Today was a really great day. Best day of the school year so far, if you ask this school counselor. The Peace Squad took their first trip of the year to Burnley-Moran Elementary School to share what they know about kindness and helping others. For the past several weeks, my dedicated Peace Squad has given up their lunch time to write, direct and practice skits about the 6 approaches to helping others with bullying problems (don't worry... they still ate!). We worked really hard to write in a way that younger students would understand and talked a lot about the way that you have to simplify things for Kindergartners. On our writing and rehearsal days, the students showed up on time and ready to work (all of my students were present in school every day that we met. I love them). It was really cool to see the students give each other thoughtful feedback and then to see that feedback used in the performances.
The students really brought it today. They all got to school on time (our performance was early in the morning) and we traveled by bus to Burnley-Moran Elementary for 2 performances: the first for Kindergarteners and first graders, the second for 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. The younger kids were very quiet throughout the performance and gazed at us with open mouths. It was precious. To be honest, I think they were a bit confused. However, my hope is that they got the message that cool older kids think that it's "cool to be kind," and to help each other. The older students picked up more, I believe, and were more compelled by the presentation with "oooohs" during the bullying scenes. We received the highest compliment from the wonderful Burnley-Moran School Counselor, Ms. Rebecca Baber, who told us that she heard a student say that they were going to use the Flashing Lights Jingle Bell Sparkle Approach the next time they saw someone being mean. How flattering?! Thanks Ms. Baber and Dr. LoCasale for hosting us. Also, if you haven't heard about Ms. Baber's awesome new approach to bully prevention, the B-Kats, you should check it out. She has a group of students who get together and answer Dear-Abby type problems (usually about bullying problems) in a school newsletter. How fantastic is that?! Also in our district is Mrs. U's Jackson-Via Bully Nots, who are famous for their positive messages about kindness through song and dance. Charlottesville City Schools guidance department is the best.
If any other schools are interested in having the Peace Squad come to perform, let me know!
We planned to surprise the students with a fun trip to McIntire Park, but were sad to leave Burnley-Moran in the rain. Since I already told them that we would go to the park for a fun reward but we couldn't go, we decided to head back to the Walker auditorium for special treats (Spudnuts, the best) and fun circle-games. It was a real treat to get to hang out with these witty, silly, friendly 6th graders who made me genuinely laugh many many times.