Third Quarter Comes to a Close!

This week was a short but busy one at Van Allen!

We hope you enjoyed the long weekend after parent conferences. It was wonderful to have so many families come to conferences and share in the great work your children have accomplished this quarter. Many families also stopped by the book fair in the library, which Ms. Nau really had transformed into an underwater wonderland!

This week in guidance for the younger grades, we read the book The Day The Crayons Quit. It was on sale at our book fair, and there is also a copy available in the library. If you are unfamiliar with the story, it is a wonderful one to read with your child! The students loved this book, and we used the story to discuss the importance of using our words to communicate when we have problems. Many students shared times they were unhappy or angry, and how they responded by making faces or pushing or yelling. We reflected on whether or not the situation gets better when we do those things. We realized that things do not get better if we do not use our words, because people cannot help us if we don’t communicate with them.

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The older students and I continued our dialogue about the responsible use of social media, and understanding the impact social media harassment can have. I have particularly been stressing how there is a lack of accountability when you can easily say something unkind via text, and not have to be confronted with how it affects the person you are speaking to. Having the shield of a phone or computer screen often makes us say things far worse than what we might say face-to-face. We watched the following YouTube video, which showcased many ways kids can be bullied, but also showed the incredible positive impact of true friendship:

As a note to parents and caregivers: I know that social media is very widespread in our world today. Staying connected via text messaging, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter has become the norm. Social media can be a great way to stay in touch and strengthen relationships, as well as a wonderful platform from which positive change can be achieved. However, it is also a hotbed for cyber bullying. I would encourage everyone to be aware of the amount of time their children are spending on their phones or computers, and take the time at home to talk about using social media responsibly.

Have a great weekend!

Shameem Balakrishnan
School Counselor

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