Monday, March 30, 2020

50 Ways to Take a Break

Dear Families,
As we work through all of this, we all need to remember to take breaks to keep us healthy and reduce our stress levels.  I have attached a link to a graphic that gives you some ideas.



50 Ways to Take a Break

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Dear Families,
Here is a resource that I received from a colleague that you might find helpful.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/126USzVrUWMefti46SMfoZ-4aXhL7ocjD/view

Kindergarten/1st grade Problem solving lesson

Dear Families,
Here is another Social/Emotional learning opportunity idea for your children. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Lesson objective: To have students identify the size of the problem and come up with strategies on how to solve it.  
Lesson: 
*Students will choose one problem to problem solve and they will identify what the size of the problem is (small, medium, big): 
  1. Someone stepped in front of you in line.
  2. You accidentally ripped a page in a library book.
  3. You want to play with someone but they said no.
*Students will brainstorm five solutions to the problem they chose.  
*For each solution they will ask the following questions: How do I feel? What is the problem? What can I do?
*Students will then choose a solution based on the answers to the above questions. 


Parent tip: When mediating disputes between children, always first ask “What is the problem?” even if it seems clear. After re-phrasing the problem in a neutral manner have everyone suggest solutions.


Below is the family letter I recently sent out to reference to for this lesson.
The next unit the students and I will be discussing is the “Size of the Problem''.  This is a term coined by the Social Thinking curriculum, socialthinking.com, and it emphasizes that all problems are not created equal. Children face commonplace problems such as a paper cut or problems as complicated as having to cope with a family tragedy. When working with kids we talk about problems in three sizes: small problems, medium problems, and big problems. Regardless of scale, the hidden rule in problem solving with preschool and elementary school age children is that we are expected to react to problems in a manner that matches (or is smaller than) the size of the problem. This is where social problem solving can get tricky. A problem that is perceived by one person as being small could cause a big reaction. Not only does this mismatch create more anxiety in the individual, it can also limit the effectiveness of solving the current problem while at the same time creating a new problem.
Figuring out the size of the problem is the first step in being able to match our emotional reaction accordingly. Small Problems are defined as those that can be pretty easily solved on our own, despite us possibly feeling a little sad, annoyed, or worried. For instance: having to sharpen a pencil point that broke, doing homework even when we don’t want to, or not getting called on by the teacher.
Medium problems require someone’s help, often an adult, to solve. That said, it is expected that kids help solve medium problems. Some examples include figuring out a math problem, a friend not wanting to play with them at recess, or forgetting their lunch at home. Medium problems often make us feel some degree of mad, sad, confused, frustrated, or worried.
A big problem makes us feel really scared, hurt, worried, or upset. Big problems are solved by an adult. For instance: being bullied, getting very sick or injured, or dealing with unfortunate events outside of our direct control. Even adults usually need help solving big problems!
Helping our students learn to recognize the size of their problem and examining the related size of their emotional reaction is an important part of teaching social problem solving.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

2nd/3rd grade Problem solving lesson

Dear Families,
Here is another social/emotional lesson plan idea that you can use with your children during this time.  Please let me know if you have any questions!
Lesson objective: To have students identify the size of the problem and come up with strategies on how to solve it.  
Lesson: 
*Students will choose one problem to problem solve and they will identify what the size of the problem is (small, medium, big): 
  1. You accidentally broke a mug and nobody saw it happen.
  2. You argued with a friend and now you want to make up with them. 
*Students will identify how they are feeling. Students will come up with a plan on how to proceed in solving this problem. 
*Students will name the problem and then they will identify five solutions that could be used.
*For every solution they will ask the following questions: Is it safe? How might people feel about it? Is it fair? Will it work?
*Students will choose one solution to use based on the answers to the problem solving questions.  


Parent tip: Help children label their feelings as they arise and help them understand why they might be feeling a particular emotion.  Listening and watching for feelings and reflecting what you notice back to your child is one way to do this. 


