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Let’s Call It!

The year is FINALLY over! What a crazy, sad, weird school year this was, and I’m relieved that it’s over. Throughout all my meetings over the past few weeks the focus has really been on moving forward. Next year, next August, whenever we’re able to see the kids. That’s where our focus is. I think we’re all ready to move on and focus on when we really get to interact with students again!

I’m excited to be returning to Everett again next year as the school counselor. I’ve started revamping the website to get ready for next year too!

A Year to Remember!

This is definitely a year to remember! Looking back at my last post, I had no inkling it would be the last post for the “school-based learning” and that from then on, we’d be doing remote learning. While this is all new, and unnerving, we educators have been so impressed with our students’ and families’ flexibility, dedication, and creativity. As a parent myself, I know it is hard to keep up on all the emails, Google Classroom posts, etc. However, know that you are doing a great job! Please have extra patience with yourself and your student.

The school counselors have created a website that we hope will be helpful. You can find it HERE.

Feel free to reach out to me via email or call Everett with any questions or concerns. Rest assured, we are still hard at work, just working from a different location!

A BIG THANK YOU!

We wanted to send out a BIG THANK YOU to Hy-Vee. Our school social worker, Schyler, and I wanted to give the staff a little treat on the last day of conference week AND third quarter. We reached out to businesses and Hy-Vee responded with a gift card helping to make this day possible. Thank you so much to Hy-Vee for helping make this day special!

We want to thank Hy-Vee for the gift card!

Covid-19

I know LPS sent out emails about how our school district is preparing for an outbreak of Covid-19. I also know how difficult it is to listen to the radio or watch TV without something, usually something sensational, being said about the virus. I have had lots of conversations with students, individually, in small groups, and in the classroom, about the virus. Please keep those conversations going at home. When students are hearing something at school, from their friends, or on TV, but it isn’t referenced by their trusted adults, it causes them to worry even more. They often think, “It must be REALLY bad if my parent/guardian won’t even talk about it.”

Reassure students that the label “coronavirus” covers a wide range of viruses, and if they’ve had a cold in the past, they’ve probably had the coronavirus and survived! Discuss how this type of coronavirus hasn’t been seen in children, and adults who get it are most likely to only feel symptoms similar to a cold or the flu. While the news does talk about people dying, point out to your student that the people dying from the virus are overwhelmingly over 70 and have a pre-existing condition.

Finally, talk with your student about how we can help ourselves be healthy. Washing hands for 30 seconds is recommended. Practice that. See and feel how long 30 seconds actually is (I know I was in for a shock when I timed myself). Practice coughing into your sleeve. Work on getting lots of sleep (yes, even during spring break it’s a good idea to go to bed a bit early), drink lots of water, and try to make healthy eating choices.

So Many Feelings!

It seems so appropriate that we are talking about feelings this month due to the number of big feelings our students have had lately. As we end the 3rd quarter, there seem to be more emotions connected to friendships emerging. I am happy to help, and also encourage families to ask their students how things are going at school outside of the academic piece.

Each teacher was asked to select 2-3 skills related to feelings they thought would best benefit their classrooms. Thus, each lesson is a bit different. However, all students will be getting some information about managing their emotions and empathy. Ask your student what they learned!

 

Careers!

I am so excited for February. First, January always feels SOOOO long! It feels good to change that calendar to February. I also love our February lessons. It’s all about careers!

In kindergarten and first grade, we read really fun books about different careers. Students are then able to identify a possible career for themselves accompanied by a picture of them doing that job.

Second grade students use a wonderful website called “Paws in Jobland.” It is a fun, interactive website geared towards younger elementary students and it great to explore.

Third graders use a career interest survey to identify their “color”. Colors are based upon strands of careers, or types of careers. They can then investigate a few of the careers listed under their “color” and use a career database to find information about those careers.

Fourth and fifth graders also use online resources. They go to a career interest website where they answer 30 questions and then are given careers that are a best match. They can then learn more about these careers including, but not limited to, how much someone with that career makes, the education needed, and what the job responsibilities are for that career. Teachers and students alike love these lessons, and so do I!

Online Kindness

January’s focus for classroom lessons has been online kindness and safety. I’ve discussed this with different grade levels using different terms and fun videos. We’ve talked about what is good and bad about technology, how to make sure you are clear online, rules such as “don’t type anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face”, the consequences of taking a picture of someone without their permission, and what cyberbullying is as well as what to do if you are a bystander to cyberbullying. Ask your student what they learned!

Do you like podcasts?

I have to say I’m behind the times on this one. I didn’t really start listening to podcasts until last year when I was taking a class in Wayne, Nebraska and was often making drives late at night with poor radio signals. I started downloading some podcasts and found so many of them very enlightening! I still enjoy listening to them now even without the drives.

One podcast I really enjoy is “Hidden Brain” from NPR. I’ve linked below interesting podcasts on the importance of teaching “soft skills” such as empathy and kindness, and barriers to meeting goals you’ve set for yourself (timely as we usher in our new year).

Hidden Brain: The Persistent Power of State and Education

Hidden Brain: Creatures of Habit

2020!!!

It’s 2020! How exciting it is to always start a fresh, new year! We are hard at work today, and look forward to welcoming students tomorrow!

The counseling program starts in full swing tomorrow too! We are welcoming new students, and I always look forward to meeting new students, giving them a tour, telling them about my job as a school counselor, and going over important information like how recess and lunch work. I will also start with the January lessons this week. In January, all grade levels except for 2nd grade will be working on how to be kind online and digital etiquette. Of course, these lessons look very different for the different age levels, but the overall theme of being kind is important for all. 2nd graders will be finishing the last bullying lesson, and then will do their digital etiquette lesson in February.

The other big thing starting tomorrow is Connection Clubs. I spent 2nd quarter meeting with students individually to ask about who they would feel like talking to if they were “having a bad day.” Students were shown pictures of the adults in our building and could select as many as they felt were appropriate, but also didn’t have to select anyone. I then compiled all the data (and boy was there a lot of it!) Every student who did not identify any adults in our building were placed in a Connection Club with me. I am excited to spend time with these students during their recess and/or lunch. We will talk about how we are all connected and do fun activities. I also hope to have additional adults from the building join us to further those student/adult relationships.

Research shows again and again the importance of students feeling connected to their school including the adults in their building. I am hoping to provide those benefits starting tomorrow!

A Long Break, Now What?

Next week we get to celebrate Thanksgiving, and as a result, students will have four school days off. Including the weekend, it will be a six day break. If you are wondering what to do with that time, you are in luck. I have a few ideas!

As your student to read to you. Our public library system is amazing! You can spend a lot of time just browsing, reading, talking, and doing whatever craft is set up for the week. Check the library’s website for more events too!

Another website that is AWESOME for finding ideas is Macaroni Kid. They always have a list of events with information including the cost. Many of their activities are free too!