Counseling Corner

Jennifer Lee & Sharneka Andrews, School Counselors

September 2017

Classroom Guidance Update

Kindergarten- 2nd Grade

In STEPS to SUCCESS this month students in most classes will be continuing to focus on the Skills for Learning Unit with Mrs. Andrews. Students are learning to use Self Talk for staying on task and learning about what it means to Be Assertive. Students will be learning that self talk is when you talk to yourself quietly in your head. They will learn how to use this strategy to help with staying on task, following directions, and ignoring distractions. Mrs. Andrews will also be teaching a lesson that introduces the skill of asking for what you want or need in a calm, firm voice. This is a very important concept that we want all students to be able to do.


This school year counselors in all Wake County Schools will be teaching a series of lessons in 3rd-5th grade to teach children life skills that can keep them safe and to help them make good decisions as they mature. I have begun to teach these lessons and will continue into the next couple of months.


3rd Grade-

Third graders will have a total of 3 guidance lessons which started at the end of August and will continue this month. Ms. Wills (school psychologist), or I visited each third grade classroom for two lessons to discuss the topic of worry and anxiety. We focused on teaching 3 strategies to deal with the emotion of worry. Research shows that the #1 way to calm down strong feelings is to breathe slowly, so we are trying to teach fun ways to reinforce this skill :) Students learned S.T.A.R (Stop, Take a deep breath, And Relax), pizza breathing, Balloon Breathing, and we reviewed Belly Breathing from 2nd grade. Ask your child their favorite way to take deep breaths! The other two strategies students learned were positive self talk and thinking of happy thoughts. Your child got to practice positive self talk by writing 3 positive statements they could say to themselves when they worry.


I am continuing this discussion on emotion management as we discuss the idea that emotions come in all different strengths...small and big. I used an Ocean theme to teach students that emotions can be sorted into 4 categories/zones--- feeling "Stuck on Land" (low, sad, lonely, etc), "Safe Waters" (happy, calm, able to learn, etc), "Rough Seas Ahead" (frustrated, worried, starting to lose control), or "Rough Seas" (out of control, anger, difficult to think). We finished up the lesson with students sorting through coping strategy cards to help them identify strategies that would use when they are experiencing an emotion from one of these areas. Students completed their own "Ocean Report" of strategies to use. Ask your child to tell you a strategy they would use if they were in the "rough sea's" zone.


4th Grade-

In our second and third guidance lessons we will focus on emotion management. This lesson focuses on teaching students to use proactive calming strategies when they are overwhelmed with strong feelings...very important skill! Students learn about what happens in the body when strong feelings happen (heart races, sweaty palms, temperature rises, weird feeling in the tummy). We will also use an ocean theme to discuss the levels of emotions that we all have. We will sort emotions into 4 categories "Stuck on land"-feeling low, sad, lonely, etc., "Safe Waters"-happy, calm, focused, able to learn, etc., "Rough Seas Ahead"--starting to lose control, frustrated, worried, etc., "Rough Seas"--out of control, anger, hard to think, etc. Students will learn a few of my favorite deep breathing techniques (4-square breathing and pizza breathing) and a muscle relaxation strategy (tight like an angry shark and loose like a jellyfish). We will finish up the lesson with students sorting through coping strategy cards to help them identify strategies that they can use. They will each complete their own "Ocean Report" of strategies that they can apply when they are experiencing these feelings.


Another lesson students will have before the end of the quarter is focused around identifying strategies that could be used in situations that could cause us to escalate into the rough seas. Students read fictional scenarios and worked in groups to role play and identify strategies that could be used to avoid or manage the situation in a better way.


5th Grade-

In our second and third guidance lessons, fifth graders will build upon the emotion management strategies they learned in fourth grade and we will also discuss how events can lead to a chain reaction of our feelings, thoughts, behaviors and consequences. Students will learn about what happens in the body when strong feelings happen (heart races, sweaty palms, temperature rises, weird feeling in the tummy). We will also use an ocean theme to discuss the levels of emotions that we all have. We will sort emotions into 4 categories "Stuck on land"-feeling low, sad, lonely, etc., "Safe Waters"-happy, calm, focused, able to learn, etc., "Rough Seas Ahead"--starting to lose control, frustrated, worried, etc., "Rough Seas"--out of control, anger, hard to think, etc. Students will learn a few of my favorite deep breathing techniques (4-square breathing and pizza breathing) and a muscle relaxation strategy (tight like an angry shark and loose like a jellyfish). We will finish up the lesson with students sorting through coping strategy cards to help them identify strategies that they can use. They will each complete their own "Ocean Report" of strategies to use.


