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Blog Archive

This is a list of all the past blog posts.


Kids Without Friends
Posted: March 18, 2018, 12:01pm By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I think I am like many of you. I know understanding and addressing the needs of kids who don’t have friends – social isolates – is important. The challenge is where to start. If you feel a little stumped, take heart that there are many who feel the same way.

Friendships, belonging and acceptance grow in importance as kids move through adolescence. Their identity becomes defined by the group of friends they have. Spending time with friends provides opportunities for social interaction, information sharing, demonstration of values and reinforcement of behaviors important to the peer group. Sometimes we fear peer groups have a negative influence on adolescent behaviors; however, research and experience generally shows that, with the exception of getting high-risk kids together, the influence of peer groups is almost always positive.


Using Peer Opinion Leaders As Change Agents In The Classroom
Posted: February 19, 2018, 2:37am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Peer opinion leaders are students who set the trends. They define what is "in" and "out". They influence the opinion of others. Knowing who the natural peer opinion leaders in your class or group are is a key to setting positive norms and making anything you do successful.

Almost every peer group has an opinion leader. During early adolescence, girls will have their leaders and boys will have theirs. Some can be positive leaders while others may be negative. We tend to think we know who the peer opinion leaders are on our own. We sometimes see them as the class clowns, the most vocal or the most popular. These characteristics can be misleading. Not all peer opinion leaders have these traits.


All Stars Character Education: A Unique and Fun Way of Reaching Elementary Students
Posted: January 18, 2018, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

All Stars Character Education is an innovative program that promotes the development of positive character traits and attitudes with children ages 9-11 (grades 4 and 5). Research consistently demonstrates that early intervention is essential to prevention and positive character development. Substance use and violence are rare among later elementary-aged students. However, research shows that attitudes and beliefs formed during these years predict the development of problems later on.


The Meaning Behind the All Stars Name
Posted: January 11, 2018, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Often I am asked about the name, All Stars. Does it have special meaning? Why was it chosen?

While writing the commitment sessions in All Stars, developer, Dr. William Hansen, believed he needed to have students make commitments in some symbolic way. He considered giving some kind of recognition for each commitment made in All Stars. Dr. Hansen developed a circle of nine stars and found that each star could represent one of nine commitments made in All Stars. When a student makes nine commitments for themselves in All Stars – earning all nine stars – they become an All Star!


The Importance of Ideals
Posted: January 4, 2018, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

My son, Christopher, was an All Stars student. It didn’t surprise me that he choose me as the adult he wanted to talk to about his All Stars conversational assignments. I also wasn’t surprised by what he was saying about himself through his All Stars work. Everything seemed to “fit” for him. For example, Christopher by nature is a helpful person. It was no surprise to me when he brought his Getting A Reputation worksheet home and he had written that the reputation he most wanted in his future was “to be a helper,” it fit. He got great advice from his classroom partner, his best friend, and me on things he should and should not do if he wanted to earn this reputation.

Things were going well for Christopher until one hot July day six months after All Stars concluded. That day I asked Christopher to pick the tomatoes in the garden. He had every excuse as to why he couldn’t pick the tomatoes. I was not in the mood to argue with him. In fact, I knew I didn’t have to argue with him. Within an arm’s reach hanging on the refrigerator were his All Stars worksheets, including his Getting A Reputation worksheet. I removed the sheet from the refrigerator and asked him to listen to something he wrote six months earlier. I read what he had written, ”More than anything else, I want to have a reputation of being a helper.” I also read aloud the advice his best friend and I had given him on how to earn this reputation, which included “being willing to do something when asked.”


Teachers Do Make A Difference
Posted: December 19, 2017, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

There is no doubt that nearly all teachers are effective. The more important consideration is the ways teachers differ in their influence on students. What is it that makes some teachers more effective and influential than others?

Recall the teachers who truly made a difference to you when you were in school. Most of us think of 1-2 teachers. During your elementary, middle school and high school years you would have experienced between 40-60 teachers. That means only 4-6% of your teachers left their mark. What is unique about these teachers that sets them apart from all the others?


All Stars Senior Has A Facelift
Posted: December 14, 2017, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

All Stars Senior has a brand new design and delivery! The program now includes five interactive and engaging online modules that Senior High students complete on their own. Knowledge checks after each module, along with a teacher-facilitated classroom/group lesson before and after the students complete the modules, makes this version of All Stars Senior an efficient, fun and effective way to deliver a wellness and prevention program. Module topics include perceptions of drug use, personal consequences of use, resisting pressure, opioid and prescription drug use and planning for the future without ATOD use - just to name a few.


Opioid Use Now Included In All Stars
Posted: December 12, 2017, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

The national opioid use epidemic has created the need to address it as a specific behavior in All Stars. The middle school All Stars series - Core, Booster and Plus - have all been updated to include opioid use. Contact Anne to get more information on how you can receive these updated materials to include in your future delivery of All Stars.


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