Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Mouth is a Volcano

In kindergarten we read My Mouth is a Volcano written by Julia Cook.  Toward the beginning of the year we read another story about interrupting (see post here) but it's always a good reminder to reinforce appropriate social skills.  Students enjoy this book and end up laughing at the predictable sequence that occurs each time he has a thought - words pop into his head, slide down his tongue, rumble in his tummy, get pushed by his tongue and erupt!  It is only when he is interrupted by others that he starts to feel the effects and changes his behavior.

After the story we brainstormed ideas that we can try when we are about to "erupt."  We wrote them erupting out of a volcano!

Then I had students pick an idea that they would try when they're about to erupt, and write it on this cute printable from Miss Gibson you can download here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Practicing Our Peace Path

One way students can resolve conflict is by using the Peace Path.  The Peace Path is a 7 step process that guides children through effective conflict resolution with peers.  Students complete each step in the process before moving to the next, with each peer completing their part.  You can download a copy of it here.

The Peace Path follows the STEP method that our students are introduced to during their Second Step SEL Lessons.  Each student is given an opportunity to express how they feel and what they need/want.  Their peer shows empathy and understanding by rewording their feelings and wants/needs.

In order to illustrate how quick and easy it is to use, I asked our Principal and Assistant Principal to model the Peace Path for students to watch.

Afterward I had students pick a problem to practice using the path themselves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Juice Box Bully

After learning all about bullying, our first graders were ready to learn more about what to do when they see it happening.  We read The Juice Box Bully written by Bob Sornson & Maria Dismondy to discover ways that we can stand up for each other when we seeing someone being unkind.

After the story we brainstormed ideas that we can try if we see someone being bullied or treated unkindly.  They came up with a huge list of ideas!

Then they created their own juiceboxes to explain what they would do:

Learning about Cyberbullying

In 6th grade we've had increasing reports of inappropriate behavior happening on cell phones and online after school.  In order to prevent cyberbullying and help students be aware of the dangers of cyberbullying, I found a great lesson on CommonSense Media called "Cyberbullying: Crossing the Line.  This lesson helped students learn to distinguish good-natured teasing from cyberbullying by analyzing online bullying behaviors that "cross the line," learning about the various ways that students can be cyberbullied and adopting the point of view of teens who have been cyberbullied and offer solutions.

We started by discussing,
  1. What are some of the ways that you and your friends tease each other online for fun?
  2. When does teasing "cross the line" and become harmful?
  3. What are some signs, and what does it feel like to be in that situation?
We then watched the video "Stacey's Story - When Rumors Escalate."  After the video I mixed up the students into small groups and had them discuss the following:
  • Why did the girls start to harass and threaten Stacey online in the first place?
  • When do you think the girls' behavior "crossed the line"?
  • Stacey says, "People talk really big, when there's like, miles between you." What do you think she means by this statement?
  • In what ways might the online context make the situation worse than if the bully had harassed Stacey offline?
  • Stacey's mom says that Stacey should call the school and report the incidents.  Stacey responds that it would "just make it worse." Do you think this is true?  Why or why not?
Afterward we shared our discussions with the group.  We expanded our discussion to how cyberbullying is different from bullying and what steps to take if something sent to us "crosses the line."

Finally we watched this informational video from

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Weird: Being Me.

In fourth grade we began the first book in Erin Frankel's series, named WeirdWeird tells the perspective of a "target" in a bullying situation occurring at school.  The main character, Luisa, thinks that by changing herself it will end the bullying and relentless teasing.  She eventually learns that the more she is herself, the happier she is and her confidence soars - putting an end to the bullying.

