Thursday, December 18, 2014

Personal Safety, Hip Hop, and Happy Holidays!!

It's been a busy, but fun week with the holidays and winter break arriving!! I finished up my personal safety lessons with 4th and 5th grade this week. We played a fun game of Safety Jeopardy, which included the following categories: school safety, first aid safety, personal safety, weather safety, stranger danger safety, and wild card. The kids loved it and did such a good job answering all the questions!! When we get back from break I will begin my career lessons with all grades.

It was also an exciting week for my Hip Hop dance group, as we had our last practice and performed for the school today. They did such a great job and were so fun to work with. Many of them feel more comfortable and are able to follow the steps a lot better if I perform with them, so it's fun for me to get to do that with them also! We danced to "Cool Kids" by Echosmith and presented a great message along with the dance. Here is the video if you would like to see how they did:

If you have a child who is interested in the next session, which will start in January, look for the flyer and Eagle Eye newsletter about how to sign up. That will go our right after break and we will perform to a new song and routine! I have so much fun teaching it and am so proud of my dancers!

I also got to run the Giving Tree again this year, with a lot of help from generous volunteers, and we were able to provide 17 families in need with Christmas gifts. I know from personally working with a lot of the students who received the gifts that they were extremely thankful, appreciative, and super excited!! Thank you very much to all those who donated and helped make someone's Christmas brighter!

In addition to Giving Tree, we had an extremely generous donation from A+ Federal Credit Union for one special family who was in need to receive Christmas presents and a few gift cards! The amount of presents they ended up being able to collect for this family was overwhelming!! I couldn't believe how many people they were able to have contribute and the family was super thrilled to be getting the help! The student gave the people from the bank who brought them and me a huge hug!! Nothing feels better than helping a child and making at least some of their wishes come true! :-)

             A+ Federal Credit Union Employees                       All the gifts for the family!

I love all the giving that occurs this time of year and love getting to be a part of it. I hope you all enjoy the holidays and that your kids enjoy their break!! See you next year!! :-)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Personal Safety

I can't believe how fast the time is flying and that I will finish up with my Personal Safety lessons already next week, which means it's time for Christmas break! Last week and this week I went to all PK, Kinder, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes to give the required Personal Safety lesson. This can be an uncomfortable topic for some, probably more so for the parents than the kids, but it is a very important lesson. We would all like to think that bad things can't happen to us, or to our kids, but we know that is unfortunately not always the reality, so it is important to be as educated as possible on some of these more difficult topics. The lessons are delivered in an extremely age-appropriate way and I you should have seen the books they made come home and the letter to the parent. In all classes, we read, Your Body Belongs to You, which was followed up with either the booklet called, "Very Important People"(PK-1) or "Good Touch, Bad Touch" (2nd-3rd). Knowing that kids know how to keep themselves safe makes me very happy.

Please go over the booklets with your children and home and review with them who they can go to if they are ever hurt or touched inappropriately by someone. Knowing it is okay to talk to you about these things, makes it easier for them to come to you if something bad does happen. Here are a few statistics to help you to realize the importance of talking to your children about what to do if anyone ever touches them in their private areas: 

  • Experts estimate that about 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  • Youth are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than adults.
  • 35% of child victims are 11 years old or younger.
  • 9% of all 10-17 year olds receive unwanted sexual requests while on the internet. 
  • 23% of all 10-17 year olds experience unwanted exposure to pornography. 
  • 80% or more of child sexual abuse incidents happen in isolated one-on-one situations.
  • 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. 
  • 10% or less of children who are sexually abused are abused by a stranger. 
  • 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family trusts.
These statistics come from "Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children." You can find more information about them and sexual abuse at this website:

This information is not meant to scare you, but just to help you be more aware of the reality that this type of abuse does occur and many times it can be people you know and have earned your trust, but have no idea are doing this. If children learn at an early age what to do if this ever does happen, we can help to ensure their safety.

