This summer I was lucky enough to attend the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. I was able to network with the best and brightest minds in the profession, gain and share ideas, and learn, learn, learn!
I heard keynotes by Mark Kelly, astronaut and husband of Gabby Giffords. He spoke of the importance of grit and effort. One quote that he said in particular has stuck out to me: "How good you are at the beginning of anything you start is not an indicator of how good you will become." How important for all of us to remember, especially as we teach and parent our amazing Lincoln students. I also heard a fabulous keynote by Carol Dweck, the developer of the growth mindset research. I took a lot of notes on that, but they will be saved for another post!
Needless to say, I am so excited to get the year started, implement what I have learned, and have the best possible program for our Lincoln students. LET'S GO!
The Great Kindness Challenge (GKC) is NEXT WEEK! We are so excited!
Our Kind Kids Club has been working diligently to decorate the school and prepare for next week. Information about dress up days will be in your Thursday folders (thanks again to our Kind Kids Club for preparing those for us). Each student will be given a checklist with 50 acts of kindness listed (primary grades have shorter lists). We will see how many acts of kindness we can complete during this fun week.
Our GKC Kickoff is tomorrow, 1/20 at 2:00pm. The Harlem Ambassador program will be here to talk about kindness and pump the kids up for next week!
We have partnered again with OU and student athletes will be working at "kindness stations" during recess to help students complete their checklists. The stations will be set up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. When the students see the community "buy in" to kindness, they also realize its importance!
We encourage you to also assist your student in completing their checklist. We want students to know that kindness is not just an event during the school year, but an active, fulfilling lifestyle!
Here is a link to the schedule for the week if the one in your Thursday folders goes missing:
The counseling department has been teaching on emotional regulation this month. We want students to be able to identify the emotion that they are feeling, as well as manage those feelings in a safe and appropriate way.
We teach students that it's okay to feel their feelings, it's what we choose to do in response to those feelings that may not be okay. It is okay to be angry, it's not okay to throw a chair when you are angry! We teach alternative responses, safe ways to let out their anger.
Here are a few things that we teach:
1. Deep breaths
It sounds easy, right? That's because it is! Typically our hearts begin to race when we are feeling anxious or angry. Deep breathing allows us to manage the physical symptoms of anger/anxiety and help lower our heart rate. It is a safe skill that we can use any time, anywhere.
2. The push, pull, dangle.
The push, pull, dangle is a skill from the book Soda Pop Head, by Julia Cook. It involves pushing as hard as you can down onto your chair for 10 second, pulling up on your chair for 10 seconds, and then letting your arms dangle and feel the anger leaving your body. If you have a primary student, ask them to teach you!
3. Get some help!
If those skills do not help them calm themselves, I tell them that I am a safe spot for them to come and calm down in a safe way. We can go for a walk on the playground, talk it out, or do whatever the student needs to help them deal with their feelings.
Unity Day is on Wednesday, October 19th, 2016. Unity Day is a nation wide celebration of kindness, empathy, acceptance, and unity against bullying.
We will all be wearing our Lincoln Lion t-shirts that the PTA so generously provided to us in a display of unity. We are working hard to create a positive, welcoming climate at Lincoln. There will be activities during morning assembly and every student will contribute to a large piece of unity artwork- but the final result will be a surprise!
We are so excited to celebrate Unity Day!
October is filled with some exciting events. We will be celebrating Unity Day on the 19th, which is a day that we unite against bullying. We also celebrate Red Ribbon Week on the 24th-28th (more details to come on both of these events).
While both of these events are celebrating unity against something (bullying, drugs, etc.) we like to focus more on celebrating and supporting positive traits that develop good character traits in our students. Empathy is one of those things. If we can teach students to utilize empathy and respect, there will be less bullying! We don't want to focus on what we should not do as much as we want to focus on what we should! do
How can you help your child develop empathy?
By you modeling empathy, your student will have a better understanding of empathy and of how it feels when someone is empathic towards them. Even during times when your child is upset with you, saying things like, "I understand you are feeling _____" or "I know what it feels like to be _____." It helps your student feel heard and they can see you showcasing empathy skills.
When you are reading to your child or watching TV, pause and ask, "how is the character feeling right now?" Discuss why they may be feeling this way and ask, "have you ever felt that way before?"
Encourage kids to share their feelings with you and share your feelings with them appropriately. It's okay to say, "I'm feeling frustrated because you aren't listening." We need to teach our students that feelings are okay, it's what we do with those feelings that may not be okay. For example, while it's okay to be angry, it's not okay to hit a friend. By helping students become more in touch with their emotions, they will be able to better understand the emotions of others.
While we may not share the same experiences of others, most of us know what it feels like to be sad, angry, or lose someone or something we love. We draw from those past experiences to fuel connection with others. And connection with others encourages a safe, caring community- one that we are striving to create here at Lincoln!
Here's a great, short video on empathy to close. Happy October!
Most people have mixed feelings about going back to school. Some may experience a little bit of dread, some may be very excited, and some may be a little bit of both!
Our theme this school year is "Watch Us Grow." We will be having a lot of fun this school year and growing together!
Here are some tips to help back to school go as smoothly as possible:
1. Practice Your Routine
A few days before school starts, get up at the time you will need to get up in order to be on time for school. Practice your routine of getting dressed, eating breakfast, and go through your morning rituals. Switching from a summer schedule to a school schedule can be stressful for everyone involved, so easing into the routine will make the transition easier.
2. Talk About School
Talk about the good things that are coming, Focus on the positives of school. Talk about fun times you had when you were in their grade, or ask them what they are excited to learn. School can be fun, and your positivity may help ease any anxiety your child may have about the upcoming school year.
3. TOOL UP!
Make back to school shopping fun! Go and pick up school supplies together, and make it a family outing. And don't forget, you can always contact me if you need help gathering school supplies for your student.
We are so excited to see our students come back for this school year. GO LIONS!
We had so much fun this past week! We completed over 4,000 acts of kindness in 5 days!
Our Kind Kids Club decorated the school during the week prior to the Great Kindness Challenge and they did a great job!
We would like to give a special thank you to the Norman Police Department, OU Women's Rowing, OU Women's Golf, OU Women's Softball, OU Track and Field, OU Wrestling AND the OU Spirit Squad for sending representatives to perform acts of kindness with our students. They really made our students feel special! We would also like to thank Mayor Cathy Rosenthal for coming to our morning assembly to thank our students for making the community a better place with kindness!
It is shocking to think that we are already about to move into October! It feels as though we just had the first day of school. We have some very exciting events in October to celebrate. October is bullying prevention month, so I will be teaching a bullying prevention curriculum to all grade levels this month. We will also be celebrating Unity Day on October 21st, which is sponsored by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. Wear your orange shirts that day and expect to see more information in Thursday folders!
Red Ribbon Week is also in October, on the 23rd-31st. Keeping with our school-wide Star Wars theme, our Red Ribbon Week theme is "Lincoln Strikes Back!" We will be focusing on creating a supportive, safe, and drug free community. The website will be updated with dress-up day information and you will also receive information in Thursday Folders.
It is a great day to be a Lincoln Lion!