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Summer and the end of the school yearPosted by Sheryl Williams on 7/1/2022
Hey June, I'm loving your weather! I hope everyone is enjoying this weather and the beginning of a beautiful summer. This past school year-what can you say? We have shown resilience, grit and perseverance! The life lessons we have learned just might outweigh some of the academic lessons we have learned. I am so proud of the students and hope that they remember the many positives they have encountered throughout the year. I hope that the positives far outweigh the negative.
SUMMER FUN ACTIVITIESPosted by Sheryl Williams on 6/28/2022 2:30:00 PM
Summer Activities for Kids
Check out this list of 100 things you and your kids can do to fight off summertime boredom. Don't let your kids have all the fun—many of these activities are fun for the whole family to share. So join in!
Take advantage of long sunny days by exploring the natural world (just don't forget the sunscreen).
- Go bird watching. Take photos and keep track of your sightings. Use an app or guidebook to identify feathered friends.
- Grow fresh herbs in containers. Use old coffee cans, milk jugs, mason jars, plastic cups, or anything else you have around the house. Keep your herb garden on a patio or windowsill.
- Look for shapes in the clouds. Put a blanket in the grass and stare up at the sky. Take turns talking about what you see in the clouds.
- Make a bird feeder. Watch birds visit your yard and add to your list of bird sightings.
- Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark, and leaves to create a dwelling fit for Thumbelina.
- Pick your own plants. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, veggies, or flowers and get picking.
- Plant a butterfly or hummingbird garden, or create a backyard wildlife habitat.
Make the Most of Rainy Days
When the weather keeps you indoors, there's still plenty to do!Break out your movie collection or use Netflix. Have a movie marathon complete with popcorn.Build a fort. Put pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard.Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make it a family project. Work on it all summer.Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party.Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out non-permanent colors, braids, or a spiked, gelled look.Get an origami book and fun paper. Create fun animals and shapes. Give them to friends or family members as gifts.Have breakfast in bed. Take turns being the server and the served.Hold marble races. Use an old pool noodle as the track. Simply cut it in half, making two tracks of equal length. Then, race the marbles down the tracks to see who has the fastest one.Make a time capsule. Have each family member write down something they are grateful for and include a special item in the time capsule. Then, store it away until a designated date. You can open it as early as Thanksgiving or as far off as high school graduation.Make paper airplanes. See whose airplane goes the farthest.Play a card game. Choose from crazy eights, spoons, go fish, or even poker. Take your pick. Or buy a board game for the family to enjoy.Play charades. Turn all the summer drama into a game.Rearrange the furniture. Give the kids graph paper and have them draw out a plan first.Set a goal and complete a home project. Whether it is cleaning the garage, organizing the basement, or redecorating the spare bedroom, find ways to let the kids help.
Use Your Brain
Avoid the summer slide by keeping kids thinking and learning while school is out.2
- Build your brain. These brainteaser games can help.
- Get a book of riddles. See if you can stump each other; then write your own riddles.
- Get the summer homework done. Not exactly fun, but you'll be happy to get it out of the way.
- Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.
- Interview an older relative. Write out your family history.
- Join a summer reading club at your library. Or create your own, keeping a list of all the books read over the summer. Parents can participate too. Just don't expect a prize, because your kids can probably read way more books than you do!
- Master a new skill together. Learn to juggle, play the harmonica, or sew.
- Read a chapter book aloud. Plan to read a chapter or more a night. You can even read a whole series together.
- Show the kids that science is fun. Try these experiments.
- Write and illustrate a comic book. Make it a group effort or let everyone do their own.
- Write in a journal each day. Allow older teens to create a bullet journal if they prefer. Then, at the end of the summer, share selections with each other about the highlights of summer.
Have a Little Nighttime Fun
Arm yourself with bug spray and you're ready for an evening in the night air.
- Camp in the backyard. Pitch a tent and bring out the sleeping bags. Sleep as a family under the stars.
- Catch lightning bugs. And then watch them flicker away into the night.
- Go to the drive-in. If there isn't one nearby, look for one near your vacation spot. Every kid should go to the drive-in at least once!
- Have a bonfire. Roast marshmallows and hot dogs. Make s'mores.
