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! :-)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen and Student Council

Another week has flown by and kept me busy! This week I was in all kindergarten, first, and part of second grade classes! We learned all about how to be a good listener, the importance of being a good listener, and the four listening rules. The four listening rules are from our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum are: "eyes watching, ears listening, voice quiet, and body still". We learned you have to do ALL four at the same time to be the best listener you can be and we practiced this a few times.

We also talked about how it can be dangerous if you are not doing your best to pay attention and listen because you could get hurt, like Howard B. Wigglebottom did! Howard B. Wigglebottom is definitely a classroom favorite and they will get to hear several stories about him throughout the year. In this story, Howard starts out having a really hard time listening. He doesn't listen to his friends when they are trying to talk to him, he doesn't listen to his mom, he doesn't listen to the teacher, and gets in trouble often. He got hit by a baseball, slipped on a banana peel, and got his ears stuck in the fan, all because he didn't listen. After having to sit in time out, Howard realizes all of his mistakes and is determined to make a change. He becomes an excellent listener from then on and gets rewarded for all his positive behaviors! It's a fun story, that the kids really love and they even get to sing and dance along to a rap at the end of the story!

You can check out all the Howard B. Wigglebottom videos and activities here for free:

After the video, we completed a listening activity where the kids had to color the clothes on the girl who is pictured being a good listener a specific color. They had to listen carefully for all of my directions, so they didn't color her wrong. They all did a great job with this!


This week was also an exciting week for Student Council! We now have all our class reps decided and are ready to begin with elections for office next week! Student Council reps in 4th and 5th grade will be coming home today with all the campaign guidelines and rules you will need to know! We all met together today to say "congratulations" and learn some important information about next week's elections and the expectations for being in Student Council! I am excited to get another great year started in Student Council with our new reps! Congratulations to everyone who was chosen and good luck if you are running for office!

Have a great weekend! :-)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Student Council and No Place for Hate

We have survived another week of school!!

We are starting to gear up to have our Student Council elections within the next couple of weeks and will be introducing a new process to become a member of No Place for Hate (NPFH). Parents, you can look for a letter that should go home to you today about the Student Council Election process, all the details of the requirements, and what Student Council members will be doing. Students who are interested in joining Student Council filled out applications today in class to let us know why they are interested in joining and why they would be a great asset. Next week, the teachers will hold in class elections to decide on who will be the rep(s) for the classroom.

One rep from every 3rd and 4th grade classroom will be elected, and two reps from each 5th grade classroom will be elected. The numbers will be lower this year, which will help greatly to make the experience more meaningful for each student, as we will be able to have deeper discussions, work on more projects, provide opportunities more easily for every voice to be heard, and provide more leadership opportunities for each, individual child. Next Friday I will have a short meeting with all the elected reps to go over campaigning rules, if they choose to run for office (only 4th and 5th grade students can run for office). I will keep you up to date on everything as we go through the whole process. By Friday, September 25, we will know and announce who our Student Council Officers are for the 2015-2016 school year!

                                                    Last Year's Student Council Members

No Place for Hate Coalition members will be chosen differently this year than the previous years. Students now need to make a decision on which they would like to be a part of, Student Council, or NPFH. You will no longer be able to be a member of both, which will open up more leadership opportunities for students and give them the option of just doing one, since not all students would like to be part of both. NPFH has its own application and these applications will weigh a lot more heavily in deciding who is selected than for Student Council. A team of staff will get together to go over the applications that the students filled out in class and choose eight students (four 4th grade, and four 5th grade) based on those applications to be part of NPFH. These applications are being worked on in class next week, so the students are doing this independently and the answers are their own. I will have a committee look at the applications the week of September 21-25 and we will announce the eight selected members on the 25th along with the Student Council Officers who are selected. Please check out my "No Place for Hate" tab on my blogsite for more information about what NPFH is and what the coalition members help me with!

Last Year's No Place for Hate Coalition and the Wall of Compliments They Made

I am excited to get both of these groups going again!!! They are both very positive, a lot of fun, and provide excellent leadership and service opportunities for our students!!

Have a great weekend! :-)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Introduction to the School Counselor Lessons

It's been a great and busy week! This week and last week I went to all PK-5th grade classrooms assigned to me to introduce myself to those who are new and remind those who have been here what my job is as a school counselor. They also learned how to get a hold of me, if they have a BIG problem. In PK-2nd grades I used my Potato Head to describe how all of my body parts help me to do my job as a school counselor. I had students come up and help put the parts on to the Potato Head and think of ways those parts could help me with my job. For example, my eyes help me to see children's faces so I know how they are feeling. If they have a frown, I will know they are probably sad and if they have a happy face, I might think they are happy. My ears help me to listen, which is super important in my job and what I spend most of the time doing. I explained how my job is to listen to kids, teachers, and parents, and help them with any problems they are having or helping them to sort through different emotions and feelings they may be having. We also discussed how if they come to my office, whatever we talk about is completely confidential and I share it with no one, unless the student is being hurt, hurting themselves, or hurting someone else.

In 3rd-5th grades, I used my "School Counselor First Aid Kit" to describe my job as a school counselor. I had several items in my kit that I pulled out and asked what I might use that for. For example, I pulled out an eraser and the kids came up with "erasing our problems, erasing bad thoughts and replacing them with good ones, and erasing bad memories or feelings." I told them that some problems we can completely erase and some we can't. For example, I said, "If your parents are divorced, I can't make them be married again, but I can help you to feel better about it and help you to learn how to cope with it over time." Another item I had in the kit was a big band-aid and a little band-aid to represent helping to heal our big and little problems.

This led into a discussion on when you can come to my office to see me individually. It needs to be a BIG problem. I explained that there are over 820 kids in this school and only one Ms. Ahumada, so if I saw every student for every "little" problem they have, I would never get anything done and I wouldn't possibly be able to see everyone. The kids gave me examples of big problems, such as parents going through a divorce or fighting a lot, the death of a family member, friend, or pet, being bullied by someone, being hurt by an adult or wanting to hurt themselves or someone else, being extremely anxious about something, having extremely low-self esteem, etc. Little problems are the problems they will be learning how to solve either on their own, with the help of a teacher, or with the help of a parent. For example, if a student says something mean to another student, or even pushes him/her on the playground. This can be solved by talking to the student, or getting the help of a teacher. I come around to teach guidance lessons every couple of weeks to help them learn how to solve their own little problems.

The referral form below is how students can self-refer themselves to see me and I left a stack of these with each teacher. I already had about 6 self-referrals this week! It makes me happy when they know how to meet with me and are comfortable enough to ask me for help! :-)

Now who is ready for a three-day weekend?!?!? ME, ME!!! ;-) I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!