December 30, 2016

Quiz, Quiz, Trade Bully Cards

Are you conducting a classroom guidance lesson or have a need in your class to discuss Bullying Prevention? Need an intro activity? An icebreaker? A pretest/posttest? Look no further! These fun, colorful, Quiz, Quiz, Trade Cards are perfect to help start the discussion about recognizing bullying and how it can be prevented at school.
I start this lesson by giving students the pretest. I like to look at the data to get an idea of what they already know so I have a plan of which concepts I need to hit the hardest.
After all students complete the pretest, we play the Quiz, Quiz, Trade game. I create the cards at home so that they can be super colorful and visually appealing. I print two copies of the double-sided 8x10 cards on cardstock, creating 26 cards total. The idea is that then I have enough for one card per student, I dislike greatly when students are left out. I use tan or off-white cardstock paper so the cards aren't transparent (it’s no fun if they can see the answers through the paper). I then laminate the cards for extra durability.

I pass out and provide a card to every student. One side of the card has a question, the other side has the highlighted answer. I tell them to hold the highlighted answer towards themselves so others can’t sneak a peek at the answers.
We then use the stand up, hands up, pair up method for all students to quickly and easily find a partner. All students stand up, put one hand up in the air and find a partner who also has their hand in the air. Once the two find each other, they par up and put their hands down. Students still looking for a partner look around the room for someone with a hand up in the air.

They then quiz/quiz/trade with each other. Partner A holds up their flash card and shows Partner B their question. Partner B responds with an answer to the question. Partner A congratulates them if they are correct and coaches if incorrect. They then switch roles and Partner B asks Partner A the question written on their card.
 Partner A answers the question and Partner B congratulates them if they answer correctly and coaches if they answer incorrectly.
When both students finish asking and answer each of their questions, the two students high five each other and switch cards. Partner A and B then both raise their hands and move about the room to find a new partner (hands up/pair up). Once they link up with someone new, they repeat the process.

After a set amount of time (however much is allotted for in the given timeframe), we discuss the questions as a group and answer any student questions and/or concerns.

To end this brief lesson, we complete the same pretest that we took as a posttest to gauge their learning (either I give out right then or the teacher does at a later time period). 
Download your own copy of Quiz,Quiz,Trade Cards HERE! 

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Good Choice vs. Poor Choice Puzzles

Teaching students the difference between good choices and poor choices is crucial, especially at a young age. Making sure that students can make good decisions for themselves helps in countless ways as they grow older. I like to use a variety of tools to get the ideas across for my little guys. I especially enjoy this activity with second and third grade students. At this age, they really like to cut, glue and complete hands on activities. It’s a bit harder to keep their attention when we are just talking, they need something highly interactive.  
I like to use these two activities to keep the conversation flowing, the lessons learning and the good choices coming.

I usually complete these over the course of two separate sessions.

Activity #1: Good Choice Puzzles
Students cut apart the good choice or poor choice puzzle pieces.
They separate the pieces based on if they think the situation is a good choice or if they think it is a poor choice and place the puzzle pieces in the appropriate spots.
They glue the pieces in place and can then step back and admire their completed worksheet.

Activity #2: Good Choice vs. Poor Choice Cut & Glues

Much like the puzzle activity, students start by cutting apart their pieces.
They then pick up each piece one by one and decide if that situation would be classified as a good choice or a poor choice.
Once they make their choice, they glue the piece in place until all 20 situations as snug in their proper spots.

After completing these two activities, students are sure to have a clearer understanding of the difference between a good choice and a poor choice. 

Download your own copy of Good Choice vs. Poor Choice Cut & Glue HERE! 

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Anger Monsters

Anger groups are one of my favorite groups to run. I like to see a student go from feeling like they have no control of their emotions to implementing strategies that I’ve taught them and becoming a calmer person. The ability to calm oneself equals control of oneself. I like being the one that gives students the tools to create the calm.

In my anger groups I usually work through an anger booklet over four or five sessions together. We dig deep and really work with the information so students feel like they know what to do with what they’ve learned.
As a follow up activity that’s just fun and doesn’t require as much deep thought, or as a clam down activity for a kid in distress, I utilize Anger Monsters. I appreciate how versatile they are and how I can pick different templates based on student ability.
Sometimes a student just needs to calm down while building a monster and coloring for a bit before they are able to clearly express what made them so angry. 
This is designed for just that. 
It’s remarkable the impact that coloring can have on an angry student who is currently losing their mind. This is my secret weapon for kids like that.

Download your own copy of Anger Monsters HERE!
Download your own copy of Anger Workbook HERE! 

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How Could You Be Super?

“How Could You Be Super” teaches students that in the everyday situations they encounter, they can be super helpful. Students may not realize how powerful they are and just how much of an impact they can have on others if they lend a helping hand. I want to teach students to be helpful, kind citizens who will do what is necessary to help out their fellow human. I play this game with my little ones in an attempt to do just that.