I asked students to think about what makes them "weird" and unique.  What makes you special and different from everyone else?  With these questions in mind, students began a fun & colorful art project to show off who they really are on the inside.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bully Bugs

In first grade we've been reviewing what the term bullying means.  We started by watching this neat hand-drawn video that explains the basics:

Then we created our own bully bugs (inspired by Elementary School Counselor) to learn the 4 important parts of what bullying is:

Holiday Resources in Austin

Middle School Planning Dates

List of Important Dates for 2014-2015 Middle School Planning
AISD Middle School Magnet Choice Fair
Saturday, December 6, 2014, 9:00 am -12:00 pm Ann Richards

Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders
Showcase:  Saturday, January 24, 2015, 10:00 am – 12:00pm
Application Due:  February 6, 2015

Einstein Jr. Advanced Academic Program
Choice sheet Showcase:  January 20, 2015 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Application process begins in January.  Application due February 6, 2015 by 4:30

Fine Arts Academy
Waiting for updated application

Fulmore Magnet for the Humanities and Law
Parent Info Night:  November 5, 2014, 6:00-7:00
Shadow Request Due:  December 18, 2014 at 4:00

Evening of Wonder Showcase:  Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Testing Sessions:
Session 1 January 10, 2015  8:00am – 10:00am or 11:00am – 1:00pm at Fulmore
Session 2 January  31, 2015  8:00am-10:00am or 11:00 – 1:00pm at Fulmore
Session 3 During shadowing
**Essay must be completed during shadowing or by appointment in the Fulmore Office.**  No outside essays will be accepted.
Application Due: February 6, 2015, by 4:00

Kealing Magnet for Liberal Arts and Sciences
Showcase:  January 15, 2015, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Application due if shadowing:  January 23, 2015 by 4:30pm
If not shadowing, application due:  February 6, 2015 by 4:30pm
Testing Sessions:
Session 1:  Saturday, January 17, 2015, 8:00 am-10:00 am A-L or 11:00 am -1:00 pm M-Z
Session 2:  Saturday, January 24, 2015, 8:00am – 10:00 am M-Z or 11:00am-1:00pm A-L
Session 3: During shadowing
**30 minute essay to be completed during testing session or shadowing**

Lamar Fine Arts Academy
Application/Audition Workshop:  December 6, 2014, 10:00 am-12:00 pm at Lamar Cafeteria
Lamar Open House:  December 11, 2014, 8:30 am – 11:00 am
Application Due:  December 12, 2014
Letters for Auditions go out:  January 5, 2015
 Auditions:  January 17, 2015, 9:00 am-3:00 pm Lamar
Shadowing:  During month of February

Online applications available for Green Academy and Tech Academy for students not in attendance zone
Register for essay test by January 15, 2015
Application due:  January 16, 2015, 4:00 pm
Essay Requirement:  Saturday, January 17, 2015, 10:00am -12:00pm
                               Saturday, January 24, 2015, 10:00am -12:00pm

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bully B.E.A.N.S.

In second grade we've begun our conversations about bullying.  The term "bullying" is often thrown around in conversation when actual bullying is not taking place.  It's important for us to teach our students the true meaning of the word "bullying" so they use it properly and can help inform others.  A great story that I like to use to introduce bullying is Bully B.E.A.N.S. by Julia Cook.

In the story a character named Bobette does not treat other friends kindly.  One of the students that is targeted by Bobette goes home upset and tells her mom about what has been happening.  Her mother has the remedy: Bully B.E.A.N.S.!  Bully B.E.A.N.S. are magic jelly beans that when chewed up remind kids that they have the power to stop bullies.  The B.E.A.N.S. stands for:
Although students find out that the Bully B.E.A.N.S. are just regular jelly beans, they enjoy the fact that these little colorful beans have given the characters in the story the courage to stand up to bullies.  After eating a handful of our own bully B.E.A.N.S. (that I bring in a fancy jar), we then brainstorm possible solutions of what we can do when bullying occurs.  Students use these ideas and more of their own to complete the handout, demonstrating they know what to do if a bullying situation should occur.  You can download the handout I used here from Nicole Freed's TeachersPayTeachers shop.

I also created this easy to read poster to hang in their classrooms as a reference for when they think they might be in a bullying situation.  You can download it here.