are so important.

This month in first grade, we continued to learn strategies for “de-bugging”. Students were taught their second strategy and one of the most important ones-the “I-Message”. Students learned how they can express their feelings and let others know how they are feeling my using their words. Students practiced using the I-Message- “I feel ____ because _____. Please _____.” This is such an important tool for students to learn, as it is something that will be useful to them the rest of their lives.

In second grade this month, students learned about the Power of Our Words and how words can hurt. We read the book Chrysanthemum, and we talked about hurtful words can leave wrinkles on people’s hearts. We also talked about how we can help to fix others hearts. We concluded by talking about the importance of thinking before we speak and really thinking about how our words might make others feel.

Our third grade students learned how to deal with teases and put downs. We read the book Simon’s Hook. In the book, getting hooked meant you responded to the hook (or tease) or let it get to you. Simon learned 5 strategies that helped him not get hooked and be a free fish. We talked about the five strategies presented in the book: 1. Do little or nothing (don’t react). 2. Agree with the hook. 3. Laugh or make a joke about the hook. 4. Distract or change the subject. 5. Stay away. Students got to fish for teases and practice using the five strategies.

Our fourth and fifth graders both requested that we talk about feelings and emotions. We learned about our brains and how our brain plays an important part in our thoughts and our feelings. Students learned about 3 parts of our brain-the prefrontal cortex (aka the Wise Owl), the memory saver (aka the Hippcampus) and the amygdala (aka the Guard Dog). Students learned that when their guard dog is in control and they are not in trouble, sometimes they may flip their lid. We talked about how the guard dog tells our brain to fight, flight or freeze. Students learned that when their guard dog takes over and they are not in trouble, we need to work to get our Wise Owl back in control. We will expand more on ways they can do this in our next lesson.

January/February

Our kindergarten students learned about self-control. This was a fun lesson! Students were given a marshmallow and told they could go ahead and eat it or they could wait until we finished watching a video and if they waited, then they could have a second marshmallow. We watched a video about Cookie Monster learning about self-control and the word “resist”. We talked about the steps we need to talk to show self-control-first, stopping ourselves; then, thinking about our choices and finally making a good choice. We concluded by talking about how we can show self-control at school.

In first grade, we added a new strategy to our list of ways we can “de-bug”. This month we focused on changing the channel in our brains. We talked about how we are the boss of our brain and when we have bug feelings, we can choose to change the channel in our brain to something else. We discussed 3 different channels-the memory channel (thinking of a fun time, a happy memory from the past, etc), the imagination channel (imagining yourself doing something that would make us happy or imagining ourselves doing something we have never done before like swimming with dolphins or meeting someone famous, etc), and the thankful channel (thinking of things we are thankful for).

Our second graders continued to talk about friendship. This month we talked about the importance of not judging others on their outward appearance.

In third grade we talked about the importance of being an upstander. Students learned the terms “bystander” (someone who stands by and watches bullying happen) and “upstander” (someone who stands up for someone who is being bullied). We talked about 4 ways they can be an upstander-be a buddy, interrupt, speak out and tell someone.

In fourth and fifth grade, we continued to talk about our brain and flipping our lids. This month we talked about the Power of Four. Students came up with 4 strategies in each category that they felt would help them calm down their guard dog and get their wise owl back in control. The four categories we discussed were: calming strategies, physical strategies, creative strategies and people who will help.

March/April/May

Our kindergarten lessons these months focused on being proud of who we are and appreciating our differences. We read A Bad Case of the Stripes and then students drew what made them special or unique. We also talked about the importance of being a good listener and learned how to be a good listener. We played a fun game and one student in each class was recognized as being the #1 Listener!

In first grade, we continued to talk about strategies to handle our bug feelings. We discussed two new strategies during these months. Students learned that moving their body is a great way to get rid of bug feelings. We brainstormed all the different ways we can move our body and students even got to learn and practice some yoga poses. The next lesson focused on another way to get rid of bug feelings-by creating! We talked about all the different ways we can create-by cooking, building, playing with Legos, drawing, coloring, painting, writing, using playdough, etc. But, we also learned that you don’t necessarily need lots of “things” to create.  Students learned how to create with just a piece of paper and a pencil-they learned how to tear paper creatively, how to squiggle and make something out of nothing. Students have now learned 5 great strategies to help them cope with bug feelings. This will help them handle those hard emotions throughout their lives!

Our second graders continued our focus on friendship. We learned what a social filter is and how it is important to think before we let words come out of our mouths. We talked about how an air filter catches all the bad things, like dirt and dust. Our social filter is the same in that it catches all of our bad thoughts and words before they come out of our mouths. We learned that some things should stay in our thinking bubble and not come into our talking bubble. During our next lesson, students learned what empathy means. We talked about the importance of including others and always trying to think about how others might feel and notice if we are ever leaving anyone out.

Our third graders students learned about what I believe is one of the most important topics I will ever teach them-empathy. Students learned that empathy means you are able to understand how someone else is feeling. We practiced by role playing how they could show empathy in different situations. In our final lesson of the year, we talked about teasing. We talked about how sometimes teasing is fun, but sometimes we can take teasing too far and it can become hurtful. We talked about how to know the difference and what to do when you have taken the teasing too far.

One of the things that our fourth graders said they wanted to talk about this year on their needs assessment was teamwork and cooperation. We talked about what teamwork looks like and then I put them in teams and gave them a fun cup challenge to complete together. Students had to work together and communicate to complete the challenge-some groups did great and others struggled. Afterwards, we came back together and talked about why teamwork was so important for this activity and also how working with others is something they will need to do the rest of their lives. During our next lesson in fourth grade, we talked about self-esteem and positive affirmations. We discussed why it is important to have good self-esteem and think good thoughts about ourselves. Students learned what positive affirmations were and then they wrote 5 positive affirmations on notecards to take home so that they could read them out loud to themselves over and over. Students learned that when you say something over and over, you start to believe it is true, and what you believe creates what you do and what happens to you.

Our fifth graders also said on their needs assessment that they would like to learn more about self-esteem as well, so we talked about self esteem and positive affirmations just like our fourth grade did. We ended our year and my final lesson with our fifth graders before they go off to middle school by talking about peer pressure. We talked about what peer pressure is, learned about different techniques that people will use to pressure them and then learned eight ways to resist peer pressure. We ended by role playing some different situations and students had fun acting these out. I hope our students can recall this lesson and the things we discussed when they are in a situation where someone is pressuring them to do something that they shouldn’t do.