On a lighter note below is a fun game you can play with your children at home if you ever want to get them to open up about their feelings without them really knowing that's what they are doing. :-)  I often play this game with both individuals and my small groups in our counseling sessions. You can take a regular game of Jenga and write your own feelings words on the pieces. As you pulled out a piece, you can read a feeling word and talk about a time you felt that way. The kids love playing this!

Next week I will be in 4th and 5th grade classes and we will also talk about Personal Safety, but we will play a form of "Jeopardy" to learn about how to be sure we are safe. I hope to see some of you at tonight's Movie Night tonight and we are hoping to raise a lot of money for our Student Council!! Have a great weekend!! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving Tree, Responsibility, and Conflict/Resolution

I decided to combine last week's events with this week, since we only have two days of school this week. Last week I finished up with my Conflict/Resolution lessons in 4th and 5th grade classes. We began the lesson by watching this fun, little video clip from the late Robin Williams and a couple of Sesame Street characters:

The kids got a kick out of this clip and how it described what the word "conflict" means. We then went over Kelso's Choices (see previous two blogs for more information on this), watched the Kelso's "It's Your Choice Baby" song, and did some role playing with different scenarios that would cause conflict. Each student was paired up and they were able to role play different types of conflict and each take a turn choosing an appropriate choice to solve that problem.

Next week I will be in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade to give our required lesson on personal safety, stranger danger, and good touch/bad touch.

Today was the last day for our SEL Word of the Month, "responsibility". Some of our 5th graders explained the definition of "responsibility" to the whole school at our assembly this morning, by spelling out the word and each child explaining a little about what it means to be responsible. We got to see a lot of names up on our SEL Word of the Month Wall for being responsible students this month! December's SEL Word of the Month is "honesty".

Today was "Pajama Day" at Oak Hill, as you can tell from the picture below! :-) It is always fun to get to go to work as a grown adult and dress in my comfy PJs!! ;-) A parent volunteer, my intern, and I also put up our "Giving Tree" today, so that it will be all ready for next week! If you are unfamiliar with "Giving Tree," it is a great opportunity for you to give back this holiday season and give to a family in need. We have many families at OHE who could use a little help for the holidays and we will be providing those families with gifts, but we need a lot of help from you! We need somewhere around 272 gifts this year! There are two ways to give: you can get an ornament directly from our Giving Tree starting at the book fair kick-off, Tuesday, Dec. 2 next week, which will have a certain gift and age of a child on it; or you can go on the following website to sign up for a child and gift of your choice: 

Giving Tree runs from Dec. 1- Dec. 8, so please be sure to sign up for something and bring it in by Dec. 8. We hope to be able to provide all of our families with help this year for the holidays and we really appreciate everyone who donates generosity!! I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving break!! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

No Place for Hate at Our World, Our School

Last week I was in all of the 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms giving lessons on conflict-resolution, using Kelso's choices. I also ended the week with my group of No Place for Hate kids running a table at the Our World, Our School cultural event. This was a great opportunity for the No Place for Hate coalition to encourage kids to sign a pledge to live a hate-free life and receive a No Place for Hate pencil as a reminder of that pledge. Being accepting and knowledgeable about different cultures is a very important piece of living a hate-free life. The more we learn from each other, the more likely it is that we will respect each other and our differences. I am so glad that our school encourages this type of learning and am glad to have been able to be a part of it. Here are some pictures from the event:





I had such a good time there and I think everyone else did, too! It was so fun to get to watch all of the different cultural performances also. This week I will be in the 4th and 5th grade classrooms for guidance lessons on conflict-resolution. More to come on that at the end of the week. I will also be going into my fourth week of small group sessions with PK-5th grade. Each day of the week I hold about 2-3 small groups of kids from PK-5th grade during their lunches. Those same groups of kids will meet with me for six weeks total. We eat lunch together and play games, have discussions, or read stories related to our group topic. We cover feelings, families, friendships, social skills, managing our emotions, and much more. These are going great so far and the kids always look forward to coming. I get a lot of kids who aren't in small group begging for me to let them come have lunch with me and I wish I could take them all!! Unfortunately there is one of me and over 800 students, but I am glad I get to see all 800+ students in the classroom for lessons at least! 

