Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Feelings, Coping, and Kindergarten


We are just finishing up a two part lesson about feelings and strategies to deal with tough feelings at school.  In kindergarten we read the book, Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban.  Mouse tries several strategies to get out his mad feelings.  He does not have a lot of success until he makes himself stand very still and focuses on taking some nice, deep breaths.  



In our second feelings class, I set up four centers in the room for students to try out four different coping strategies.  Students were asked to try each strategy as modeled for them and access whether the strategy would work for them if they were having a difficult feeling or tough day.  Students were asked to report back to their parents and share the strategies that they felt would work best for them.



Problem Solving Using KC's Choices

Currently in guidance we are focused on problem solving and conflict resolution.  I have been making use of some resources from the program Kelso's Choice, which is a conflict management program for students in grades K-5.  We have been differentiating between small and big problems, and empowering students to make thoughtful choices to solve their own small problems.  Students will continue to hear that message that it is always okay to go to adults for support, especially when a student feels unsafe or the problem is ongoing.   You may want to encourage your child to use these strategies at home, as well!

Excerpt from the Kelso's Choice Program:


There are eight choices to solve “minor problems.”  There are “verbal choices” and “nonverbal choices” to solve “minor problems”:

verbal choices:

  • Make a Deal
  • Tell them to stop
  • Apologize
  • Talk it out

nonverbal choices:

  • Wait and cool off
  • Walk away
  • Go to another game
  • Ignore it

Buddy Bench Problems Solved!

During a 2nd grade guidance class, while we were discussing and evaluating how the buddy bench was working, a second grade student suggested that we make a new buddy bench video.  Aidan suggested that we make a video that clearly showed the problems and misuses of the buddy bench that we had identified in class.  His class and I thought that this was a fantastic idea!  

We showed this video to all Pond Cove classes.  After each skit we stopped the movie and discussed how the problem could be solved.  I am happy to say that this work has greatly improved the effectiveness of our bench!
Thanks to Mrs. Harrington's class for making this move with me!  

Problem Solving with Kelso


Recently guidance classes have been focused on problem solving and conflict resolution.  I have been making use of some resources from the program Kelso's Choice, which is a conflict management program for students in grades K-5.  We have been differentiating between small and big problems, and empowering students to make thoughtful choices to solve their own small problems.  Students will continue to hear the message that it is always okay to go to adults for support, especially when a student feels unsafe or the problem is ongoing.   You may want to encourage your child to use these strategies at home, as well!

Excerpt from the Kelso's Choice Program:

Kelso has nine choices to solve “small problems.” These are illustrated in the Kelso’s Choice Wheel. They include:
  • Go to another game
  • Talk it out
  • Share and take turns
  • Ignore it
  • Walk away
  • Tell them to stop
  • Apologize
  • Make a deal
  • Wait and cool off
When a child comes to you to solve their “small problem,” tell them to try one to two of Kelso’s Choices first. If that doesn’t work, then an adult can intervene. Make sure your kids know to ask an adult for help in the event of a “BIG problem.” 



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reflecting, Evaluating, and Improving Our Buddy Bench Work

Because of it's connection to our Buddy Bench work, I have been sharing the book, The Invisible Boy, with all Pond Cove students.  Each grade level has had a slightly different discussion and has had different follow up activities to help us improve inclusion and connectedness at Pond Cove.  Some 2nd grade classes have used guidance time to discuss how they think the Buddy Bench is working thus far at Pond Cove School.  I asked students to identify what is working well, any problems they have seen, and ideas for how to improve the effectiveness of the bench.  Students had some great feedback and ideas for how to strengthen this important work.  Stay tuned for more!


A group of Mrs. Harrington's students takes notes from their group's Buddy Bench discussion.  

Teaming Up To Help Kids Feel Connected


After reading the book, The Invisible Boy, Pond Cove 3rd graders put their heads together in small groups to identify Pond Cove School's "invisible spots", places where Pond Cove kids may be feeling disconnected or left out.  Students then came together to come up with solutions.  We will continue to work together to help all of our students feel connected and cared about by their peers.

Mrs. Merriam's class shows what good teamwork looks like! 

Cotton Ball Words in Kindergarten



In this last round of kindergarten guidance classes we used a box filled with cotton balls and a box filled with sandpaper to talk about the power of our words.  We can choose to use words that are soft and friendly or we can choose words that are hard and rough.  Everyone agreed that we should be trying to use cotton ball words whenever possible at school.

We then handed out puppets and partnered up to practice our best cotton ball words.  Students had their puppets greeting each other warmly, giving compliments, and inviting each other to play.

We ended our class with the book, Words Are Not For Hurting.  Students proved their knowledge of cotton ball and sandpaper words by pointing out which was which as we read.  We also talked about how the characters may have been feeling and how we want our friends at school to feel.

Encourage your student to practice their cotton ball words at home too!