What happens when you keep your hurt feelings bottled up inside? The hurt deepens and festers. It gets bigger. This is the premise of The Hurt by Teddy Doleski. When Justin gets called a name, he doesn’t tell his friend how he feels or tell his dad what happened. Instead he just sits with his hurt, which looks like a rock, feeding it with his worries and disappointments until it gets so big that it takes up his whole room. The hurt finally starts to shrink and eventually goes away when Justin talks to his dad about it. The Hurt is a great book to share with individuals, in small groups, and in the classroom. It provides Continue reading
Before I became a school counselor, I did Hospice work, counseling patients and families, training and supervising volunteers, and running workshops for counselors and teachers. It has come in handy, to say the least: in the space of thirteen years, our school had four students, two non-school-age siblings, four parents, and three staff members die. Of course, life being what it is, we’ve also had staff whose spouses, friends, parents, and other family members died, and students who have lost grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and pets. I plan to write about our experiences with death and grief in a number of different Continue reading
Zax are terrible role models for how to solve conflicts! But their story, “The Zax,” by Dr. Seuss, is a great way to start a discussion about conflict resolution. The zax are two single-minded characters, one who wants to go north, and the other who wants to go south. When they meet face-to-face on the north-south path, neither one will budge. At all. Ever. End of story.
I use “The Zax” to introduce my conflict resolution unit because it perfectly illustrates what happens when you don’t use conflict resolution strategies. Continue reading
No, these are not my legs, although they’ve got a Zooey Deschanel-meets-Ms. Frizzle vibe that feels kind of appealing today. But this is what I did today with a young friend who was despairing. I was beginning to despair myself, because he was so hopeless. Things are tough in this guy’s life, and he knows it. He and his family have strengths, but he has great difficulty seeing them. I am terribly worried about him, but not sure that he will actually get the level of help and support that he needs. These are the hardest kinds of situations I deal with. Continue reading
In my previous post, I outlined how I used a comprehensive counseling approach to address a first grade bullying situation through classroom teaching, small groups, and individual counseling. (Read about it here.) In this and upcoming posts, I’ll share the lessons from the new first grade bullying unit I developed. (Related ASCA standards are listed at the end of this post.) The objective for the bullying unit was:
When students experience or witness bullying they will be able to:
- differentiate between mean and bullying behaviors.
- recognize that bullying should be reported to school staff.
- use a script to report bullying to school staff.
- tell another school staff member if the first adult does not believe or understand the report. Continue reading
This is not a tale of the high seas. It’s about one stormy year in kindergarten, when a combination of individual students’ behaviors developed into a “perfect storm” of bullying. A couple of kids didn’t know how make and keep friends without using intimidation. Some others’ impulsivity hindered their ability to think before they acted. Some did not know how to be assertive, and reacted in a way (tears, giving in to intimidation) that reinforced the bullying. A few did not know how to make good friendship choices, and consistently put themselves back into situations in which someone else might be mean to them. Some had annoying behaviors that unwittingly provoked Continue reading
Looking for a way to expand upon what you’re able to teach in your limited time in the classroom? Wondering about how to assess your students’ learning at the end of a unit? Book studies can help you do both.
Book studies can be used for a variety of topics: conflict resolution, bullying, responsibility, differences/diversity, friendship, emotional literacy, etc. All you need is Continue reading
You know that kid who doesn’t like to join in as a member of the classroom community? The one who says everyone else is annoying? Who needles other kids to get a reaction because he isn’t quite ready to take the risk of making a friendly overture? For whom power struggles are a seeming delight? Luckily he (or she) doesn’t come along very often, but when he does he can be one tough customer!
Kids like this need help with building friendship skills, developing empathy, and managing anxiety. Often, though, their defenses are so well established that they don’t easily buy into the idea of working to change their behavior. What they are currently doing Continue reading
Last week the counselors in my district were asked to present information on how bullying is addressed in each of our schools, and I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of what my counseling partner, Erica, and I shared.
We start from the premise that bullying, bystander, and target behaviors are often a result of lagging skills in the areas of empathy, problem solving, conflict resolution, social thinking, self-monitoring, and/or self-advocacy. To build kids’ skills, we teach a developmental, spiraling bullying prevention curriculum K-5. For each grade, bullying is defined in a way that is Continue reading
A great way to help students identify the range of feelings that they are experiencing is to use post-it notes. (You could also use index cards or small pieces of paper, but there’s just something about the stickiness . . . ) I use this technique all the time, including yesterday, when working with a third grader who is clearly depressed and anxious, but reluctant to talk about how she is feeling.
I start by having the student choose Continue reading