The Calming Corner

Welcome, Cool Cats!

Hello! We want to thank you for visiting our link to the Calming Corner! This week we are going to focus on coping skills. During this unusual time, it can be difficult to know how to handle new things. Taking time to practice, and even learn new, coping skills can ease the big emotions we are all feeling during this time!

What are Coping Skills?

Coping skills are the strategies people often use in the face of stress and/or trauma to help manage painful or difficult emotions. Coping skills can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being.The use of effective coping skills can often help improve mental and emotional well-being. People who are able to adjust to stressful or traumatic situations (and the lasting impact these incidents may have) through productive coping mechanisms may be less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns as a result of painful or challenging events.

Welcome, Cool Cats!

Hey, Cool Cats!!! We hope you are all doing well! We miss you all very much! We’re sending you all hugs from afar! This week we are going to talk about journaling. Due to Covid-19, we are charting a new way of life! The entire world is on lockdown! We should be documenting this time, so our children can share our experiences, emotions, and thoughts with their future children & grandchildren…we are making history! Stay safe and stay healthy!

Journaling

Journaling is a good way to document one’s feelings, emotions, & thoughts. It can help foster a relationship within yourself, a connection with your mind. Journaling has been found to:

  • Boost your mood/affect;
  • Enhance your sense of well-being;
  • Reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam);
  • Reduce intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma;
  • Improve your working memory 

How to begin journaling

WRITE effective journaling

How to start journaling:

  • W – What do you want to write about? Think about what is going on in your life, your current thoughts and feelings, what you’re striving towards or trying to avoid right now. Give it a name and put it all on paper.
  • R – Review or reflect on it. Take a few moments to be still, calm your breath, and focus. A little mindfulness or meditation could help in this step. Try to start sentences with “I” statements like “I feel…”, “I want…”, and, “I think…” Also, try to keep them in the present tense, with sentence-stems like “Today…”, “Right now…”, or “In this moment…”.
  • I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings through your writing. Just keep going! If you feel you have run out of things to write or your mind starts to wander, take a moment to re-focus (another opportunity for mindfulness meditation!), read over what you have just written, and continue on.
  • T – Time yourself to ensure that you write for at least 5 minutes (or whatever your current goal is). Write down your start time and the projected end time based on your goal at the top of your page. Set a timer or alarm to go off when the time period you have set is up.
  • E – Exit strategically and with introspection. Read what you have written and take a moment to reflect on it. Sum up your takeaway in one or two sentences, starting with statements like “As I read this, I notice…”, “I’m aware of…”, or “I feel…” If you have any action items or steps you would like to take next, write them down now (Adams, n.d.).

Activity 1 

Please visit the following link to explore a journal specifically aimed at feelings & emotions surrounding Covid-19.

My Covid-19 Journal

Activity 2

Make a video journal! If writing is not your style, try making a video journal. THis would be especially fun if your child interviewed different family members. Here is a list of questions to get the interviews rolling…

  • What did you do today (or this week)? How was that different than what you would do on a “normal” day/week?
  • What changes have you personally experienced (physically, mentally and/or emotionally) since this pandemic began?
  • What has been the most difficult thing for you personally about this pandemic? Do you think there’s anything positive that may come from what’s happening?

Info for Middle School

21st Century Scholars: 

YOUR CHILD MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR A FULL TUITION COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP!!!!!

Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program offers income-eligible Hoosier students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after they graduate from high school, dependent upon financial need. In middle and high school, Scholars are connected to programs and resources to help them stay on track for college and career success. Once in college, Scholars receive support to complete their college degrees and connect to career opportunities. 7th and 8th grade Indiana students whose families meet income eligibility guidelines can apply to become a 21st Century Scholar. Applications must be received by June 30 of the student’s 8th grade year.

Please see these documents for more information regarding 21st Century Scholars! 

–          21st Century Scholars Enrollment Flyer (full page) (PDF)

–          21st Century Scholars Enrollment Flyer (Spanish) (PDF)

–          YouTube 21st CS Enrollment Video (English)

–          YouTube 21st CS Enrollment Video (Spanish)

Also, to apply, you can text college or universidad to 404-58!!!

NAVIANCE

The college and career readiness curriculum! Naviance is an online curriculum where your student can discover their personal interests, set goals, research colleges, careers, scholarships,and more!  

*Fun fact: Road Trip Nation is one component of the curriculum where students can watch short video clips of various unique careers! There are so many jobs out there that we may not even know about! 

Each grade level has specific tasks to complete, so please check out the weekly home learning  online lessons plans for more details, links, and information on what tasks to complete to help best prepare for the future! 

Students can login via clever: https://clever.com/in/myips

21st Century Scholars!

7th and 8th Grade Parent/Guardian, 

Your children may be eligible for a college scholarship! 

Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program offers income-eligible Hoosier students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after they graduate from high school, dependent upon financial need. 

