June 22, 2018

How to Make a Friend...

It can be really tough for a kid to have the confidence to try to make a new friend. A lot of kids are unsure about themselves and the thought of walking up to someone new and striking up a conversation can be anxiety provoking. It breaks my heart to see kids alone or without a friend simply because they lack the social skills needed to properly approach the situation.

To help tackle that issue, I designed this interactive book to help kids learn the skills needed to make new friends in a stress free manner. By breaking the skills apart and learning how to do it piece by piece, it allows kids to slowly build confidence and feel better about approaching other kids.

This small group curriculum is packed with ten interactive activities (including session outlines, objectives and all necessary materials) designed to teach students what makes a good friend, how to be a good friend, how to let someone know they want to be their friend, ways to keep friends and how to deal with rejection. They learn the skills all while they have fun making their own interactive book. 

In session one we create the cover of our interactive book. 
 discuss group norms, 
 and get to know each other a little bit better.

In session two we discuss a bit about what we think it means to be a good friend.

As part of this lesson, kids color code words based on if they think the words describe qualities of a good friend. I have students color the qualities of a good friend any color they desire. I have them black out words that do not describe a good friend.  

Session three has kids further expand on qualities of good friends. They sort “keys to healthy friendships” and learn the keys to being a good friend.

In session four kids describe how others would know they are looking for a new friend.

In session five group members learn the steps to making a friend. This is my favorite session because it allows kids to think about what exactly they may do if they were trying to make a friend. They get to roleplay and discuss their plan with others in the group, further developing the social skills needed to talk with other people and clearly express their ideas.

Session six helps kids to think about actions that would allow them to keep a friend and actions that would cause them to lose a friend. This session allows kids to be introspective and think about their own actions that may be driving friends away.

Session seven allows for role-playing and open discussion.

Session eight is super important but the skill learned is not super fun. It is all about how to deal with rejection. Kids can get uncomfortable about this part because no one likes to be rejected. In life, not everyone is going to like you. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there are going to be people who do not want to be your friend. It can make kids a bit sad, but it is an important life lesson to learn.

Session nine allows kids to write letters to the friend they want and to themselves.

Session ten is all about self-reflection.

During this session we also design the back cover of our book and say our goodbyes to the group. 

In the end, students will have the skills to go into the world and approach potential new friends with confidence.  

June 18, 2018

Friendship Flipbook

I literally flip over flipbooks. They are such a time saver. I simply print, reorder the pages, fold them over, staple together and voila! I have a totally engaging activity that meets a need that my kids can work through.

I like having quite a few on hand. You never know when you need a good calm down lesson or a place for kids to put their worries.

My newest obsession, is this Friendship Flipbook. I cannot believe how many girls come to me for issues with their friendship. I like this flipbook because it is a quick and easy way for the girls to get their issues out of their heads and onto paper. Once it is on paper, it is easy to work with and the root of the issue can be better addressed.


It is so fun to see the light bulb go off and for the girls to realize how silly some of their problems really are. I like watching them figure out how easily they can make up once they fully understand how their actions made their friend feel. Digging into the root of their issues leads to some awesome discussion.

I have found this very resource valuable for identifying not just the silly playground problems, but personality, friendship skills and social skills deficits. I have uncovered more frenemy situations than I ever imagined from these flipbooks and have been able to use this information to better run my small groups. 

I also did not realize how many kids have issues making friends! A lot of the conflicts arise from misunderstanding between kids who are struggling to form friendships or who need help learning how to make a friend

Childhood is hard. Getting along with everyone is hard. Getting into conflicts is a normal part of growing up. This flipbook makes dealing with those conflicts a little bit easier.

March 7, 2018

Kinder Breakfast Bunch

I had a group of kinder friends that were not the best at being nice to others just yet. They hadn’t quite grasped that their actions are powerful and can leave a negative impact if they are not considerate of other people’s feelings.

I started a breakfast bunch with this group and it went fantastic. 
They loved playing our card sort games while they ate breakfast and I saw such a change in their behavior. They are really great kids; just needed a bit of guiding to be shown that what they do impacts others, both positively and negatively.  

We met six times, the first time we established group norms and expectations while getting to know each other a bit better. It was really cute watching them create rules for their group and listening to them discuss which rules were truly needed.

The next two times we met, we played our carrot card sort. I made the holders out of paper bags and laminated all the cards because kinder kids are always sticky!
They thought it was absolutely hilarious to feed the rabbits carrots. They giggled as they talked about how hungry the rabbits must be. Towards the end of the game, one little girl said, “Aren’t these rabbits full already?! He is going to get a tummy ache!” seriously, so cute.
The next two times we met, we played the good citizen sort game. It is made the same way with paper bags and laminated cards.
I did not laminate this set before we played and it was a terrible decision. By the end, all of my cards were bent, stained and sticky.
The kids loved it, they really like being able to decide which container the cards went it. “You’re good! You were bad!” they giggled as they thought about the described actions. The words on the cards were a bit too high level for my kinders so I read the cards to them and let them decide where it went.
The last time we met, we discussed what we learned about good choices and good behaviors. We came up with a plan for how they were going to be good people who look out for others in the future. It is amazing how much of a difference you can see in a kid once they realize the way they have been behaving, is not the best.

Download your own copy of the Carrot Card Sort Game.
Download your own copy of the Citizenship Packet.

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March 6, 2018

Girl's Group (Calm Down Control)

All too often I have girls come into my office upset because of something that happened that caused them to lose their cool, or in trouble for how they responded to the situation that angered them. Sometimes they act out in anger intentionally, sometime they just don't know how to better handle the situation. 

The kids I work with are young; anger is a big emotion. Most adults do not even appropriately handle their anger, how can we expect these little ones to keep in control? Instead of punishing them for losing their cool, I want to teach them the skills to understand and manage their anger. I want to teach them skills they can take with them into adulthood that will help them to become better people overall.

Building on this idea, I created a small group curriculum for girls designed to do just that. I made it just for girls to get them hooked, excited, and feeling like they were invited to a special class by someone who cares.

 This small group curriculum is packed with 10 interactive activities designed to teach students more about their specific type of anger, how to handle situations that anger them and role-play common anger inducing situations all while they have fun making their own interactive book. 

I just finished up a small group using this resource with four third grade girls. They had a blast learning how to control their anger and keep calm while they designed their own Calm Down Control book. Each session, they created an additional page or two of their Calm Down Control book. I utilize cardstock paper instead of an actual notebook. At the end of each session, I collected the pages and keep them all until the end of our group. I then stapled the pages together and let the students take their Calm Down Control Book home.

I made a book along with the girls. Below is an outline of our sessions together and pictures of the book that I created.

I cannot wait to run this group again with another set of students.

Session #1: Group Intro, Group Norms, Get to Know Me Activity

Session #2: Anger Triggers

Session #3: Anger Types/Describing Your Specific Anger

Session #4: What Does Your Anger Feel Like?

 Session #5: Steps to My Anger

Session #6: Who Has the Control?

Session #7: Who Should Have Control?

Session #8: Keep Calm Tools

Session #9: Roleplaying, How Could You Control Yourself?

Session #10: What Works Best For You/What Did You Learn?

In the end the girls have a clear understanding of their specific type of anger, acceptable behaviors when upset, ways to handle their anger, calm down tools/strategies and what works best for them.

I’ve seen a major decrease in episodes of anger explosions with the girls in the groups that I’ve had create this book so far. I’m sure your students will learn a lot about their anger, while having fun too!

You can download your own copy HERE.

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