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!
What is the difference between a Job and a Career? What are the similarities?
Today students got the chance to discuss the two and what they thought the similarities and differences were. This was a fun conversation for students and they had some really great ideas. Students were challenged today to continue the conversation at home by asking their family members what jobs they had and/or what careers they have had or are currently in.
Students in 4th Grade had the unique opportunity of applying for college today!
Melissa Berg, PSI School Counselor, walked students through a brief experience of what it would be like to apply for college. Students were asked to fill out their personal information, their Major of Study, what College they were going to attend and Why they thought that is what they wanted to study.
Below are a few examples from the day. Kind of exciting to see some of the careers: Doctor, Scientist, Fashion Designer, Car Engineer, Archaeologist, and Pediatrician.
4th Grade Students were introduced to College Mascots today for an introduction to College and Career Exploration Month at Aquila with their counselor, Rachel Nelson.
Elementary Students across St. Louis Park will be experiencing the first ever
College and Career Exploration Month in their schools!
School Counselors will be hosting a variety of activities this month for students and staff to experience.
Weekly Drawings for Students to Win College Gear,
College T-shirt Days,
"Kid-A-Reer Day" - where you can dress like the career you want to have in the future,
Mascot Scavenger Hunts,
Keep a look out for Parent Newsletters this Month to have Building Specific Dates!
For More Information on College and Career Exploration Month - See our Webpage dedicated to it!
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.
Susan Lindgren 5th Graders had the chance to participate in Youth Frontiers Kindness Retreat this Week!
Students were welcomed into the retreat by 16 cheering St. Louis Park Senior High student volunteers and the Youth Frontiers leaders, Joe and Jonny. The morning was filled with music and games while students got warmed up and comfortable with the SLP High School leaders. The topic of the day was Kindness. Students were broken up into small groups throughout the day, lead by a SLP High School student. In their groups students discussed moments and things that they have seen at Susan Lindgren that have been unkind and then were given the chance to discuss how those things could be changed. Towards the end of the day, each student is given the opportunity to reflect and think about what they personally can do to make their school and classroom a more kind place to be.
February 4th-8th is National School Counseling Week!
Melissa Berg, Licensed School Counselor at Park Spanish Immersion, was asked why she loves being a School Counselor. Read her response below.
Friends and family often ask me to describe my job. I sometimes have a hard time summarizing the role of an elementary counselor (every day is different!); however, nearly everyone comments that I have a huge smile on my face when I talk about my job and about the kids.
Being an elementary school counselor is incredibly fulfilling, both personally and professionally. I feel very privileged to be able to witness students' growth over the course of several years. A student wrote a paper about me that started with the sentence "Srta. Berg es la amiga de todos" (Srta. Berg is the friend of all). Building relationships with students is both the foundation of what I do and the most enjoyable part of being a counselor.
The Call for More Mental Health Counseling for Students
Kare 11 Video Clip
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
5th Graders at Peter Hobart, Aquila and Park Spanish Immersion attended Youth Frontiers' Kindness Retreats during the month of December.
(Susan Lindgren 5th Graders will attend in February)
Since 1987 Youth Frontiers, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, has been delivering programs to build positive school communities that help young people realize the importance of respecting themselves and others. Their vision is to change the way young people treat each other in every hallway, lunch line and classroom of every school in America so that today’s young people make tomorrow’s world better. Last year, Youth Frontiers worked with nearly 100,000 students and educators throughout the country.
On the Kindness Retreat, the Youth Frontiers retreat staff focus on creating a more positive school community by engaging students in a variety of activities that build students’ empathy skills and teach safe ways to help prevent bullying.
For more information on Youth Frontiers and/or the Kindness Retreat click the button below.
If you want to catch kindness, keep throwing it out there.
5th Graders learned:
"3 Steps to be a Hero or an Upstander"
I - C - I
Interrupt the situation
Compliment the person
Invite the person away
Students can find themselves in a bystander role, witnessing an uncomfortable situation between two students and they are unsure of what to do. When asked, so many students will say they want to do something but they just don't know what they should do in the moment. The "I-C-I" is a great, easy and quick method that can help a student know what to do in these types of situations.
Interrupt the situation by talking to the student or friend who is being picked on, teased, made to feel less than what they are.
Compliment that friend about anything you can think of.
"Your drawing today in art was so cool"
Then invite that friend away from the situation.
"Do you want to come and jump rope with me? C'mon, Let's go"
Can We Be Friends?
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Kindergartners will be working with their counselor this month on the skill of showing kindness by sharing and accepting others even if they are different. Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is the perfect book to help with this theme.
