I'm Torn

Monday, January 26, 2015

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

So we have probably all told a little white lie if not a big whopper.  Today I addressed lying with my kindergarten friends.  I asked them first if they knew what it meant to have a "monkey on their back".  You can probably imagine the responses I heard: "It's when a monkey is hanging on your back because it's your friend!" and even "My sister had a monkey on her head one time when we went to the zoo!"  I responded with, "Really?  They usually keep the animals in their cages."  Her response to this, "Yes, they let her get in the cage with the monkeys."  Another friend says, "Well, that would be very dangerous."  AND so, the lesson on lying started.
I asked if any of them had ever told a lie, even a little lie.  Half the class raised their hands (we know who was telling the truth, don't we?).  I told them about Howard B. Wigglebottom having a problem with telling the truth and we listened to the story from We Do Listen website.  (All of the Howard B. Wigglebottom stories are there to listen too, including songs, activities and posters!)  We had so much fun singing and dancing to the song, "Telling the Truth is Cool" when the story finished---which is a great song to have stuck in your head!

I have to admit, I think an object lesson really helps lock the message in those little brains!  So....I have two of them for lying.  Since Howard was carrying around that monkey which grew with each lie, I decided to have the kids put on an empty back pack.  I chose one student to wear the one I brought in.  I then gave an example of how a lie can get bigger and bigger or how multiple lies feel like we are carrying around some pretty heavy stuff!  Each time I added to the lie, I added a book to the back pack.  At first it was easy to carry around the back pack.  As I added more lies it became much more difficult to do things like sit in their chair or try running.  We talked about how easy it is to stretch the truth sometimes, but that it is really telling a lie.  The kids really "got this"!

Next week we will read "Lying Up a Storm" by Julia Cook.  Great book that is just out that talks about the feelings we get when we lie.  This book that helps kids understand there are consequences when telling a lie and also stresses how one lie often leads to another.  I love this quote from the book:  
"Whenever you tell a lie, your inside sun goes away.  
Then a lying cloud forms, and glooms up your day.  
Each time you tell a lie, another cloud starts to form, 
and before you can stop it from happening, your insides start to storm."

Object Lesson #2:
When I thinking of a storm at this time of year, I think of a snow storm.  When we get a snow storm, it's a mess of snow to clean up!  So I decided to dig out some Insta-Snow which I found at a teachers supply store in the science section.  It's really fun stuff. 

 With Insta-Snow, you start with a small amount ( a couple of tablespoons) in a cup or bowl.  Tell the kids that this represents the lie.  Add to it a little bit at a time each time you "add to the lie".  When you are ready to tell the final part of the lie, where the truth really comes out, add the water.  Just like that it expands and you have  A LOT of snow!  I like to take it an toss it on the floor to show what a mess a lie can make (don't worry, it cleans up really easy).  This is when the discussion really gets going and you can talk about the mess you can get yourself into when you tell a lie.  I like to let the kiddos lead the discussion and just throw in a  few questions to keep it going.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Who is your Super Hero?

Character Counts Week and we are focusing on our theme:
Good Character is our Super Power! 
(Thanks for sharing the idea counselor friends!)
Today was dress like your super hero!  There are many we could choose from and it was kind of a challenge to get our little ones at school to understand the concept, especially when Halloween is around the corner.  We had kids dressed up so many ways.  Some dressed like their parents.  One little girl told me she was going to dress like another classmate because she follows class rules so well.  We had policemen and princesses.  Our staff decided it would be fun to dress up like our principal, since him and one of our janitors are the only males in the building! The kids kept saying, "Hi Mr. Jenness!" to all of us.  
So, who is your super hero?  
Who do you look up to?
Who do you see using their good character as a super power on a daily basis?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Love Who You Are!

 One of my special guests, who comes to my class twice a week to share about alcohol prevention, shared with me after class today about what she had seen on Dancing With the Stars.  I had to go find it right away because it hits right home with Bully Prevention Awareness Month.  We visited about memories we had, both of being on the receiving end of mean behavior and also of making someone be on the receiving end of our mean behavior.  Bullying sticks with us either way.  I remember crying because of kids making fun of my last name, Hellinga.  You can about imagine what kids can say when you have "Hell" in your last name.  It hurt.  I think by the time I got to high school I had figured out some basic survival skills in dealing with mean comments if I heard them because I don't remember too much from those years as far as mean behavior.  

