December plans

Hi everyone and Happy early Holidays!

The three weeks between Thanksgiving break and winter break are always filled with excitement around here.  And that’s not just the teachers – the kids, too!  In terms of our character education and school counseling classroom lessons, we are focusing on COOPERATION.

In Kindergarten, we worked on a Mrs. Shala and Mrs. Ozmore favorite – personal space!  No handouts were sent home, but we read Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook and put into practice some of the strategies in the  story to help us remember to respect others’ personal space and to stay in our own.

First graders got to hear about RJ in the story Teamwork Isn’t My Thing and I Don’t Like to Share! by Julia Cook.  The kids really appreciate all RJ goes through to work with his classmates and little sister.  But let me tell you the fun part.  We had a handout for the students to complete in pairs or groups as practice for cooperation.  There is a box at the top for the students’ names.  We had them work in groups and put everyone’s name in the box.  This took longer than expected so they didn’t complete the rest of the handout.  But this goof in the lesson turned out perfect because you should have seen them working together to include everyone’s names on each student’s paper and to spell them correctly!  If that wasn’t teamwork, then I’m not sure we could have found something much better!

In second grade, we read another Mrs. Shala and Mrs. Ozmore favorite, Problems With Pete the Pencil and Eddie the Eraser by third grade students of Kingsland Elementary in Spring Valley, Minnesota.  I bet you didn’t know that pencils and erasers talk to each other when we’re not listening, did you?  It’s a silly story that perfectly illustrates the importance of cooperation and how multiple people can be impacted when we don’t.  To further illustrate this, the students built a web with yarn to show how they are all connected to each other and impact each other.

Our third graders completed another favorite activity.  They worked in groups to figure out the Cooperation Baseball riddle.  Again, no handout went home, but ask your third grader about figuring out the riddle with only a few clues.

Fourth graders worked in groups on Cooperation Squares.  Once again, this is a favorite of counselors, teachers and students alike.  No handout again, but it was a valuable experience in how to work together as a team when you can’t talk and have other rules impacting our natural ways of problem solving.

Finally, fifth graders spent time working together to reflect on ways they have to cooperate in their lives.  They answered questions on a handout that they should have brought home.  Families can then further reference the questions for family discussions on cooperation.

With so many favorites, you can see this topic is one of our favorites and we usually go a long way in helping students understand the impact their cooperation with others, or lack thereof, has each day.  We hope it carries over to your home and family.  Have a wonderful winter break with family and friends!

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Is it bullying?

Last month, our focus was on respect in alignment with National Bullying Prevention Month.  Part of our lessons in all grade levels was to explain the difference between unkind, or even mean, behavior and bullying behavior.  Bullying is a very serious issue that has lasting impacts on both the bullies and the bullied.  Most school divisions and organizations across the country have anti-bullying policies in place to appropriately address bullying type behavior.

However, the majority of students are not bullies.  A majority of children have also been rude or mean or unkind to someone at some point in time.  Mean behavior isn’t right but it also isn’t always bullying.  Our lessons in October focused on a prevention effort to help students learn problem solving skills as well as peer support skills when they notice others being unkind.

Take a few minutes to look at the article below by clicking on the “Mean vs. Bullying” link and the webinar put out by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) with similar information.  If you ever have questions about a social situation with your child, especially if you feel they are involved with a bullying situation, please reach out to us for support.  And be on the lookout for information about “committment” – our November word of the month!

Mean vs. Bullying

ASCA Webinar

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UVA enrichment program

For over 40 years, the University of Virginia Curry School of Education has sponsored a Saturday Enrichment Program for students who show the potential to be gifted or high-ability, high-interest students in Kindergarten through grade five.  If you are interested in having your child apply for this program or want more information, please go to  The application deadline is December 1, 2019.


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Lessons on respect

Hi and happy fall y’all!

We are in full gear with lots going on around TES.  Our kiddos are busy learners and, this month, we are working on teaching them the importance of remembering respect as they go about their days.

October is national bullying prevention month so it’s a good time to stop and consider how we show respect to others and what respectful behavior looks like.  We are placing importance on preventing bullying-type behavior through respectful conflict resolution and communication.

In Kindergarten, we heard again about Howard B. Wigglebottom.  Howard has to learn to get along with others by not expecting his friends to do only what he wants to do and staying calm when things don’t go his way.  We talked about the difference between tattling (telling on someone just to get them in trouble) and reporting (getting adult help when someone is hurt or in danger).  To explore more helpful topics with Howard, go to

In first grade, we read The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark.  (You or your children may be familiar with other Pout-Pout Fish books.)  Students learned how to respectfully stand up to others who act unkind or who show bullying behavior.  We then identified different behaviors that are considered friendly versus mean or bullying.

Second and third grade lessons start this week.  In 2nd grade, we’ll be reading The Recess Queen.  We’ll identify friendly versus bullying behavior and learn about I Messages as an effective form of communicating our feelings.  In 3rd grade, we’ll be reading The Juice Box Bully.  Students will discuss how to recognize hurtful behavior and how to work together to stand up to those who are unkind and disrespectful.

Enjoy the fall weather that has finally arrived and the many fall activities going on this time of year!

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Respecting diversity

Respect is the focus word for October at TES.  How do we teach our children to show respect to others regardless of our differences?  The following suggestions are designed to help you teach children to not only value diversity but also to resist prejudice and discrimination.

  • Teach children to be critical thinkers, specifically about prejudice and discrimination. Critical thinking is when we strive to understand issues through examining and questioning. Young children can begin to develop these skills, to know when a word or an image is unfair or hurtful.
  • Respond to children’s questions and comments about differences even if you’re not sure what to say. Children often interpret a lack of response to mean that it’s not acceptable to talk about differences. If you’re unsure about what to say, try: “I need to think about your question and talk to you later.” Or, you can always go back to a child and say: “Yesterday you asked me a question about… Let’s talk about it.” Another useful response: “I don’t really like what I told you this morning. I’ve given it some more thought, and here’s what I really should have said.”
  • Listen carefully to what children are saying. Ask a few questions before answering to get a clearer idea of what they really want to know and the ideas they already have on the subject.
  • Shape your response to the child’s age and personality. Generally, children want to know why people are different, what this means, and how those differences relate to them. Remember that children’s questions and comments are a way for them to gather information about aspects of their identity and usually do not stem from bias or prejudice.
  • If children are nonverbal, observe and respond to their curiosity. For example, if a child is staring at or patting the head of a child whose hair is very different from hers, you can say, “He has straight hair, and you have curly hair.”
  • Model the behaviors and attitudes you want children to develop. Pay particular attention to situations that can either promote prejudice or inhibit a child’s openness to diversity. Consider seeking out items that reflect diversity such as books, magazines, dolls, puzzles, paintings, music, and so on.
  • Don’t let racist and prejudicial remarks go by without intervening. It’s important to let children know from a very early age that name-calling of any kind, whether it’s about someone’s religion, race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, is hurtful and wrong.
  • Try to create opportunities for children to interact and make friends with people who are different from them. As you know, children learn best from concrete experiences.
  • Share family traditions and encourage your children to ask others about theirs.  Sharing different traditions can allow them to see the many different ways families celebrate connecting with each other.
  • Try to expose children to role models from their own culture as well as to those from other cultures. Remember: Seeing adults developing positive relationships with people who are different offers an important model and teaches children to value such relationships.

Adapted from

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