The Water Lily Way

A school counselor's story of how to live, work and play…the water lily way


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Bucket Filling!

I’m LOVING this book: How Full is Your Bucket? Kids REALLY seem to connect with the content and the meaning behind the story. The real test, as we know, will be to see if they can apply it when they’re interacting with their peers, teachers, and families… TBD! 😉

buckeft filli

I have been using this book when working individually with kiddo’s, although you could totally use this for a small groups or for an entire class when teaching a lesson. We’ve had requests from teachers to work with numerous girls on friendship skills. How Full is Your Bucket has been a great way to connect with these girls and cover friendship skills such as facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, expression of feelings, inclusion, etc. It typically has been taking me one session just to read the book and talk about it briefly with the student. I usually take turns reading the book with the student (dependent upon age), and conversation evolves as we make our way through. Some of the topics/questions we talk about throughout the story include:

-Who was a bucket dipper? Why?

-How do the character’s feel when their bucket is dipped into? When their bucket is empty?

-Has your bucket ever been dipped into? Emptied? When? How did you feel?

-Who was a bucket filler? Why?

-How can we fill others buckets? How can we fill our own buckets?

-How do we feel when our buckets are full? How did the character’s in the story feel what their buckets were full?

-What can we do at school to be bucker fillers? In the classroom? At recess? At home?

 

When we meet again for a second time, we review what we learned about being bucket dippers and bucket fillers by writing different examples out on a dry erase board or sheet of paper. After, we each create some piece of small artwork, letter, etc. for another person in hopes to fill their bucket! When I meet with the student for the third time, we once again review bucket dipping and filling, and talk about how it felt to fill someone else’s bucket. Here are some other GREAT options of ways to incorporate “bucket filling” when working individually with kiddos, in small groups or in a classroom!

 

Bucket Filling Poem: http://www.pinterest.com/jendemfit/school-bucket-filler-activities/

Bucket Filler Worksheet http://www.hopkinshoppinhappenings.com/2012/10/bucket-filling-freebie.html

Lessons/Ideas from Scholastic http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2010/04/are-your-students-bucket-fillers

Bucket Filling Journal (From http://www.bucketfillers101.com)

Bucket Filling Paper Bucket

Bucket Filling Coloring Sheet

Bucket Filling Form (From http://www.bainbridgeclass.com/files.htm)

Bucket Filling Sign

How Full is Your Bucket? On You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=A5R6-2m_qHk

There are tons of other activities and lessons out there -pinterest has lots of great ideas from other educators and parents.

 

Have fun spreading the bucket filling cheer! 🙂

-Jessica

 

 


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Cotton Ball Hockey & Cotton Ball Races

These are both fun and easy activity for kiddos! I was introduced to do the first game last semester by one of my professors. Both activities are only two of the many activities from Theraplay, a form of play therapy that can be used with children and families. The goals of Theraplay include building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and engagement. Check out the Theraplay website to learn more about this creative & innovative organization!

My kids know exactly what the cotton balls & straws in my play tote are for and often times they ask to play the following games. Both activities can be used with classrooms or for individual/group counseling.

cotton balls2

1-Cotton Ball Hockey Directions:

*Materials: One straw per person, one cotton ball per pair.

Divide students into pairs (if doing with a group or in a classroom). Have each pair sit at opposite ends of a table. Instruct students to begin by placing the cotton ball in the middle of the table. You can give the group the “go” or each pair can be in charge of deciding when to start playing hockey. Students simply blow (using straws) cotton balls back and forth trying to get the cotton ball to the opposite end of the table. If the cotton ball falls off the table (opposite to where one child is sitting) they “score a goal.” Students are not allowed to used their hands, unless picking up the cotton ball from the ground. 🙂

Here is another Theraplay activity. I have only done this one with my kids at an after school program, so we have the luxury of using the hallway or gym when it is free. 🙂 This activity requires a little more space than the first just as an FYI!

