Sunday, October 19, 2014

Parent Conference Day

On Parent Conference Day I will be available on the first floor to answer questions you may have and I will have a variety of handouts on many subjects.  Included in the handouts are:  parenting tips, sleep questions answered, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, booster seat safety, how to handle tantrums, nutrition information, Hopkinton Student Support team, Anger Management, Developmental milestones and much more.  All of the handouts have simple tips and information that you can put into practice with your own family. Please stop by to see if there is anything of interest or simply to say hello.  It's not often that I'm able to see so many parents at one time and I'm excited about the opportunity.  Hope to see you on Thursday!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

The End of Bullying Begins with me is the message during National Bullying Prevention Month.  Students and adults are encouraged to take an active role in bullying prevention to inspire, educate and involve others to prevent bullying. 

What is bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. There are four broad forms of bullying, including, Physical Bullying, Verbal Bullying, Cyber Bullying, and Social Bullying.  Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions.  Physical bullying includes:  hitting, kicking, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone’s things, and making mean or rude hand gestures. Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things.  Verbal bullying includes teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, and threatening to cause harm. Cyber bullying is defined as bullying using electronic devices, such as cell phones, computers, and tablets, or other communication tools, including social media sites, text messages, chat rooms, and websites.  Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes: leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, and embarrassing someone in public.

Research states the following characteristics to be the reasons most students are bullied:
  • Appearance or body size
  • Perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
  • Degree of masculinity or femininity
  • Performance in school
  • Race/ethnicity/national origin and/or religion
  • Low-income household
  • Youth with disabilities and other special health needs

The following are common myths about students who bully:
* Students who bully are loners.
* Students who bully have low self-esteem and are insecure.
* Bully occurs because students want attention.
* Bullying behavior is a normal part of children being children.
* Only boys bully others.

The following are possible indicators of students who are bullied:
* Physical signs like torn, damaged, or soiled clothing; unexplained cuts, bruises, and     scratches; missing or damaged personal items like books or homework without a credible explanation.
* Students who are socially isolated.
* Students who become truant or have frequent claims of physical ailments in order to be allowed to go home.
* Students who begin doing poorly in school and receive declining grades.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Test anxiety techniques

Many students and adults experience test anxiety.  It’s helpful to know what test anxiety is and how to work through it in order to be successful.  Test anxiety is actually a type of performance anxiety.  Performance anxiety is when a person feels worried about how they will do on a task.  Some symptoms of anxiety are to feel butterflies, a stomach ache, or a headache.  Some people might feel shaky, sweaty or feel their heart beating quickly as they wait for the test or the event to occur.  A student with really strong test anxiety may even feel like they might throw up or pass out.  When you are under stress, your body releases the hormone adrenaline, which prepares it for danger.  The adrenaline causes the physical symptoms – sweating, pounding heart, and rapid breathing.
Many people feel anxiety prior to a event.  In fact, a manageable amount of anxiety can be helpful, it keeps us focused and drives us to do our best.  But when your symptoms take over so that you can’t function, you might not be able to perform the task.  Many people focus on the bad things that could happen and it makes them feel more worried.  These thoughts make people even more upset which makes the anxiety even stronger and they are then unable to concentrate. 
What do you do when you have these anxious feelings and how can you manage them?  Ask for help! Just talking to someone can make you feel better.  Together you can come up with solutions to use when faced with anxiety.  Be prepared and learn to forgive/accept mistakes –this helps ease the unknown and makes you feel more confident.  Expect the best and accept mistakes and you will be ready to do your best.  Don’t forget to breathe!  Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale out your mouth.  Repeat your breathing until your body feels calm.  Use positive self-talk (I can do this, I’m prepared, I know this) to replace the negative self-thought.  Visualization (picturing a safe/calm place or picturing yourself completing the task with confidence) can be used as a tool to calm down and relax.  You might have noticed that all of these techniques having to do with changing what we say, see and feel.  The mind and body are tightly woven together and when anxious feelings occur often the body is not working as one cohesive unit.  Students and adults alike need to practice these techniques in order to use them efficiently.