Friday, December 4, 2015

The Season of Giving and College Week

We have survived another busy, but fun week!! This week I wrapped up with all my small groups that I meet with. I have seven different small groups of 3-4 kids each, that have been running for the last six weeks and this week we had a celebration of completing our last one. I also was in kindergarten-2nd grade rooms to give a lesson about the power of giving and showing compassion towards others. This is the perfect time of year to remind them of that! We watched a video from Howard B. Wigglebottom and then I had them draw four different ways they could be giving and compassionate this holiday season. We talked about how it is also important to remember to be compassionate and giving all year and not just during the holidays. They came up with many great examples, like taking clothes and food to those in need, or donating toys they don't use anymore!

Image result for howard b wigglebottom and the power of giving

This lesson tied in perfectly with the Giving Tree drive that Student Council has been working on for the last few weeks! We were able to collect enough gifts for 17 families in our school, who were in need of some help this Christmas! That is pretty amazing, especially if you got to see all the gifts pile up in the room we stored them in like I did. We collected around 265 presents!! This is just amazing and we couldn't have done this without the help of parents and staff who chipped in. I also owe a big thank you to many parents who either volunteered to help me sort all the gifts, helped put up the Christmas tree, bought wrapping paper, tape, and bags, and helped me make the ornaments that went on the tree with the items in need!! You helped make this huge project a success! I can't wait to call the parents to pick them up and hopefully make their holidays a little brighter! Thank you again to everyone who contributed in whatever way you did! :-) 



It was also College Week this week! This week helped our young learners by exposing them at an early age to the many options they have to further their education and to help them realize how important it is. They were also able to think about what they want to choose for a career when they grow up, like this little artist, veterinarian, scientist, and teacher (she wore a badge that said she was Mrs. Kanak) below! They were so adorable and had such great aspirations for the future, already in kindergarten! The younger we start them thinking about these things, the better chances they have in achieving all their goals and dreams.

We also had a college banner contest this week! Everyone did such an amazing job on their banners and it was so hard to choose, but here are the winners: 

For Pre-K/PPCD- Mrs. Cabrera's Class

For Kindergarten- Ms. Siller's Class

For First Grade- Ms. Grabel's Class

For 2nd Grade- Mr. Torres' Class

For 3rd Grade- Mrs. Tarpley's Class

For 4th Grade- Ms. Atkinson's Class

For 5th Grade- Ms. Ly's Class


Next week and the following week I will be in the remaining PK, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes to give my lesson on giving and compassion. 

Have a great weekend!! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Giving Tree, Our World, Our School, and Personal Safety

Wow!! This month has been crazy busy, but awesome!! I haven't had time to update on my blog for a while because things always get extremely hectic at school for me during the holiday season! It is hectic for good reason, though. Student Council was able to launch the Giving Tree this month, No Place for Hate (NPFH) got to hold a booth at Our World, Our School (OWOS), I got to take 47 kids in need to Operation School Bell and Payless to get clothes and shoes, and I taught personal safety lessons to all students in PK-5th grades!! All of this in just a few weeks! I need to take a deep breath now! ;-)

Here are some photos from our Giving Tree launch at OWOS and our NPFH coalition's booth they had our OWOS:

Giving Tree is an opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts for families at OHE who are in need. If you would like to sign up to purchase a gift for someone, click on this link and sign-up: 

Please bring any gifts you purchase to the front office, unwrapped, by Monday, November 30. Please also be sure to tape a note with the ornament number you selected and your name on it, so we can sort them into the right families. 

Personal Safety

Last week and this week I went to all PK- 5th 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 you should have seen the books they made come home and the letter to the parent. In PK- 3rd grade classes, we read, I Can Play It Safe, 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. In 4th-5th grades (I will still be finishing up with 5th grade next week), we read Not In Room 204, followed up with a worksheet on stranger danger and information about personal safety.

                  Image result for i can play it safe Image result for not in room 204

Please go over the booklets with your children at 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.

Sorry for the lengthy blog this week, but I had to play catch up, since I wasn't able to complete my blog the last couple of weeks! ;-) 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous Thanksgiving next week!! :-) 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

This week we learned all about what it means to "fill someone's bucket"! I was in all 3rd- 5th grade classrooms, a couple 2nd grade classrooms, and one PK class to teach them the difference between being a "bucket filler" and a "bucket dipper". We read the story, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud. It is an excellent story that teaches kids that we should be "filling each others buckets" by being kind to one another, giving each other compliments, helping people, smiling at each other in passing, telling your family you appreciate and love them, etc. Each day, every single person should be filling someone's bucket.

We also learned about being a "bucket dipper". This means you are trying to take from people's buckets by doing things such as making them feel bad, being mean, not following the rules, calling people bad names, etc. If you dip into someone's bucket, you may think this will help you to fill your own bucket, but this will never work and will only make you feel worse.

Image result for have you filled a bucket today

After we read the story, students were each given a word or phrase that they needed to categorize into the "bucket fillers" or "bucket dippers" side of our board. They did a great job with this and this gave them many examples to use for the next part of their assignment. Once we did that, they had many ideas to write down on the worksheet they were given. You should have seen these come home, so check them out and continue the conversation with them. Talk about how you can all fill each other's buckets within your family.


