Friday, July 29, 2016

Showing Compassion

One of my most popular classroom lessons this past year was a character education lesson on compassion. My objectives through this lesson were for students to understand the definition of compassion, understand that showing compassion may inspire others to do the same, and correctly identify behaviors that show compassion towards others.

compassion-when we show or tell others that we care how they feel 

I began the lesson by getting student feedback on what compassion means to them. After providing my definition for purposes of the lesson, I read the story Bernice Gets Carried Away, by Hannah E. Harrison. (You can check out some of Hannah's other wonderful books here.)

This story involves a cat named Bernice who, quite literally, gets carried away after repeatedly not getting her way during a friend's birthday party. Eventually, Bernice realizes what she must do in order to return to the party-show compassion and acknowledge that there are others who are having a worse day than her. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and I enjoyed the moment when students realized the double definition of 'getting carried away'. :) 

Afterwards, I de-briefed the story with students, and had them share new ideas for showing compassion to friends, family, teachers, etc. 

I then asked students if it was possible to show compassion to people we don't even know. We discussed making donations, helping younger students in our school, etc. I then showed them the following YouTube video, entitled 'Kindness Boomerang'. 

Students really enjoyed this video. I made sure to process afterwards, seeing if students could recall the acts of compassion that they saw, as well as acknowledge why the video was entitled Kindness Boomerang-due to the acts of kindness or compassion coming back to the gentleman who got it started. I then posted the video on my website for students who wanted to re-watch it at home. 

DATA! I used 'Exit Tickets' to be sure that students met the lesson objectives. Each Exit Ticket included two questions, and I differentiated the tickets for K-2 and 3-5. View a sample of each below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

School Counselor Introduction Lessons

Whew! It's been way too long since I have posted, but I am setting a goal to post more often during the upcoming school year. Speaking of the upcoming year, have you thought about how you will re-introduce yourself & your role to students & staff? I will share the lessons I have done the past two years!

1. The School Counselor Role through Beach Essentials 

I always like to begin my classroom lessons with something to catch the student's attention when I enter-whether this be an outfit, prop, song, etc. That being said, I began this lesson by entering each classroom wearing a snorkel/goggles, flippers, and a beach ball/bag in hand. :)

I explained my role with the following items:

Flippers-The School Counselor will help you to swim successfully through the school year!
Snorkel-The School Counselor can help you take deep breaths & calm down if you are feeling sad, angry, etc.
Goggles-The School Counselor helps you see things more clearly. Ex. Problems with friends, struggles with schoolwork, difficulties at home, etc.
Beach Towel-The School Counselor will help you feel warm & welcome at our school! (Discuss small groups/other programming)
Sunscreen-The School Counselor will help make sure you are safe. (Explain rules of confidentiality here)
Beach Ball-The School Counselor likes to have fun, too! She will visit your classroom and present lessons on all sorts of topics.

2. The School Counselor Wears 'Many Hats'

This past year, my School Psychologist wanted to get in on the introduction lesson action! So often, students refer to our School Psychologist as 'my assistant', or think we have the same job. While there are aspects of our job that are very similar, we thought is was important to use the intro lesson to explain the differences!

The image at left sparked our initial idea, and together, we collected this assortment of hats to explain our roles to students K-5. However, we replaced the detective-looking hat with a Construction Helmet and, similar to the Fireman's Hat, explained how we both work to keep students safe. We also explained confidentiality here. The students anticipated which hat we would pull out next, as well as enjoyed guessing how the type of hat related to our job(s). This list is not finite-I encourage you to think of other 'hats' that you wear within your specific school!

COLLECT THAT DATA!!! I typically use paper-based 'Exit Tickets' to see if students have understood the objective of my lesson. However, scoring & entering these require a lot of additional time that we don't necessarily have! Look for a future post on using Plickers!

I am still on the lookout for an introduction lesson idea to use this upcoming year. Feel free to share your ideas below!