This week and last, we have been continuing our unit on friendship. The last time we met, students worked in teams to act out scenes where they asked to join a group and included others in a way that was kind and flexible. This week, I asked students to continue thinking about including others. It is easy to say we will include other people. But what if the other person was mean to you all last year, or never lets you be their partner, or even picks their nose? Students shared that they would have a much more difficult time including others in these trickier situations. Here at Armstrong, each of us has to make a commitment to include all other students. It does not mean they have to be your friend or come to your birthday party, but here at school, everyone who wants to deserves to be part of the group.
In thinking about including others, it is important to acknowledge that there are times when you really do not want to include the other person. Often, this is the result of a conflict you are having with them or a problem you have had in the past. I believe that if that conflict can be resolved, including the other person becomes less of an issue.
To hopefully alleviate some of these conflicts, I would like to use our next few lessons to further develop our students’ problem solving strategies. To begin, we used the second half of this lesson to review some ways to calm your body down when you are upset. Strategies included taking three deep breaths, counting slowly to 10, and thinking of something that you like and makes you feel good. Using a strategy to calm your body down is one of the most important things you can do to successfully resolve a conflict.
At the end of the lesson, each student picked a strategy to try over the next few weeks. If you have a moment, ask your child to share the strategy they chose, and when they are upset at home, encourage them to use it.
Thank you for your help with this important lesson.
School Counselor, Armstrong Elementary School
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