I chose to highlight 3 lessons that support my counseling goals as well as our vision and mission. The first 2 lessons address the social/ emotional development of our students and align with my cafeteria goal of decreasing discipline referrals. We want our students to have the self-control and self-discipline to make appropriate choices. This is reflective in our vision and mission of wanting our students to be caring, responsible members of society who embrace individual differences. Teaching students how to handle their anger appropriately is a life-long skill that is necessary in school and in the world of work. When my Advisory Council reviewed the Mindsets and Behavior Planning Tool this was an area that they felt students needed as part of the core curriculum. My 2nd lesson focused on teasing. Caley is a diverse learning community. We model for our students a set of values that incorporates a Community of Caring and create a No Place for Hate mentality. Therefore, we want students to know how teasing can impact others and the power of their words. We also want them to have appropriate strategies to handle teasing.
The other lesson I chose to highlight supports my academic goal and our vision and mission of providing students with the necessary tools to reach their potential, graduate from high school and become college and career ready. Although my closing the gap plan targeted fourth grade students I felt that introducing specific test taking strategies in 3rd grade was imperative. The data I used to select my targeted group came from the 3rd grade scores. In the past my test -taking lesson focused on things they could do to prepare their mind and body for the test but not specific strategies. As the test gets more rigorous I felt it was important to introduce specific test-taking skills in this grade to prepare for this test.
Prior to the anger lesson I surveyed my students. Over 97% of the 2nd graders said that they got angry which demonstrated a need for this topic. When they got angry 45% said they would hit, yell, or say hurtful things. Once again demonstrating the need for students to learn other ways to manage their emotions. I also gave them a scenario to see how they would respond in a recess situation. The data showed a need for teaching them safe strategies. There had been 10 discipline referrals coming from 2nd grade prior to my lesson. My goal was to reduce the discipline referrals and provide students with strategies for self-regulation. After the lesson 100% of the students could identify safe ways to handle anger. There was also a 40% reduction in discipline referrals. This shows the value of teaching anger management.
The next lesson I chose focused on teasing. Prior to the teasing lesson I surveyed students. Over 77% of 3rd graders said that they had been teased. Over 11% said they would tease back, or engage in passive ways to handle teasing. The lesson presented them with 5 strategies. Following the lesson 100% of the students could identify at least 3 helpful strategies. We had 5 discipline referrals from 3rd grade prior to my lesson. After the lesson we had a 40% reduction in referrals. Students need to demonstrate respect for others and also have the tools to deal with situations. Students need to learn the difference between teasing and bullying behaviors. This is an important lesson to include in our core curriculum. It supports the values of respecting and embracing our differences.
The final lesson I chose supports an academic need, test-taking skills. In the past 2 years our state test, the PSSA, has changed to include the common core standards and has become much more rigorous. It’s important that students have the skills and strategies to help them engage in critical thinking and problem solving skills. I first surveyed the students to see what they believed about being successful on the test. I wanted to see what strategies they currently used and how we could further develop their test-taking skills. During the lesson students were taught 4 specific strategies and opportunities to practice them. The perceptual data shows an increase in their confidence and skills. Our students out scored the other buildings in our district. We scored at advanced and proficient level, 79.48% in math and 87.1% in ELA. The data shows these lessons are helpful and will continue to be part of the core curriculum.