I use these posters to open their minds to the possibility of being super. It really gets the conversation started and is a great introduction to the topic.  
Once we’re ready, we play with the situation cards. I place them upside down in a pile and one by one we pick a card, read it out loud and discuss it.
A few examples of the situation cards include:
"Someone doesn’t understand the lesson. You do. What could you do to help?"
"Someone dropped all their supplies on the floor. They are embarrassed and are trying to quickly pick everything up. What could you do in this situation to be super?"
I love it because this resource allows them to think about just how super they really are. Not only does it teach them to help others, it empowers them to believe they can be great if they simply try. At the end of this activity, students will better understand how they can be super in their everyday lives. 

Download your own copy of How Could You Be Super HERE! 

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December 29, 2016

Mini Career Lesson

I love a challenge. When I have a short time frame, I like getting creative and figuring out how to get the most out of a lesson during a time crunch. With fifth grade, I had 25 minutes to introduce them to careers. That is not a lot of time for a subject that has endless possibilities and bountiful amounts of applicable information. I knew I had to get their attention yet make it fun. So, I started by flashing dollar signs in front of them.  

I showed them this poster

Then we talked about how much school is needed in order to get that amount of money in their back accounts.
I then had them talk as a table and come up with three realistic jobs they each may want when they grow up. Each table had a piece of paper and were asked to write all of the jobs down. 

After 5 minutes or so, each table shared their lists with the other groups.
After that, I challenged them to a poster contest. I knew good and well they would not have enough time to complete this activity in class, my goal in class was to get them thinking. My hope for after class was to get some of them to research their interests more deeply while at home.

I gave them each a big piece of poster board sized paper and told them to create a picture/scene of what they wanted to be when they grew up. 

If they wanted to enter the poster contest, they were to take the poster home, finish decorating it and write one to three paragraphs about the career they chose. They could research online, talk to their parents or visit someone from that profession to gather their information. They were to bring the poster back to me by the end of the week to enter the contest.

I was surprised by how many of them brought it back to me and took the contest seriously.

The funniest part is, not a single one asked me about any type of prize. 

Check out my career resources HERE!
Check out my full career blog post HERE! 

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December 28, 2016

Bully Bundle Super Pack!

My students throw the word bully around loosely these days. Multiple times a day I have students tell me someone is bullying them, only to find out that someone was just teasing them one time on the playground or in class. Not that this isn’t hurtful, but it is far from bullying.

We have to educate our students and the angry parents whose child told them they were being bullied, what bullying really means and what it entails. We have to teach them the difference between someone being a bully and someone being mean.
 One of my goals this year has been to teach my students the difference between a true case of bullying and a person who isn't very nice. Here's how I've been going about that... 


We have very few true blue bullies at my school. The two students that we do have who are not very nice pretty frequently who some may label as a bully, I chose to work with individually. In my experience, most kids don’t become a bully for fun, there is usually more to the story. Individual sessions seem to work better as they allow them to be more comfortable and occasionally vulnerable. 

We usually only do one to three sessions together.

Session #1:
After some small talk and getting to know each other a bit, we play with the “Seven Types of Bullying Cube” so I can understand the student’s knowledge of what exactly is considered bullying. 

After we take turns back and forth providing examples and taking guesses at what that type of bullying may be, we go over the “Seven Types of Bullying” posters. We read and discuss them and I ask the student if they can think of specific examples of the type of bullying, if they’ve ever seen or experienced it, etc.

Session #2:
We quickly review the seven types using the “Seven Types of Bullying Cootie Catcher”. 

We then read and discuss the “What is Bullying Book” (it is a poster set that I bound together with keyrings to create a book). There are two types of books with the same information that feature different clipart characters. I let the student pick which one they want to use. 

After a thorough discussion, I give them a blank copy of the book and we go page by page trying to figure out the answers. 

Once finished, I let them color the book for a bit while we continue to talk and form a bond. 

Session #3:
We review all that we learned and if they want, they sign the pledge card and I give them a bookmark keepsake.

Depending on the student and their needs, we may spend extended time together and follow the small group plan, just the two of us. 

Small Groups:

I chose a group of students from each grade level that are known to throw around the word bullying frequently and created various small groups so that we could really dive deep into the material. Listening to each other and bouncing around ideas allows them to connect to the ideas differently than if they only participated in a whole class guidance lesson.

Session #1:
After we establish the purpose of the group and our group norms, we get to know each other a bit with some type of icebreaker activity. I like to switch these up every time I meet with a group of students. It keeps it fresh for me; it’s interesting to see how different icebreaker activities create different dynamics and interactions.

