Counselor's Corner

Hillside Elementary: December 2019


Dear Parents/Guardians,

This past month, our schoolwide theme is Emotion Management. Students noticed their own feelings by paying attention to clues in their bodies. Students were taught or reminded to use their Second Step skills to calm down. These skills include: Stop—Use your signal, Name your feeling, and Calm down: Breathe, count, use positive self-talk. These skills help students calm down strong emotions when faced with learning and social challenges, which helps them succeed academically and get along well with others. Teaching students to recognize strong feelings and use Calming- Down Steps to stay in control is an effective way to increase coping and reduce aggression and other problem behaviors. Keeping strong emotions from escalating and driving behavior allows students to use other skills taught in the Second Step program, such as effective communication, assertiveness, negotiation, compromise, and problem-solving.

Mrs. Snyder's December classroom lessons focused on emotional awareness for grades K-1. She introduced students to basic feelings and feelings statements. Students learned that all feelings are okay, and they were given the opportunity to identify situations and experiences that have led them to feel happy, sad, angry, excited, and more. In grades 2-4, lessons introduced students to coping strategies they can use when hard times or situations arise. These strategies included: controlled breathing, five senses (noticing things we see, smell, hear, taste and feel), picture a positive outcome, write in a journal, count, color, read, make a gratitude list, think of a happy memory, and exercise. Additionally, throughout her lessons, she reviewed five things kids should know about their feelings. Please see the list below.

If you notice your child using their calming down skills and coping skills, please give them praise and reinforcement. Thank you for your continued support!

Our December Safety Patrol students continued to spread kindness, express empathy, help students manage emotions and problem-solve. These 4th-grade student leaders created a bulletin board, which featured a toolbox of coping skills. They expressed feelings and wrote what strategy helps them to calm down. Additionally, safety patrol spread some Holiday cheer to all the lunch and recess monitors, teaching assistants, secretaries and custodial staff with cards of appreciation and bags of treats.

The counseling team would like to wish you all the best in 2020!

Warm regards,


Dr. Bloom, School Psychologist

Mr. Forcinito, School Psychologist

Mrs. Snyder, School Counselor

Emotional-Management Overview:

5 Things Kids Should Know About Their Feelings:

1. Our Bodies Give Us Clues

We always want to teach children to recognize how emotions feel in their bodies. Describing a pounding heart or a fluttering stomach helps them to make a connection between their bodies and their emotions.

2. Our Feelings Are Connected to Our Actions & Thoughts

Work with children to make connections between thoughts they have, the emotions that accompany those thoughts, and the behaviors they take afterward. When children can see these connections, we can help them make a plan to interrupt negative loops by interrupting thoughts and using coping skills.

3. All Feelings Are Okay

There are no "bad feelings," and every single one is okay! We want to talk with children and teach them to express their feelings in safe and appropriate ways and teach them how to use calming strategies to manage those big emotions.

4. Feelings Are Not Forever

Talk to children about how emotions won't last forever. Also, let kids know it's okay to just sit with emotions for a bit. We don't have to brush them away, but we can remember they won't last forever.

5. We Are Not Defined by Emotions

Just like feelings don't last forever, feelings don't define us. Feelings aren't character traits that are stuck with is forever. Kids should be able to think, "I'm not an angry kid. I am a kid who feels angry sometimes."

Additional Key Concepts:

  • When you feel strong feelings it’s hard to think clearly.

  • Unmanaged, strong emotions can lead to negative behaviors and consequences.

  • Calming down strong emotions helps you think clearly so you can avoid jumping to conclusions or escalating conflicts.

Additional Key Words:

  • Cortex- thinking part of the brain

  • Amygdala- feeling part of the brain

  • Assumptions

  • Revenge

  • Tense

  • Relaxed

  • Belly or deep-centered breathing

  • Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose in the present moment and nonjudgmentally (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Big picture

Helpful Resources:



My Incredible Talking Body, by Rebecca Bowen

Charlotte and the Quiet Place, by Sara Woodley

Breathing Makes It Better, by Christopher Willard and Wendy O'Leary

What Does it Mean to Be Present?, by Rana DiOrio

The Lemonade Hurricane, by Licia Morelli

I am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness, by Susan Verde

Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems, by Kate Coombs