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In December, I highlighted an educational and super adorable television series called Small Potatoes, which was created by Little Airplane Productions, Inc.
Little Airplane, as described on their website, "specializes in quality film and television programming for young children." They have created many outstanding shows, such as The Wonder Pets, 3rd & Bird, and Tobi! One of my favorites, which was recommended to me by one of my readers, is The Olive Branch.
The Olive Branch is part of Little Airplane's non-profit wing, Little Light Foundation. Each 1 minute episode is meant to model effective conflict resolution strategies, but does so without using words. This way, the message can be understood by anyone, anywhere, which is quite beautiful.
"The children of today are the global citizens of tomorrow. They will play and ultimately work with people from different countries and different cultures. Tolerance, the ability to see and incorporate diverse points of view, and the skill to forge win-win solutions will soon be the most important skills we teach our children. It's never to early to lay the groundwork of these skills."
While researching Little Airplane, I was lucky enough to speak with Tone Thyne, Supervising Producer for the company. We discussed how their shows are made, the dreams for The Olive Branch, and ways that fans can get involved.
We also talked about an exciting and unique aspect of Little Airplane: Little Airplane Academy, a 3-day intensive workshop in New York for those interested in created their own preschool series. Participants are able to meet with influential network executives during a panel discussion. There's still time to apply for the upcoming February 9-11 session. Interested? Then, contact Tone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okay, so better late than never, right? I've been a bad blogger and never finished Pixar Week! Yikes! I've had 2 straight weeks of rehearsals and performances, so I am a little out of sorts. I apologize for being much more unavailable than in previous months. Please forgive me, lovely and intelligent school counselors...no, I'm not picking up clever (but still bad!) habits from my students.
Alright, now to the final Pixar short film of the "week." Day & Night is a thought-provoking movie about two completely different people who have a hard time getting along. There are, however, 2 potentially inappropriate parts of the film that I think you should know about. First, there is a scene when one cartoon is punching the other. Second, there is a scene when one cartoon is oogling a girl in a bikini. Besides those concerns, Day & Night is pure genius and great for our elementary students.
As I'm sure you may have noticed, I have a slight obsession with Pixar. Their films have depth and substance, creatively expressing the importance of building character. Both their full-length and short films have a magical way of teaching our students why making good choices is in their best interest.
Now, on to the first short film! "Partly Cloudy," as you can see in the trailer below, is about a world where clouds create little bundles of joy (babies, puppies, kittens, and other adorable creatures) for storks to deliver to loving homes. However, within this sugary sweet world lives a gloomier cloud who likes to create more unique and, at times, unappreciated gifts, such as sharks, crocodiles, and porcupines. This cloud's poor stork is visibly exhausted and falling apart at the seams. One day, the storm cloud's stork friend flies to a neighboring cloud - when old gloomy sees this, his thundering anger builds and his rain tears fall. But, have no fear! The weakened stork returns with a bundle of his own: a helmet and shoulder pads to help make the journeys easier.
So, how could a school counselor use this story? I think there are two excellent ways.
1. The storm cloud has a hard time expressing his feelings, so this movie could spark discussion on how to positively manage strong emotions.
2. Sometimes students who are outside the mainstream are confused why the general population doesn't reach out to be their friend. I think "Partly Cloudy" could help these students reflect on the importance of the quality of their friends vs. the quantity. Being unique is great, but it can also make it more challenging to find great friend matches. It's hard being friends with someone you don't have anything in common with, so naturally, if you think and act outside the box, then you'll have fewer great friends at your disposal. Therefore, you need a plan for how to seek out the right peers.
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!
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.
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...
My name is Marissa Rex and I am a 1st Grade teacher and an elementary school counselor from Ohio. I hope you enjoy my site!