The Meanest Thing To Say
The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby
Little Bill, Best of Volume 1 on iTunes
First Graders continue to work with Counselors this month on Friendship Skills. Last month students learned how to not judge someone before you get to know them; learning to give others a chance. This month is focusing on how to handle the trickier situations in a friendship: when we disagree, argue, and/or hurt each other's feelings.
Counselors are using Bill Cosby's, The Meanest Thing to Say, story and video to help students understand more about friendship and that our words can really hurt each other. Sometimes friends tease each other, thinking that it is funny and that it is fun but often someone is not having fun and actually feelings are being hurt. Does that mean we cannot be friends anymore? Little Bill, with the help of his Dad, shows students that there are other ways to handle the situation that still allow us to be friends.
Random Acts of Kindness
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
The perfect story for the holiday season! What do you do when you really want something but maybe you don't quite need it? What do you do when you meet someone who really needs something but doesn't have a way to get it?
Counselors will be sharing the book Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and discussing with students the feelings of wanting something versus needing something. Students will also be looking at how we can do little things for others to show kindness.
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do." - Helen Keller
Counselors are wrapping up their classroom lessons on the topic, Being an Upstander, this month. Students and teachers have been participating in many conversations on what it means to be an Upstander and ways that we can practice being one.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Choose not to join in when people are picking on or laughing at someone.
2. Speak out against unkind words or actions.
3. Say something helpful to the person who's being picked on or laughed at.
4. Ask people who are teasing how it would feel if they were the ones being teased.
5. Ask the person who's being left out or picked on to join you in an activity.
6. Let an adult know what's going on.
What other ideas can you come up with as a family?
Listening Is A Skill!
Howard B. Wigglebottom: Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow
Kindergartners are working with counselors this month on Listening. Listening is a skill that needs to be taught, practiced and learned rather than a behavior that we do or don't. Howard B. Wigglebottom is a silly bunny that Kindergartners relate well too. In this story, Howard finds that his day goes much better if he slows down and really listens to what his friends, teachers and parents are telling him.
Kindergartners learn that they listen with their whole body and they spend time practicing what this looks like and sounds like. For more information on Listening and/or Howard B. Wigglebottom (a bunny who goes on many adventures) check out the website: http://wedolisten.org/
Give Them A Chance
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
How often do we judge something before we know anything about it? We do this with books ("don't judge a book by it's cover"), food, hobbies/sparks and even with people.
First Graders will be working with counselors this month on giving people a chance. Enemy Pie (a student favorite) is a story all about having an enemy, the new boy who moved into the neighborhood. This enemy turns out to have the same interests, hobbies, and is even good at things the main character wishes he was good at. The best line in the story, "he wasn't being a very good enemy". WIth the help of Dad, an enemy is lost and a new friend is gained.
First Graders will get an opportunity to think about what qualities they think make a good friend, remembering to give someone a chance!
Teasing or Kidding?
Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig
Second Graders are learning that our words are powerful and that words can hurt others. There are times that our intention is be playful and "kidding" but really we are teasing someone else. Counselors will be sharing the book Just Kidding with second graders to help with the conversation. Students will also work on being an Upstander: What should I do if I did tease someone instead of kidding OR what if I know that someone else is teasing instead of kidding.
Friendships = Give and Take
Yoon and the Jade Bracelet by Helen Recorvits
Third Graders are continuing to look at Upstander Behaviors as they discuss Friendship. Counselors are sharing the story Yoon and the Jade Bracelet (a student favorite) with third graders. In the story, Yoon really wants to jump rope and make some new friends. Yoon finds an older girl who is willing to play with her BUT only if she gives the girl her bracelet to wear and if she twirls the rope so the older girl can jump. Third graders relate well to this story, sharing about a friendship they have experienced that is one-sided.
Counselors are teaching students that friendships should be equal and that there should be give and take. Taking turns, finding activities that both people like to do are all important when building a friendship with someone.
Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig
Fourth and Fifth graders are continuing to talk about being an Upstander and Upstander Behaviors. Counselors are working with students this month on recognizing that words can hurt others. Students will learn about Trouble Talk: any kind of talk that leads to nothing but trouble. Examples of trouble talk are: teasing, gossiping, spreading rumors, lying, giving hurtful and/or unwanted advise to someone. Students will talk about how they can help stop Trouble Talk in their classrooms and amongst their friends.
In St. Louis Park...
Students, staff and even community members are learning
what it means to be an Upstander.
An Upstander is: a person who takes action particularly when the easiest or most acceptable course is to do nothing
An Upstander Pledge:
I will always:
Support those around me who are being bullied or victimized.
Tell a friend, teacher or parent when I see someone being bullied.
Ask myself, "How would I want to be treated?"
Note where and when bullying occurs.
Do something when I see someone being bullied - be an Upstander.
Understand why bullies bully.
Practice being a positive role model for my fellow students and share "Stand Up to Bullying" strategies with others.
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!