Just About 3/4 Done!

Wow! We are just about 3/4 done with the school year! It’s hard to believe, and even harder to believe since it is going to feel like it’s below 0 all day. What an awful winter! As a side note, there has been a higher prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to our extended winter weather, and you may want to talk with your primary care provider if you are feeling more depressive symptoms than normal.

On Friday, I finished up that last career lesson. I had a BLAST teaching these lessons to all grade levels in February. In kindergarten, the students loved being detectives and guessing the careers people had based upon the clothes on their clotheslines. In first grade, we read Weird Al’s silly book about different jobs, and then students were able to pick what they’d like to be. In second grade, we used Chromebooks to navigate the Paws in Jobland website and students were able to read about careers that fit with their interests. Third grade used a paper and pencil career interest inventory, but then used the O’Net website to explore careers in their “career color.” Fourth and fifth graders used the online career interest inventory on to explore careers which fit with their interests. It was a blast for all students and for me!

This month, we’re tackling different skills. These “classroom survival skills” range from ignoring distractions and making corrections to asking for help and being prepared. Be sure to ask your student what skills Mrs. Harris talked about this month!

We also added another mindful breathing technique to our repertoire. Each month, students learn a different breathing technique and this month it’s all about the bumblebee breathing. Ask your student which breathing technique is his or her favorite, and have them demonstrate!

Career Fun!

As of today, I’ve finished the career lessons for all of the 2nd and 3rd graders! I’m halfway through 4th and 5th grades too! We have been having so much fun exploring careers.

2nd graders got onto Paws in Jobland and answered questions to help define what careers would best suit their interests. They really liked getting on to the website and learning about all different careers.

3rd graders took a similar interest survey, and got assigned a “color” based upon their interests. They then used the website to learn more about the careers in their “color” group. There were some fun careers they identified.

4th and 5th graders went to and ranked their interest in different areas. Then they were able to see which careers fit best with their interests, and they were able to learn more about those careers. They REALLY liked reading the average annual wages for the jobs.

I’ve loved being able to read their interests and seeing which careers are the best fit. I am already looking forward to next February when we do the next round of career lessons to see if interests have changed too!

It’s Time for Data Again!

We are a third of the way through 3rd quarter, and the January lessons are just about done! This month we focused on all students learning the new state standards regarding manners and kindness on-line. Here are the state standards introduced this year:

  • Understand how technology affects them and others.
  • Know and use good internet manners.
  • Understand how emotions and intents can be misunderstood.
  • Know the possible consequences of taking a picture of or recording others without permission.
  • Identify and respond to cyberbullying.

In the kindergarten and first grade classrooms, we included a discussion of kindness and how we can be kind in our everyday world. We also brainstormed how each classroom was going to show kindness after reading a book. In 2nd and 3rd grades, we watched a short on-line video about Netiquette, which featured students being interviewed about on-line kindness and manners. We also answered questions whole group about what we had learned. In fourth and fifth grade classrooms, we watched a BrainPop video about Netiquette, and the students answered the BrainPop quiz questions on their own on pieces of paper, which I then recorded and graphed.

Overall, students were able to meet the state standards driven objectives. 61% identified a problem in on-line communication is that you can’t tell the writer’s tone of voice. 84% knew that internet trolls aimed to start arguments, and 88% knew the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. 81% of students in fourth and fifth grade identified flaming as similar to teasing in that they both can hurt people’s feelings, and 58% correctly identified the best way to send a text message to a parent (identifying you shouldn’t use too many abbreviations or shortcuts). I am extremely happy to report 97% knew that before posting a photo of anyone on-line, you MUST get his or her permission beforehand. That objective was a big emphasis in our lesson, so I was very excited to see this information stuck!

Moving into February, we will be focusing on careers. I am very excited to do some career exploration with all grade levels!

Half-way There!

In just a few hours, we will be halfway through the 2018-2019 school year! It has been so fun telling students I’ll see them next year!

This first half of the year has been busy meeting students, teachers, and families. I have also been learning about how I can be most helpful here at Everett, and working with staff and students to help with issues that have come up. These issues have ranged from difficulties with siblings at home to friendships at school to understanding how to handle anger.

The second half of the year will look much the same. I will continue with two groups focused on classroom skills such as listening, making corrections when asked, and what to do if you don’t understand the assignment or directions. I will also continue to go into classrooms once a month, and meet with students individually as well. I’m excited, and have already started a folder with ideas for next year!

14 Days to Half-Way!

In 14 school days, we will be halfway through our year! Wow! That’s crazy to think about.

I’ve already started preparing for the lessons for the second part of the year. In January, all classes will learn about on-line manners and kindness as part of the new state standards. Some of the information has been or will be addressed in the final bullying lesson, but I’ll add onto this information, and make sure all grades hear this message. In February, I’m very excited to do lessons about career exploration. These lessons will be differentiated by grade level, and thus will go from the very basics of careers to more in depth exploration of strengths and interests and how these might match up with different careers.

As I mentioned, we are finishing up the bullying curriculum. The lessons have been fairly popular, and they do a great job at really defining what bullying is (versus just being mean), as well as how to handle bullying. I’ve loved the students’ participation and questions!

2nd and 3rd Grade Data

As of today, I’ve finished the 2nd and 3rd grade lessons. These lessons focused on the second “R” of bullying, “Reporting.” Students reviewed how to Recognize bullying first, and then we discussed the need to report bullying to a caring adult and who those adults are in our life. We also spent time discussing the difference between tattling and reporting. The post-test for the lesson was asking students to identify at least three people they could report bullying to if they saw bullying or if it was happening to someone else.

