Monday, May 13, 2013

Teaching Peace Program Overview

To view a great presentation of Linda's program and get a good idea of what happens during Peace Classes here at Lafayette each day, click on this link (Prezi format).

Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 Pennies for Patients Exciting News!

We just found out some very exciting news: Lafayette Elementary School was the TOP fundraising school this year in all of D.C. Public Schools! Our final total was over $7,000, which was more than double our original goal. We will get a special plaque recognizing our status, and Nurse Cockrell and I were also chosen as the "2013 Distinguished Coordinators for DC" based on our rookie status (neither of us have ever done this fundraiser before) and the amount raised. One classroom was chosen by LLS to attend a Nationals Baseball game on June 22, and that class is Mrs. Harn's 2nd grade students (also our 3rd place winners overall for the school). All of our students and parents can also attend this game at a reduced price by using this link. We want to give a big thanks to YOU parents for supporting this fundraiser and helping us achieve these goals. We couldn't have done it without your support (and of course, your pennies!)

Social Thinking--What is it?

Thanks to the generosity of our HSA's professional development fund for teachers, I just got back from attending a great two-day conference in Baltimore. The topic was on Social Thinking, which is a phrase coined by author, activist, and SLP Michelle Garcia Winner. Social thinking is about much more than basic social skills, which are mostly language based, as in: "I say hi, you say hi back" and getting students to have a conversation of at least three exchanges. Social thinking includes teaching kids how our brains work, what thoughts are, and how our thoughts and the thoughts of others are influenced by our behaviors. It's a much more in-depth and holistic way of approaching social learning, and one I've been dabbling in for the past two years with students here at Lafayette. At this conference given by Michelle, I learned about a new social thinking curriculum for younger kids ages 4-7 called "The Incredible Flexible You." This is a basic way of teaching ALL kids about social skills such as identifying thoughts and feelings, figuring out what to do in a group, using your eyes to make smart guesses about others, keeping your body and brain in the group (what we would call "self-control") and using your whole body to listen. While I've incorporated parts of these concepts into character ed classes this year and last, I am really excited to be able to teach them in a more formal way in the upcoming school year. Other plans for next year include the "Teaching Peace" curriculum that Linda Ryden is currently using with 2-5th grades, and which I'll write more about later. Please feel free to contact me for more information about Social Thinking, plans for next year, or anything else you have on your mind! Happy Friday; it's nice to be back in the building.