I am excited to be teaching classroom guidance lessons to all our kindergarten classrooms. Beginning the first week in September, I will teach a series of six weekly guidance lessons with each kindergarten class. Each lesson is thirty minutes long. I will return to each kindergarten classroom during the second week in February to do a guidance lesson on friendship. I will teach a final kindergarten guidance lesson in June, which will help students transition to the next school year.
The following is an outline of the six week kindergarten guidance program:
Week 1: Getting to know you
In this session the goals are to get to know the students, for them to get to know us the school counselors and to identify other "helpers" in the school. We also talk briefly about what it's like being in a new school, as well as what it's like to ride the bus and strategies for dealing with "bus problems".
Week 2: Feelings
This lesson is designed to introduce students to the concept of feelings and feeling words. We brainstorm feeling words with the children and talk about facial expressions and body language that accompanies certain feelings. We also talk about the importance of understanding how other people feel.
Week 3: "I feel" Messages
This is an important concept for all of Lunt School. We teach it at the kindergarten level as well as in first and second grades. An "I feel " message is a way for a person to tell someone else how they feel about something without blaming or threatening. During this lesson, students learn the different components of an "I feel" message, how and when to give an "I feel" message, and how to respond when someone gives them an "I feel" message. (See the Conflict Resolution page for more information on building an "I feel" message)
Week 4: "I feel" Messages Continued
Two weeks are dedicated to "I" messages to ensure that the children understand how to use them. During this lesson students will practice giving and receiving "I feel" messages through role play.
Week 5: Body Safety
This session will be taught using a book entitled Uncle Willy's Tickles, which is a story about a child who feels uncomfortable when his favorite Uncle tickles him too much. The goal for this lesson is to help children understand that they can say "no" sometimes, and when that might be appropriate.
Week 6: Individual Differences
This final session of our initial six week unit is dedicated to the concept that we are all alike and different in many ways. The goal of this lesson is to help students develop an understanding and appreciation that everyone is different in some way.
Week 7: Friendship
This lesson is usually presented during the month of February. We read a book about friendship and then discuss why we need friends, what makes a good friend, and how to be a good friend. Students will then draw a picture of what makes them a good friend.
Week 8: Transition to 1st Grade/Next Year
The goal of this lesson is to help students transition from kindergarten to 1st grade, or "next year". We talk about the things that will be the same next year (the school nurse, the gym, the music room and teacher, the art room and teacher, the guidance room and counselors, the principal, etc), and what will be different (different classroom, different teacher, classmates, full day of school, lunch in the cafeteria, recess with a lot more kids, learning new things, home work, etc). We give students a tour of the school so they can see where the 1st grade classrooms are located, and we take students into at least one 1st grade classroom. We close by discussing what they noticed during the tour, what surprised them, and what they are most excited about. We also discuss any concerns or fears that might be brought up by students, as well as any questions they might have.
First Grade GuidanceI will begin teaching classroom guidance lessons in September. I teach one guidance lesson per month to each first grade classroom throughout the school year.
Guidance Lesson #1 (September): Introductions/Getting to know you
I will present our first guidance lesson to first grade classrooms during the first two weeks of September. During this lesson I will introduce myself to students, discuss first grade guidance, and we meet the first grade students. We also read the book Ish by Peter H. Reynolds, which is trying your best and not worrying about being "perfect." Students then make an "ish-ful" drawing of something they like to do, and they have to then find a classmate who likes to do the same thing. We make it clear that it's ok if they can't find someone else who likes to do the same thing - having different interests is a great way to learn from each other. This activity is a fun way for students to get to know each other, and a fun way for them to get to know us.
Guidance Lesson #2 (October): Conflict Resolution Strategies
During our second first grade guidance lesson, I will teach students some conflict resolution strategies, including "I feel" messages. All kindergarten students learn about feeling words and "I feel" messages. During this first grade lesson, we review what an "I feel" message is, why it's helpful to use "I feel" messages, and when to use them.
Guidance Lesson #3 (November): Anger Management - How to handle "Anger" feelings in a healthy and safe way
We all get angry once in a while, but what we do when we're angry can be very different from person to person. During our third guidance lesson with first graders, we review what "feelings" are, and then focus on the feeling of "anger." We read the book "When Sophie Gets Angry... Really, Really Angry" by Molly Bang..
We then talk about the different things that make us feel angry, and how people react when they are angry. We explain how some things we do when we are angry can make our anger get bigger and bigger, and some things we do make the anger get smaller and smaller. We discuss the book and what Sophie did when she got angry, as well as made her anger smaller. We also talk about why it's important to NOT keep our feelings bottled up inside... and why need to be able to let our anger out, expressing it in a helpful, healthy way that will cause our anger to get smaller, rather than letting it build up.
During the second part of this lesson, students thinkt about helps them when they are angry to make their anger get "smaller." Students often share that they go to a special place to calm down, others say they talk to someone about their feelings, and others say they ask their parents for a hug. We then ask students to complete the sentence starter:
"It's okay to be angry. My plan to make my anger smaller is: _______________."
Students then illustrate their anger plan above the completed sentence. At the end of the lesson we share the four "Anger Rules" with students:
It's Okay to get angry, but...
- it's not okay to hurt yourself,
- it's not okay to hurt others,
- it's not okay to hurt property,
- but it IS okay to talk about it.
Guidance Lesson #4 (December): Friendship
'Friendship' is the theme for our fourth first grade guidance lesson. To start this lesson, students watch a short video called Let's Be Friends. The video is in three sections - the first is about 'how to make friends,' the second is about 'how to keep the friends you have' (the problems with being bossy and not sharing), and the third part is about 'sharing friends' (having more than one friend).
