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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Teasing; Wrinkled Heart and Empty Bucket

At some point, most all children have endured being teased.  Teasing can be a momentary situation.  Unfortunately for other children, teasing is an on going problem and very painful to go through.  Children who are more vulnerable to teasing are singled out.  One of the  best ways to handle teasing is to absolutely ignore it.  However if this does not work, or the child is teased frequently, they need to confide in their parent or teacher.  Scroll down for story recommendation to go along with the activity.

Wrinkled Heart; Younger
(Cut out a large paper heart)
Show the heart to your children and explain:
Everyone starts out with a whole heart.  But, sometime people say things that hurt other peoples feelings, hurt the way they feel inside.   

(Fold the heart any which way after each put down; wrinkle the heart.  Add more comments, if needed).
Your hair looks funny. 
Why do you wear weird clothes?
Yuck, why do you eat that?
You wear goofy glasses Four Eyes.
I don’t like you.
You can’t play with us.
Hey freak the geek

(Show the wrinkled folded heart and explain).
This is how someone’s heart feels when their feelings keep getting hurt.

Have the children think of compliments to say, and with each positive comment unfold a piece of the heart.  After the heart is unfolded explain: This heart feels better from all of the wonderful compliments, but the wrinkles inside will stay forever on the heart.  So, be careful what you say to others so that their heart will not get wrinkled.

Empty Bucket; Older
(Need a bucket and water picture; best done over a sink or outside)
Fill a bucket with water.  Tell the children that the water in the bucket is like someone’s self esteem, or how they feel about themselves.  Every time someone puts them down, or says something that is not kind, it’s like spilling a little water out of their bucket. 
Ask the children ways that people put others down or what hurtful comments might be said.  Each time you call on someone and they give an answer, spill water out of the bucket.  Continue until the water is gone.  Show the empty bucket and explain the following.
If this is how someone feels inside themself, they would feel hurt and feel emptiness;  (Pause for a moment).  When we say kind words and give compliments, it helps a person to feel better and helps fill their self worth up inside.
Have children give compliments, and with each compliment add water to the bucket from the water pitcher.
Tell the children that saying kind words fills a person’s self worth up and it is how we should treat each other.  But remember, a persons inside feelings do not forget when their bucket was empty, (dump the water out).

The Juice Box Bully, by Bob Sornson & Maria Dismondy; Younger
The story is about a new student named Pete, who is using bullying behavior the first day of school.  The other students view this and react with kindness and assertiveness.  The children help Pete to make, "The Promise," which is what the kids make, to stop bullying.

Making Sarah Cry; Chicken Soup for the Soul, by Cheryl Costello-Forshey; Older  Chicken Soup for the Soul
(Story can be found at
The poem reads more like a story, and starts out with Sarah being bullied.  In the end it demonstrates ways to communicate care and respect of others and of self.  I highly recommend this story.  A must read!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Messages and Asking For Change

I messages communicate your wants, needs, and feelings in a respectful manner.  
I Messages-Asking for Change
·         Starting a sentence with an, I, conveys how a person feels or what they want; I feel mad that you take my toys.
·         Starting a sentence with YOU, assigns blame: You took my toys!

Start by practicing half of the sentence; I feel mad, when you 
take my toys.  On a separate occasion after the first section is
said smoothly, add the second part.  I feel mad, when you take  
my toys.  Can you please ask me first, and then you can use them.

    I Message Examples
    I feel mad, when you take my toys.
    Can you please ask me first, and then you can play with them.

    I feel frustrated, when you push me.
    Can you please stop pushing me, and then we can play/get along.

    I feel scared, when you yell at me.
    Can you please talk in a softer voice, and then I will try to pay attention when
    you are talking.    
    Response-Active Listening
    The next step is learning how to answer back with active listening.  If a person
    answers back in this manner, others will know you have heard them, and    
    understood what they are saying.  It works well to learn this in two sections.

    Response Examples
    You sound mad, that I took your toys.            
    Next time I will ask you first, and I'm sorry.                                