I hope everyone has a great week!! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Kelso's Choices and Cultural Heritage Day

This week I had the pleasure of visiting all Pre-K, Kinder, and First Grade classrooms. We read the story, Please Stop, I Don't Like That and discussed ways we can be respectfully assertive in letting someone know their behaviors toward us are bothersome. The kids had fun repeating this phrase with me throughout the story and even getting to practice using it with a partner.

We then talked about what happens when you do tell someone, "Please stop, I don't like that," and they still don't listen to you. I introduced Kelso's Choices this week: 

There are many choices students can make to solve all of their small problems and peer conflicts each day. If you try one choice on the wheel and it doesn't work, try another one. If you have tried two and it still isn't working, you can choose to try another, or go get help from an adult. We discussed how they should always try at least two choices, though, before seeking help from a teacher when they have a small problem. Of course, if they are having a BIG problem, which we have talked about in a previous lesson, they should seek help immediately. At the end of our lesson we got to watch this fun video about Kelso's Choices from Kelso himself: 

The kids LOVE it, but unfortunately they make me feel old when they have no clue that this is a remake of "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice! ;-) Next week I will be in 2nd and 3rd grade classes and we will also introduce Kelso's Choices.

We ended the week with Cultural Heritage Day today and had students and staff wear something that represented their ethnic background and culture. It's always fun to see the cultural diversity within our campus! I am a huge advocate of making sure our students and staff our culturally aware and sensitive, so I enjoyed this Student Council Spirit Day very much! Here are some pictures, including one of me showing off that I am half Mexican by wearing my "Kiss me I'm Mexican" shirt and wearing a Swedish wooden heart around my neck with a Swedish passage to show off my Swedish half!




Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Great Parenting Tool

One of my fellow counselor friends passed on a website with a very helpful tool for parents who need help or resources for dealing with a student with behavioral, emotional, and/or academic difficulties. This website is interactive and lets you answer specific questions about your child's needs or issues. Some of these issues include, attention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, organization/planning/time management, spoken language, listening comprehension, social skills, motor skills, and help with academic issues in reading, math, or writing. Check it out, it may be of good use to you! The link is below. Just click "read more" and follow the link.

Understood | For Learning and Attention Issues - Understood
Help your child thrive. Chat with experts, connect with parents and get tips on parenting kids with reading, writing, math, organization, attention issues and more.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Stop Bullying: Speak Up and Red Ribbon Week

This week has been a lot of fun! We have celebrated Red Ribbon Week, Halloween, Ballet Folklorico and the choir performed, I started my new hip hop session, I started Small Groups, etc!! Super busy, but lots of fun! I also made it to all of the 4th and 5th grade classrooms to talk about bullying. We watched a great video, which was aired on Cartoon Network, called, "Stop Bullying: Speak Up". The kids learned a lot from this and it also helped spark a lot of good conversation on the topic.

Red Ribbon Week was full of fun!! Every day we were able to dress up! Here are some pictures from "Give Drugs a Scare with Crazy Hair Day" and "Put a Cap on Drugs Day":



We also celebrated 20 kids who earned a Red Ribbon Week Prize for showing empathy, which is our SEL Word of the Month, to someone this month. Here is a picture of our SEL Word of the Month wall and some of the kids who received the award. November's SEL Word of the Month is "Responsibility". Talk to your kids about how they can show responsibility at school and home.

Next week I will be in PK, Kinder, and 1st Grade to give guidance lessons on conflict-resolution. Look for more on that next week. Have a safe and happy Halloween!!!