Here I will post news and resources for families and teachers from a school counselor's perspective.
During those fleeting and intermittent moments of rest, it may be tempting to pick up your device to check your social media feeds. While there can be wonderful benefits to technology, including connecting with friends and loved ones, research shows that too much screentime can actually make us feel isolated and disconnected.
Going cold turkey without any screens or devices can be really hard, but if you want to decrease device use and screentime in your family, a tech-less challenge is an effective and fun way to do it. Make a commitment to try one or all of the challenges below! Do the challenge for the entire day or the time specified. Feel free to spice up the challenge with some healthy competition with family members.
On June 19th we celebrate Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually in various parts of the United States since 1865. Here are some ways to celebrate Juneteenth with your family:
I spend much of my summer on hikes in and around Vermont. Although I do not have kids of my own, I imagine hiking with them can be challenging, especially during their early years. That being said, I think taking kids on hikes is so important. It's a great opportunity to unplug, get some exercise and experience nature firsthand. Check out the following resources on hiking with kids:
June is Pride Month, when the world's LGBTQ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Pride gatherings are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are. Interested in learning more about Pride Month and/or talking about it and celebrating it with your kids? If so, check out the links below.
Preschooler have been using a new tool, Code-a-Pillar, to learn and practice coding. What I really like about the Code-a-Pillar is its simple and hands-on and doesn't require the use of a screen, perfect for early learners. Students create their code using segments of the caterpillar's body. Each segment has a symbol showing what it will make the caterpillar do: move forward, backward, left, right or play a sound. Press the play button on the main body and the caterpillar will read the code - each segment will light up one at a time - and do what it is programmed to do. This is also a great opportunity for students to "debug" their code. Did the caterpillar not perform the entire code? Are all the segments connected? Unfortunately it seems that Fisher-Price no longer makes the Code-a-Pillar. I will be introducing a similar coding tool, the Blue-Bot, in the fall.
5th and 6th graders have been working collaboratively to design and construct their own board games. This began with a little research, playing existing board games and identifying the rules, objectives and what they liked and disliked about them. After choosing a theme for their game, they came up with a rough sketch of their idea and drafted some rules. After their games are complete, hopefully next week, they will play each others' games and provide feedback. For more information, check out: Board Game Toolkit.
In wellness we have been working on differentiating between things that are in our control, like our thoughts and feelings, and those that are out of our control, such as the weather. In kindergarten, we read Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Next, we sorted his experiences into two categories: in his control and outside his control. Then students worked in pairs on a similar sorting activity using problems they might face. Finally, we talked about how focusing on things outside our control can lead to unnecessary stress and how focusing on what is in our control can help us to solve problems and make changes to reduce stress.
I have been thinking a lot about how best to support families after the tragedy in Uvalde. I also needed some time to process my own thoughts and feelings, something I am still doing and will likely continue to do for some time. Below are a few resources that I believe might be helpful. I also want to make myself available. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support you or your family.
School Counselor - Avid Hiker - Reader - Lego Enthusiast