- Host an outdoor movie night. Rent or borrow a movie projector and show a movie on a white sheet draped across PVC pipe in the backyard. Or, use the side of your house as the screen. Bring sleeping bags, air mattresses, and pool rafts out as the seating and enjoy the show (with popcorn of course).
- Listen to an audiobook under the stars. Your library probably has a great collection of classics and newer titles.
- Stargaze. Invite friends and make a party of it.
Tips for talking to your children about violencePosted by Sheryl Williams on 6/2/2020
When children have questions about violence, many have questions about how to help children cope with the tradegy. How much information children should be exposed to, or what they say to their children about their safety.
1, First find out what your child knows about the event. Even if you haven't discussed it together, they may have heard it on the news, on social media or other sources. Their perception may be very different from reality.
2. Assure your children that it is ok to talk about these events no matter how scary or sad they are. It's ok to talk about your feelings.
3. Encourage questions. Question and answer exchanges provides understanding for your child and support.It is important to build empathy and teach perspective - taking. You might ask questions about how do they think these people are feeling? Why do you think these people are angry?What do you do or feel when you think something is unfair?
4. Reassure your child that they are safe.
5. Be honest but also be mindful of their age. Children will be more vocal in asking questions especially in middle school. HIgh school will offer opinions.
6. Remember that it is ok to admit that you do not have all of the answers. It is ok to admit how you feel and that you are worried. It is important to reassure them that you are there for them to support them and take care of them.
7. Be patient: Let them know that you are there to talk to them when they are ready to talk about it or need to talk about it.
Recognize and Validate GriefPosted by Sheryl Williams on 5/13/2020
Everyone around us is experiencing some form of loss right now. The many different and difficult emotions you are feeling sucha s sadness, disappointment,anger, guilt, frustration and loneliness,are normal emotions to abnormal times. We are grieving and our children are grieving.
It is important to recognize and name the emotions that we are all feeling right now. Check in with yourself and your children. Recognize the humanity around you. We are all in this together...everyone is having the same experiences, thoughts and feelings as you. We continue to face uncertainty. When faced with uncertainty, our brains are designed to protect us from danger by increasing our awareness to risk and threats. When you find yourself or your children overwehelmed by strong emotions try to refocus your attention what is going on in and around you in the current moment. Notice that each feeling/emotion that you have is temporary. Focus on accepting your feelings and your strength to get through them. Take one moment at a time, focus on your 5 senses to ground you in the present. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things that you can hear, 3 things that you can touch, 2 things that you can smell and 1 thing you can taste(if you have food around you). This will bring you back to the present moment. In school, I use these grounding techniques with students in the classrooms to help them focus on the here and now.
Remember separate out what you can control and what you cannot control. Things you can control are:
How you cope
How you treat others
What you eat and drink
Steps you take to stay healthy
Time you spend worrying
Amount of news you consume
Finding peace with what you can and cannot control: worry often focuses our attention on the future, an unknown outcome. One way to manage these worries is to focus on one worry at a time. Can you control what you are worried about? If it is something you can control, make a plan or take action. If it is something you cannot control, use coping skills to help you manage the worries. Use your toolbox of coping skills, get outside, exercise, meditate, listen to music, be creative, art, bake, cook, reach out to talk to someone, distractions, books, movies, tv. What ever works for you and your family.
Developing a Positive AttitudePosted by Sheryl Williams on 4/1/2020
There are no “bad” emotions. All thoughts and feelings are valid. Both positive and negative thoughts and emotions play a valuable role in how we process the world around us.
For instance, sadness can help us process difficult times, and we would have no moral compass if we never felt shame or guilt.
Trying to be happy all the time alienates us from our emotions, which simply isn’t healthy. In fact, recent psychological research indicates that emotional avoidance is one of the main causes of many psychological issues.
What Can You Do Instead?
Instead, we can teach our kids to accept negative emotions and process them in a healthy way. We can encourage positive thinking and positive affirmations.
According to positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, positive thinking is important because it broadens your sense of possibility and opens your mind, allowing you to build new skills. Positive thinking, Fredrickson says, “broadens and builds.” It also makes children (and adults) more resilent.
This can be accomplished by engaging in mental exercises that help “rewire” the brain.
