Connecting with Mrs. Cohen

April 18, 2021

Good Evening,


This week we will begin MAP testing. The MAP test or Missouri Assessment Program, is a series of assessments for English language arts, math and science for grades 3-8. There is a MAP assessment for high schoolers. Maybe your child has expressed anxiety around this test or testing in general? If so, please check out my Tips for Testers below.


In addition, I shared a lesson about tackling test taking anxiety or ZAP the MAP! all 3rd-5th grade students. Included in that lesson were tangible strategies such as using a check list the night before and the morning of the test to be ready, and practicing helpful "go-to" calming strategies. We also covered how to change negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Ask your child about this lesson and see what they found helpful. Ask them to share their personal mantra with you. The biggest takeaway from the lesson, I hope all students heard is this: THEY ARE PREPARED! They have been learning and listening and "doing school" all year (and for many years!) and that is the preparation.


Just as important as helping our children be ready and regulated for testing, is us being regulated as their caring adults. Included tonight are some self-care ideas to help make taking care of you a priority.


As we continue our SEL learning, this week I will talk about self-management as part of the 5 CASEL core competencies. As a reminder, the 5 competencies are:


  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision Making


Our entire counseling team is approaching our testing window with an "all hands on deck" attitude. Since some of us will serve as proctors, we will need to be flexible in our schedules and how we see students. If your child mentions that they checked in with a counselor who is not their "typical" one, or their weekly group was not held, that is the reason.


Thanks for helping us teach flexibility and patience. We always encourage our students that if they can't speak to a counselor on a day they would like to, to seek out another helpful adult--in school or at home--to talk to instead.


Our counseling team information is listed at the end of this message. Please reach out to any of us if we can be helpful with your child.


Take care and have a great week,

Julie

TIPS FOR TESTERS

Remind them of the things they can control:

Our kids may be experiencing anxiety around the MAP test. They can’t control much about the actual MAP test, but there are definitely things they can control to help them feel prepared and less anxiety! Help your student develop a plan for:


  • Things they will do to get organized the night before the test (packing their lunch ahead of time, packing their backpacks, laying our clothes)
  • A calming activity they will do the night before the test
  • Going to bed on time
  • Getting up on time
  • How they will get to school and when they will arrive
  • A healthy breakfast they can ask to have or plan to get to school on time for breakfast
  • Something they will say to themselves before the test-- make a mantra.

Self Care TIPS

* Schedule your self-care to make it stick from ink+volt


Self-care can take many forms and also many lengths of time, writes Jiji Lee, who suggests activities lasting 15, 30 or 60 minutes and advises making it part of your daily schedule. If something interrupts your routine, "have a backup plan or downsized version of your self-care activity," Lee writes.


Assess where self care is needed

We’ve all had those days (and weeks!) when we’ve just felt “off.”

And when you’re feeling overwhelmed and tired, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s making you feel this way, because we just want to attribute it to, well, everything. In these instances, you can use our new Self Care Pad to help you assess your current state and determine what areas in your life need care and attention.

The top section of the Self Care pad asks you to rate the following:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Professional
  • Social
  • Spiritual

Check Out This Opportunity from The Robinson Parent Equity Group:

Big picture

Let's Talk About Self-Management

A quick note about WHY self-management matters:

In almost every classroom students are struggling with self-management in their classrooms. We have students who are blurting out, having large emotional outbursts, or are constantly getting out of their seats in a way that disrupts their classmate's learning. This is more than a student just being able to "control themselves" this is part of each student's developmental social and emotional journey.

Things you can do to support your child's self-management:


  • Be clear about expectations. Some kids react badly when they don’t know what to expect in a situation—or what’s expected of them. Fill your child in ahead of time especially if an activity is going to be boring or unpleasant.
  • Help identify feelings. This is something we use the Zones of Regulation language for at Robinson. If your child can learn to recognize feelings before they build, together you can learn to prevent outbursts. You can say something like: “I can see you are still feeling yellow because I said you couldn’t have a soda at the store.” What is a strategy you can use to feel better?
  • You can also help your child learn to use language that shows self-control. That can help put the brakes on impulsive, thoughtless behavior.
  • Play at self-control. For young kids, one of the best ways to learn something is through play. On the way to the bathtub, or in the store, have your child stop and start different actions. For example, have your child freeze when you say “Potato!” These types of games teach kids to stop and think before acting—a self-control essential.
  • Take a break. Create a quiet place at home where your child can calm down. It can be a pillow-filled corner or any cozy spot. This teaches kids that there’s a way—and a special place to go—to collect themselves when things get out of hand. We have a "peace place" in every learning space at Robinson.
  • Give a related reward.Young kids often do better at a task if they get a reward at the end. You can do this when your child shows self-control, too. For example, if your child stops playing to set the table when you ask, the reward might be choosing a game to play after dinner.
  • Praise your child’s efforts. When you see your child practicing self-control, acknowledge it out loud. This kind of positive reinforcement helps kids feel proud that they can successfully control their behavior. Try and be as specific as possible.
  • Self-control may not come naturally to your child and by helping your child learn how to keep behavior in check, you make it easier for your child to make and keep friends and handle feelings.

Self-Management Video

Students can learn to manage their feelings and turn them into positive actions. Adults can help by creating a calm and regulated environment, showing how to manage impulses, and discussing ways to resolve conflicts

ROBINSON'S COUNSELING TEAM

Indria Harris

School Counselor, preK-2nd grade

Indria.harris@kirkwoodschools.org

314-213-6100, ext. 4061


Julie Cohen

School Counselor, 3rd-5th grade

julie.cohen@kirkwoodschools.org

314-213-6100, ext. 4040


Tonya Ampey-Elong

Social Worker, KSD

tonya.ampey@kirkwoodschools.org

314-213-6100, ext. 8060


Ana Shields

Educational Support Counselor

ana.shields@kirkwoodschools.org

314-437-2106