Friday, December 20, 2013

Spreading Christmas cheer!

My first graders decided to spread a little Christmas cheer this morning and do some caroling to other classrooms and staff.  They LOVED it!  Some even sang along.  It was great!  
So just in case you haven't had any carolers come by your way, just sit back and listen to these kids.
And feel free to sing along!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How Do You Want to be Remembered?

The students were very curious to find this bulletin board in the hallway covered with negative words.  They wondered why and I just let them wonder.   I left just the words in black and white on the board for  about a week to make sure all the grades had a chance to see them.  During Thanksgiving break, the question appeared on top of some of the words.  I took some classes down to look at the board and we talked during classroom counseling about how they would like to be remembered.  We read the book "Just Kidding" by Trudy Ludwig and I asked how the mean character in the book would be remembered by his classmates.  Then I gave each student a piece of white paper about 4"X8" and had them write a word that would describe how they want people to remember them.

Kind and positive words started to replace the negative words.  Kids really had to think out of the box because they all want to be remembered as Nice and Kind, but I told them to think of other ways they want to be remembered also.  Generous, Friendly, Respect......

Peaceful, Funny, Smart, Loving....the kind words just kept replacing the mean words....

Fair, Kindhearted, Caring, Industrious, Creative, Thankful, Hopeful, Genious, Smiley, 
Kid of Character....
Don't you just L.O.V.E. the words they came up with?
I think my favorite one was "Non-Jerk".

So, How do YOU want to be Remembered?

*This idea was something I found on Pinterest.  Although I did have to change it to fit my situation, I would like to give credit to Eric Johnson who created the whole concept with his students.  I would encourage you to read more at his blog "Your Kids" Teacher.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside!

This was on my way to school this morning----yep, that's a MINUS sign in front of the 14!  We seem to be having a bit of a cold spell.  Yesterday it seemed like a heat wave when we topped out at 1bout 15 ABOVE zero!  I got to help do the horse chores and my fingers were FREEZING by the time I finished hauling bales of hay and feed out to the hungry horses.  Sure glad I get to go inside---but it doesn't seem to bother the horses.  
So, what do the kids say about it at school---
oh, lots of  "Burrr!  It's a cold one today!"
"Is recess inside or outside today?"  (The answer is definitely INSIDE!)
"Our car didn't want to start Mrs. K."  (Gee, I didn't either!)

The good thing is, when we arrive in the school, we seem to forget about the cold temps outside and feel the warmth of a building to learn in,
the warmth of a smile from a child,
the warmth of a hug from a student who just wants a hug back,
the warmth of a hello.

So even though we journey through this winter we can be so thankful
for all the things that warm us up---BECAUSE
Baby it's WARM INSIDE!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Secret Mean Stinks Presents: Meanamorphosis

This is week 3 of Mean Stinks for us at the Middle School.  I started  the 5th and 6th grade girls on a 5 week Mean Stinks Campaign.  The first week we talked about what they see as far as problems in their grades with meanness.   It seems like the biggest problem is kids just saying mean things to each other.  Some kids said there have been mean things posted or commented on through social media but they aren't seeing too much of that yet in these grades.  Another problem has been rumors and gossip.  Some kids shared feeling left out or excluded. 
Week 2 we watched Meanamorphosis which is a video that shows how being mean really does stink.  The girls LOVED it! and said there was quite a bit of truth to it.  The "B-word" does come up twice so I asked permission from parents before the girls could watch it.  I also asked the girls how many of them had heard the word at school....ALL of them!  Yep, and over half said they had either been called the mean word or heard someone call someone else the word.  (Did I even know this word when I was in 5th or 6th grade?!)

We also talked during week 2 about what the different types of bullying were and the difference between mean behavior and bullying.  Mean behavior happens off and on.....bullying is best defined in the following ways:
  1.       A- Aggressive: Bullies attack physically, socially, or emotionally.
  2.       B- Balance of Power is Unequal:  The balance of power is usually unequal such as bigger vs. smaller and older vs. younger.  I added Diane Senn’s point about the power of popularity.
  3.       C- Consistent:  Bullying happens more than once over a period of time.
  4.       D- Deliberate: A person usually bullies with an intent to do hurt or harm.
We also talked about the Do's and Do Not's of handling a bully.  You can find many posters here that includes everything from handling the bully to how to be a good friend or to standing up for someone.
Today we started Week 3 with "Mani Monday".  We painted pinky fingernails blue on students who decided to take the Blue Pinky Promise and promise to not stand for Meanness anymore...stand up for others and have their backs if they see it happening.  We had lots of girls and even a good share of boys getting their pinkies painted blue and standing up for the cause!

One of our local hair stylists, LeAnn, came in to help paint pinkies.  Autumn was our first one to sign the Blue Pinky Pact and take a stand against meanness.  Many more got on board too, even quite a few boys, including one of our teachers!

When the girls got together in class after their lunch time and painting pinkies, they stood together and took the Pinky Promise!

They had fun during class today hanging up posters around the school about Mean Stinks and also making their own posters and hanging them up too.

I think my favorite was when they decided to decorate and empty locker....
check out the outside of the locker first..

(It says "Open me if you are sad!")
followed by the inside of the locker....
and the inside is filled with all kinds of "pick me ups" and positive messages!
This is just a few of the girls who helped make this "happy locker" happen!
Can't wait to see what the rest of the week holds for us!