Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lessons Lately, Part Two!

As a follow-up to our Career Fair and National Career Development month, we did a Snowmen at Work lesson in classroom guidance. We incorporated technology with our read aloud through iBooks, mirrored onto the Apple TV. The students LOVED seeing the illustrations magnified! On each page, we talked about each job that is portrayed. Snowmen at Work features a vast array of occupations, all demonstrated by snowmen: snow removal crews, dentist, mechanic, grocer, pet store owner, baker, teacher, magician, firefighter, librarian, pizza delivery, factory worker, big rig driver, and president of the United States.

We discussed all aspects of each career mentioned in the story, and students were asked to identify other careers that may be involved, but were not directly mentioned. They did a GREAT job of filling in the blanks and being creative in their thinking! After we concluded the story, students were asked to think and share what career they may like to have when they get older before completing artwork or writing. The students loved creating these projects and sharing them with the class. Each class did a fantastic job of thinking what each community helper would wear, and the tools used to get the job done! We also discussed what we need to do RIGHT NOW in order to achieve our career of choice.

Lessons Lately

It is no secret that I LOVE the story Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon. Molly Lou Melon, the main character, is the shortest girl in the first grade.  She has buckteeth and several other traits that make her very unique.  Her grandma told her, “Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you". Taking her grandmother’s advice, Molly Lou doesn't worry about being different at her new school.  She deals with the school bully by showing him that her faults are actually talents.

In classroom guidance, we recently read this book in an effort to promote kindness throughout our school and identify new conflict resolution skills. Classes learned about the power of encouragement and treating others the way we would like to be treated, ALL of the time. We discussed the characteristics that make Molly Lou Melon unique, and how she showed confidence and kindness throughout the story, no matter what happened. Students worked in small groups to create pieces of writing on how to “Stand Tall” in tough situations.

ASCA Standards

A1.1  Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person
A2.3 Recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences
A2.6 Use effective communication skills
B1.3 Identify alternative solutions to a problem
B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems
B1.6 Know how to apply conflict resolution skills


Believe in Yourself, And The World Will Believe In You Too.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Awesome Olweus Work!

As of Friday, we have finished week 5 of our Olweus program. So far, our school has done a fabulous job with making the most of our weekly classroom meetings! Class meetings are held every Friday, during Explore time in all grade levels. Each week, teachers fill out a Google form to update me with a brief summary of their class meeting. The responses have been so encouraging-developmentally appropriate, meaningful, and most of all, FUN! Take a look at some of the GREAT work that our teachers and students have produced in their Olweus meetings! Did I mention that I am IMPRESSED???

                                                  Third Grade-"Power of One"

                                                                         First Grade


Monday, November 3, 2014
Click the link to watch our Olweus Kick-Off Lip Dub Video! We had so much fun filming the video and we hope you enjoy this special portion of our Olweus Celebration at IES!

**Make sure you are watching in HD! You can find this setting on the bottom right of the video!**
Friday, October 17, 2014

Long time, no blog!

The month of October has FLOWN by! Since I last blogged, we set up the STEAM studio, had our first Superhero of the Month and Terrific Kids celebrations and our second Supergirls Reading Society Meeting! On the testing front, we are finishing up K4/K5 Circle testing and about to begin second grade testing! Upcoming events include Red Ribbon Week, Career Day, and our Olweus program kick-off! It makes me a little tired just thinking about this month, but it has been well worth it!

In the meantime...have I mentioned how much I love our new Superhero theme? This year, I changed my character education program from "Eagle Excellence" to "Good Character is Our Superpower" and it has taken off! Students can earn superhero tickets for showing good character around the school, which are turned into me in exchange for a brag tag and prize. The Proud Board is almost completely full and students are so excited to see their superhero tickets displayed! I have morning duty in the main hallway and every morning, students stop to see who is new on the board and what each student has done to earn recognition. I think this visual reminder has promoted student conversation: since the start of the program, I have overheard ideas/suggestion about how to behave at school, positive peer examples to follow, and praise for the students recognized. In addition, I feel it has helped to instill confidence and a sense of pride in students who have received recognition. Win Win! 

