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Mrs. Dagianis, social emotional learning

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Guidance Lessons

We Have an Attitude of Gratitude!

The Citizenship characteristic of the month comes from our 12 Concepts of Kindness that we explicitly investigate and work on each week in guidance. Septembers focus was Fairness, October was Self-Discipline, and November is all about Gratitude!

One of our all time favorites, Kid President, led us into thoughts of gratitude with this hilarious video that reminds us to be grateful for the little things.

The students then shared things that they were grateful for with the class and created a leaf that reflects their thoughts of gratitude. I was blown away by the genuine sentiments the students shared such as being grateful for school and clean water. Clearly they have a global perspective when they are aware that school is a privilege and that such a unique school experience as ours is something to be grateful for!

I thoroughly enjoyed creating the gratitude tree that is on display near the Multipurpose Room upstairs at MACS.  Over 150 leaves are displayed on it’s branches, bringing it to life. Our motto this month is “we have an attitude of gratitude” or “gratitude is an attitude”. This is a motto to carry with us throughout the year! Having a grateful mindset goes hand in hand with thinking positive and listening to our inner coach over the critic that tends to bring us down. I am grateful for the opportunity to facilitate these moments with our students!

Students continue their practice of being actively grateful through a  100 Thoughts of Gratitude Challenge and their Gratitude Journals which will be on going. Stay tuned!

Knowledge is power…to keep our kids safe

An unfortunate but necessary conversation we have to have with our children is about how they can stay safe around people they don’t know. “Stranger danger” is a very real concern for our families these days and you really just never know. So the best strategy is to be preventative and empower our children with the information they need to be smart and stay safe.

Today in guidance we took the first portion of class to discuss:

  • Who are strangers? (People we don’t know)
  • How do movies or shows portray them? (Scary, ugly, dark clothing, villains)
  • What do they really look like? (Normal everyday people)
  • Who are “safe strangers”? (Police, and other first responders, employees at shops)
  • How to recognize and handle a dangerous situation and other strategies to keep ourselves safe. A grown-up should never be asking a child for help! A grown up should ask another grown up for help. 
  • “No, Go, Yell, Tell.” – The students offered strategies to avoid several potential dangerous scenarios and put into practice our new saying.

The conversations took place at an appropriate developmental level for each grade, however, across the board I was impressed at how aware and informed our student body was about the topic. So kudos to you grown ups for having these conversations and empowering your child(ren) to be safe!

*One of the best strategies for unexpected pick up situations I learned from a student today:) Make up a code word or phrase with your family. In case of an emergency where you might have to ask someone new to pick up your child from a friends house or event, your child can ask for the secret code and be reassured that this person was sent by you.

Needless to say, the most important part in all of this is your role as the parent…

  • Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere. Give your children your work and cell phone numbers so they can reach you at all times.
  • Point out safe places. Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go if there’s trouble.
  • Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.
  • Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
  • Encourage your children to play with others. There’s safety in numbers!

Here is a link to the National Crime Prevention Council’s page and discussion on “What to Teach Kids About Strangers”… Most of our discussion stemmed from the questions and scenarios found in this one page article.

Another great article: Does your family know these 6 stranger danger rules?

 

Classes 4 Classes Teacher Ambassador

I was honored and eager to share my passion and this mission on a greater scale when Kaitlin DeBellis, Founder of Classes4Classes, asked me to be a Teacher Ambassador. I can’t think of a more important message to be explicitly teaching and spreading in our schools.

I am thrilled to be changing the way we look at social emotional learning as MicroSociety Academy’s Guidance Counselor, Case Manager, and Special Educator. My passion as a counselor and educator rises out of an understanding that students mental and emotional well being and understanding of self, are an essential component to a successful day at school and a critical component of a functional society.

At our core we all desire to be loved, connected, and accepted. When we are loved and connected we are confident, compassionate, and able to reach our full potential socially and academically. It is my responsibility to help facilitate this connection so that young people will learn their true power and potential. Through my guidance lessons, each week, students work to enhance their social intelligence and use it to inspire, encourage, and uplift others. The impact of this learning is evident in our building…compassion and kindness radiates from our classrooms.

MACS School Counselor invited to present at the 24th Annual MicroSociety Conference in CT!

It was an incredible honor and inspirational experience to present my passion and work at the 24th Annual MicroSociety Conference in Connecticut this past June. Sharing the critical message of social emotional learning with other MicroSociety Schools from across the country  was a wonderful opportunity! We truly have a special school and to be able to share that with other educators so that they might be able to incorporate some of it into their school communities feels incredible. My colleague, friend , and Founder of Classes4Classes, Kaitlin DeBellis, was able to join me and share about C4C and our inspiring collaboration. This program has enriched our school community and expanded our connection to the surrounding community and beyond. With a spotlight on our unique focus of Social Emotional Learning as a key factor in student success and a priority in student learning, MicroSociety Academy is growing rapidly. We are lucky to be building this story together.

How do you turn your day around?

During Guidance, students reflected on various strategies to use when we are at a low point in the day. Throughout this first year, we have explored many different techniques and ways to help ourselves make the best choice when we are facing adversity, frustration, disappointment, and self-doubt. We watched a hilarious video clip to get inspired and then spent time reviewing strategies that work for us personally.

This months MACS Citizenship awards go to students who exude the quality of self-control. Our Social Emotional Learning Lessons play a huge role in supporting this growth and development. Being able to turn your day around and choose a positive direction is a huge display of self-control and ability to regulate your emotions.

MACS welcomes Mrs. Kaitlin Roig-Debellis! 

Students anxiously anticipated the arrival of the creator of Classes 4 Classes which has inspired our social emotional learning to reach new distances and depths with our students and school community as a whole. Each grade, K-5, took part in creating a thank you gift for Katilin to present her at our whole school assembly on Friday, May 20th.

Kindergarten authored and illustrated a book titled What Kindness Looks Like to me. 

    
First and second grade read the book Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. We rewrote the book to reflect our power of choice and titled it Alexander Chooses to Have a Great Day! 

   

Third grade authored and illustrated a book titled The 12 Concepts of Kindness. 

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4th/5th graders were asked to reflect and find a connection to a quote I found relevant to our C4C mission.

“Do a deed of simple kindness; though it’s end you may not see, it may reach like widening ripples, down a long eternity.”   – Joseph Norris 

1. What does this mean to you?

2. How do you represent this?

3. Why is this important?

 

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Thank you so much Katilin for all you’ve shared with us at MACS, and looking forward to our collaborations to come!

Kindness catchers!

Who doesn’t love to make a fortune teller?! To capitalize on our schools origami business, we turned the typical fortune teller into a kindness catcher! Students created their very own, unique, kindness catcher and used them to inspire random acts of kindness among their peers!

We love our teachers!

 

Ever since our compliment cards for our teachers, students have been asking to throw a surprise party to recognize their beloved teachers. We finally brought this to fruition on Friday of teacher appreciation week. Students worked hard to create thank you letters for their teachers which were compiled into class books. We held an assembly for K-2 and 3-5 to enjoy an inspirational video clip and present our teachers with their class books and posters. There was an incredible drum roll as the class book was passed down the line of creators to the deserving teacher and received with a big cheer. What a wonderful celebration of all kinds of collaboration and hard work!

Teacher Appreciation Week!

A big thank you to all the teachers out there working to facilitate a life long love of learning or our students! I created the appreciation station to encourage students to take time and be grateful for their learning experiences this year.

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