RVES School Counselor Corner

February 2020

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What Happened This Month At Riverview Elementary School

What is Empathy?

This month we focused on the letter "E" in CARES - EMPATHY. Empathy is the students' ability to understand how someone else is feeling or to understand the situation they are in. It is the ability to “put yourself in someone else's shoes” and to understand the way a situation might make them feel. Empathy looks like:
  • Showing compassion
  • Discussing feelings
  • Reading cues
During our classroom lessons on empathy, Kindergarteners read the book 'A Sick Day for Amos McGee' by Philip Stead. The book depicts a zookeeper who has bonded with the animals he cares for at the zoo, and when Amos McGee finds himself sick, the animals come visit and take care of him as he has done for them. This is a great story about what friends will do to help and support each other. Students then drew pictures and helped make fleece blankets for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.
First and second grade students learned about empathy through a short video clip from Sesame Street (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_1Rt1R4xbM). After watching the video, students worked together in small groups and were asked to draw and/or write about how they could show empathy in various scenarios. A few examples of the scenarios that students were given included:

  • a friend fell off the monkey bars at recess
  • a classmate studied really hard for their spelling test and then didn't do well on the test
  • there is a new student at school, and they feel like they don't have any friends
Multiage first and second grade students also learned about empathy through a short video clip from Sesame Street (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_1Rt1R4xbM). They then worked in groups to figure out ways they could show empathy in various scenarios, as well as completed a "Showing Empathy" worksheet. Because their lessons were during the week of Valentine's Day, students were given an opportunity to show empathy and spread kindness by coloring Valentine's Day cards and writing kind messages on the back. The cards were delivered to kiddos at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.
In third and fourth grade, we read 'Each Kindness' Jacqueline Woodson. In the book, a new student joins the class, however she does not recieve a warm welcome from her classmates. We see what can happen and how students can feel when we chose NOT to be kind and have empathy towards one another. While this is not a typical 'happy ending' book, it does demonstrate that even small acts of kindness can make the world a better place. Third graders then helped create a list of random acts of kindness that we can do here at school. These lists are hung around the school, and students are challenged to complete these acts of kindness on a daily basis. Fourth graders played a star sticker activity - a colored star was placed on each students' back, and students had to find the other members of their group color without talking or looking at their own star. Several students did not have a star that matched any others, and we talked about how it felt to be left out, and the challenges faced when students didn't welcome everyone into their group.
In fifth grade, we read the book 'I Am Human: A Book of Empathy' by Susan Verde. The book tells a story about the importance of empathy. It shows that it's okay to make mistakes while also emphasizing the power of good choices by offering a kind word or smile or by saying "I'm sorry." Students then got into small groups and played a "roll and respond" activity to find connections with others. We discussed how it is important to look at situations through different lenses to try to understand how others might feel.

We Are STILL Looking for More Participants!!

RVES Global Citizenship Fair is Scheduled for March 18th

Different is great! At RVES, we honor the uniqueness of each individual. To help our learners see, understand and appreciate the differences in our school community, we are hosting a Global Citizenship Fair on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 9:00am - 1:30pm in the Gym at RVES.

Learners in grades 1-5 will visit the Fair with their classmates. Kindergarteners will participate in a special global-themed storytime with Mrs. Maguire from the Farmington Library. All learners can also add to our “Where My Family Is From” bulletin board in early March.

We want your family to be part of the Global Citizenship Fair!

There are many ways to participate before the event:

  • Send photos of your travels to different countries for our Going Places display
  • Send an object from your culture with a short description for our Museum of Culture
  • Send cultural clothing or fabric to be displayed in our Fashion Gallery
  • Tell us a story from your heritage, to be shared in our Heritage Voices display

We are also looking for volunteers to set up a display and visit with learners during the fair. We will provide table space for anyone interested in bringing photos, food, games, or cultural objects. We are especially interested in hands-on learning activities such as games, crafts, calligraphy or short language lessons.

Contact us if you want more information or to let us know you are interested in participating. Click on the link below for access to the letter that your child brought home.

Fighting the Winter Blues

In children, just as in adults, it is very common to feel a change in mood and energy levels during the winter months. Shorter days mean less sunlight, causing internal clocks to get off. This can affect sleeping habits and energy levels. In addition, chilly temperatures often mean staying inside and swaying from regular schedules. And, if done frequently, can negatively affect mental health. Try some of the tips below to help minimize the effects of winter weather on mental health!

Exercise: Keeping active is very important. If you can brave the cold, get your daily activity outdoors!

Eat healthy: A balanced diet is key in keeping a healthy body, and that effects the mind! Make sure you are getting your fruits and veggies!

Use lights to mimic sun: Keep a brightly lit home throughout the day. You can also purchase specialized lamps that provide a daily dose of sunshine.

Stay social: Attending school, work, and social obligations can seem like a pain on frigid days, but getting out of the house and conversing with peers can help to combat depression.

Open up: Talk to your children about how you are handling the winter and feelings you are having. They may be feeling the same way and you can help each other work through it.

Fun at home: Getting snowed in is a perfect excuse for family time. Plan a movie night or work on a home project. Don’t feel trapped inside, instead find ways to have fun together!

Game Time With the School Counselors

Congratulations to our winners from last month! Because their parents read our newsletter and correctly answered our trivia question, these kiddos were randomly picked for game time with the school counselors! Students joined Mrs. Alladin and Mrs. Felipe for games, popcorn, and music! Answer this month’s question and your student will have a chance to win game time next month!
Click Here to Access the Google Form

By filling out this quick form, your child(ren) can have a chance to win game time with Mrs. Alladin and Mrs. Felipe!!

Your School Counselors