I’m always tweaking and working to improve my lessons and units – I want to make sure that they’re meaningful and engaging, and that kids are learning and applying what they’ve learned in real-life settings. Also, I am addicted to just love figuring out how to incorporate new ideas and techniques! (Which may have something to do with why my to-do list is completely ridiculous.) Most recently, I set my sights on my fourth grade bullying prevention unit. Even though this unit has been impactful and well-received, I wanted to: (1) experiment with how integrating technology and art might expand kids’ understanding about bullying; (2) see how this could help me assess student learning; and (3) increase my knowledge about how best to address the Common Core standards within the counseling curriculum. It was a LOT of work, but the outcome has been amazing! Continue reading
Disclosing sexual abuse is difficult on so many levels. Kids may have been threatened or bribed. They may be worried that the abuse is their fault and that they will get in trouble. They may fear that they won’t be able to live at home any more, that it will cause divorce or the breakup of a parent’s relationship, or that someone they care about will be put in jail. Confusion, shame, and fear are powerful, silencing feelings. And children may just not have the words, know what to say, or how to say it. We need to teach kids the importance of telling, but we also need to teach them how to tell. Continue reading
It was the middle of summer, and all I could think was, “I wish I had all my fifth graders together.” This is not usually the kind of thought I have in July, but three things had happened: Jerry Sandusky had been convicted of sexually abusing ten boys, the NCAA had announced sanctions against Penn State, and a local couple had confessed to sexual assault against a 13-year-old. I knew that many of our students would have seen and heard lots about these incidents, from the media and from adult discussion around them. If school had been in session 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
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