In middle and high school, Scholars are connected to programs and resources to help them stay on track for college and career success. Once in college, Scholars receive support to complete their college degrees and connect to career opportunities. 7th and 8th grade Indiana students whose families meet income eligibility guidelines can apply to become a 21st Century Scholar. 

Applications must be received by June 30th of the student’s 8th grade year. 

In return for keeping the Scholar Pledge and meeting the expectations of the Scholar Success Program throughout high school and college, the Commission for Higher Education commits to providing Scholars with up to four years of undergraduate tuition assistance at an eligible Indiana college or university, dependent on financial need. 

As a Scholar, your child will pledge to: 

· Complete the Scholar Success Program, which includes activities at each grade level in high school to help you stay on track for college and career success. 

· Graduate from a state-accredited high school with a minimum of a Core 40 diploma and a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. 

· Not use illegal drugs, commit a crime or delinquent act, or consume alcohol before reaching the legal drinking age. 

· File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 15 as a high school senior and each year thereafter until you graduate from college. 

· Apply to an eligible Indiana college as a high school senior, and enroll as a full-time student within one year of high school graduation. 

· Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards established by my college. 

· Complete 30 credit hours each year you are in college to stay on track toward earning your degree on time. 

Indianapolis Public Schools wants to ensure that ALL eligible 7th and 8th grade students complete an application for this scholarship opportunity! If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact your child’s school counselor or social worker. The June 30th deadline to apply is approaching quickly.

To apply now, text college to 404-58

Hello! We hope you are all doing well! It has been so nice to talk to some of our families and see your faces on Zoom chats and Facebook!    Here are some suggestions for activities to help your students develop their entire person while at home during this time. Pick one thing from each column each day to strengthen all of you!
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Here is a wonderful video with super cute, kid and beginner friendly yoga! Yoga is an excellent way to reduce stress and get in some exercise.   https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga

You keep hearing the phrase Social Emotional Learning or SEL and we are going to do our best to make you experts at it during this Covid-19 shut down time! Here is a link to some fun things you can do with your children at home that will help them continue to grow and learn as they become the beautiful humans they are meant to be. 
https://blog.teacherspayteachers.com/10-social-emotional-activities-for-home/?utm_campaign=Weekly_Newsletter_%2523700_6_12&utm_source=simon&utm_medium=email
Dinner Conversation Starters 
Last, but not least, try some of these while your family gathers around a meal this week. 

  1. What do you like best about your siblings?
  2. What are some things you feel grateful for today?
  3. What are some things that you don’t need, but you’re really happy that you have?
  4. What are some things that are easy to complain about, but we’re actually lucky to have? For example, rainy days help gardens grow and give animals water to drink.
  5. What are some things you get to do, that other people might not be able or allowed to do?
  6. What are some things that I didn’t have as a kid that you’re happy you get to have?

Your Social Worker is  Nachel Simons (K-4) and your Counselors are Amanda Wynia (5-8) and Brandy Boerner, part-time for all grades. We look forward to seeing everyone again and to getting you our next Counselor/Social Worker Corner to you next week! 

What is Social-Emotional Learning? Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This is really stuff we all need! Knowing this, please take a look at all the great resources we will be posting here every week! Parenting Techniques: Supporting Social Emotional Learning at home during COVID-19.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2228&v=W8W-GklHGX0&feature=emb_title

This VIDEO WEBINAR offers great ideas on how to best support your child’s social emotional learning at home.  There are ideas to support the essential components of SEL through CASEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. 
The video highlights the following:-home safety-routines-establishing learning goals and plans-coping skills-how to notice the positives -and so much more! 
To see more, visit https://confidentparentsconfidentkids.org
VERY AWESOME STUFF YOU CAN HAVE YOUR KIDS DO! AWESOME!!!AWESOME!!!AWESOME!!
The following links are a fun & easy way to incorporate social emotional learning activities in your student’s day. Simply have your student chose an activity or activities to complete each day. We would love to see your completed Choice Boards, post to Edison’s Facebook page or email to one of the counselors or the social worker. 
K-4 Social Emotional Learning Choice Board:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1injgt_kB6f33u1ovC1cUNutCR_ns93oV5N2yIanmths/edit?usp=sharing

5-8 Social Emotional Learning Choice Board:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1m2h_ymUtDnRK2vAJT6QBqsNJHkCJTh_KgrC-S7HSxCg/edit?usp=sharing

Dinner Conversation Starters

As we all navigate this new normal, we want to highlight some great opportunities we have at home to build deeper connections with our kids. One great way to enhance family relationships is through having dinners together and taking the time to get to know your kids even better! 

*Here are some great conversation starters to have while having meals together:

  1. What is your favorite thing about our family?
  2. What is your favorite family tradition?
  3. What are the most important things we’ve taught you?
  4. Do you think the discipline and consequences in our family are fair?
  5. If you could make three family rules, what would they be?
  6. What do you think are the most important qualities of a good parent?
  7. What should we do more of as a family?

