Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reading About Fairness - The Sneetches

This month in guidance, our theme throughout the school is fairness. One book that I like to read to the students is The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. I am using this book in my lesson in 5th grade this month.

If you haven't read The Sneetches, I recommend that you go out and get it! The Sneetches are creatures who are divided - some have stars on their bellies, and some do not. The Sneetches who do not get treated differently because they do not have a star. The Sneetches and other stories that are in the book focus on how senseless and unfair prejudice can be. The Sneetches figure out that it's what's on the inside, not what's on the outside that counts!
To guide our group discussion after the book, I am

using a lesson plan from the book What's The Issue? This book is meant to be used as a guide for a small group/book club, which I am interested in starting as well, but for now I have been using it to integrate books and discussion into my guidance lessons. In our discussion we will focus on celebrating differences in individuals, identifying stereotyping in the story, discuss different ways prejudiced people treat others, and understand what respect for all people means.

Here are some other activities that you can use with this book. They come from Seussville.com!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Angry Arlene, The Grumpy Red Jellybean

Well now that we have been in school for about a week now, it is time to get some new groups started up! One group that I am starting for some of my Prep and Kindergarten students is an Anger Management group.

We are using this great curriculum that I picked up at the ISCA State Conference this year, it is called Jellybean Jamboree! I knew this curriculum would be fun when I saw that each unit features a different jellybean. The anger management unit jellybean is called Angry Arlene, The Grumpy Red Jellybean! I have made a Angry Arlene puppet out of cone of the puppet templates for the unit. I am thinking about letting the students make Angry Arlene puppets as well to take home.

The first group lesson is about finding a quiet place to calm down. Our Prep teacher has a teepee in her room, so we may even take a "field trip" to her room to practice calming down in the teepee! After practicing going to a quiet place to calm down, we will come back to the guidance to work on the worksheets included in the curriculum. One is a connect-the-dot of Angry Arlene, and in another they will draw a picture of their quiet place. The curriculum is for PreK-2, and it is right on their level. I love how there is an emphasis on colors, letters, and rhyming.

I am keeping this group very small, right now I have three boys in the group but could open it to four. Because of the anger issues and social development of the students I have chosen, I want to keep this group as small as possible. I feel confident thought that I have picked a great group of boys, and I am looking forward to starting our group!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hallway Expectation Follow Up

Our Hallway Expectation assemblies yesterday to kick-off the new year with good hallway behavior were a success! The students were so well behaved in our hallways today. Some of the students have needed to be re-taught the skill already, but the staff members have been vigilant about re-teaching the skill. Way to go!

Today I made a movie with our flip camera showing some of our 3rd grade students exhibiting the Pillar Pride hallway behavior. If you have not used a flip camera in your guidance program yet - you should! They are so simple to use, and the students love seeing themselves on t.v. as "moviestars"!

In our video, the 3rd grade students are describing how they show each of the Character Counts! pillars as they walk through the hallway. They then demonstrate walking through the hallway using the Pillar Pride expectations. They did great! I sent the video to all of our teachers so they can show it on their smartboards tomorrow morning and review. I am also uploading it to my counseling website and sending the link in an email to parents so they can see the hard work we are doing, and reinforce at home too!

Do any of you use a flip camera in your guidance programs? How do you use it? I would love to get some new ideas!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pillar Pride in the Hallway!

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a refreshing holiday break and that you are re-energized and ready to be back at school! Today is our first day back from Christmas break. To start off our new year on the right foot, we are beginning the year by reviewing hallway expectations. We want to be T.R.R.F.C.C. in the hallway!!

To teach the behavior that we want our students to exhibit in the hallway, we held a series of "mini" assemblies throughout the day to teach and model the hallway behavior we want to see. We held assemblies throughout the day for two classes at a time, and we held the assemblies in the area that we want the behaviors practiced - in the hallway. The principal, family-school coordinator, secretary, and one of our Character Counts Superheroes acted out the assembly. The message we got across was simple - that we expect to see good behavior in the hallway! The script was fun, we got to model the bad behavior and then our superhero saved the day and modeled for the students good hallway behavior!!

We also have made posters to place in our hallways to remind students of their hallway behavior. The posters are a visual reminder of what the hallway expectations are. We also introduced a school wide expectation for the noise level in our building. These posters will be placed in all of the classrooms as a reminder about the noise level expectations in our building.

These mini assemblies were an opportunity to teach this skill to all the students in our elementary buildings. Now that we have taught the skill, when a staff member sees a student NOT following the expectations, we will RE-TEACH the expectation and not scold or punish them for not following the expectation. In order for this to work, the entire staff needs to be on board with this.

When a staff member re-teaches the skill, it should take no more than 1 minute. The staff member will take the child to the poster in the hallway . . . ask them which one of the expectations the aren't following, and then practice it. Just as the intial teaching of this skill occured in the hallway, the re-teaching should occur in the setting that the behavior needs to occur.

After our assemblies today, our hallway behavior was much better! I am sure we will need to continue to reinforce and revisit this skill throughout the year, but so far we are off to a great start!! Happy 2011 everyone!