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Character Education

Elementary School Social Workers, Michelle Thomas and Ann Dobmeier, teach Character Education three weeks out of every month for 30 minutes.  Ann works with classes in grades 2,3 and 4, while Michelle focuses on Kindergarten and grade 1. 

Michelle has utilized some of the Second Step Curriculum in a few of her lessons, which incorporates puppets and songs to assist the kids in learning about different topics such as; feeling identification, calming strong emotions, and problem solving.  The younger students love the dog, Peppy, (an impulsive puppy) and Slow Down Snail (who is shy and calm).  New this year, Michelle has begun to incorporate the Zones of Regulation for our 1st grade lessons.  This concepts puts feelings into zones. The goal of feeling zones is for the students to learning how to regulate theirs bodies to be in the green zone, which is calm and ready to learn. This is a feat for many of our younger learners, but when they are successful it impacts their learning positively. 

heads down heads up

Michelle who is also passionate about gratitude, mindfulness, and physical movement incorporates activities with our Kindergarten and first graders to help them practice these skills. Her lessons often incorporate structured movement breaks to help focus their brains or calm their bodies.  The kids love learning new moves and doing them as a class. The students get extra giggles when some of their teachers join in the fun.

jenga time

Coinciding with the season of giving, Michelle focused on lessons in gratitude (being thankful for something you already have). She had the students share something they are grateful, and plans to repeat this each time she attends making it habitual in their minds and hearts.  Many students have been reporting that their families have been doing this at home, which is a very positive reinforcement to the lessons. A recent challenge the students were given was to write or draw three things they are grateful for each day. 

taking turns with the ball

For more information about counseling and social worker services within our elementary, please go to https://www.nls.k12.mn.us/Page/935