Try one of these each day and let us know any fun conversations that come out of this! 
Your Counselors are Nachel Simons (K-4), Amanda Wynia (5-8) and Brandy Boerner, part-time for all grades. 

Helping Your Child Through These Stressful Times

Many of us have experienced and continue to experience a great deal of anxiety during these very unique and challenging times. Two and a half weeks ago life was normal. We were just doing the same ole thing we’d been doing and then WHAM! Schools shut down. Coronavirus became the only thing we heard about all day everyday. The grocery stores ran out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. They ran out of pasta, rice, bread, milk! None of us knew what the future held for us and we were afraid, we still are. Our kids are often frightened too. I know one of my sons constantly checks his temperature and he mistakes the anxiety and tension in his chest for “shortness of breath” frequently. So, how do we help our kids when they have questions and they are scared?

The first thing we must do as parents is manage our own anxiety. Kid’s feed off of our emotions. If we work on calming ourselves, we can then better help them. It’s just like on the air plane when they say “if the cabin should loose pressure, the oxygen mask will drop. If you are traveling with small children, place the mask on yourself first, and they help the child.” Why? Because you’re not much help if you pass out from lack of oxygen! Here are some tips on ways to help manage and regulate your anxiety first and things you can do help your child:

  • Check the news for 15-30 minutes, then TURN IT OFF! Our feelings come from our thoughts. If our thoughts are filled with anxiety producing images and news, we can ONLY feel anxious and worried.
  • Check in with yourself to see if you are anxious. Often, we don’t recognize and identify our own emotions well, especially when we are stressed.
  • Name it. Simply state to yourself “I’m feeling anxious”.
  • Take deep breathes. Try this: breathe in slowly through your nose, count to 4 slowly as you take air in, hold it in for 4 slow counts and then breathe out of your mouth counting to 4 slowly again.
  • Think of at least 10 people or things you are thankful for. Write them down as a way to slow down and really focus on what you are grateful for.
  • Get outside and go for a walk. Notice the beauty of spring emerging outside and focus on each one for a moment. Pay attention to the color, the smells, the textures, the sounds you hear, and the way the air around you and your clothing feel. Be fully present and attentive to all of your senses.
  • Pet your animals. Research shows that it actually reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) when you pet your animals. They could use it too!

When you are calm, talk to your child about the things you can do to stay healthy and safe right now. Staying at home (talk about all the fun things about being at home to help this be a less stressful experience). Teach them how to wash hands properly. (This could be fun for younger kids with foaming soap!) Here is the CDC link for how to protect yourself: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html

Remind them that right now they are safe and everything is ok. Try the tips listed above with your child. All of them are just as helpful for them as for you, they just need some coaching to learn how to practice them. Make them fun. Ask them to talk to you about “belly breathes” which they learned in Second Steps if they are in K-4th grade. Have them pretend to blow bubbles or have them blow actual bubbles since you have to slowly blow them in order to get a good bubble it helps them do deep breathes. We hope you all are staying safe and are doing well! Next week we will have some more suggestions to help you all through this unsettling time.

This month, our schoolwide theme is problem-solving. In our morning announcements we’ll be reminding students to use the Second Step Problem-Solving Steps:

  • S: Say the problem
  • T: Think of solutions
  • E: Explore consequences
  • P: Pick the best solution

As you can see, the first letter of each step spells the word ”step.” Remembering “step” helps students solve problems with each other in safe and respectful ways.

Second Step lessons specifically teach students to use each step and reinforce the message that solutions need to be safe and respectful. You will be receiving Home Links about the steps that describe why solving problems is important and including fun activities to do with your child to help him or her learn and practice the steps. We hope the steps will be helpful for you and your child when there are problems at home.

Please tell your child’s teacher if you would like more suggestions about how to use the Problem-Solving Steps at home.

Middle School: All 6th-8th graders will be starting a new College and Career Readiness curriculum in February called Naviance. Naviance is an online system that helps students set academic and personal/social goals and identify their interests and strengths in order to best prepare them for their future.

For the next 2 weeks, we will continue the schoolwide theme is empathy. In our morning announcements, we’ll be reminding students to have empathy, identify their own and others’ feelings, notice and respect the same and different feelings, and show compassion. We remember that compassion involves saying kind words or doing something helpful to show you care how another person feels. When students can identify, understand, and respond in a caring way to how someone else is feeling, it helps create a positive and accepting school climate.

Second Step lessons specifically teach about empathy.  Kinder- 5th grade will come home with Home Links describing why empathy is important and including fun activities to do with your child to help them identify feelings and practice showing empathy and compassion. We hope you find them helpful.

Please tell your child’s teacher if you have any questions about how you can help your child learn to identify feelings and show empathy and compassion at home.