Next week is Red Ribbon Week! Look for your child to come home with a letter from Mrs. Rosales and I that explains what each of the themes are for each day of the week next week! It will be a fun week and I will also be in all K- 2nd grade classrooms to talk about Red Ribbon Week and saying no to drugs. 

Have a great weekend and I hope you can try to stay dry! :-) 

Friday, October 16, 2015

October is Bullying Awareness Month

Did you know October is Bullying Awareness Month? It is very important for us to start teaching our children at a young age about the definition of bullying, what to do if you are being bullied or see someone else being bullied, and how to make sure you don't become a bully yourself. The last two weeks I was able to get in all classrooms to give a lesson on bullying. In PK- 2nd grades we watched, "Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies."

For 3rd- 4th Grade we watched a video called "Speak Up Against Bullying" and in 5th Grade we watched "How to Unmake a Bully".

All of these videos are excellent in describing, in a developmentally appropriate way, what bullying is, what is isn't, and how to handle those tough situations. We need to be sure that we understand that bullying is not just someone who decided to be mean or make a bad choice once or twice. That is simply just being mean, which is still a problem that needs to be solved, but can be solved much more easily than a true bullying situation. Bullying involves a targeted student who is hurt emotionally, verbally, and/or physically over and over again by the same person(s). This is a repeated act and is not something that is done randomly or just once or twice.

Here are some examples: 1.) A kid trips another kid on the track while they are running and laughs at them when they fall, but he has only done something mean to this kid one time and doesn't do it again. This is NOT bullying; it was a mean, isolated incident. It still needs to be addressed, but is not bullying. 2.) A student has picked a target and is constantly taking things from her lunch box and desk everyday, calling her names on the bus on the way to school, and pushing her around at recess or after school. This is occurring everyday by the same student. This IS bullying and should be reported immediately to a trusted adult.

We talked about how important it is to tell an adult right away if you think you are being bullied. If you are unsure, just ask and an adult can help you! Adults that can help are: parents, counselors, teachers, principals, bus drivers, school nurses, or any trusted adult! We also discussed that if you don't get help from one adult, keep telling until you do get help! Sometimes adults get so busy and don't understand the severity of what the child is trying to tell them, so I explained to the kids that they need to be very clear on how important and serious it is and keep telling. You can help to by really listening to your kids when they have a deep concern; even if you are used to their concerns not being too serious. You never know when a small problem could turn into a big one.

Here is a great website you can go to for more information on bullying:

October 21 is "Unity Day"! Have your kids wear orange to school, so we can all UNITE against bullying!!

Have a great weekend!! :-)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Listening and Good Communication/Student Council Elections and No Place for Hate Coalition

This week I was in some 2nd grade classrooms and all 4th and 5th grade classrooms. In 4th and 5th grade we learned about how to be clear when we get and receive directions by being specific, checking for understanding, using our best listening skills, etc. Who better to teach us about communication than Amelia Bedelia! ;-) If you know anything about Amelia Bedelia, you know she mixes up a lot of things and takes everything very literally. We read Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping and talked about how both Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, and Amelia Bedelia could have all communicated better so things didn't get mixed up all the time. The students came up with great answers, such as checking for  understanding, asking questions, showing how you want something done, teaching her how to do something, being very specific, not using so many expressions, correcting her mistakes instead of just getting angry and frustrated, and really tuning in and being a good listener when communicating with someone.

Image result for amelia bedelia goes camping

Once we finished the story, I had the students get a little taste of what's it like to have to really tune in and just listen to directions without seeing an example, or being shown what to do. I read them nine steps to draw a picture and I only repeated each direction two times, and did not specify anything beyond what I read. Here were the directions and the what the final product should have looked like: 

Ask your children in 4th and 5th grades to show or tell you what their picture looked like. Ask them to tell you why everyone's looked different and some had some mistakes. Nobody's looked exactly, 100% like mine and all were different sizes. Ask them why. 

In addition to a busy week with guidance lessons and my individual counseling sessions, we also had an exciting week with the Student Council Elections and selecting the members of our No Place for Hate Coalition! The kids running for Student Council Office all did such an amazing job on their speeches this morning!! I know everyone had a tough time voting!! Here they are getting ready to give their speeches this morning! 


Congratulations to our winners for Student Council Office: President- Campbell, Vice President- Brini, Secretary- Kelly, and Treasurer- Audrey

No Place for Hate Coalition members were decided based on the applications they filled out at school. Mayra Rosales, our part-time school counselor selected eight applications with answers that she thought were the best fit for our NPFH coalition. Names were covered up, so she didn't know who each application belonged to and it also helped that she doesn't know most of the kids yet anyway, since she is new this year. This made it completely bias-free and fair for everyone. The competition was extremely tough for this and we had many applications to sift through. Once she had the eight selected, I looked at them as well and definitely agreed they would be great NPFH members.

We congratulate our 5th grade members: Taymour, Preston, Brooke, and Sophie

We also congratulate our 4th grade members: Hector, Enrique, Haylee, and Hannah

It's going to be a great year in NPFH and Student Council! I am excited to get our meetings going and helping to make Oak Hill an even better place than it already is!!

Have a great weekend! :-)