Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Body Image Concerns and Resources

Kids are starting to develop concerns about body image at younger ages than you might think, According to a 2015 report by Common Sense Media body image is learned very young. Children are aware of body issues and methods to control body size and appearance by the time they are preschoolers, and many young children start exhibiting socially motivated distortions in their body perceptions. The report, Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image, is a compilation of the existing research on how kids and teens feel about their bodies, "I think there's a lot of talk about teens and body image, and many parents become aware of that when kids hit puberty, but kids as young as 5 are already expressing a desire for a body that is thinner than their current self or future self," said the author of the report. More than half of girls and one-third of boys as young as 6 to 8 think their ideal weight is thinner than their current size.By age 7, one in four kids has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior. I encourage you to read the report body-image-report.pdf
CNN reporter Kelly Wallace used the Common Sense Media report to put together a special story with videos and a summary of key points in the research that is very informative http://body-image-kids-younger-ages/
What can we do to help young students develop a positive body image?
Kids Matter has a great article with the reason why schools need to be involved as well as tips for working with parents I incorporate biblio counseling in many of my lessons and small groups. A great summary of good books on this important topic is at Celebrating Every Body: 25 Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls I want to add 2 of my own new favorites The Inner-Beauty Secret by Keisha Howard (2015) that I have shared before and Julia Morphs and Learns to Accept Herself by Rosalinde Block (2017). These are both available from  Both these books speak to kids who are anxious about being “different,” to recognize the unique, inner beauty that is within them.  There are posters available to download to accompany Julia Morphs. In my school body image is a hot topic among our second grade girls (and parents) so this is where I am using these two books on self-acceptance.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

No Name Calling Week Wrinkled Ralph Lesson

Second Step first grade lesson "Handling Name-Calling" teaches students to first breathe to calm down, try ignoring, and if it continues be assertive. Tell the other child "I don't like being called that name. I want you to stop." If it continues, tell an adult. I use wrinkled Ralph as the hook for the lesson. I begin with a blank outline and just the name tag that says Ralph. I then talk about how sometimes kids make fun and change peers names like "Rotten Ralph" and then discuss other common types of name-Calling (appearance, skills, etc.). The red labels have mean names and I wrinkle the figure as I stick them on the outline. You can take them off and let them see the wrinkles are still there - just like mean names get stuck in a person's head. The Blushful Hippopotamus is a cute story where the hippo's sister calls him mean names, but his friend changes them all into kind words. I have them write down 6 kind things to say to a peer, like the friend in the book. The main idea of the lesson is "Words Can and Do Hurt" and school is always a No Name-Calling Zone, not just this week.

Friday, January 13, 2017

No Name-Calling Week Quit Calling Me A Monster

Need a book for next week...I think my Kindergarten and first graders will enjoy this. I am going to use it with the Second Step lesson on Name-calling.

Teaching Self-regulation to Children

Back in 2014 I wrote about the value of Chapin's book, "Helping Young People Learn Self-regulation" that includes physical, emotional, and cognitive strategies. Self-regulation is a set of skills necessary for academic success, emotional control and healthy social interaction. I have used the theory and activities from this book for the past few years mostly in small tier 2 groups with students who need more support to manage stress related behavior.
This new Self-Regulation Smart Guidance resources has 10 interactive skill-building lessons. Use it on your computer or Smart Board to teach and reinforce the skills Chapin outlined in his first book. (Note: There is also a teen version of the book.) This tool can used for individuals, small groups, or classrooms. The technology provides an engaging format and the detailed lessons give specific talking points and scripted instructions. It is easy to download all the lesson plans that include high quality worksheets for each lesson. The lessons must be taught in the order they are arranged on the DVD. Chapin emphasizes learning to regulate the body must always come first, followed by emotions, and finally cognitive skills. The lessons on the DVD use language that explain strategies in kid friendly terms. For example, use soft words like some rather than extreme words like always. I am trying out these new lessons on my third and fourth grade self-regulation tier 2 groups. Both these resources are published and available through

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Historical Picture Book on Segregation

I was about the same age as the girls in this book when I realized black kids had separate and unequal schools. Growing up in a all white neighborhood I did not realize many of the limits placed on people of color. One summer my camp went to the black school to play volleyball. I had never been in a run down school with ceiling tiles falling and a ripped net. That is when I really got it that all kids were not being treated equally. My second realization came when my brother wanted his black friend to come to his Halloween Party and my mom told him if he included that friend they could not trick-or-treat because many of our neighbors would not open their door if a black child knocked. My brother never went trick-or-treating again. This book does a terrific job of showing how some black people "fought" against Jom Crow by supporting one another. It is a perfect read aloud as we approach MLK day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Four Simple Questions

Byron Katie uses the four questions and turnarounds to help children manage difficult emotions and fearful thoughts. To turnaround fear and stress challenge the irrational thoughts with 1) Is it true? 2) Can you absolutely know that it's true? 3) How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? and 4) Who would you be without the thought? I work with anxious kids every day and for my K-grade 3 students these 2 books are terrific to help them dispute their negative thoughts and uncomfortable emotions. There are many free resources on Katie's website

Monday, January 9, 2017

Positive Self-Talk

One of the skills I teach at every grade level is positive self-talk. I really like counselor Sara Parker's Annoying Nonsense Thoughts.THe book teaches children to turn negative thoughts into a HAWK thought: Happy, Awesome, Wonderful, Knowledge. This is a good general self-regulation skill and especially good for children who are frequently anxious or angry. Her website has terrific ideas for counselors and parents She also leads MindUp groups (the program we use at our school) and uses DBT with adults. She has another book P.E.S.T. that you will want to own as well.