Counselor’s Corner

Hillside Elementary: November 2019

Empathy and Compassion Every Day!

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This month, our Second Step lessons taught by your child's teacher focused on teaching empathy. Students have learned to identify their own and others' feelings, notice and respect the same and different feelings, and show compassion. Compassion involves saying kind words or doing something helpful to show you care how another person feels. When students can identify, understand, and respond in a caring way to how someone else is feeling, it helps create a positive and accepting school climate. Empathy is the key ingredient in the development of positive social behaviors. It’s necessary for social-emotional competence and contributes to academic success. Being able to identify, understand, and respond in a caring way to how someone is feeling provides the foundation for friendship, cooperation, coping, and conflict resolution. All of this contributes to student success in school!

During Mrs. Snyder's November counseling lessons, she met with students to review our Core Value, Courage. She asked students to have the courage to stand up for what is right, even when it is not easy. In an effort to educate and prevent bullying, her classroom lessons focused on Conflict Resolution. She reviewed with students what a conflict is and how to solve conflicts using different strategies from the Problem Solving Wheel. During her lessons, students discussed various scenarios and practiced identifying alternate solutions to a problem in a kind, respectful, and responsible manner. Some of these strategies include using the “I message,” apologizing, going to another activity, telling someone to please stop, talking it out, and compromising.

Children need support and coaching on how to fix little bumps and big ones that come their way. We will be encouraging students to practice using these problem-solving strategies every day. If you notice your child using empathy and/or conflict resolution skills, please give them praise and reinforcement. Thank you for your continued support!

Our November Safety Patrol students have been continuing to spread kindness, express empathy, and help others to problem-solve, promoting an inclusive environment for all. These 4th-grade student leaders have participated in our One Book, One School Assembly, and performed skits on how they have the courage to "Say Something!" Additionally, Safety Patrol participated in our Veteran's Day assembly and defined what courage meant to them. We're so lucky to have such positive role models for our younger students!

Warm regards,


Dr. Bloom, School Psychologist

Mr. Forcinito, School Psychologist

Mrs. Snyder, School Counselor


Activities to Build Emotional Awareness:

*Write feelings words on strips of paper, put them in a paper bag, and play feelings charades!

*Be “feeling detectives.” Help your child associate facial expressions and body language with certain emotions by watching other people’s faces and body language.

*Ask your child how they feel about their day! (don’t accept “good” as an answer- have them pick a feeling word.

*Use Literature to learn- ask your child how they think characters in books feel or have them make connections from the book to their own feelings.

6 Ways to Help Kids Walk in Another's Shoes:

1. Try props: Try puppets, action figures, stuffed animals, or costumes so kids can role-play the “other side.”

2. Switch places: Try having your child “step into another's shoes” and image experiencing a situation from others’ perspective.

3. Use Imagineering: Use opportunities to help your child imagine how they would feel, what they would need in certain situations, and what they can do to help.

4. Redo uncaring behavior: Help your child “redo” an uncaring action by role-playing a behavior that considers the other person’s feelings.

5. Ask, “I wonder”: Encourage your child to ask themselves: “I wonder: What does (a teacher, a friend, their sister or brother, a new student) think/feel/need?”

6. Reverse sides: Have your child “reverse sides” to see things from another perspective. After, ask: “Now that you know both sides, how will you work this out, so it’s fair to both of you?”

Feelings/Emotion Books:

Big Book of Feelings, by Mary Hoffman

The Color Monster, by Anna LLenas

The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain

When Sophie Gets Angry, by Molly Bang

Empathy Books:

I am Human: A Book of Empathy, by Susan Verde

How Do I Stand in Your Shoes, by Susan DeBell

You, Me, and Empathy, by Jayneen Sanders

Stand in My Shoes- Kids Learning About Empathy, by Bob Somson

Conflict Resolution Books:

The Peace Rose, by Alicia Jewell

What Do You Do With A Problem?, by Kobi Yamada

Draw The Line, by Kathryn Otoshi

The Peace Rose, by Alicia Jewell

Melena's Jubilee: The Story Of A Fresh Start, by Zetta Elliott