Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fifth Grade Anti-Bullying Activities

The fifth graders have been hard at work learning about bullying and what they can do to stop it. Each class council begins with a randomly selected fifth grader taking charge of the SmartBoard and leading a review of bullying concepts. Almost every student has their hand raised for every question! Many of the kids want to do extra activities to learn more about bullying and share what they have learned. After playing a game about bullying prevention during a lunch group, a couple of fifth graders came up with the idea of creating a bullying-themed Jeopardy game for class councils and offered to give up some recess time to help create it. Several other kids have been using their recess time to create a bulletin board that illustrates how bullying feels, the four types of bullying (verbal, physical, social, intimidation), how to tell if a situation is bullying (it's on purpose to hurt, happens over and over, and involves an imbalance of power), and what to do (tell an adult right away!) Here are close-ups of the bulletin board materials:

The Four Types of Bullying

You know it's bullying if . . .

it's on purpose to hurt

it happens over and over

and involves an imbalance of power

How bullying feels . . .

Responsible First Graders

The first graders completed the last page of their "My I-Care Rules" books with rule #5,
We Are Responsible for What We Say and Do. Here are some examples of how they take responsibility for their mistakes and for helping others:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Second Grade Uncomfortable Feelings

Last week I introduced uncomfortable feelings to second graders. They practiced making faces for feeling disappointed, frustrated, scared, upset, and worried. They came up with scenarios of when they might feel this way. Here are some of their drawings of uncomfortable feelings:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I like about DBS!

Being a new school counselor at DBS, I thought it would be a great idea to invite every second and fourth grader to a lunch group. This was a great way for me to learn names and connect with students on a more indvidual level. I asked each student what they like most about DBS. I loved hearing what they had to say!

Here are some of their responses:

I like gym, art, and library.

I like P.E (many students said this :-))
I like this school because it is really safe and someone's watching you all the time.

I like all the specials
(many students said this as well).
I get to play with m
y friends.
I like the dome and I have been playing on it since I was one.

I like to learn new things.

I like the food at school.

I like the teachers.

The teachers are nice.

It's fun and a lot of my friends are here.

Playing with meal worms.
I like this school because I get to meet new friends.

I like to work.

I really like the teachers in this school.

I really like learning.

I like reading.

I also asked the students "why I should be excited to be at DBS?" Here is what they had to say:

Because you get to see the kids be happy, and learn what we do.

Because you can make new friends.

To spend time with us!

I get to see all the kids.

Because you get to talk with us at lunch time.

Because there are lots of fun things to do!

Because you get to meet lots of teachers.

There are a lot of cool kids.

Because you get to know how the school works and get to know the principal.

Because you get to meet everyone and they get to tell you what they like to do.

Because you get to hang out with us and we all can be friendly.

Because you get to teach lessons.
Because you get to share new ideas with kids.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Caring About Each Others' Feelings

The first graders continued working on their "I-Care Rules" books last week. They thought of lots of ways that they could show that they care about each others' feelings. They recognized that "We care about each others' feelings" is one of our DBS expectations, as well as being one of I-Care Cat's rules. Here are some examples of how first graders show empathy:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friendship Wishes

One of the good things about having so few girls in fifth grade is that we can easily fit all 13 at once for girls' group time. Each of the girls anonymously shared a friendship wish for this year, and have been making "Our Friendship Wishes" posters for their classrooms and the counseling office.

Here are their wishes:
  • to be friends with some of the new kids
  • to make a lot of friends
  • to play with all of my friends this year
  • to have more friends
  • to make a new friend
  • to be with everyone in 5th grade
  • to meet a good friend
  • to make more friends than last year
  • to make lots of friends this year
  • to get my best friend back
  • that all my friends do not get bullied by other people
  • to get along with everyone
  • to make a ton of friends

I-Care Language

I-Care Language is language that shows that you care about others, such as "please," "thank you," "I like you," "You're a good friend," and Mrs. Lallier's all time favorite, "I'm sorry."

First graders worked on I-Care Cat's third rule, "We use I-Care Language," last week. Here are some of their ideas about how they can use I-Care Language. Dads will be glad to know that a lot of kids were thinking about them when they drew their pictures!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5th Grade Book Group

Fifth graders Emily and Jessica very kindly invited me to join their book group with Mrs. Vielleux to read Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. Mockingbird is beautifully and realistically told from the perspective of 11-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's syndrome. None of us were able to stick to the nightly page assignments; the book is so good that we all "illegally" read ahead!

We had great conversations about how it must feel to think and perceive the social world so differently than most of us do. The girls learned a lot about Asperger's and the challenges that kids with Asperger's face. They showed a lot of empathy for Caitlin and rooted for her as she learned how to make a friend, deal with bullying, and help herself and her father heal after a tragedy. They also had questions for me about how I work with kids with Asperger's and if I do some of the same things that Caitlin's school counselor, Mrs. Brooks, does. (The answer was yes!).

Mockingbird provided the girls great background for our 5th grade class council unit on bullying. This week we started talking about invisible differences (differences that are not readily obvious to peers) and Jessica and Emily were able to share a lot of information about how kids with Asperger's might be at risk of being targets for bullying. And guess what! Now other kids are interested in reading this wonderful book. We highly recommend it to parents too!