Speaking of recognition... at the end of September, each teacher chose one student in their classroom who displayed Friendship, our character word of the month. We had our first lunch celebration last Friday and had a great time! I'm already looking forward to October's celebration, as we will be celebrating the ability to make good choices! :) In addition to expanding character traits and vocabulary through traditional character education teachings, I am a BIG proponent of teaching basic life skills!

We also celebrated our Terrific Kids this past Wednesday. Teachers selected two students from their classrooms who exemplify the Kiwanis Terrific Kid qualities: "Terrific" is an acronym for Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inquisitive, and Capable.  
Sponsored by the Spartanburg Kiwanis Club, each student was awarded with a certificate, pencil, bumper sticker, and coupon for a free kid's meal at Zaxbys as part of our program. We celebrated with parents in our school cafeteria, where each child was recognized was recognized on the stage while our assistant principal read aloud the child's nomination, written by classroom teachers. We are very proud of all our students whom we have had the privilege to recognize this month!

Next up: STEAM, Olweus, Red Ribbon, and Career Day! 
Friday, September 19, 2014

It's a's a's the SuperGirls Reading Society!

For the past few years, our school has had a special mentoring partnership for third grade boys with our neighboring high school. The football players come and visit with our students, work on literacy, writing, and leadership skills. It has been an amazing program for these students and one day at a leadership team meeting, I decided our third grade girls needed something to call their own. Enter the Supergirls Reading Society! (That name took MUCH longer to come up with than I'd like to admit!) One of my fellow counselors and I collaborated to come up with a plan for 7th grade girls to come to our school and mentor our third grade girls, while working on literacy, writing, and self- confidence skills. I have been toying with the idea of starting a book club for awhile and with the help of my assistant principal and media specialist, we found Sophie the Awesome by Lara Bergen! This is a GREAT book for 3rd and 4th grade girls and our group absolutely loved it this afternoon! I had to convince several of my students not to buy/rent the book this weekend, as we will be using it at each of our meetings this year! Luckily, there is an entire Sophie series, so we will be able to keep the girls updated with Sophie's antics even after we finish with our reading society. The girls had so much fun with their new book buddies today-they attempted to convince me to meet daily, so I'll consider the first meeting a success! Below are some photos of the afternoon and some of our work samples. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ol-we- WHAT? Information about our new Olweus Bullying Prevention Program!

This fall, we are joining the rest of the District One and becoming an official Olweus school! 

So...what exactly IS Olweus? So glad you asked!

Olweus is a school wide program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. 

Olweus definition of bullying: "A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself."

This definition includes three important components:
 1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions.
 2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time.
 3. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.

Students at IES are only K-3...why do we need this?
By the time bullying escalates to a harmful level, student attitudes and behaviors are already defined in many cases. A lot of times, students can't properly differentiate on what actually constitutes as bullying and that's when things can get really out of control. So, why K-3? So that we can handle bullying from the ground up: teach students what bullying is, what it's not, and teach them essential life skills to provide them with the skills to be better students, people, and later, adults!

P.S. Bullying is Not Teasing
It might be hard to tell the difference between playful teasing and bullying. Teasing usually involves two or more friends who act together in a way that seems fun to all the people involved. Often they tease each other equally, but it never involves physical or emotional abuse.

Why Students Bully
Information about bullying suggests that there are three interrelated reasons why students bully.
1. Students who bully have strong needs for power and (negative) dominance.
2. Students who bully find satisfaction in causing injury and suffering to other students.
3. Students who bully are often rewarded in some way for their behavior with material or psychological rewards. 

So, what does the program accomplish school wide?
  • Reduces existing bullying problems among students
  • Prevents the development of new bullying problems
  • Achieves better peer relations at school
Great! So what will actually happen when our school implements the program?
We will be having our school wide kick off the morning of Thursday, October 30th. That same day, all classes will hold their first class meetings during explore time. We will have Olweus Notebooks  with lesson ideas, as well as places for us to document our efforts in changing our school climate. Meetings will take place weekly.

As our students become well versed in the actual Olweus definition and practices through class meetings, what can we expect to see?
  • 50% or more reductions in student reports of being bullied and bullying others
  • Significant reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior, such as bullying, vandalism, fighting, theft, and truancy
  • Significant improvements in the classroom social climate, reflected in student reports of improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships and more positive attitudes towards school work and school
  • Greater support for students who are bullied, and stronger, more effective interventions for students who bully

            It's coming! October 30th, 2014