After we are all comfortable, we play with the “Seven Types of Bullying Cootie Catcher”. We sit in a circle and each student gets a turn. They turn to their right and ask the person next to them the question. We repeat until everyone has had at least two turns (hopefully time allows). I use this to gauge the group’s knowledge of the different types of bullying. It lets me know what I need to focus on most with each group. 

Session #2:
After we review our norms, and have a quick icebreaker such as telling our highs and lows for the week, we utilize the Seven Types of Bullying Cube.” It really gets the conversation started.

We then use “What is Bullying Book” (poster set made into a book) and discuss each page. At the end, students should have a pretty good understanding of the criteria for bullying and what bullying really means. I try to lead us into a thorough discussion of each of the ideas and topics included.

Session #3:
Once students are reminded of the group norms, and our icebreaker is finished (an example of something new we learned that week-doesn’t have to be related to our group) we dive into the workbook. I make black and white copies ahead of time and give one to each student. We go page by page, filling in as much information as the group remembers. Once finished, we refer back to the book we used in the previous session and fill in missing information. 

Session #4:
This is my favorite session of the group. It is so interactive and fun! I place the “Does this fit the criteria for Bullying” Situation Cards upside down in a pile in the middle of our group circle. Students take turns picking a card, reading it to the person on their right and patiently waiting for an answer. Once the answerer is finished, the questioner has the opportunity to add to their answer. Once both are done, the answerer picks a card turns to their right and continues the cycle until we run out of time. 

Session #5:
Now that we understand the concept of bullying, the criteria for bullying, explored various bullying situations and have discussed our experiences with bullying, we learn about the seven types of bullying. I show them the poster set, which I also bind with keyrings. I find it makes it easier to keep and handle if they are bound together as I have limited wall space in my office to work with and display posters. It is also more relatable if the students can work with the information as they hold and manipulate the posters.

Session #6:
I like to have an open conversation about what the students learned, what they liked and any questions or concerns they still have. I like to have all the materials we utilized during our time together out so that we can review everything we learned and refer back if there are questions.

Once we feel good about the information and I feel they clearly understand the difference between a bully and someone who just plain isn’t nice, we sign our pledge cards (if they so choose) and they pick out their favorite keepsake bookmark. 

Whole Group Guidance Lessons:

I love whole group lessons. You have the opportunity to impact a student and never even know it. What you teach can stick with many of them and has the potential to change their classroom climate way after you leave. That’s a really awesome feeling.

I like to complete a two part lesson (assuming the teacher will allow me to use that much class time). We have really great teachers and I am thankful that they look at what I have to teach as valuable and let me have so much access to their precious little babies.

Lesson #1:
We take about 10 minutes to discuss the concept of bullying vs. being mean and review the “What is Bullying” posters. I put each poster, one by one, under the overhead projector as we discuss the written concepts. It leads to some very thoughtful discussion.

Then we play with the situation cards as a class. I place them upfront, face down in a pile. I call four students at a time who come to the front, pick a card, read the question out loud and then provide an answer. The class discusses the scenario and the provided answer and kindly add on or help guide students who are struggling. This activity makes for great conversation and many learning moments. It provides a safe place to explore different scenarios and ask questions. 

When my time is up, I leave each student with a bookmark, there are alot of different designs to choose from, 

and hang a “Bully Safe Classroom” Tag outside the classroom door (if the teacher approves). I let the teacher choose from the different color options.

Lesson Two:
I try to come back after a few weeks. I have them start by playing with the cootie catchers in groups of 2-4 for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on their level of engagement. This is a mini review that gets them talking and thinking about the criteria for bullying as well as the various bullying types. I make these ahead of time so I can utilize more time with the class. 

Now having an understanding of bullying and its criteria, we learn about the different types of bullying. This is always eye opening for the students because sometimes there are ways to bullying and alienate people in which they had not thought of, realized or been previously exposed to. It makes them aware of ways they may have “bullied” others or made them uncomfortable without even knowing it.

I start the lesson by displaying each of the “Seven Types of Bullying” Posters on the projector and then explaining and discussing each type. Depending on the age and maturity of the group, I may opt out of discussing sexual bullying.

After I feel the students have got it, I have the students work in groups again rolling the Bully Cube and describing the type of bullying they land upon. I circle the room and interact with each group making sure they have taken away something from our time together.
When I’m done, I leave each student with a bookmark and ask if I can hang a “Bully Safe Classroom” Tag outside the classroom door if the original tag is not still there (if something happened to the tag and it wasn’t removed for any reason).

That’s how I combat the bullying vs. being mean epidemic at my school. What do you all do? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions! Share them with me here or on any of my social media sites <3 

December 12, 2016

Sweet Dreams

"I've been falling asleep in class.
I'm scared to sleep at night because I don't have sweet dreams."

