Each week I meet with each class K-5. In the past, these classes have been called “Guidance.” I am starting to transition away from this term and moving towards calling the classes something else. For now, I’ll refer to them as Class Councils. Your child will likely still hear it as Guidance. I’m working on a post to explain the reasoning for this switch so stay tuned.
This page will be used to let you know what your child is working on during out time together. My hope is to give a brief explanation of the weekly lesson and provide any resources that might be useful to reinforce the topics at home. As always, let me know if you have any questions!
First week of school: During the first few weeks of school we are going to be working on the concept of “How to be a learner.” I will be using some different books with familiar characters to address this topic. For the first week, the kids met Howard. B. Wigglebottom. Howard is a bunny that tends to find himself in some hard situations. Together we read, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen. We used this book to help identify what a listening learner looks and acts like. We then spent some time practicing our listening skills. If you get a chance, ask your child about Howard B. Wigglebottom and get them to show you how they can listen with their eyes, ears and body.
Week of September 5th: This week we are continuing our work on how to be learners. One thing that can be really hard for kids at this age and developmental level is to understand and give personal space. I always think about this age as being like a pack of puppies, piled on top of each other. To help get the first graders thinking about personal space, we read the book Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook. If you don’t already know Julia Cook’s books, check her out. She is really good. Anyway, we learned that personal space and outer space are two different things. We practiced how to know if you were not giving someone enough personal space and how to tell how much space you need. I used a hula hoop to give a good visual to the amount of space most people are comfortable with. The kids really enjoyed seeing how uncomfortable it would be if we tried to fit too many people into the hoop. You might consider practicing this at home too and talking with your child about personal space.
Week of September 12th: We are continuing to work on how to be learners at school. Last year I spent many weeks working on mindfulness with this group of kids. We used mindfulness and movement to practice listening, staying in our own space, and being kind with self and others. This week we revisited our mindful movement classes. The kids were really great at remembering how to sit with mindful bodies. Ask your child to show you what looks like! Then we practiced being very quiet for about 15 seconds. The kinds were tasked with listening deeply to the sounds around them. They picked out all sorts of sounds in the quiet that they might have otherwise missed. Finally, we used the book My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss to talk about emotions and make shapes with our bodies like we found in the book. The kids turned from energetic horses to quiet green fish. In between each movement pose they would return to their mindful bodies. They did AWESOME at this. It was really fun to see how much they have grown from last year.
Week of September 19th: Last week we practiced being mindful listeners. The kids are getting really good at sitting quietly and listening for environmental sounds. This week we added some mindful looking activities. I challenged the class to sit quietly and observe their surroundings. They needed to find two or three things that they had never noticed before. They found all sorts of good things in class and then used those looking skills when we used a book for mindful movement.
We used the book A Camping Spree with Mr. McGee by Chris Van Dusen to go on a movement adventure. The kids took the shapes of trees, mountains, dogs, waterfalls and even marshmallows. In between each pose we practiced getting back into their mindful bodies. We are working really hard to show we are listening using our bodies, eyes and ears. If you get a chance practice this at home. How can your kids teach you about being mindful listeners and learners?
Week of October 3rd:
This week I introduced a new character to the first grade classes. This character is Shubert. Shubert is a lightening bug who goes to school. The Shubert series is part of the Conscious Discipline work that all AOS 91 elementary school teachers have been trained in. This approach integrates social-emotional learning, discipline, and self-regulation to teach kids critical learning and conflict management skills. It is a lovely, concrete and rich approach. Anyway, the Shubert series is for kids to help them with their social-emotional learning and intelligence.
This week, Shubert went to his first day of school. There was a conflict with another student and our character learned safe and appropriate ways to stand up for himself. This was identified as Shubert learning use his “big voice.” This big voice isn’t a loud and aggressive voice, rather it is a firm voice that states what you don’t like and what you would like to see happen.
After reading the book we practiced using our big voices. Here is an example.
“I don’t like it when you pushed me in line. Please stay in your own space.”
To reinforce this at home have your kids practice using their big voice!