For years, parents have been encouraged to limit screen time for their children, and parents have worked hard to do just that. With the Covid-19 stay at home orders and the accompanying distance learning, it feels like that has been thrown out the window. Younger children are now spending a lot of time online, and it’s difficult for parents to monitor because they are also busy working from home or are out of the house as essential workers. Here are a few articles that can provide some guidance, particularly when our children make missteps.
I want to offer to the boys in each homeroom another zoom opportunity to connect with each other and me! These Lunch or Snack Bunches are absolutely optional for students to attend. If you or your son is zoomed out, it’s ok to skip this. The format is 20 minutes every other week to spend with each other to chat. I will start with a quick check-in, but after that try to keep it informal. Boys are encouraged to bring their lunch or a snack. Boys are also expected to follow Zoom behavior rules outlined by their homeroom teachers.
Week One (which will start this week) will be for the younger grades. The schedule is below. I will publish the older grade schedule as soon as it’s finalized. Your homeroom teachers will push out the Zoom code and Password. I can’t publish them here because this is a public website.
Monday11am KA, 11:30 KB, 12pm P1A 12:30 P1B
Tuesday11am 1A, 11:30 1B , 12pm 1C
Wednesday11am 2A, , 11:30 2B 12pm 2C
And last, a silly picture you’re welcome to show your boys. I tried to take a selfie with Peggy but the outtakes were hilarious! (While it looks like she’s snarling, she was actually mid-yawn!)
How are you?. I know it’s an understatement to say this is a stressful time, but hopefully we can take some comfort that we are part of a caring and supportive community. I know how hard you are working to keep things as normal as possible for your children – creating routines, protecting your children from news, protecting them from stress. Please be kind to yourselves. You can do everything right, and your children will still feel what’s going on and have an emotional response. That is normal. As another parent said to me, that despite everything they were doing right during this crisis, it’s “in the ether.” Your children will give you clues if they are struggling. I’ve included a link to an article that outlines mental health signs to watch out for during this time of Covid 19.
Some of these things will pass. You will need to give extra reassurances and be a little more patient. But if you feel concerned about your son, please don’t hesitate to contact me (email@example.com and 410-323-3800 x484) or an outside therapist – many are still doing tele-sessions. There are also many useful links on the Covid 19 Social Emotional Resources page of this blog (see menu at the top of this page) – this includes social emotional activities your son can do as well as resources and information for parents.
We are all experiencing grief and trauma right now – there’s no way to get around it. Even if we haven’t experienced personal loss through this pandemic, we are experiencing the loss of our routines and institutions that ground us, the loss of the freedom to move around easily and safely, the loss of events and activities we were looking forward to, the loss of our work communities and our social networks. These are real losses that adults and children alike are experiencing. We have to acknowledge and honor that. Not finishing that school assignment, not getting the laundry done, not completing something for work — that’s ok. Let it go. If you need to take a walk, exercise, just do something silly with your kids, or even take a nap, do that. That is taking care of yourself during this very difficult time. It’s important.
I am sending you all my positive thoughts and care. These are some unsettling times for all of us – I take comfort in knowing we’re all part of this Gilman Community, and we are going to support each other through this.
That brings me to how I can support you. First, I will continue to email you with resources and suggestions for caring for your and your son’s emotional well-being. You’ll see some links below you may want to look at. I’ve also added a page to this blog that I will update with appropriate resources. Secondly, and most importantly, I’m still available to you and your son to provide support. Simply email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (410-323-3800 ext 484) and let me know your questions or concerns or if you would like a return call. And I hope it goes without saying that if your son wants to speak with me personally, we can easily set up a facetime or call.
Please let your boys know that Miss Jordan is thinking about them!
These social emotional learning links have 10 days of brief videos and simple activities you can do with your son.
Mindfulness and meditation could be an important resource for you and your child. These activities can be helpful for coping with stress and anxiety and sometimes just a relaxing break. The Cosmic Kid site also has fun yoga videos! Physical activity is also an important stress reliever.
Cosmic Kids Zen Den – (Mindfulness and yoga) Jamie is the host of these fun videos. The boys love her!
Mindyeti (Mindfulness) – This has a lot of different mindfulness activities. Most are about 4-7 minutes.
YoMind (Mindfulness for upper elementary) – I’ve done these with our 4th and 5th graders (younger boys can do these, too!) I usually skip the intro part.
I’m excited about the new school year – I’m enjoying seeing all the boys return and meet our new boys!
This summer I attended the American School Counselors Association’s Annual Conference in Los Angeles. It’s an excellent conference focussed solely on issues, concerns, and interests of it’s 3,600 school counselors in attendance. The founder of the #metoo movement Tarana Burke and NBA Hall of Famer and social activist Kareem Abdul Jabbar were the two keynote speakers. It was inspiring! One takeaway from the conference was the emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and calling it that. To that end, my classroom times with each homeroom (which I have always called Class Meeting) has now been changed to SEL in order to more accurately reflect my purpose and activities in the classroom. Another emphasis of the conference was the continued effort to move away from the terms “guidance” and “guidance counselor” as a reference to what we do and what we are. “Guidance” is considered an outdated term that refers to when a guidance counselor’s role was to help “guide” students to college and career choices — it no longer encompasses all that school counselors do.
Enough about words! The conference also held many sessions on social-emotional learning, equity and inclusiveness, mindfulness, and so much more. This conference is always an energizing and inspiring experience!
I’m looking forward to using that energy and inspiration to continue to provide social-emotional support for our students, faculty, and parents! To that end, I’ll continue to be in the classroom, hosting lunch bunches for K, P1, 1st, and 2nd grades, and Team Greyhound continues to take note of our boys’ many acts of the Gilman Five. Look for an email soon (and posted here as well) with dates and locations for several parent coffees I’ll host throughout the school year. I’ll post thoughts and information on this site, including linking to interesting articles and helpful sites.
This school year is going to be great! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your son. I’m here to help!
The news from Parkland, Florida is tragic and disturbing. There is a lot of news that our children may worry about but news about school shootings can be particularly distressing to them. And distressing to you, too. Below is some brief information from the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) about talking with our children about school shootings. I’ve also included links to some very helpful and more detailed resources with suggestions about coping with this troubling news. I also strongly encourage you to practice self-care. While it’s important to limit your child’s exposure to news coverage, make sure you take a break too. The news coverage can be compelling, but it will increase your own stress and anxiety whether your realize it or not.
Of course I am available to your children if they are having a difficult time coping with this tragic event. I am here to support faculty, and I am here to support you too. Please don’t hesitate to call, email, or stop by my office if you have any questions.
Helping Kids After a Shooting (from the ASCA website)
Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
Limit exposure to television and the news.
Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.
This was a topic of discussion at the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) annual conference this summer in Denver. When rude and mean behaviors are overgeneralized as bullying, a pressing issue loses its urgency. Signe Whitson did a great breakout session on this subject. This was the focus during our SHARE program time with 3rd and 5th grade on Friday, October 27 (4th grade was on a field trip and will do their SHARE on Monday, November 9) We also talked about it at today’s Coffee with the Counselor.
Here’s a blog post by Signe Whitson, who led the breakout session at the conference.
Using various scenarios (from Jeannie Maddox and Signe Whitson) our boys where then asked to put the scenarios and situations into each of the three categories. Good discussions were had in all the homerooms, and we now have a common language to use when talking about these behaviors. We will continue to talk about this with our students, along with the next steps — how to handle rude behavior, how to apologize, what to do when you see bullying, etc.)