Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November Peace Hero Celebration

On Monday we celebrated our students who received Peace Hero nominations throughout the month. These are students who were caught being especially kind, helpful, and/or  peaceful in some way. Usually classroom teachers are the ones who nominate students to receive the award, but anyone can nominate anyone else in the building, and lately we've had a few students nominate other students for peaceful actions they've noticed. This is a wonderful way to encourage mindfulness among the students, as they become more aware of not only their own, but others' actions as well. This month's Peace Heroes are:

Erin Rosebar 2K
Wyatt Corn 1B
Natalie Gordon 2N
Brandon Gore 4CD
Dylan Kennedy Red base
Sarah Bocian 1H
Charlie Madland 1H
Jack Reeves 1H
Brandon Catherine 1P
Harper Orange base
Lillie Orange Base
Eden Diamond 1H
Elena Le 1H
Owen McManus 1B
Harrison Ertz 2K
Eian Katz 4CD
Madeline Nusbaum 1B
Noah Person 1H

Congratulations to these students, and happy Thanksgiving to all!


Friday, November 8, 2013

The 1-5 Scale for Managing Strong Feelings

This is a concept we've been working on in Peace Classes recently, adapted from the book When My Worries Get Too Big by Kari Dunn Buron. We talk about how our feelings can be described using the 1-5 scale. Each student names something that makes them feel like a 1, and also a time they felt like a 5. We practice strategies for bringing our strong, intense "Level 5" feelings down to a more manageable number like 1 or 2. These strategies include:

  • Calm breathing ("flowers and candles")
  • Counting to ten
  •  Squeezing our hands together
  • Closing our eyes and rubbing our legs in a calming way
  • Thinking about our happy thoughts
  • Talking to an adult
  • Telling someone how we are feeling
  • Writing or drawing 
  • Taking a nap or break from the activity 
  • Going to a safe place like the Oasis to calm down    
I hope these strategies may help the kids in the classroom, on the playground, and at even at home when they are having a strong feeling. You can help by reminding them about the 1-5 scale, using the numbers to help your child talk about how intense their feeling is, and by reminding them of some strategies that could help them come back down to a one. 

Peace Assemblies

Today we held three Peace Assemblies for the different grade levels. At the assemblies we talked about the Pathways to Peace concepts we've been learning, such as being mindful of how we treat others and managing strong feelings. We played a game, "What Would A Peace Hero Do?" where the kids answered questions to various real-life problems we've encountered here at school. We finished the assemblies by singing "With My Own Two Hands, " accompanied by Ms. Ryden, Ms. Betz, and other 5th grade students on the guitar. It was awesome, and we thank all the kids for participating and for helping to make Lafayette the best, most peaceful school it can be! We'd love to have more parents attend our school assemblies, so will be sure to get the word out for our next big event!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Peace Program News & Updates

Halloween Candy Drive

Our third annual Lafayette Halloween Candy Drive is off to a great start!  We already have a mountain of candy after only one day.  Thanks so much to all of the generous families who shared their extra candy.  We will be delivering the candy to the Bethesda Cares shelter.  People who come to the shelter for meals will be so thrilled to get a special treat.  A piece of candy may not seem like much to many of us but to people who are in crisis a sweet treat is a big deal.  Last year we were able to collect so much candy it lasted the whole year at the shelter.  They are anxiously awaiting the new shipment.  Thanks so much to the Lafayette family for making this happen every year!

Mindfulness visit

As you may have heard Lafayette's Teaching Peace program was in the news again recently.  This time our Mindfulness program was featured in the Washington Post.  As a result of that article we were visited by a representative of an organization working to bring mindfulness programs into public schools.  After sitting in on one of our Peace classes he asked me to model our method to other area schools.  Jillian and I teach mindfulness in all of our Peace classes and now some of the classroom teachers have even gotten on board and are practicing mindful breathing with their classes for a few minutes every day.  There is so much research showing the powerful benefits of mindfulness, especially for children whose brains are still developing.  We are hoping to give our students the skills they need to lead happy, healthy and peaceful lives.

Peace assembly

Next Friday November 8th we will be holding an assembly to celebrate our peaceful school.  We are asking all of the children to wear something representing peace - a t-shirt with a peace sign, peace accessories, anything that represents peace.  We will sing a song together, do some mindful breathing in a big group, play a game called "What Would a Peace Hero Do?" and do a big group activity.  There will be three assemblies: 4th and 5th at 1:30pm; 2nd and 3rd at 2pm; and PK, K and 1 will be at 2:30pm.  We would love for parents to join us!