I recently heard about S.H.A.R.K. (Students Help Achieve Respect & Kindness) Patrol, a program for grades K-3. The goal is help students understand the importance of working together and taking responsibility for our actions.
You can buy the whole kit or just pick and choose your favorite components. I personally love the CD, because the music is very catchy. I use the songs as a way to engage my students at the beginning or end of a lesson. Since my primary students LOVE puppets, I bring in a puppet to help "sing" the songs. You'd be surprised at how funny and enchanting a singing puppet can be. Try it in the mirror with any song...see what I mean?!
If you're a school counselor, then I know you've been asked to, in some capacity, manage bullying and bullying prevention at your building(s). The trouble is, we don't always have materials available to us. I've had to create my own lessons and materials more times than I can count and while I love to exercise my creative muscles, sometimes I need something that's ready to go.
The Captain McFinn website has a lot of great extras too! There are 3 sing-a-long songs (have your puppet ready!), coloring pages, interactive games, and more! Whether you need books, activities, puppets, posters, or songs, you can find it with S.H.A.R.K. Patrol. The kids will love the characters. Check it out!
I can definitely relate to this story. While I may appear extroverted, I have always been an introvert - I have just found ways to mask it when need be (i.e. theatre). I encounter a lot of students who feel that they don't fit in because their interests and needs are different from the other students in their class. The problem with most elementary schools is that the pond is quite small, so students who have more unique interests and personalities may have to wait until junior high, high school, or even college to make lasting, more compatible friendships.
I definitely recommend sharing this story with your students, especially those struggling with their individuality. The artwork by Georgia Stylou is striking and just like the little girl, unique. Enjoy!
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In case you haven't noticed, I love using video clips with my students. It's a fun way to grab their attention and transition into a lesson.
I just found one of the most adorable television shows ever...yes, EVER! Small Potatoes is about four singing potatoes who travel the world making music and making friends. Each three-minute episode contains a song about a specific topic and audio clips of children reflecting on that topic.
Do you have students who are chronically negative? Typically, these children have trouble making and keeping friends, often feeling rejected by their peers and the world at large. This is a "chicken or the egg" situation: Which came first, the rejection or the negativity?
I think it's important to empathize with students who feel excluded, but we still must address what students CAN control. While they cannot control their environment, they can certainly control how they respond to it. We, of course, must be mindful of mental health diagnoses and trauma that may contribute to a student's negativity. Therefore, some of my ideas may not apply to those specific situations.
Children (and, let's face it, many adults) often have little patience for negativity. When students' interventions, such as asking him/her to play or trying to rationalize why something "isn't so bad," do not work, it's easier for them to give up and blame the negative peer for not trying hard enough.
So, what do you do? I always give my students the first few minutes of a session to vent. Then, we move on to the positives so that I don't feed into the negativity and make it worse. For kiddos who struggle with identifying happy thoughts, I create a sticker chart to track all of the positives they can share with me. Each session, they have to name 3 good things in their life. Then, if they are able to complete the task, they add a sticker to the chart. We set a goal for the number of stickers we want to earn and once they reach their goal, they get to pick a prize from my prize box.
In my school district, we have monthly core values. To help promote and teach these positive character traits, I create interactive bulletin boards, utilize my Students of Character Club, and conduct classroom-based counseling lessons.
Every month, I will host a contest open to all school counselors. The challenge is to submit a 30 min. lesson for a K-6 classroom (pick 1 grade) that focuses on the core value of the month.
This month's core value is...