The Counselor's Corner

Katie Trueman, School Counselor - Grades K, 2nd, 4th & 5th

January 2016

Classroom Guidance Update

Kindergarten - The Kindergarten teachers felt that my "Big Rocks" this year will be centered around Character Education/The Habits, Friendship, Problem Solving and Tattling vs. Reporting. My monthly lessons will be developed based on these important topics.

This month, Kindergartners will learn the difference between Tattling vs. Warning. I will introduce the book Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook. We will discuss that tattling means you are trying to get someone IN trouble and warning is when you are trying to get help (emergency) for someone. We play a fun game to help reinforce the skills taught in this lesson. Each teacher received their own Problem Solver Trophy to use when they notice a student using Problem Solving Strategies to solve small problems in the classroom setting. I will remind students to try to be a problem solver first by using their BIG VOICE to say, "I don't like it when you.....please.....". : )

2nd Grade - The 2nd grade teachers felt that my "Big Rocks" this year will be centered around Problem Solving, Friendship, Emotion Management, Character Education/The Habits, Bullying Prevention. My monthly lessons will be developed based on these important topics.

This month, I will continue Second Step, a research-based counseling curriculum to teach skills for social and academic success. This month we learn How to Manage Anger & Learn To Calm Down to Finish Tasks. Students learn that everyone feels angry sometimes, but hurting other people's feelings or bodies is not okay. Also, they learn that it's important to calm down angry feelings so you don't do something hurtful (counting backwards to calm down). In the Finishing Tasks lesson, they learned that calming down helps you to stay focused and on task at school and using positive self-talk helps you stay focused and on task so you can be a better learner.

Handling Anger - follow along at home!

4th Grade -The 4th grade teachers felt that my "Big Rocks" this year will be centered around Peer Pressure / Cliques, Bullying Prevention, Self-Esteem, Career Exploration and Planning & Decision Making. My monthly lessons will be developed based on these important topics.

This month, I will introduce the topic of Peer Pressure. I will read the storyPeer Pressure Gauge by Julia Cook. The book describes Peer Pressure as the influence that a peer group has over a person. We will discuss negative peer pressure and how it's important to be self-confident and show inner strength. I'll give them some tips on how to stand up to peer pressure. Finally, we will discuss friendship and the qualities that make up a good friend.

5th Grade - The 5th grade teachers felt that my "Big Rocks" this year will be centered around Middle School Transition, Peer Pressure, Learning Styles/Academic Study Skills, Conflict Management and Career Exploration & Development. My monthly lessons will be developed based on these important topics.

I collaborated with the 5th grade team create January's lesson! We needed to teach a way for the students to use proactive calming strategies when they are overwhelmed with strong feelings...very important skill, especially before middle school! I reviewed the 5 main feelings (Happy, Mad, Sad, Fear & Disgust) and reminded them each feeling is normal and important. Then we learned about what happens in the body when strong feelings happen (heart races, sweaty palms, temperature rises, weird feeling in the tummy). Finally, I used my "grab bag" of tricks to help them learn how to go from REACTIVE to PROACTIVE. They learned balloon breath, STAR (stop, take a deep breath and relax), magic bubble wand, pizza breath and my personal favorite, 4 - square breathing! Research shows that the #1 way to calm down strong feelings is to breathe so I'm trying to teach fun ways to reinforce this skill ;)

January Classroom Guidance Schedule

Jan. 5 - Miles

Jan. 7 - Vick & Charland

Jan. 8 - Krieg & Ashby

Jan. 11 - Phillips & Little

Jan. 12 - Campbell & Gamble

Jan. 14 - Lower, Ivester & Shearin

Jan. 15 - Smith

Jan. 21 - Hawley

Jan. 22 - Metkowski & Diaz

Jan. 26 - Cayton & Dean

Jan. 28 - Evans, Boatwright & Witworth

Jan. 29 - Abbott & Carr

Leadership Connection

The Habits & Character Traits that will be taught in Classroom Guidance this month:

Habit 1: Be Proactive & Begin with the End in Mind

Character Trait: Courage – Attempting difficult things that are worthwhile

Small Group Counseling

Small Groups

Small groups allow children to develop coping skills, a sense of belonging and to realize that they are not alone in their concerns.