    You sound frustrated, because I pushed you.
    Next time I will not put my hands on you, and I take responsibility.

    You sound scared, that I was yelling.
    Next time I will talk softer, and I am sorry that I scared you  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Story of the Cracked Pot and Light Bulb Shines Bright; Self Esteem 12

There is beauty in accepting ourselves and embracing our imperfections.  

Example of art work that can go along with The Story of the Cracked Pot.

The Story of the Cracked Pot; Chinese Proverb
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.  At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But,  the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what the cracked pot perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.  "I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?"  "That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day while we walk back, you water them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.  Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Light Bulb Shines Bright
Make many copies of the light bulb pattern below and cut out.  When you see your child or students doing something positive (as in playing well with others), or showing an act of kindness toward another (such as helping someone pick up toys after they were dropped), give the child a Light Shines Bright bulb.  Write the child's name on the bulb, or write "Name" Light Shines Bright.  Hang up on a string or a line drawn on a bulletin board and hang lights up on the line.  The children can also color the light bulb.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Matryoshka Doll & Chinese Lantern; Same and Different

Different Cultures
We are not born with stereotypes and prejudices against other cultures, but children learn them by their elders and surroundings.  We can teach our children that everyone is created as an equal; we may all be different, but we all need to be treated the same.  Cultural activities help to educate children about diversity.

Chinese Lantern
The Chinese lantern was developed as a means of improving the regular source of light that was an open flame.  Today the lantern is most often used in festivals, especially Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and Lantern Festival.  During the festivals streets in the big cities and small towns are decorated with red lanterns.  

Matryoshka Doll
From Russia, Matryeoshka dolls are a set of hand painted wooden dolls of decreasing size, placed one inside the other.  The design of the dress on the doll is called a Sarafan; a long shapeless traditional peasant dress.  The dolls on the inside can be male or female with the last doll typically being a baby.

Doll: Copy the body of the doll on white paper, the scarf on colored paper, and cut out.  Cut out the circle in the middle for the face (cut though the scarf at the thin edge; will not show when glued on).  Glue the body on a background piece of paper.  Glue the scarf on the head.  Decorate with paints, crayolas and or markers.  Glue on buttons for decoration and a cut out if desired (optional). 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Know The Facts; Conflict Resolution 8

Know The Facts
Understand the situation, before deciding what action to take.  When we guess at what we think might have happened, we may be making a mistake.  Be a detective and find the facts.
Mini Story
Mrs. Williams looked up and saw Tabitha crying.  Mrs. Williams asked Tabitha what was wrong.  Tabitha said that Manny had thrown away her picture of a tree.  The teacher asked Manny if he had thrown away Tabitha's picture.  Manny said that he had, but added that Tabitha had thrown away his paper.  Tabitha said that she saw the paper on the floor next to the trash can and thought that someone had thrown it away and missed the can.  She said she didn't know the paper was Manny's.

Did Manny know the whole situation before throwing Tabitha's picture away?
1. First get the facts.
2. Think about ALL of the facts.
3. Take the appropriate steps.
(It is important to find out what all of the facts are, before acting.  This is a skill to continue to use)

Role Play: Choose people to role play the teacher, Manny and Tabitha.  In the role play have the teacher ask Manny if he knows the facts?  How can he find the facts out...  An adult may want to play the teacher role, if the children are new to role play.

1. Ask what Happened / Tell what Happened
2. Ask Questions
3. Listen to what is Said
4. Make a Decision

Mini Story
Two sisters, Rachael and Jessica, were talking in the kitchen.  Rachael talks with her hands moving, and as she was describing her recent school field trip, she knocked over the fruit bowl.  Jessica quickly went down to the floor and started picking up the fruit, when their mom walked in.

Who does it look like spilled the Fruit?  (Jessica)
What does the mom need to do?  (Ask questions)

Role Play: Choose people to play Rachael and Jessica.  Choose someone to play the mom, or change the mom to a dad.  In the role play have the mom/dad ask questions to find out the facts.