After watching the video, we talk it and then brainstorm what makes each of us a good friend. Each student is then given a sheet of paper with a sentence starter at the bottom:
"I am a good friend because I ________________________________."
Students finish the sentence, telling what makes them a good friend... and then they illustrat the sentence in the space above. When the pages are finished, I will collect them and bind them into classroom "books of friendship" - which I present back to each classroom to keep!
Guidance Lesson #5 (January): Everyone is Different, and That's Okay!
Our sixth classroom guidance lesson with the 1st grade students is in February. The theme is "diversity" and appreciating individual differences. We talk about how everyone is different, and that's okay! During this lesson, we show a video called, "Everyone is Different." The video teaches students some of the ways that people are different, and most importantly it teaches students that EVERYONE is different, and that's okay!
During the second part of the lesson, each student creates his or her own personal stick puppet of themselves.
By creating puppets of themselves, students notice that no two puppets are the same... and that we all have differences that make us each a unique, one-of-a-kind person. We also talk about how, just as they control their own puppet, they are also responsible for their own actions, choices and behaviors... and they are responsible for how they treat each other. Students love making their very own stick puppet, which they take home to share with their parents.
Guidance Lesson #5 (February): Bully Prevention
During this lesson, I will read the book "No One Knew What to Do," about bullying, and what students should do when they are bulllied, or they see someone else being bullied. The primary message to students is to tell an adult if they experience bullying. I also want students to understand that anyone is capable of using bullying behaviors (i.e. teasing, pressuring, taunting, etc), so we all have to be thoughtful and responsible for our own actions, and be sure to never bully anyone.
Guidance Lesson #6 (March): Tattling vs Telling
During this lesson we discuss the difference between "tattling" and "telling." Students learn when it is important to "tell," and when to try problem solving, rather than "tattling." We read the book Don't Squeal Unless it's a Big Deal. We discuss and role-play strategies that students could use to try and solve their own problems instead of "tattling", such as giving "I feel" messages, or reminding the peer of the class rules, as well as times when they need to tell.
Guidance Lesson #7 (April): Personal Body Safety
For the first part this lesson we read a great children's book called The Right Touch. The purpose of this lesson is to create awareness and understanding among students of "personal body safety." Specifically, students learn that their body belongs to them, and that no one has a right to touch their body in any way that is not comfortable to them - and that NO one should ever touch the "private" areas of their body. Students learn that "private" areas or parts of their body are those areas "under their bathing suits". Students learn three specific steps to take if anyone ever tries to give them a "bad touch":
- Tell the person "Stop!" or "No! Don't do that!"
- Get away from that person as fast as you can
- Tell an adult you trust exactly what happened, no matter what
Students also learn that if the first adult they tell doesn't listen or doesn't believe them, then tell another trusted adult until someone does listen and helps. We then brainstorm trusted adults at home and in school who they could talk to if someone ever gave them a bad touch.
We review these three steps many times, in many different ways, until students were very familiar and comfortable with them. Students are given plenty of opportunity to ask any questions about this lesson.
Guidance Lesson #8 (May): Cooperation
The topic for our fifth first grade classroom guidance lesson is cooperation. Students learn what cooperation is, and how cooperation helps them be better friends and learners. During this lesson we read the book, The Enormous Potato, by Aubrey Davis. Students then work in pairs to cooperatively create a "pet" out of plastic, Lego-like “Flexiblocks”.
Second Grade Guidance
I will teach one guidance lesson per month with each classroom throughout the school year.
The following is an outline of the second grade guidance curriculum:
September: Intro/Getting to know you & Making Connections
During this lesson I will introduce ourselves, the school counselors, to students, as well as our program, and how we help students. We then do a fun ice breaker activity with students about "making connections". Students learn how to intiate conversations about common insterests with peers, including kids they don't know, in order to make connections, and start a friendship. This is a skill and strategy that students can use all year round, in the classroom, on the playground, or any time in a new social situation.
October: Respect/Respectful behaviors
The Brand New Kid book/partner poster project re: "thumbs up" behavior/including everyone/kindness; taking responsibility for your own actions and choices in the classroom, on playground, and at lunch; doing your part to make your classroom and the school a peaceful, respectful community.
November: Conflict Resolution Strategies
During this lesson students will learn several conflict resolution strategies, such as asking questions and listening to the person they are in a conflict with, talking out the problem, and trying something else.
December: Behaviors that help us make friends, and lose friends
During this lesson we'll discuss behaviors that can help detract friends, and behaviors that tend to keep friends away. Students will learn more about these behviors through a Bingo game, and then we'll do some role playing.
January: Respecting Differences
During this lesson students will view a video about respecting differences in ability, interests and culture. After discussion, students will do a related activity.
Students will learn about bullying behavior, and what to do if they witness bullying behavior.
March: How Far Would You Go?
This lesson is about peer pressure. We'll discuss peer pressure - what it is, why it is, how it feels and what to do about it.
April: Personal Body Safety
The purpose of this lesson is to create awareness and understanding about "personal body safety." Specifically, students learn that their body belongs to them, and that no one has a right to touch their body in any way that is not comfortable to them, especially private areas of their body. Students learn three important steps to take if someone should try to give them a bad touch. Students will also identify at least two trusting adults at school, and two trusting adults at home (or out of school) who could help them.
May: Year in Review Game
During this lesson we play a game to review the concepts and information learned in guidance throughout the school year. This game also fosters positive teamwork, group cohesiveness, and cooperation.