During the months of September and October, students in all four elementary schools will be filling out their "Ask Me About My Sparks" postcard. These postcards will then be shared with families at Fall Parent Conferences. See the article written by the Search Institute below on Exploring Possible Sparks with Your Children.
Students at Park Spanish Immersion shared some of their Sparks on video with Melissa Berg, School Counselor. It is amazing to see the variety of sparks that students have! We feel pretty lucky to be able to assist these kids with growing their sparks.
Keri Hokanson Olufson, school counselor at Peter Hobart, worked with students on Dedication. Students heard the classic tale "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper and then were asked to think about what skill or spark are they working on. Is it always easy to learn something new? Is it always easy to stick with it and be dedicated? Students were given the chance to share what it is that they are dedicated to.
Students at Peter Hobart participated in the first ever Sparktacular Kid-a-Reer Day on Friday. This was a day that kids could dress like their favorite career that they would like to have when they grow up or dress up in their Sparks. As you can see from the photos below, there were many awesome careers and sparks present!
2nd Graders are getting the chance to hear the story: A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer. This story is a humorous way to talk about Responsibility and the importance of it. The little boy in the story feeds his new pet fish, Otto, too much fish food even after he was told not to. Students enjoy hearing about what happens to the boy and his pet fish and then they get a chance to discuss what they are responsible for in their lives both at home and at school.
My Spark at School
This month 3rd and 4th graders are looking deeper into their Sparks and breaking them down. They are thinking about what specific skills they need to achieve their Spark and then discussing how school can help them learn those skills. Students are getting the opportunity set a few small goals that will help them reach their Spark or grow their Spark at school.
Counselors have been sharing stories from the book: Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World by Garth Sundem so that students can hear how other kids have worked hard to build their Sparks.
This month students will get an opportunity to look at other kids who are living their spark every day and helping others while doing it!
Below are two kids students will be learning about. For more information and links to their foundations, please go to the MORE ABOUT SPARKS page.
Hannah Taylor, The Ladybug Foundation
When Hannah was 5, she saw a man eating out of a garbage can on a frozen winter day. Hannah was immediately filled with sadness and questions. “Why, why, why?” she asked. “If everyone shared what they had, could that cure homelessness?” Since that defining moment, Hannah has learned about hunger and homelessness. Where society sees a problem, Hannah sees a person. By 8, Hannah had founded The Ladybug Foundation Inc., a registered charity, and had become the innocent face of the homeless.
Ryan Hreljac, Ryan’s Well Foundation
The Ryan’s Well Foundation grew from the commitment of one boy, Ryan Hreljac, who learned of the great need for clean and safe water in developing countries in his 1st grade class. With the support of friends, family and the community, Ryan raised enough money to build a well in Africa. In 1999, at age seven, Ryan’s first well was built at Angolo Primary School in northern Uganda. To this day, the well continues to serve the community. Although Ryan started raising for water projects in 1998, the Foundation was not formed until 2001. Since then, Ryan’s Well has helped build over 720 wells and 910 latrines bringing safe water and improved sanitation to over 760,500 people.
Supporting Your Children’s Sparks:
It’s great when young people explore and identify their sparks, but they also need caring adults to support them in their exploration.
Here are few ideas on how to support:
Talk with me and give me new ideas
Remind me to be positive and optimistic
Help me get to the library
Show me how to build things and figure things out
Introduce me to caring adults who can help me with my spark
Help me practice or train
Read my stories and poetry
Go with me into nature
Help me not to be bored
An Introduction To Sparks
Leo the Lightning Bug by Eric Drachman
Kindergartners started the month of October with an introduction to Sparks. Counselors shared the story Leo the Lightning Bug (a student favorite). Leo is a lightning bug who has just one wish, one goal: to light up like all the other lightning bugs. Lighting Up is Leo's Spark! He wakes up each morning excited and thinking about it. With the help of Leo's mom and practice, Leo is able to show the other lightning bugs that he can do it! This is a great story about persistance.
Kindergartners got the opportunity to share their Sparks! What gets them out of bed in the morning, full of excitement?
Rekindling Our Spark Conversation!
Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb
First graders started the month off with Odd Velvet, a girl who seems to have odd interests and hobbies. The other kids aren't sure what to think of her, not sure if they want to play with her or attend her birthday party. The students who decide to give Velvet a chance learn that her Spark is science and drawing. Velvet teaches them to draw and teaches them how to use their imaginations.
First graders are drawn to this story and enjoy learning about Velvet's sparks. This story is a great introduction into the conversation of each students' own spark. First Graders love to share what gets them out of bed, excited and ready for more!
How Full Is Your Bucket?
How Full Is Your Bucket For Kids? By Tom Rath and Mary Rechmeyer
Kindergartners and First Graders worked with their counselor at the end of the month on bucket filling. Students learned that everyone has an imaginary bucket and we either fill each other's buckets or we dip from them each day. Bucket Filling is when we do kind things for others, give compliments, invite others to play, Upstander Behaviors. Bucket Dipping is when we hurt others (intentionally or unintentionally): teasing, excluding, tattling on others.
Kindergartners and First Graders are going to work on being Bucket Fillers!