Just to recap, my professional goal was to administer needs assessments and determine the best way to serve the population that I am working with. My personal goal, was to train for a half-marathon. I will give an update on the status of both...
I have given all of the students in sixth grade needs assessments based on the Peacemakers program. The questions that were on the assessment include "In the last two weeks I have ..." and outlines various behaviors "got into a fight, gave someone a compliment, talked to someone to solve a problem," etc. The students rate the questions by frequency. I have not tallied the data yet, but I think it will give me a good idea about how students are currently solving their problems. Although, from my interactions with students, most students are not solving conflicts peacefully.
This brings me to the Peacemakers curriculum itself. I think it is a wonderful framework. It is research based and data-driven. The only problem I am having is that if you follow the program lesson plans the way the manual describes, they are not very interactive. The curriculum allows for a dialogue between the facilitator and the students, but the students I am working with are not engaged. There are many, many reasons why they may not be engaged, but I feel like the main reason is that I need to make it more hands-on.
In a meeting the other day, the principal said "the only thing we can 100% control is the curriculum." I would add that we can also control our enthusiasm and our passion. I am excited and willing to be in the classrooms and empowering students to make peaceful choices. I am going to do lessons that are engaging and fun like I was doing in the past. I am ready for change and I think the students are too!
I revisited one of my favorite interactive activities, Spaghetti, Marshmallows and Cooperation with a 6th grade class. Stay tuned to find out how it went.
As a side note, my personal goal was to train for a half-marathon. I have happy to say that I just finished day three of training. Only 14 weeks and 4 days to go, but who's counting?! I am definitely feeling the burn, but as my friend, who is in the military, so eloquently put it "pain is weakness leaving the body." That may be true, but I also feel like my passion and excitement towards running is coming back.
Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.