Ms. Padilla's eNewsletter

Topic of the month: Self-Esteem

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This month's quote is...

"Be who you are because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

--Dr. Seuss

I encourage you to discuss this quote with your child. Talk about what it means to love and to value one's self.

Dear parents,

First of all I want to THANK YOU for your never-ending support as we discover new venues into critical literacy using different social topics that are crucial for the well being of your child. Through the use of bibliotherapy, read-alouds, and other activities, we have gained so much knowledge and had so much fun discussing topics, such as bullying, body appearance, racism, special needs, and peer pressure. Right now you may be asking yourselves “What’s next?”…Well, the reason I have carefully selected those topics throughout the year is because, believe it or not, these are important issues that affect our children’s self-esteem.

Informational Column

But, What is Self-Esteem?

Self-Esteem can be defined as the degree to which children feel accepted and valued by adults and peers who are important to them. The development of the self comes from developing a sense of trust in the people who care for them. Self-esteem also comes from all the dimensions of an individual’s talents, capabilities, accomplishments, and personality. This may include academic self-esteem, social self-esteem, physical self-esteem, and several other areas that are still being studied.

As children grow and experience the world, the parts of self-esteem become more distinct. Self-esteem is related to a number of life factors. Healthy self-esteem is related to experiencing school success, feeling happy and satisfied, making healthy lifestyle choices, having rewarding relationships, and demonstrating effective coping skills. Low self-esteem is related to several physical and mental health disorders such as eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. In addition, low self- esteem may result from interpersonal problems, loneliness, gang membership, obesity and suicidal tendencies.

Helping children develop self-esteem is a matter of helping them gather evidence that they are competent and capable. This evidence needs to be genuine and based on experience. When adults create opportunities for children to take risks and experience success, they are helping them develop a sense of self-worth. When children make mistakes, they need supportive adults who do not rescue them from the consequences but teach them to solve problems and express confidence that they will do better next time. Overall, children need to know that they are cared for and valued.

Teacher's Goal

One of my goals as a teacher is to help my students lead productive lives. As the year comes to an end, I want our children to leave 2nd grade with a sense of personal competency, healthy self-esteem, and sense of self-worth. I hope that the following activities and experiences in the classroom enable our children to express positive feelings and ideas about themselves as they move through childhood into adolescence.

The words we will learn this month are...

Self, determination, positive, trust, especial, unique

This month's critical literacy activities are...

For the next few weeks we will be discussing self-esteem as our critical literacy topic and we will be doing different activities based on the topic. This month our children and I have selected two books from a previously selected list of books: I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe, The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, and Carla’s Sandwich by Debbie Herman.

(Click on the images below to find the summaries of the books!)

To begin the critical literacy process, we will conduct read-alouds to teach acceptance and to appreciate each other’s and one’s uniqueness. I will lead a class discussion through the process of previewing the book and its purpose, reading to discuss the feelings associated with the characters, listening with empathy to other classmate who may be going through some of the issues discussed in the book, and questioning and responding to the general topics of self-esteem. To explore the books more fully and as we read stories, I have created a set of questions that get the group thinking and sharing their opinions, from which students can make connections, and that allow them to self-identify with the characters. Since effective storybook reading is an interactive process, we will be participating in Literature Circles following the same 3-part framework to critical literacy: deconstructing, reconstructing, and taking social action.

  • During the process of deconstruction the Story Mappers will use graphic organizers to compare and contrast the different points of view of the main characters, and how their feelings relate to self-esteem.
  • During the process of reconstruction The Connectors will find connections with themselves, another text, or the world, and be prepared to share them with the group. They will also be able to illustrate and important part of the book that they feel is most important.
  • Also, in the reconstruction process, the Passage Pickers will choose an important paragraph or section of the reading that they want their group to read again, and be prepared to share it with the others.
  • Lastly, in the social action process the whole class will create a self-esteem quilt and present it to the school principal.

Monthly Wrap-up Activity

The Self-Esteem Quilt

The self-esteem quilt is made up of two parts: HIGH self-esteem and LOW self-esteem. The lesson begins with the three stories that highlight the differences between the three.

At the end of the month, and after a class mini-lesson on some important terms/words on self-esteem, I will have students draw what high self-esteem looked like at school and what low self-esteem looks like at school. We will discuss key words that go along with these pictures and add those to our quilt.

The purpose of this lesson is to help students recognize how both high and low self-esteem impact the school environment and therefore, the level of student success, and other problems like bullying, and peer pressure.

Like every month, we will present our monthly critical literacy project to the school principal, or other teachers in the building.

Lesson extensions at home...

Parents so far you have done an excellent job in supporting your children at home! It is my goal not only to reach my students in the classroom, but to also ensure that you are building a healthful, warm, and close relationship with your child. As exploring and learning about things enhances a child's self-esteem, I encourage you to engage in any, or all, of the following activities:

  1. Make your child's most favorite sandwich like Carla. He/she may bring it to school and share with the class what makes it so unique and special.
  2. Discuss with your child what the word "uniqueness" means. Ask your child what makes him/her especial just how each animal in the book I Wish I Were a Butterly was unique.
  3. Pretend to be like the little engine! Have everyone in your family line up, put your right hands on the elbow of the person in front, move your arms in a circular motion, and replicate the little engine’s chant “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

The FIVE-STAR movie of the month is...

Tale Of Desperaux

The movie of the month is based on the book Tale Of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo.

Unlike the rest of the mice in his colony, Desperaux was born unafraid and refused to be indoctrinated into a culture of fear.

He is a brave small mouse with BIG dreams.

Available in iTunes, Netflix, and your public library!

Reminders to Super Parents

1. Valuing children means to let the child know that he/she is accepted for their accomplishments and efforts, but also that experiencing failure does not mean that they are less loved.

2. Proving opportunities for success means to give children the opportunity to experience success. When the child can see tangible evidence of progress after constant failure, helps a child feel proud of their improving skills.

3. Listening to children’s experiences and opinions means to acknowledge their feelings, which in turn will help them learn to trust themselves.

4. Setting appropriate boundaries and expectations means to have high yet reasonable standards, to approach children with warmth and caring, and to being firm and consistent expectations in the classroom and at home.

5. Teaching problem-solving skills teaches the child that we all can make mistakes and can learn from experiencing failure, that mot problems can be fixed, and that other people will still care about us.

6. Praising effort means to acknowledge a child’s effort and focus on the experience as well as the outcome.

Hoffman, L., & Young, E. (2004). Self-esteem in children: Strategies for parents and educators

Thank you for your cooperation!