Ever wonder what we talk about in Guidance Class?
Check out the lessons topics below!
(**GUIDANCE CLASSES ARE PART OF THE ENCORE ROTATION. CLASSES MEET ONCE PER WEEK ON EACH GRADE LEVEL'S ENCORE DAY**)
: We will be using these first couple weeks of class to get to know each other better! Students will be participating in a Student Needs Assessment that will allow me to gauge the needs of our students. Results from the Needs Assessment will inform the topics we discuss in Guidance class, allow me to see what types of small groups may be beneficial for our students, and assess the effectiveness of the CFIS School Counseling program. Parents...I need your input!! Please fill out the parent version of the Student Needs Assessment found HERE
OCTOBER CLASSES: We spent this month working on one of the statements of the Student Needs Assessment that students completed last month. The statement, "I feel like other students listen to me", received relatively low marks; therefore, working on this is going to be our goal this year. We have focused on little steps we can take to help our fellow classmates feel heard, noticed, valued, and listened to!
Our focus this month has been using listening skills and communication skills to form connections. We started the month by focusing on saying "Hello" to other students (and staff) while also using appropriate non-verbal communication (eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions, etc). We also learned how to properly go through doors in a way that doesn't cause others to feel invisible! We discussed how to acknowledge someone who is holding the door for us and not make them hold the door for the whole group. We also discussed how we can make sure we notice the person behind us by making eye contact with them and holding the door for them. Ask your child to show you this important skill when you are out in public! :)
Using listening and communication skills, we are learning how important it is to take another's perspective to better understand each other. We are discussing how easy it is to draw conclusions about our fellow classmates based on our observations or what others say...but it is so important to be curious about each other and seek more information before we draw conclusions. We discussed how important it is to get to know each other's story...and the only way to know someone's story is to ask them about themselves! When we know more, we understand more. When we understand, we are more patient, kind, and tolerant of one another.
October Presentations and Activities:
Verbal vs Nonverbal Communication
: Following this presentation, we played a game of "Charades" to illustrate what 'nonverbal' communication feels/looks like. We discussed how easy it is to misinterpret what is being said to us with how we communicate nowadays (mostly 'verbal'...such as texts, chats, emails, etc). We lose most of the meaning of our message when we just use verbal communication! We need nonverbals to make sure we are sending the right message. How do we do that with electronic communications?
Verbal vs Nonverbal Instructions (Demonstration)
: This was used to illustrate the difference between Verbal and Nonverbal communication...especially as they relate to the percentage of the message we get with each! Students were asked to take 2 pieces of paper and follow the instructions. First, the instructions were given 'verbally' (written and spoken). They were asked to try really hard to NOT look at each other for direction. Most students found this to be VERY difficult and frustrating! Most students did not make what the instructions were for (a Fortune Teller). I then gave the instructions 'non verbally' by simply showing the students how to make the fortune teller. Most students found this much easier to follow! Again, we discussed the importance of nonverbal communication in sending a message, sharing information, and expressing ourselves.
We spent November discussing "perspective taking" and understanding others' point of view, discrimination and prejudice, and kindness. We discussed how it is important to seek to understand one another before being quick to judge! We used "The Karate Kid" movie (with a little modification in their stories ;) ) to talk about how important it is to look at situations from multiple angles and we watched Dr Seuss's "The Sneetches" to help us guide our conversation about "prejudice" and "discrimination". For our final class in November, students were asked to think about various aspects of "kindness" and why it is sometimes difficult to show it.
DECEMBER and JANUARY CLASSES:
We are beginning our in-depth look at "bullying", by discussing the answers to the following questions: What is it? Is ALL "mean" behavior bullying? Why is labeling someone a "bully" misleading and incorrect? (Why is it better to look at bullying as a behavior...not a person?) What are the different roles that someone may play in a bullying situation? How do we find (and use!) our power? How do we support those who don't use their power (or use it to engage in bullying behavior)? How do we become "Bucket Carriers"?
In Guidance this month, we reflected upon the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr that occurred 53 years ago and discussed the topic of "discrimination". We watched an edited video, "The Eye of the Storm", about Jane Elliott...a teacher from Riceville, Iowa, who taught her 3rd grade students about the harm of discrimination by separating them by eye color. Though the racist and hurtful comments were edited out of this video, we were able to see how "normal" discrimination against people of color was to the third grade students in her class (in the late 1960s and early 1970's). We discussed our own reactions to the video, we realized that our discomfort was a sign that we have made some progress as a society...that it is no longer "ok" or "normal" to discriminate against others. We recognized that, though progress is being made, we still have a lot of work to do! We also discussed how we, as individuals, can make the changes we want to see in our world.
Some students wanted to see the follow up documentary, "A Class Divided", in which Mrs Elliott reconnects with her students as adults and reflects upon their experience. Though certainly unethical by our educational standards today, the lesson she taught in her classroom had a profound impact on her students! I encouraged students to watch the documentary with their parents, as it is unedited and some of the language used is hurtful and offensive. I hope this lesson will spark some deep conversations at home!