2-Cotton Ball Race Directions:

Materials: One straw & one cotton ball per student

Students all line up (or have them divide into teams dependent upon how many you have) at a starting point.  (Note: make sure there is a little room between each student, as they do not typically end up staying in a straight line once they begin blowing their cotton balls.) Students are on their hands and knees, with their cotton ball placed on the ground in front of them. Provide students with a “finish line.” Tell them that once you’ve said “go,” their goal is to make it to the finish line by blowing their cotton ball with their straw (no using hands!). Encourage students to be mindful of other students around them!

cotton balls

Sounds simple, right? Your kids/teens (yes, teens!) will love these playful activities! Have fun! As always, let me know if you have any questions. 🙂


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Noticing our Kindness: Individual/Group Mindfulness Activity

I was inspired by this activity after looking over some exercises in a book I borrowed from one of my professors. The book is titled, “Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids” by Eline Snel. It’s a small book with simple mindfulness practices for children. I pulled this idea from the chapter titled “It’s Good to Be Kind.” The activity is intended to help children notice their kindness and unkindness. The author suggests having children put a bracelet on their right wrist, which symbolizes their kindness towards others and themselves. Whenever they observe themselves being “thoughtless, unkind or genuinely unpleasant,” they should move their bracelet to their other wrist. This then makes a child become more aware of their acts of unkindness. Others do not interfere with this process by pointing out what the child did or should have done, but rather school counselors/teachers/parents allow the child to recognize their behavior on their own.

bracelet

Seems so simple, but powerful…I will keep you updated on my process with this as I am going to expand on this next week when I meet with one of my third grade girls individually. She is having a difficult time making and keeping friends, often times because of her struggle to be kind and respectful towards other students and classmates. My thinking is that we will create a “friendship bracelet” together. We will talk more about being kind to others, and then I will encourage her to use her friendship bracelet throughout the week as the author of “Sitting Like a Frog” proposed in her book. I will of course challenge myself to do the same, because we can all work on being kinder to ourselves, right? 🙂

bracelet 2

With that said, take time to recognize your kindness as we come to the end of the week. How were you kind to others this week, and most importantly, how were you kind to yourself?  ::Be well:: -Jessica


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Team Building Activity: Tower of Cups

I have to give credit to my practicum supervisor for this one (as I am sure I will be doing a lot over the next few months as I continue on in my practicum course).  Every Monday when I am at my site we spend a good chunk of our time in the classrooms. The activity that follows is one we presented to the fifth grade classrooms during the unit, “working together.”  I chose to share this specific team building exercise with you because it is one that I really thought all the kids enjoyed doing! They all participated both during the actual activity, and after the activity when we processed together as a large group. I love activities that reach and engage all students and quite frankly, I think this can be quite the challenge when it comes to teaching curriculum in classrooms. As we all know, there are so many different learners, and students with different needs. From what I observed, this lesson captured them all!

Groups: 5 students per group

Supplies (for each group):

  • 5-7 plastic cups of equal size (no handles)
  • One rubber band (must fit around 1 plastic cup)
  • 5 pieces of sting (around 24 inches)
  • 5 large pieces of paper ( approx. 2 ft x 2ft)

Prep Instructions:

  • Cut 5 pieces of string into long pieces (24 inches) for each group
  • Tie each piece of string to a rubber band (evenly spaced apart) -you will have what looks like a five legged octopus
  • Make one of these octopuses  for every group of 5 students

Here is a picture just to get a visual of how this activity looks! This example only has a four legged octopus, which would work just fine as well! (Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on handy to take a picture of the kiddos when we did this activity!)

cups

Activity:

  • Have each group circle around each other all throughout the room
  • Place a large piece of paper in the middle of each group’s circle
  • Give each group a stack of 5-7 cups and one 5 legged octopus
  • Scatter the cups (face down) on the paper in the middle of each group’s circle

Directions for Groups:

  • Build a tower of cups by working together! For the first round, have all cups face down on the piece of paper.
  • Team members may not touch cups with their hands, or any other paper of their bodies (even if a cup tips over)
  • Each person must hold on to one of the strings that is attached to the rubber band
  • The group can only use this rubber band octopus to pick up the cups and place them on top of each other (by pulling and releasing the strings on the rubber band to place around the cup)
  • If there are less than 5 people in a team, select a team member to hold more than one string
  • To make more challenging, encourage students to avoid having their hands cross over the large piece of paper.
  • If time permits, try doing several rounds of this activity. Possibly face all the cups upright for the second round. For the third round, have some cups upright and other face down, or on their sides. Experiment! 🙂
  • Another option: Use more cups (approx. 10?) and have the kids work together to build a pyramid (5 for the base, 4 cups for the next row, etc.).

Discussion Questions:

  • How did you complete the task?
  • What needed to be done to complete the task?
  • What did your group struggle with? How was your group successful?
  • Was there a leader in your team? Did your team leader step us as the leader, or, were they elected?
  • Why was it important to work together as a team?
  • What does it mean to work together with others?
  • What skills did you use to make this activity successful?

Have FUN! 🙂