Second graders were given a list of names and they were asked to circle at least three. Third graders were given a paper of paper and asked to write three names of people to whom they could report bullying. Here’s the data!


I’m very excited about the second grade results. Although I would like the third grade results to be higher, I understand writing out names made their task slightly more difficult.

Here’s Some Data for You!

As I have mentioned before, I LOVE data! It’s rewarding to finish a lesson and see the impact it has had on learning. It can also provide feedback about areas that students are still confused about. I haven’t yet finished all of the second bullying lessons, but I have finished fourth and fifth grades. Here is their data.

Fourth and fifth graders’ lessons were about how to be a supportive bystander. The post-test, then, was four statements about how to be a supportive bystander. The students needed to circle “Yes” if the statement was true about a supportive bystander and “No” if the statement was not true.

Of the four statements, you can see that 91.3% of fourth and fifth graders answered all of them correctly. Another 4.0% answered 3 of the 4 statements correctly. I’m so happy that our students at Everett are better able to identify how to be a supportive bystander. They will be practicing the skill in lesson 3, so this will be reinforced again.

So What’s the Deal with Bullying?

As I finished my lessons today, I thought about how much more knowledgeable the students at Everett are about bullying and how to handle bullying when it happens. Then I realized this information might not be shared with our families. I thought it might be a good idea to share what we’re discussing.

The first bullying lessons all covered the difference between bullying and a problem or conflict. We discussed bullying as something unkind that happens over and over again and on purpose. It is one-sided and you haven’t been able to get it to stop. We talked about how if someone accidentally steps on your toe when you are lining up, it isn’t bullying. We also talked about how if something happens just once, it probably isn’t bullying. It can still be a problem, but it isn’t bullying. Fourth and fifth graders also spent time the first lesson practicing reporting and refusing bullying as well.

The second bullying lessons were different for kindergarten through third grade, and fourth and fifth grades. The younger students focused on reporting bullying. We talked about how reporting bullying is different than tattling, and identified who caring adults are in our building to whom you can report bullying. We also practiced saying, “I need to report bullying,” in an assertive voice (head up, looking at the person you are talking to, and using a strong, respectful voice).

The fourth and fifth graders focused on the role of bystanders in their second lesson. We discussed the conflicting feelings bystanders to bullying may experience, and how it is important to report bullying to an adult even if you aren’t the one being bullied. The also were able to make a visual about the role of a supportive bystanders (posters for fourth graders and comic strips for fifth graders).

The third bullying lesson for kindergarten through third grade will focus on refusing bullying. We will talk about how to refuse bullying, and get to practice. The older students will continue our focus on bystanders and the steps they can take as a bystander to be helpful.

The final bullying lesson for kindergarten through third grade discusses the role of a supportive bystander. Fourth and fifth grade will focus on cyberbullying for this final lesson.

I asked teachers to send home the family links before the bullying lessons began, and the home link for the first bullying lesson. The family link included an activation code for the Second Step Bullying website, and the home links cover what we talked about during our lesson. Please use these resources to help further your student’s learning. As always, let me know if you need another copy of anything!

A Quarter Down!

The teachers here at Everett keep looking at each other with shock and saying, “The first quarter is over?!” It seems amazing that we have already completed the first quarter. Mr. Long was joking that he probably should take down the “Welcome Back” sign that he has up!

These last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy. Ms. Imel and I were able to attend a lengthy training about family involvement, and Mrs. Johnson, Ms. Charity, and I were all able to go to Chicago for three days to learn more about PBIS (our district’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program). I also had to be gone for a couple of days for family emergencies, so I feel like I wasn’t at school near as much as I’d like to be!

The good news is, all classrooms except for one have now had the first lesson of the bullying curriculum. Look for the first Home Link to be coming home. You do not need to return the Home Link, but rather can use it as a discussion tool with your student. Also, remember all parents and guardians have access to the Second Step website. Please let me know if you need another copy of the code for access.

I’ve also been able to meet with a lot of students to problem solve. I enjoy many parts of my job, but that part is probably my favorite!

Coming up for second quarter, I will be in all classrooms teaching the remaining three bullying lessons. I will also continue to be available for individual students. In addition, I will start meeting with groups of students who are of the same age and struggling with similar issues. These will likely happen once or twice a week during their recess time.

On a final note, I LOVE data, and have collected data for my first round of lessons. Each grade level (except for kindergarten) was given a post-test about being able to differentiate bullying from a conflict or problem. First, second, and third grades were given two scenarios for which they had to either circle “Bullying” or “Not Bullying”. Fourth and fifth graders were given four scenarios with the same directions. The graphs are below.


This is the graph I’m most proud of. It shows that 83% of Everett students answered ALL the questions right in terms of identifying bullying versus a conflict or problem!


September is Done!

Wowza! I keep remembering Monday is October, and can’t believe it! We’re also almost done with first quarter!

I was happy to start our new bullying lessons this week! They are a fun mix of videos, demonstrations, questions, and discussion. I also created a post-assessment to check if the students had successfully learned the difference between conflict and bullying. I am happy to report every single student thus far has correctly answered at least three of the four questions correctly. I’ll continue to teach these lessons to classrooms for the next few weeks. I’m excited!