Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Project: Happy!

This school year I have been given the opportunity to have a 6th grade elective. My guidelines:
1. Think about what 6th graders could benefit from.
2. Have fun with this!

OH LORD! Flexibility is a beautiful thing!

I started brainstorming... what do 6th graders need more of in their lives?
1. Technology- NO
2. Stress-NO
3. More work-NO
4. Social-emotional learning- YES!

A great morning meeting question I have heard before is: What problem do you see in this world and how can you help fix it? This got my mind moving...

I  also started to think about what I felt passionate about. I love school counseling (obvious), I love my faith, helping others, working with people, exercising, eating healthy, learning, and being positive. I thought about the stress that our students are under and how I worry about how they handle it. Over the last year, I have been reading more and more about the teenage brain, and how students in K-12 deal with stressors and anxiety. It scares me, it really does. These kids do not have the brain maturity to handle intense stress. I started researching stress in our youth and what can be done about it.

Through this exploration came: PROJECT:HAPPY! Major props to the hubs for helping me create a great name.

Throughout this semester we will be learning about the following:

  • Positive Psychology
  • The adolescent brain
    • Specifically chemicals that "make" happiness (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins) and how you can be in control of increasing them.
  • Tools to help de-stress
  • How healthy choices can make us feel better
    • exercise techniques
    • Healthy foods
  • Service to our community
I look forward to this class each week and am excited to continue to help myself grow in the "happy department" as well as give others an opportunity to choose their happiness, regardless of circumstance.

Hope your day is filled with happiness!

Your Floridian Chick!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How to Help Build a Strong Staff From Day 1

We call all PD- Shark Academy
The tool we used to assess ourselves
(Elementary) school staffs range in age from year 1 of teaching to year 35+ of teaching. Men, women, moms, dads, married people, single people, divorced, widowed- with a staff of 60+ people, the lifestyles might seem endless. Usually grade levels spend most of their time together, and administration is busy spending small pockets of their day with each grade, trying to help solve problems and prevent other ones from happening. SO many times, I feel like people in one grade level, might not know anything about someone in a different grade level.

On top of the lifestyles and personalities that exist within a school, each person has a history of experiences that has helped them become who they are today. In order to build community and empathy with our staff, we recently held a professional development (during pre-plan) to get to know ourselves and others better.  One of our wonderful teachers put this on, and rocked it! She explained what Myers Briggs was, and what information it can tell you. There are a total of 16 personality "types", each one with strengths and weaknesses.

Why it helped:
1. Brought self-awareness (An SEL component) to each person. We were able to see what strengths we had, and what things we can work on.
2. Brought social-awareness (another SEL component) to each team. Grade level teachers were able to see which personality type they were, and then see which ones their partner teachers were as well. If I am an extrovert, but my partner is an introvert, we clearly get energy from different places. I might want to give my partner more alone time so he/she can reenergize.
3. It opened up doors to people who have the same personality "type" that work in different grades/areas.
Close up of names of baskets
4. Community building occurred in less than 1 hour!
Food makes life better:)

To top it off, our work room was filled with some sweet treats. See these cute pics and feel free to use them to pump up your staff, and your community!


Your Floridian Chick!