Counselor's Corner

Jennifer Connors, School Counselor for Grades 1 and 3

December 2015

Classroom Guidance Update

1st Grade

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

In December we will be learning about Emotion Management in Second Step. Teaching students to recognize strong feelings and use Calming-Down Steps to stay in control are effective ways to increase coping and reduce aggression and other problem behaviors.

The goal of this unit is to develop students' ability to identify and manage their own strong feelings. To achieve this goal, students in first grade learn to:

Calm down strong feelings using the Calming-Down Steps:
1- Stop- use your signal

2- Name your feeling

3- Calm Down:

* Breathe

* Count

* Use positive self-talk

In January, we will continue to talk about Emotion Management and will focus on calming down strategies.

P.S. Make sure to join with the activation key SSP1 FAMI LY71 to watch videos about the Second Step program and get information about what your student is learning.

Auto B. Good-Character Education/Habits

Welcome to the Tullahoma Superspeedway! The Auto-B-Good series presents character traits that will captivate, entertain and educate students. November's lesson will be on Self-Discipline and is called "Road Rage." "Road Rage" is the story of Johnny's attempt to make the Auto Stunt Thrill Team. When he fails, he becomes angry and speeds off down the road. It is a scary scene when Johnny is tearing down the road, not thinking clearly. Johnny did not have self-discipline. He lets his emotions control his behavior. The lesson was: Stay completely focused on your task and in control of your emotions...act with determination, dedication and effort. For more info about this series, check out their website at

3rd grade

The third grade teachers felt that my "Big Rocks" this year will be centered around Bullying Prevention, Problem Solving, Friendship, Skills for Learning, Character Education/The Habits. My monthly lessons will be developed based on these important topics.

In December, 3rd graders will be concluding their Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention lessons. Our last lesson is a big one. We will cover Refusing to be Bullied, Reporting Bullying, and Bystander Power. Once children recognize bullying behavior, they must determine whether it is safe to refuse it. Children who are bullied often feel powerless. Being assertive and refusing can decrease the stress a child feels when bullied and the chance of that child being bullied in the future.

The 3 Rs of Bullying

1- Recognize

2- Refuse

3- Report

Reporting Isn't Tattling

* Reporting is telling an adult in order to keep people safe.

* Anytime is a good time to report bullying.

Bystander Power

Be part of the solution and help stop bullying.

* Report bullying to an adult.

* Refuse to let others be bullied.

* Don't watch bullying. It is up to you!

We will also be reading the second book in the Weird Series, called Dare! The text tells the same story as in the book Weird, however is told through the eyes of Jayla. Jayla witnesses the bullying behavior and is unsure about what to do about it. We will put ourselves in the shoes of Jayla to understand how we can be part of the solution.

For more information on bullying, check out the Stop Bullying website at

November/December Classroom Guidance Schedule

Nov 5- Randle

Nov 6- Klager

Nov 17- Christie, Weber, Hughes

Dec 1- Landis, Lewis, Pleasants

Dec 8- Norman, Coleman

Dec 11- Falkner, Garrison

Dec 15- Almond, Levinson

Leadership Connection

The 7 Habits and Character Traits that will be taught in Classroom Guidance this month:

Habit 1: Be Proactive, Habit 4: Think Win! Win!, Habit 5: Seek First to Understand

Responsibility, Respect, Self-Discipline and Good Judgement

Small Group Counseling

Small group counseling is offered to students to support and enhance the development of personal and social skills and to support and promote academic success. Small groups allow children to develop coping skills, a sense of belonging, and to realize that they are not alone in their concerns. Children may be referred to certain groups by teachers or parents.

Small groups finishing up this month include:

All About Me (1st and 3rd) The focus of this group is on building self esteem/concept. It will allow students the opportunity to share feelings and learn some skills that will help them to have confidence in themselves.

New groups will be starting in January and run through the end of February. Each group can have a maximum of six students. The groups that are planned next are:

1st Grade-All Stars- This group has a sports theme and involves creatively "coaching" students. The skills "coached" include: effective listening & paying attention, positive self-concept, controlling impulses, organizational skills, setting & reaching goals, and successful communication. I have one more space available if you would like your child to participate.

3rd Grade-School Success-The focus of this group is to teach academic skills (organization, study tips, homework tips, test taking tips) that will help them to be successful in school. These groups are full at the time.

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.


Annual Food Drive-THANK YOU!

The Backpack Buddies Program at AB Combs provides children from food-insecure homes with weekend meals during the school year. The children receive a backpack containing six balanced meals and two healthy snacks at the end of every week.

Our annual food drive will benefit Combs students directly & our community partner, Interfaith Food Shuttle Backpack Buddies Program. Because of your generous support, we are now able to support several additional students in our Backpack Buddies Program through our own Combs Pantry. Thank you!!!

Fast Facts about Backpack Buddies:

  • In the 7 counties that IFFS serves, over 121,000 kids applied for free and reduced lunch (during 2013-14 school year – the most recent data available1). That’s 46% of school-aged kids!
  • During the 2015-16 school year, 2,024 children will be served 74,888 BackPacks at 67 sites across 7 counties
  • 1-in-4 children are at risk of hunger in North Carolina

If you would like more information on how Backpack Buddies helps families, click here:

Family to Family Angel Tree

A BIG THANK YOU to all of our generous sponsors this year! We have 120 angels on our Angel Tree this year and they have all been sponsored! Please return your gifts, wrapped and labeled with your angel number on Thursday, December 10th. Please hold your gifts until that date, as we have limited space to store the presents. The pick up date for Angel Tree gifts will be Monday, December 14th. Thank you so much for your generosity!

Lunch Bunch 3rd Grade

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

When? Fridays

Where? The counselors 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 Ms. Connors

Hello! My name is Jennifer Connors and I am thrilled to be part of the A.B Combs Community this year! I will be your child's counselor this school year! I will be working with our amazing full time counselor Mrs. Trueman who will be the counselor for K, 2, 4, and 5th grade. Each month I will send out an online newsletter to keep you updated on our comprehensive counseling program so you can reinforce it at home, if you want...WIN-WIN!

A little bit about myself-I graduated from SUNY Cortland in NY with a Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education and was a first and second grade teacher for almost 9 years. While teaching, I realized my true passion was to become a school counselor. In 2014, I received my Master’s Degree in School Counseling from NC State. I am very excited to contribute to a school that incorporates Covey’s Habits, leadership, and character education into every aspect of the day. I will be working part-time with Mrs. Trueman on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and most Fridays. When I am not working with children I enjoy traveling to NY to see family, spending time with friends, and going to the beach.