Groups in Process:

All About Me (Self-Esteem) - 2nd & 5th - Building and maintaining a positive self-concept is important in being a happy, productive person. In group we will focus on appreciating our strengths and the things we can do well, and then developing positive thoughts and skills to handle when things don’t go right.

New Groups:

Friendship - 5th - The purpose of this group is to focus on acknowledging and strengthening our friendship qualities we have to offer others, how to connect and communicate with others, building friendly behaviors and dealing with friendship problems.

Attendance Check-in: Selected students will be in our check-in group to help reduce the their unexcused absences and encourage being at school on time each day. Each identified student will have a calendar sticker chart to record their daily arrival for 45 days.

Groups typically run for 4-6 weeks and meet once a week for a 35- 40 minute period. Times for groups are coordinated with classroom teachers to minimize time away from instruction.

Special Announcements

Kindergarten Registration

Jumpstart your child's success! Have him or her registered for kindergarten early.

Kindergarten Registration Jumpstart Day for the 2016-17 school year is January 7, 2016. While you may register later, earlier is better. Why? The sooner we know how many children are coming to a specific school, the better we can prepare.

Register for kindergarten

Magnet Updates

A.B. Combs Spotlight on Students

Spotlight on Student - Isabella Everett has been named our school's 2016 Spotlight Student!

Since 1982, the WCPSS Board of Education has opened its regular monthly meeting (October - May) with a special ceremony honoring selected students for outstanding achievements and accomplishments. By the end of the school year, one student from each participating school will earn the accolade of Spotlight on Students. Each student is recognized and awarded a plaque and letter from the superintendent.

More about our Spotlight:

Isabella Everett is helpful, kind, mature and bright. Isabella has a calm and sweet nature about her that is like a magnet! She is a model student both in the classroom and throughout our school. Her teacher is amazed by Isabella's constant attention to be respectful in all environments of our school. She shows leadership by helping others in the classroom setting and by always being a positive example for others to follow. Isabella also loves helping in other classrooms as well. You can often find her being a peer helper during her own recess in our school’s special needs classroom where she demonstrates her passion for service and love of connecting with others. Isabella is a wonderful student and deserves to be recognized.

Isabella will be honored at an upcoming WCPSS Board of Education meeting. A HUGE congratulations from the entire of A.B. Combs Community!

Shout Out!

Thank you to a few more anonymous sponsors for our Interfaith Backpack Buddies fund. We are now up to $1,750 meaning that we can add an additional FIVE students for Backpack Buddies! Thank you!

Congratulations to Ms. Connors (school counselor for grades 1 & 3)! She got engaged over the Holiday break! So happy for her!

Lunch Bunch (grades 2-5)

What: What is lunch bunch? Lunch Bunch is an awesome time! Students can bring their lunch to the counselor's room to eat & make new friends.

When: Wednesdays - 2nd & 5th, Thursdays - 4th

Where: The counselor’s room, Room 120

How: Students can write their name on a sign-up sheet on the counselor’s door - students can sign up once a quarter.

About Me

My name is Katie Trueman and for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a school counselor! I graduated from Marshall University (Huntington, WV) with a B.A. in Psychology. Then I pursued my dream to continue my education and received a M.A. in School Counseling. I began working at AB Combs in 2005. I think it's pretty great to be at a school that embeds Leadership, Character Education & The Habits into everything! I acquired my National Boards of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) for School Counseling in 2010. I feel honored (and blushing a bit) to be named the 2014 School Counselor of the Year for Wake County Public Schools! When I’m not working with children, I love hiking with my husband & two cute kids, experimenting with new recipes and exploring NC with my sweet family & friends.