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Second Quarter Happenings: January 2020

Happy New Year Line Creek Families!

I hope each of you enjoyed winter break. During second quarter, students learned about Emotion Management. Emotion management skills help students regulate feelings and choose positive behaviors when managing big feelings. It is important for students to understand that no feeling is good or bad, but it is how we react that can determine the outcome of expressing our feelings. We all have feelings, but we experience them at different times and for different reasons. The tools listed throughout this letter highlight the tools your students and I use to manage our emotions. Please partner with me in supporting life-long social emotional success for your student, by continuing the discussion of emotion management at home!

Emotional ABCs

We used the Emotional ABCs curriculum in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Emotional ABCs is a curriculum that teaches students what a feeling is; why they are having that feeling; body sensations; and how to make better choices.


Students learned that a feeling is how we respond to something that happens to us. When students are able to recognize their body sensations when experiencing a big feeling, it enables them to make a safe choice to regulate their emotions.


Kindergartners and 1st graders learned three steps to regulate their emotions:

  1. Pause & Breathe (What am I feeling? What are my body sensations?)
  2. Rewind (How did I get this feeling?)
  3. Play (Make a good choice to manage this feeling.)
Big picture
Emotional ABCs: Social & Emotional Skills Training Program for Kids Ages 4-11

MindUP Curriculum

In 2nd grade, we continued our MindUP Curriculum to focus on emotion management. Student's learned the definition of mindfulness and how they can use their five senses to practice mindfulness.


Mindfulness means:

  • Focusing your attention on what is happening in the present
  • Taking your time
  • Thinking before reacting


To practice mindfulness at home with your sense of sound, have your child:

  • Get in a comfortable position
  • Close their eyes or look down at the floor (whichever is comfortable for them)
  • Listen for sounds that are around them for 10 seconds
  • When 10 seconds are over, have your child open their eyes, and allow them to tell you what they heard. You can join them in this activity too. It will be fun to compare the different sounds you and your child heard.

Using Second Step Tools to Calm Down

3rd-5th graders used the Second Step curriculum to guide our lessons on emotion management. Students learned three steps for calming down.
  1. Stop-use your signal: a word or words students can say to themselves to signal their brains that they are experiencing a strong emotion (i.e. "Stop," "Chill," "Freeze.").
  2. Name your feeling: "Name it to Tame it"-labeling feelings can allow students the chance to take a step back and understand why they are experiencing that feeling and manage the feeling effectively.
  3. Calm Down: strategies to help students regulate their emotions and prevent them from flipping their lid. Example strategies are: deep breathing, positive self-talk, getting a drink of water, coloring, drawing, counting, writing in a journal

Staying Upstairs to Avoid Flipping Our Lid

Students in grades 2nd-5th grade learned the phrase, “flip your lid.” We discussed the thinking or “upstairs” (pre-frontal cortex) and the feelings or “down stairs” (amygdala) part of our brain. When emotions are regulated, our upstairs brain is control. However, there are times when people perceive a situation to be overwhelming, or too much to handle, and that is when their lids are flipped and the feelings part of their brain (amygdala) takes control.


Flipped lids prevent students from thinking logically. Students may respond in the following ways once their lid is flipped: fight (throw objects, kicking, hitting, etc.); flight (run away or attempt to escape the situation); and freeze (shut down, does not respond, disconnected). To keep from flipping our lids, it is important to listen to our bodies, know our triggers, and implement a calming strategy when we notice we are experiencing a strong emotion. Here is a video that explains what happens in our brain when our lid is flipped, Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions?

Power Plans

All 5th graders created a power plan. A power plan is an individualized plan that provides students with calming strategies.

There are three parts in the power plan:

  1. Preventative: activities done to get your day started on a positive note.
  2. In the moment: strategies used during an overwhelming situation.
  3. After care: self care activities done to relax after a long day, or overwhelming situation.

Just Breathe

The below video is a group of kids discussing how they understand strong emotions and ways they cope with them. It does a great job of tying everything together that all grade levels learned in second quarter.
"Just Breathe" by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films)

Newsletters

This year, I will continue to send out quarterly newsletters to provide families with information on what their child has learned throughout the quarter during counselor lessons. Newsletters will help you have conversations with your child about various topics, as well as, give you insight on how to implement and reinforce life long skills into your home environment.

Monthly Counselor Lesson Topics

  • Problem Solving (January)
  • Substance/Safety Education (February)
  • Career (March)
  • Acknowledge Care Tell ONLY 5th Grade (April)
  • MAP testing-ONLY 3rd-5th Grade (May)

I wish you well.