Below is the family letter I recently sent out to reference to for this lesson.
The next unit the students and I will be discussing is the “Size of the Problem''.  This is a term coined by the Social Thinking curriculum, socialthinking.com, and it emphasizes that all problems are not created equal. Children face commonplace problems such as a paper cut or problems as complicated as having to cope with a family tragedy. When working with kids we talk about problems in three sizes: small problems, medium problems, and big problems. Regardless of scale, the hidden rule in problem solving with preschool and elementary school age children is that we are expected to react to problems in a manner that matches (or is smaller than) the size of the problem. This is where social problem solving can get tricky. A problem that is perceived by one person as being small could cause a big reaction. Not only does this mismatch create more anxiety in the individual, it can also limit the effectiveness of solving the current problem while at the same time creating a new problem.
Figuring out the size of the problem is the first step in being able to match our emotional reaction accordingly. Small Problems are defined as those that can be pretty easily solved on our own, despite us possibly feeling a little sad, annoyed, or worried. For instance: having to sharpen a pencil point that broke, doing homework even when we don’t want to, or not getting called on by the teacher.
Medium problems require someone’s help, often an adult, to solve. That said, it is expected that kids help solve medium problems. Some examples include figuring out a math problem, a friend not wanting to play with them at recess, or forgetting their lunch at home. Medium problems often make us feel some degree of mad, sad, confused, frustrated, or worried.
A big problem makes us feel really scared, hurt, worried, or upset. Big problems are solved by an adult. For instance: being bullied, getting very sick or injured, or dealing with unfortunate events outside of our direct control. Even adults usually need help solving big problems!

Helping our students learn to recognize the size of their problem and examining the related size of their emotional reaction is an important part of teaching social problem solving.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Kindergarten/1st grade Zones of Regulation lesson

Dear Families,
I thought it might be helpful to post some social/emotional learning ideas while students are home. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Lesson objective overview: Have students self-monitor which tools they are using and how beneficial they are.  Students will then increase their use of tools to aid in self-regulation and generalize the use of their tools to a variety of settings. 


Lesson: 
  1. Have students brainstorm “tools” they can use to help with self-regulation.  These can include: Taking deep breaths, taking a walk, talking to an adult, exercising, reading, taking a break.
  2. Once you have established 5-7 tools put them on a graph and have the student mark how often they used the tool.
Below is a graph example:


Tools I can try: 






























































2nd/3rd grade Zones of Regulation lesson

Dear Families,
I thought I would send along some social/emotional lesson plans for you to review at home.  As always let me know if you have any questions!


Lesson objective overview: In this activity, students will learn a different way to solve problems using the STOP, OPT, GO concept. Many students who struggle with self-regulation have difficulty with impulse control and with problem solving alternative solutions to conflicts.  Often students get stuck on one way to do something and have difficulty trying other people’s ideas or alternatives. This concept helps students sort through solutions, reflecting on which solutions will be most beneficial in regulating them and resolving the conflict. Please reference my blog on the Zones of Regulation for clarification.  


Lesson:
  1. Instruct the student that they will learn how to Stop (Take a second to think), Opt (consider options, some will be better than others) and Go (Choose which option helps you manage your emotions and behavior the best). 
  2. Tell students that when they find themselves moving to the Red Zone (Feelings of anger, out of control behaviors) they need to stop.  When students are in the yellow zone (Feelings of scared/nervous, loss of some control) they want to slow down and think of as many options as possible.  
  3. Have students pick one situation from below:
You lost a game, you don’t like what you have for lunch, you are dealing with unexpected changes in your daily schedule. 

  1. Verbally walk them through which Zone (Green, Yellow, Red) they would be in and their options and help them choose which one they would like to attempt.  

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reach out if you need support

Dear Families,
These are stressful times for all of us.  I wanted to reach out and reassure you that I am available for any support for your child and your family.  I'm sure our anxiety is all on different levels but we are all feeling it in some capacity.
While it's not always easy to recognize when kids are stressed out, short-term behavioral changes such as mood swings, acting out, changes in sleep patterns, or bedwetting can be indications.  Some kids have physical effects, including stomachaches and headaches. Still others become withdrawn and want to spend time alone.
World news can and does cause stress.  So what can we do to help support our children? Talk to them about what they've seen and heard. Make time for them everyday whether they need to talk or just be with you, make yourself available.  When you express interest in their activities and what they are thinking you show your kids they're important to you.  Don't forget that proper rest, routine, fresh air and healthy eating help all of us cope with our stress.
Remember that some level of stress is normal, let your kids know that it is alright to have lots of different feelings and that they are not alone in those feelings. Reassure them that we are all working together to get through these difficult situations.
I plan on posting to my blog daily with helpful tips, ideas and lesson plans.  If there is something in particular that you would like me to research and write about please let me know.
Please don't hesitate to reach out via email if you have any questions and/or concerns.

I'm thinking of all of you as we navigate through.

Sincerely,

Jackie Kleiner
HMS Counselor