Friday, October 26, 2012

Parent Information Bulletin Board

I created this bulletin board in our downstairs hallway to share valuable information with our parents.  Here you'll find flyers of upcoming local events, our counseling program brochure, social emotional learning brochure, community resources, training offered from the Austin Child Guidance Center, and services provided by The Christi Center.  If you have any questions or need additional resources, please let me know and I'll do the searching for you!

Check out this years bulletin board!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dragon Breathing

In kindergarten this week, we focused on how to calm ourselves down.  We talked about how sometimes our heart starts pounding and we feel like we cannot control ourselves.  One way to help us chill out is by dragon breathing.  To take a dragon breath, we breathe in deep through our nose, hold it for a few seconds, then release a hot fiery breath from our mouths.  To aid in the visualization of this, we created dragon breathers!

This simple idea was inspired by a fellow pinner and easy to follow instructions are located on her blog.  For my purposes, I bought a bunch of green party cups, puff balls, googly eyes, and tissue paper.  We constructed our dragon breathers step-by-step together.  When students breathe out through their mouth and through the hole in the bottom of the cup, the fiery tissue paper flutters around.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Grouchy Ladybug

We focused on ways to handle our anger in first grade this week.  We started by reading "The Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle.  This book is a great spring board for students to make observations.  There are a lot of noticeable patterns, context clues and repeated phrases that keep students involved in the telling of the story.

We discussed how one of Kelso's choices is to take a break and cool down.  If all else fails and a problem has gotten you really upset, wait and cool off.  Go to a quiet spot and think about how you are going to solve this problem.  We discussed areas at school and home where students can go to calm down.  Students also brainstormed ways that they like to cool down and we added them a large ladybug.  Some ideas were going to get a drink from the water fountain, reading a book , coloring, etc.

In my kindergarten small group, we talked about what makes us angry and turned ourselves into grouchy ladybugs.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Peaceful Playing

In second and third grade we created drawings that depict a small conflict situation in which animal characters enact appropriate behaviors from Kelso's Choices.  Students first chose a common problem that occurs while they are at school.  They then drew a picture of this.  Finally, they picked a Kelso from the wheel to glue into their picture, with speech or thought bubbles to explain their solution.  

I created a bulletin board of student's work around the large poster to show different situations that Kelso can help you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kelso's Choices

Conflict or disagreement is normal and often happens when children get together. However, hurtful words, gestures, or physical attack are unacceptable ways to deal with conflict and disagreement at school.  In the younger grades we have begun an exciting new conflict management program entitled Kelso’s Choice.  This program features a frog named Kelso, who teaches students to differentiate between small problems that they can solve and those that are potentially dangerous and serious.
Our goal at Lee Elementary is to teach students several positive ways to deal with these minor conflict situations.  To do this, we are asking students who have minor problems to try at least two of the following ideas:
1.      Go to another game or activity.
2.      Share and take turns.

Respectfully talk it over and listen to each other.
4.      Walk away from the problem.
5.      Ignore the problem behavior.
6.      Tell the person to stop the problem behavior.
7.      Apologize.
8.      Make a deal or compromise.
9.      Cool off.

Additionally, we will be encouraging students to report serious and frightening problems to the nearest trusted adult.  By using this plan, we believe that our students will develop effective problem-solving skills that they can use again and again.  It will help them to deal with conflict in a positive manner and to make appropriate decisions.  Knowing what to do will help students reduce the stress and number of conflicts they have at school and at home.  We encourage you to become familiar with this program and use it in your home.  By working together, we can develop a healthy life skill for young people to use at home and at school.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bucket Filling Bulletin Board

In an effort to reinforce bucket filling behavior, (see post Have You Filled a Bucket Today?) I created an interactive bulletin board for students to reflect on when walking down the hallway.  It includes the 2 buckets, one for filling and one for dipping, with a variety of behaviors on velcro.  Students can move the behaviors to the bucket they think best represents the correct choice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Small Group: Tattle Tongue

In my kindergarten small group, we have been working on social skills to make us successful at school.  Lessons have ranged from reading Being a Good Sport and playing Candyland to reading Being Destructive and playing Jenga to reading A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue and making our own decorative "tattle tongues."  Students enjoy this story and learn the rules about tattling, see September post "A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue" from my third grade lesson.

Family Support Cooperative Meeting

Austin ISD's second Family Support Cooperative Meeting of the 2012-2013 school year is:  October 23, 2012 from 6:00-8:00 PM.

This meeting will be hosted at a NEW location:  Eastside Memorial High School, 1012 Arthur Stiles Drive, Austin, TX 78721.

This month you will hear professionals speak on the following topics:
  • ADHD
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Social Thinking and Asperger Syndrome
  • Post-School Transition to Adulthood Issues
  • Maintaining Parent Relationships

Speciality Groups will be our well established Sibling Support Group (ages 6-12), Adult ADHD Group and NEW to us will be a Spanish Autism Family Support Group!  You will also have a chance to chat face-to-face with Ann Jinkins, Interim Special Education Director.

This meeting is just around the corner so save the date and please share the flyer with others.

We will continue to provide a light meal made from the culinary department at Clifton Career Development School and are thrilled to bring back our reorganized child care model facilitated by Blue Sky Abilities!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Resolving Conflict

This week we'll be focusing on strategies to resolve conflict.  We'll start by defining conflict and reading the story, The Zax, by Dr. Seuss.  In this story there is a north-going Zax and south-going Zax that reguse to go in any direction other than their assigned directions.  These stubborn characters cannot resolve their issue and the world goes on (even building a highway around them) as they stand their ground.  Students easily see that this is not the best way to resolve the conflict.

We then dive into a discussion of examples of small problems vs. big problems that students encounter at school.  Examples of small problems might include: someone making noises when you're trying to work, saving a swing for someone, not sharing, teasing about your appearance, calling you names, etc.  Examples of big problems might include: sneaking off school grounds, writing on the walls, throwing rocks at another child, stealing from a teacher's desk, etc.  Small problems might happen when an adult is not around, which is why we need strategies to help us solve these on our own first.  Students will sort these into two piles.

Students will then be introduced to Kelso and his choices wheel:

We will discuss, model, and role-play different choices to resolve conflict.  Students will be expected to try two of these before going to an adult for help.  Each classroom K-3 will receive a poster to hang in their room for teachers to refer to when conflict arises.  In Kinder and 1st grade, students will receive a coloring book of the different strategies.  In 2nd and 3rd grade, students will create a wheel using paper plates to help them pick choices when resolving conflict.  In 4th grade and up, students will create fortune tellers that they can use when a conflict occurs.