A LOVE-ly Week

Congrats to our students in grades 2-5 for getting through all these weeks of testing! It has been a busy time, but we are so proud of your hard work.

Now that testing is over, Van Allen will be settling back into a more normal routine!

This week in guidance, students in all grades continued to discuss the importance of treating our peers and teachers with respect and kindness. We have been dealing with issues of verbal disrespect lately in the higher grades, so I have been working on helping the older students understand that despite the famous phrase to the contrary, words CAN hurt.

In grades JK-2, we read a story called The Playground Bully. Most students think that bullying on the playground will be physical, but in the story, even though the kids are outside on the swingset, the bullying that occurs is verbal and emotional. We had a discussion after the book where the students worked on explaining how name calling and bossiness are still very hurtful. They all contributed so many thoughts, and openly shared their relevant personal experiences on the subject.

For our writing activity in grades 1-5, students thought about the following two questions:

1. How does bullying make people feel?
2. How can I stop a bully safely?

I was very impressed with the thoughtful answers I received. I am also consistently impressed by the writing skills of K-2 students. Please encourage them to continue to practice their writing at home — their hard work is paying off!

In the higher grades, where verbal bullying is more of an issue, I have had students reflect on their own experiences. We have talked about the long-term consequences on an individual’s self-esteem if they are constantly targeted with unkind words and treated like they don’t matter. I think the students are slowly beginning to come to an understanding of just how damaging words can be to someone’s feelings.

The video above is one that we watched in the higher grades. I could see how this made the issues very real for the students, and sent a message that resonated with most of them. The video is part of an initiative called the “To This Day Project” — the purpose of which is to explore the true impact that bullying can have in a child’s life. I am also including a link to an article explaining the video and the project in more detail:


After a long week of testing, discussing some difficult topics in guidance, and battling the bitter cold, we ended on a very happy note with Valentine’s Day class parties!

Enjoy your long weekend, and stay warm!

Shameem Balakrishnan
School Counselor



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s