Thursday, January 14, 2016

Helping Students Through Difficult Times

We all have student pledges that are read on the intercom each morning and most of them mention respecting each other.  Most of our schools have students with social emotional needs that, at times, we are not aware of. I think it is fair to say that teachers and counselors are both very busy with extremely packed schedules and could really use some assistance whenever and wherever they can get it. The library can be that place with just a few simple steps! 
  •           Set up a planning time with your school counselor and ask her/him to bring a list of top student referrals or items of major concern related to your school's families.
  •         Explain that you would like to create a section in the library for books that reach children’s social emotional needs. (Our school counselor’s name is Ms. Tibble, so we have a section that is labeled “TIBBLE TALK”.)  It started as a shelf and has turned into a whole section!
  •       Time to search for great material to order!  I will list several authors in the end, and I must say our AMAZING counselor did most of the research and gave me over 100 titles. She is the first one to respond each year when I ask for suggestions when creating a list to order. Your counselor probably already receives catalogs of books but doesn’t have the budget for them so, this is a great way to help him/her out also!  Our principal is very supportive and appreciative of this collaboration among the staff in order to meet the students’ needs. However, I will suggest getting this list approved due to the controversial or sensitive nature of some topics.
  •       ADVERTISE ADVERTISE ADVERTISE!!!  Label the new books, make a special announcement on the intercom, email a Tellagami to the teachers and have them share it with their classes explaining the section to the students, ask teachers to refer students to the shelf when they notice they are having issues or to use during morning meetings.  Lastly, your school counselor will advertise during his/her lessons and groups.

Reading fiction books allows everyone of all ages to put themselves in another person’s shoes and at times fall in love with and relate to the characters in the story.  Socializing our children with books is such a valuable experience that we can give them. Hopefully, this will improve empathy and decrease prejudices at the same time. Standards and objectives are very important, but we also need to be teaching them to understand their emotions and the feelings of others. These things are crucial to learning and becoming well-rounded people. Here are a list of topics to get you started...

·      Divorce
·      Bullying
·      Getting along
·      New student, adjusting to school
·      Behavior-ADHD, tattling, too loud, teasing, sharing, manners
·      Self-esteem
·      Death, Pets passing, Cancer
·      Allergies
·      Different types of families-Two moms, two dads, biracial, step parents, transgender
·      Military moms and dads
·      New baby
·      Adoption
·      Online Strangers, Internet Safety
·      When to call 911, Strangers, Getting Lost

Authors to look for-
Julia Cook
Trudy Ludgwig
Cheri Meiners
Bob Sornson
Janice Levy
Kathryn Otoshi
Erin Frankel
Anastasia Suen- Main Street School- Kids with Character
Flip Flop Series by Janice Levy
TJ Trapper Bully Zapper Series- 1-6 by Lisa Mullarkey (Chapter books)

MNPS Librarian

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