Our last lesson for the quarter is called "Breaking the Chains". I explained to students that events, feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and consequences are linked together like chains. We discussed a few examples of a time when their is a behavior that we would like to "break". Students worked in groups to create a sequence of an event that lead to a behavior or consequence they would like to change. Students identified where in the sequence they would "break" the chain to change the outcome. Students reviewed the coping strategies that could be used from their previous guidance lesson.

Small Groups

Coming very soon...


*Building Resiliency

* Self-Esteem

* Worry Busters

* Emotion Management

* School Success

*Social Skills


I am in the process of organizing small groups for the school year. Small groups are based on data and referrals from teachers, parents, and/or the child themselves. Groups typically run for 3-5 weeks and meet once or twice a week for a 30-40 minute period. Groups will meet during lunch time or another time during the day agreed upon with your child's teacher to minimize time away from core instruction.

Coats for Kids

Coats For Children

The Salvation Army will be distributing coats to help families prepare for cold weather, on the following Saturdays:

October 14, 2017

November 4, 2017

December 2, 2017

at

1863 Capital Blvd. Raleigh, NC 27604

10:00 am to 12:00 pm

November 4, 2017 also at

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

6528 Johnson Pond Road Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

10:00 am-12:00 pm

YOU MUST BRING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

* Parent and any Adult in the household needs:

o A Government Issued Photo ID

o Proof that you are a Wake County resident (such as an I.D., recent utility bill or rent recent with your name and address here in Wake County).

* For children in the household you need:

o A formal document with both the parent(s) and child’s name on it (such as a birth certificate, shot records, OR Medicaid card).

September Attendance Awareness Month

Parents and families are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they have the bottom-line responsibility for making sure their children get to school every day. Just as parents should focus on how their children are performing academically, they have a responsibility to set expectations for good attendance

and to monitor their children’s absences, so that missed days don’t add up to academic trouble. This Parent Handout outlines strategies including:

  • Make getting students to school on time every day a top priority.
  • Alert schools and community agencies to barriers that keep kids from attending class.
  • Ask for and monitor data on chronic absence.
  • Demand action to address systemic barriers that may be causing large numbers of students to miss too much school.

For more information: http://awareness.attendanceworks.org/

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!

Brier Creek PTA

I want to thank the Brier Creek PTA for helping to keep the Backpack Buddy Program here at Brier Creek Elementary School! They will be raising money this school year that will directly impact students here at our school. Last year we were able to support 24 students through our backpack buddies program and I sincerely thank each and every one of you for helping to keep this program here within our community!


ALL SAINTS Church

Thank you so much for donating bags of food to help us supplement Backpack Buddies and to help us keep the program running through the summer months. We greatly appreciate it!


Brier Creek Fellowship

I want to send a huge thank you to Brier Creek Fellowship for sending in snacks to help create a snack pantry! These snacks have been greatly appreciated by our students here at BCES! Thank you from the bottom or our hearts! :)

Parent Resource

If you are looking for some extra curricular activities please check out the Leisure Ledger from the City of Raleigh website:


September-December 2017 Leisure Ledger



Contact Info

I am thrilled to be your child's full time school counselor this year! This is my seventh year at BCES and third year as a school counselor. Each month I will send out an online newsletter to keep you updated on our comprehensive counseling program. The school counseling mission statement is to provide a comprehensive counseling program addressing the academic, career and personal/social development of all students. In partnership with our fellow staff members, families, and our community, the counselor at Brier Creek Elementary School will provide a foundation of 21st century life skills that will empower students to think critically, visibly, and globally.


For as long as I can remember I wanted to work with children. 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. When I am not working with children I enjoy traveling to NY to see family, spending time with my husband and friends, going to the beach, and cheering on my favorite sports team...the SYRACUSE ORANGEMEN!!