Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bullying Prevention in PreK-grade 2

With our younger students I use constructs from the Bullying Prevention in Positive Behavior Support handbook focusing on giving students the tools to reduce bullying behavior through the blending of school-wide positive behavior support, explicit instruction, and a redefinition of the bullying construct. I like that it teaches one approach, Stop-Walk-Talk, to address all disrespectful behavior because young students have a hard time distinguishing conflict and actual bullying behavior. Th3 52 page manual is a free download at The images above are one of the slides from my presentation in the lower grades and the draw and label response sheet I have my first graders do after I teach the lesson and read "Lucy and the Bully." I also teach the 3 prong response strategy to all teachers as part of our annual update training on bullying prevention.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Literature Based Bullying Prevention Program

Our school uses a literature based bullying prevention program from K-grade 5. These are the books I will be reading in my lesson at the younger grades to address the theme of bullying behavior in October - Bullying Prevention Month. In grades 3-5 the teachers read the books that are part of the Steps to Respect (Classroom Curriculum Kits). The entire school uses the Steps to Respect definition of bullying and uses Safe, Caring, and Respectful behavior expectations. All students are taught an assertive response is usually the best way to handle challenging behavior and to be positive, helpful bystanders or upstanders - not provide an audience or join in. All staff receives annual training on how to respond to disrespectful behavior and what to do if the reported behavior is bullying. Our state requires schools to use a research-based program to address bullying. We have been doing this for 8 years and we evaluate it every June. We have swapped out some of the books over the years as new ones are published that send clear messages about both prosocial and bullying behavior. We use an online Bullying Report Form that you can see on the Counseling page of our school's website.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bullying Prevention Month - Stop Bullying Before It Starts

Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center has a free toolkit for educators for Preschool - grade 3 to go along with The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Two of my volunteers put this up outside my office today and the students walking down the hall got so excited. The Digital Teacher Toolkit allows teachers to stream the movie for free and deliver engaging lessons on bullying prevention

Friday, September 25, 2015

Girls and STEM

My school data profile shows that our female students scored significantly lower than males in grades 3 and 5 in math and science on our state standardized tests. This has been the trend the past two years in grade 3. My SMART goal this year will address this gap. Here is a resource you may want to check out if your school has a similar gap http://www.vsgc.gfb.pdf

Monday, September 21, 2015

Apps to help children sleep

A parent asked me today for resources to help her third grader get to sleep. She explained that since school started each night has gotten worse. After listening to what they had already tried, I gave her my usual recommendations and asked if she also wanted to consider using an app or two to see if one might help. I use a few myself when I have trouble winding down.
Establishing a relaxing routine for bedtime and avoiding exposure to bright light as the body prepares for sleep are important. Reading or being read to gives the child a chance to begin to relax and unwind (along with many other benefits). Some families have found that saying what they are grateful for or writing a gratitude journal entry ends the day on a positive note.
For those children who still have trouble relaxing and allowing sleep to take over, there are a variety of apps. The electronic device could be put on the floor under the bed so the light is not a problem. Children may respond to one of these type of apps: guided meditation, nature sounds or white noise, breathing practice, or relaxing yoga. Some of these are free and others cost less than $5.00.

Preschool – grade 1
Arabian Nights by Relax Kids
Enchanted Meditation

Grades 2 and older
Sleep Meditations for Kids by Christiane Kerr
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Sleep Genius
Smiling Mind
AmbiScience Sleep Aid for Children
Breathing Zone
Stop, Breathe & Think
Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite
Naturespace: Relax Meditate Focus Sleep and Relax
Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep

Yoga in Bed

I welcome additional suggestions.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Welcome Bulletin Board for New Students and Staff

This is the double bulletin board in the front hall of our school. We got lots of compliments on it last night at Back to School Night. We take pictures of all new students at our "Welcome Reception" that I organize and get help with from my school psychologist or librarian. It is hard to change schools so we want our students (and staff) to become known to our learning community. We typically use a theme for 2 years just to save energy and time. Most of the labor is done by my awesome parent volunteer!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Be the 3

Each year I participate in our school safety assemblies where the administrators, PE staff, and counselor(s) talk to each grade level (2-5) about rules, expectations of behavior, and consequences of not meeting expectations. All our school rules are organized around the terms safe, caring, and respectful: classroom, hallway, cafeteria, playground, and bus. I decided to use the theme "Be the 3" this year with the students and ask my wonderful volunteer to make me some posters to use as a visual for the assembly and then serve as a reminder on their grade level hallways. Since we teach Spanish 3 days a week, one hand has the words written in Spanish. I think the poster is attractive and kid friendly and the 3 finger visual is a good reminder.  Anytime a staff member has to talk to a student about behavior, they can just hold up 3 fingers and ask, "I need you to make a choice that is safe, caring, and respectful!"