Here are four ways I attempted to fix that for my sweet, sleepy little third grader:

Sweet Dreams Foldable

I print this poster for students to keep somewhere near their bed. I ask them to look at it before they go to sleep and mentally check off each step. Once they’ve checked off everything on their list and are ready for a good night’s sleep, they relax their mind and focus on the positive.

The poster has five tips that spell out SWEET:
Sounds that are pleasant
Way cozy setting
Environment for happy dreams
Eat well
Talk it through

By following these five tips, students will increase their chances of having sweet dreams all night.

After I’ve discussed the tips on the poster, I dive deeper into each tip by using the foldable activity. The foldable is quick and easy. It also is only one piece of paper with double sided printing. Making copies isn’t a pain!
It downloads in a black and white version making this foldable a fun coloring/calming activity as well. I like to take advantage of the time it takes to color the cover to get to know my student better. Coloring makes establishing that connection and then sliding into the real issues much easier for all of us.

This foldable is also neat because it has students think deeply about how to incorporate the new behaviors outlined on the poster into their everyday life. By answering questions, drawing pictures and imagining themselves sleeping peacefully, students learn how to create a positive sleep environment for themselves.

Setting the stage for sweet dreams will hopefully lead to sweet dreams.

The foldable is easy. I have students cut off the excess border, fold the page in half with the cover facing out and then cut slits on the dotted lines freeing the separate sections and creating five separate flaps.


Examples: Under the Sounds that are pleasant flap, it asks:
1)    What pleasant sounds do you think would put you to sleep?
2)  Draw yourself sleeping peacefully.
Under the Way cozy setting flap, it asks:
1)    Draw yourself cozy and ready for sweet dreams.
2)  How do you get way cozy and ready for good sleep?

Each flap has the student imagine themselves sleeping well and having sweet dreams throughout the night. A positive mindset and calming environment are half the battle.

Dream Trappers and Dream Creators
This one is great for students who come to school a little rattled from a bad dream the night before. It’s a quick fix that lets students move on from the dream and get back to focusing in class.

Students follow the printed steps to create each of the two parts to this activity. I like to have students start by creating the dream trapper. I like to get rid of the negative as quick as possible and end every lesson on a positive note. Therefore I start with the dream trapper and end with the dream creator.

After I single side print both the dream trapper and the dream creator, I set the dream creator to the side. The first paragraph of each page lets students know whether they are using the dream trapper or dream catcher. Once they identify the differences, I have the student focus solely on the dream trapper, setting the dream creator to the side.

Students start by writing down their bad dream/nightmare on the inside of the trapper and then cutting out the entire shape.

Cut out the entire shape, creating a flower like object.  

Fold the flaps inwards, trapping the dream. 

Write a note to the dreams to go away.

When ready, tear the dream trapper to pieces, destroying the dream forever. 

We then move on to the dream creator. I ask students to think about what kind of dreams they would like to have instead.

We follow the same steps we did to create the dream trapper, except this time we decorate. 

In the end, instead of tearing it up, the student takes it home and places it under their pillow to create the best dreams possible. 

Dream Catcher Activity
Ancient legend says that a dreamcatcher has the power to trap bad dreams for eternity while passing good dreams straight into your sleep cycle.

When placed above our beds while sleeping, it is thought that dreamcatchers catch our floating dreams. The good dreams, the bad dreams, the unmemorable dreams, even the scary dreams; the dreamcatcher can trap.

Students can decorate and design their very own dreamcatcher to promote good dreams and catch and trap scary dreams.

The good dreams are caught in the dreamcatcher’s web and then slide down into the feathers. From there, the dream is sent straight into our dream lineup to create similar dreams in the future.

Bad, scary or unpleasant dreams get stuck in the dreamcatcher's web never to be dreamt again. 

Hang your dreamcatcher above your bed to increase your chances of sweet dreams.

Sleep well my friend.

Write a Letter Activity
This writing activity is a therapeutic way for students to let go of their bad dreams/nightmares and the associated feelings.

Assembly is easy. All you need to do is grab some crayons, glue and scissors.

Double side print the letter and envelope template. Cut apart to free the pieces. 

Fold on dotted lines and follow the included simple assembly instructions to create the envelope.

Fold to create flaps. 
 Fold over, glue front to flaps
Finish creating envelope!

Once assembled, write the letter, place inside envelope and use glue to seal envelope shut.

For added affect, place letter in mailbox to "mail" it to the Dream Processing Center.

I am not licensed to do any type of intense dream therapy and do not have the time or skills to help students get to the deep seeded root of their bad dreams or nightmares. I can however be there the next morning to help them pick up the pieces so they are able to get back to class and be able to focus on learning. These four activities have helped me, to help my students, successfully do just that.

Download your own copy of Sweet Dreams HERE! 

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