By practicing skills that foster positivity, people can learn to be more positive.
Here are seven activities you can practice with your child or for yourself to encourage a more positive attitude. You can try these activities.
Loving Kindness meditation: It involves sending positive thoughts to family members such as may you feel safe, may you feel happy, may you feel healthy.
Helping others: volunteering
Recording "awe" moments... a rainbow, freshly baked cookies, a celebration, a kind act, family..
Setting and achieving goals: Set goals visualize and plan for obstacles that could get in the way and how to continue to reach your goals. I have worked with students and expressed the importance of plan a, b, c, d... all the way to Z and beyond to never give up. Where there is a will there is a way.
Share positivity with others
Developing new skills and trying new activities: Recognize strengths and try new things
Practice Positive Affirmations: Say things to yourself. I am a good person, I am kind, I am loving, I am good enough.
Promoting PeacePosted by Sheryl Williams on 3/30/2020
"Today was a difficult day", said Pooh
There was a pause
"Do you want to talk about it"? asked piglet
"no", said Pooh after a while. "no, I do not think I do".
"That's ok" said piglet, and he came and sat by his friend.
"What are are doing?" asked Pooh
"nothing really" said Piglet. "only I know what difficult days are like. I quite often do not feel like sharing or talking about my difficult days either."
But goodness," continued Piglet "Difficult days ares so much easier when you know that you've got someone there for you. And I will always be here for you Pooh."
And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult day, while the solid reliable Pilet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs,.. he thought that his best friend had never been more right.
Sending thoughts and hugs to those having a Difficult day today and hope that you have your own Piglet beside you.
A teacher posted this. It really hit home as to how true this is. I am here,,, please reach out if you are having a difficult day.
Self -Care planningPosted by Sheryl Williams on 3/27/2020
Think: What are differences between everyday feelings and overwheming feelings? We all have mental health. We all have feelings, emotions, thoughts and moods. To the outside world our lives may look perfect. You cannot always tell how someone feels by looking at them or seeing what they share on line. Sometimes are thoughts become overwhelming in our heads and we feel like we are lost in space. Feeling down, or stressed is a normal part of life. We all have positive and negative emotions based on what is happening in our lives. Sometimes we do not like to share our negative emotions or thoughts. We are afraid to share these thoughts or feelings because we are afraid people will not understand. It is so important to share because other people might be feeling the same way as you are and even if they are not feeling the same way, you will not feel alone. Reach out to friends, family, trusting adults (coaches, teachers, counselors). It is important to use self care strategies to deal with our feelings.
1. Physical Self - Care: You need to take care of your body if you want to keep it running. There is a strong connection between your body and your mind.
This includes: getting enough sleep, physical activities (exercise), eating right,taking your medication, practicing good hygiene.
2. Social Self-care: Close connections are important to your well being. Are you talking to your friends/family?
3.Mental Self-care: This includes doing things to keep your mind sharp.. puzzles, learning about things, reading books. Mental self-care also means doing things to help you stay mentally healthy. Meditation, gratitude, accepting yourself, compassion....
4.Emotional self-care: Coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness to name a few. Emotional self-care includes activites that help you express your feelings on a regular basis. Do you have healthy ways to express your emotions? Are you sharing your feelings with others? Journaling?
Random Acts of KindnessPosted by Sheryl Williams on 3/25/2020
The most beautiful acts of kindness show up in the most challenging times. People all over the world are feeling so many different emotions right now. How we respond matters.Consider every resonse you have can begin with kindness. Right now, we are distancing ourselves physically but it does not mean that we have lost connection to each other, We have the opportunity to create stronger connections.
Self-care is so important right now. Kindness to yourself and others. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can. We are in unchartered waters. Practice gratitude and remember how incredible you are. Write down 5 things that make you proud of yourself. Maybe something as simple as you got out of your pajamas today and got dressed, took a shower, made your bed.Remember that you are an amazing person! As far as connections... Pick up a phone and call someone.Set up zoom meetings, face time, skype, google hangouts(which I am trying to figure out how to do so we can all connect) Connect with your neighbors, friends, family members.. check in on each other, tell jokes, share memories. These are challenging times but we will get through this together.