I often wonder about how I was to other people.  I wonder how many people remember me as a good friend or remember me as someone who teased or made fun of others.  I hope it is the good friend.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Noodle Breaks!

We all need to give our brains a break every now and then.  I love using Brain Breaks with classes.  It serves several purposes.  They can be used to energize a group after lunch or calm a class before a test.  They help get the blood flowing, stretch, increase flexibility, improve coordination and focus.   PLUS they are FUN!!  I love getting into the movement with the kids.  I found Go Noodle that has so many great brain breaks to share.   I also found some info Action for Healthy Kids site that tells the benefits of exercise and using brain breaks.  I hope you will check it out and give your noodle a break also.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ready or not! Here it comes!

I remember being a kid and all the excitement I felt about school starting.  We would go shopping for new school supplies and an new outfit for the first day of school.  Mom would always take our picture as my siblings and I stood there together holding our school bags with our "stuff".  We couldn't wait to get to school and meet our new teacher and find out who was in our class and if we were lucky enough to have a friend next to our desk.  
Some things don't change.  As an educator, I still get to experience the thrill of the new school year starting.  I get to take the pictures of my kids on the first day and even be a part of that picture!  (Maybe this year we will take "selfies".)  Even though I have a list of what I love about the school year starting, I do have a little sadness to see summer end.  So.....I'm going to focus on what I LOVE about school starting.  Here is my list:
1.  Seeing the kids return!  (My goodness how they change over summer!)
2.  The shiny floors in the halls at school.
3.  New shoes and a new outfit to start the year!
4. New markers!
5.  Seeing my teacher friends and sharing the excitement of the first day with them.
6.  Helping the kindergarten mom's say good-bye to their kids and reassuring them that they are in good hands at school. 

These are the things I love.  Oh, I could go on and on but I won't because it is time to call it a day and go home and spend the last night of summer with my family.

One of my teacher "peeps" shared this with us today and I thought it was worth sharing on my blog. I love this kid!   Hope you enjoy and hope you all have a great school year!  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Beginnings!

I apologize for taking a bit of a break from my blog.  I guess life took over and I had to take care of other responsibilities and obligations. 

I am so excited to be starting a new adventure in my professional life.  I am now beginning my term on the ISCA (Iowa School Counselor Association) board.  My position this year is president elect-elect, which means my responsibilities include being in charge of the conference breakout sessions at our conference in November.  I have now attended my first board meeting and WOW!!!  Here are a few of my thoughts:
*  I am learning A LOT!!!!
*I am making new friends to network with!
*I am able to serve our counselor association, which is a way to give back for what I have gained by being a member.
* I am going to be a better counselor because of what I am learning and all my kiddos benefit!

I am so glad I have been a member of ISCA.  I have made so many connections with other counselors which has been amazing!  I would encourage ALL school counselors who read this blog to join their state organization.  If you aren't a school counselor, check with your school counselor and see if they are a member.  If not, ask them why they aren't.  Tell them to check out the opportunities of membership and if it is the cost (which it shouldn't be in Iowa because we have a low membership fee), then gift them a membership (which is a great way to thank your school counselor for what they do).
Hope your summer is going as great as mine.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Friendship Selfies!

"Let me take a selfie!"
We talked in small group today about friendship and what is important in friendships.  My 2nd graders came up with so many great things they look for in friends...

We also talked about why those traits are important.
We were busy making our friendship booklets from Savvy School Counselors tpt store (check it out on SALE NOW!).  It was a part of the February Monthly Activities pack.
We decided to take a picture of us together for the page that you draw pictures of your friends.  AND when I mentioned taking a selfie these 2nd graders knew all about that.  It really opened up the conversation about why people plaster pictures of themselves all over and making sure they are appropriate and not hurtful.
Next week we will finish our booklets and finish up our discussion.
Can't wait!