Monday, October 27, 2014

Red Ribbon Week Oct 27-31

Red Ribbon Week is a nationwide campaign for communities to unite and take a visible stand against drugs.  The mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a Drug-Free America.  Students at Lee Elementary will be committing to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of the Red Ribbon, Oct 27-31.  I will be visiting each classroom to teach students the importance of living a healthy lifestyle through developmentally appropriate lessons.  Students will receive a Red Ribbon, sticker, bracelet, activity book, pencil and temporary tattoo to wear throughout the week.

We also will have the following themed days next week:

For more information on the history of Red Ribbon Week please visit 

Red Ribbon Week reinforces the Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS) for Health Education in the elementary setting that are taught by both grade level teachers and our PE Coach yearly:

"The student understands that safe, unsafe, and/or harmful behaviors result in positive and negative consequences throughout the life span. The student is expected to: 

(A)  identify and use protective equipment to prevent injury;

(B)  name safe play environments;

(C)  explain the harmful effects of, and how to avoid, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs;

(D)  identify ways to avoid weapons and drugs or harming oneself or another person by staying away from dangerous situations and reporting to an adult;

(E)  identify safety rules that help to prevent poisoning;

(F)  identify and describe safe bicycle skills;

(G)  identify and practice safety rules during play; and

(H)  identify how to get help from a parent and/or trusted adult when made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe by another person/adult."

In the lower grades, students learned about making healthy choices through "The Best Me, Drug Free" books.  Many students are already familiar with the harmful effects of drugs (such as alcohol & cigarettes) from previous health lessons, tv shows, social media, and family & friends.  It's important to have a safety conversation about only taking medicine from trusted adults.  Also, with Halloween falling during the same week, it opens up an important conversation about the safety of receiving candy from strangers.  I met with kindergarten through second grade the week before Red Ribbon Week so they could learn about the significance on this nationwide campaign.  These booklets (from SimplyKinder) teach children to say "no" to unhealthy choices, help students decide what is good to put in your body, promote kindness to others, think of ways to show others you love them, inspire them to think about what they'd like to accomplish in the future and how they'll look wearing their red ribbon.  Here are some sample pages:

In the upper grades we learned about the harm that is done to our bodies from drugs.  We began by watching a BrainPop, Jr video on illegal drugs.

We then worked on a flip book to learn about the different harmful effects drugs have on our bodies.  Savvy School Counselor created some great resources on TeachersPayTeachers that I utilized for these lessons.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Practicing Kelso's Choices

In kindergarten, Kelso's Choices is an exciting new way for students to help solve their problems.  After learning about each of the 9 choices last week, it was time for them to see it in action and practice it themselves.  I began by showing them this quick video to review some of the options available for conflict resolution:

After the video, I introduced the kindergarteners to Lilly, Kelso's friend.
I told them that Lilly and Kelso are having some problems that they need our help with.  Students would have the opportunity to help Kelso and Lilly solve their problems by coming up and acting them out.  I had a baggy of potential problems that students encounter throughout the day that we drew from.  After I read each problem, I asked for volunteers to come act it out using Kelso and Lilly.  Students quickly realized how fast problems can be solved using Kelso's Wheel of Choices.  By role-playing different problems with puppets, it gave our students the opportunity to practice real-life problems in a non-threatening and engaging way.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peace Area Training & Buffet

Our SEL Coach, Angela Bailey, and I hosted a training at our campus about the importance of Peace Areas.  We started with an informational PowerPoint that reinforced how easy it is to set one up in your classroom, then we finished with a Peace Area "Buffet" where teachers received all the materials needed to set up their very own Peace Area!

Our Peace Area Buffet!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Don't Bite the Hook!

In an effort to continue our conversation from last time, we read Simon's Hook written by
Karen Gedig Burnett.

This story is a great way to teach students how to respond to teasing or put-downs that might have hurt their feelings.  It follows a young boy that is repeatedly teased at the park and learns from his grandma how to not "bite the hook."  The message empowers students to avoid becoming the powerless victim of name calling and mean teasing.  Many times children get so involved with their own emotional reaction to a tease that they react impulsively, rewarding the teaser with entertaining reactions that accentuates their feelings of loss of control and power.  This hilarious take provokes lots of giggling as the fish learn to not take the bait with different responses:

After the story students wrote a letter to Kelso, who had a similar problem to our friend in the story:

From Grandma Rose (character in the story):

"When teased, children sometimes fall into a habit of feeling hurt, upset, and victimized. How can we help them break this pattern and learn more effective ways to handle these difficult times? Simon's Hook can help. First, children can get so involved with the emotion of the tease that they react instinctively rather than recognize that often the sole purpose of the tease is to get a reaction. Simon's Hook compares teases to 'fishing hooks' and promotes the idea of swimming free. This offers children a different and more objective view of the teasing process. 

Next, sometimes when children are teased they don't think they have options - they have to bite. When people believe they have few options they feel powerless, stuck, or controlled by others. Simon's Hook shows children many ways to swim around the hook. They see they are not powerless, they have many choices. 

And last, Simon's Hook concentrates on the actions of the fish, rather than the hooks or the fishermen. This encourages children to focus on their own attitude and behavior, the only part of the interaction they control. Complaining about the other person's behavior, the cruel hook or the unfair situation is counterproductive and only leads to feelings of helplessness and self pity. By focusing on their own actions children can begin to recognize the power they have, their personal power. Personal power is not about power over someone else or the situation, but power over ourselves; our attitude, our actions, our life. An empowered attitude is instrumental in a person's ability to solve problems throughout life. 

You can help too. After reading Simon's Hook you can help children recognize their choices and personal power by simply asking a question or making a comment. 

  •  Did you bite?
  •  Someone's been fishing.
  •  Did someone throw a hook at you?
  •  Oh, and you bit.
  •  How can you swim free?
  •  How could you avoid that hook?
  •  I see a hook.
  •  Were you caught?
  •  The fish are biting today.
  • Encourage your child to see himself or herself as a strong and free fish with many choices, no matter what hooks the other person uses. 

    Karen Gedig Burnett 
    a.k.a. Grandma Rose 

    P.S. Children learn much by observing adults. How do you handle conflicts? When you're driving and someone yells at you, do you 'bite'? When someone directs a cruel comment toward you, do you get 'hooked'? Since 'actions speak louder than words,' make sure you act like a 'strong, free fish' and don't bite at other people's negative behavior."