Mini Story
Robert couldn't find his lunch.  He remembers seeing Anton putting his lunch in the cupboard next to his own.  At lunchtime Robert couldn't find his lunch, he goes up to the teacher and says that Anton took his lunch; Anton had not taken Robert's lunch.  Turns out the lunch got pushed way back in the cupboard, and Robert could not see it; the lunch was there the whole time.
What should Robert do before accusing Anton from taking his lunch?  
How does Anton feel being accused of taking the lunch, when he didn't do it?
How would you feel if you accused someone, and later found out they had not done it?

Role Play: Choose people to play Robert, Anton, and the teacher.  Role play something like:
Robert: Anton took my lunch
Teacher: Did you see Anton take your lunch?  Do you knows the facts?
Robert: No
Teacher: Then you don't know if Anton took your lunch. What are all of the possibilities.
*Robert and teacher brainstorm possibilities. 
**In the end Robert and the teacher go to the cupboard and find Robert's lunch pushed all the way to the back of the cupboard where he could not see it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Be Kind; Self Esteem 11

Be Kind
The simple act of being kind or compassionate toward another person can make their day special.  Helping someone out is not only special to the receiver, but it makes us feel good to give an act of kindness, no matter how small.   

Heart Activity
Make the heart to remind you to do acts of kindness, or give your heart to someone to brighten up their day.  Out of a cereal box, cut out a heart.  Cut small squares of tissue paper.  One at a time, place a square of tissue paper over your index finger and dot on a drop of glue.  Press your finger onto the cardboard heart and release.  Continue until all of the heart is covered.

Story Suggestions:
Kindness I Cooler, Mrs. Ruler, By Margery Culyler; Younger
When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she's got a special plan up her sleeve.  She's about to teach a new golden rule:  Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom! 

It Was Nothing, by Deborah Shouse   Chicken Soup For The Soul; Find Your Happiness
During the day there are times people may help us out and say, "Oh, it was nothing."  These small acts of kindness brighten a persons day.
(Story can be found at 120123&utm_source=CSS_Email&utm_medium=Bulletin&utm_term=20111122&utm_content=1&utm_campaign=daily)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Compliment Circle & Friendship Candy; Friendship 9

True Friendship
There are many people that we come in contact with, but there is a difference between acquaintances and true friends; it is often difficult for children to be aware of the difference.  A friend is someone who helps build you up and who shows over time that they want to be with you.  A true friend is loyal and supportive.  It is important to be a true friend yourself, to have true friends in return.

Compliment Circle
Knowing how to give compliments encourages friendship.  Below are two different ways to practice giving compliments to others.

1. Have children sit in a circle.  One child starts and gives a compliment or states something positive about the child on their left.  Continue around the circle until everyone has given and received a compliment.  Reverse and go the other direction if desired.  This game can be done many times with people in different positions in the circle.

2. Have children sit in a circle or horseshoe shape U.  Select one child to sit in the center of the circle or U.  One at a time have each child give a compliment, or express something positive about the child sitting in the middle.  Continue until every child has had a turn receiving praise.

Fairness Candy
What should someone do if they do not have enough candy for everyone?  Is it all right to give candy to only some children and not others?  People who have good friendship qualities would not leave anyone out.

Pass out a piece of candy to all but the last two to five children/people in your family or group. It is good to position the children you know can handle the situation, who will not receive a piece of candy.  When you run out of candy say, "Whoops, I'm sorry we're out of candy; too bad."  Wait a short time and then ask the following.

1. How does it feel to be someone who received a piece of candy?
2. How does it feel for the people who did not receive a piece of candy?
3. What would be the fair solution to the problem

(Another way to do this activity is to put the candy in a bag, and pass the bag around until the candy runs out.  Instruct children to take 1 piece of candy from the bag.)

Suggested Story:

The Gift of Lost Friendship, by Rachael Joyce   Chicken Soup for the Soul Teens Talk Middle School
A friend is someone who treats us in a manner we deserve.  Rachael lets go of a friendship that she realizes is not really a good one for her.