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Blog Archive

This is a list of all the past blog posts.


Kids Without Friends
Posted: November 6, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I think I am like many of you. I know that 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 as you.

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.


Peer Opinion As Change Agents
Posted: October 24, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Peer opinion leaders are students who set the trends and patterns of behavior. They define “what is in and out”, “what to do and not to do” and “what to believe and not believe.” The bottom line is…peer opinion leaders influence the opinion and behaviors of others. Knowing who the natural peer opinion leaders in your class or group are is key to establishing positive standards of behavior, 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.


How to Help 4th and 5th Grade Students Get Along With One Another
Posted: October 18, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

The late elementary years are a time of great personal and social growth. At this age, children become more interested in friends and social activities. They begin to form stronger and more complex friendships that are based on more than just common interests. They understand that emotions play a major role in relationships. They learn how to identify what others are feeling based on their facial expressions and body language and to understand and evaluate social situations better. They are also learning how to communicate their needs and feelings verbally with others while respecting and identifying other people’s opinions and behaviors.

Understanding how to get along with others is vital for 4th and 5th graders. Creating an environment in your classroom or group setting that has clear expectations of behavior, encourages team work and communication and promotes respect and responsibility among classmates is important.


How to Develop Standards for Getting Along With Your Students
Posted: October 11, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

My blog this past month has focused on how to increase positive behavior with your students while decreasing the negative. We discussed a number of proven strategies to help you achieve this, including:


The Best, The Worst and The OK
Posted: October 4, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of setting “standards” of behavior with student input as a more effective way of increasing positive student behavior than having “rules” established by you.

Establishing standards for getting along with students can be done with late elementary through high school age. Consideration needs to be given to the age of the students when determining the process you will use for establishing the standards.


The Difference A Word Can Make
Posted: September 19, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

When you hear the word, “rules”, what do you think of? How does the word make you feel? How does it sound to you?

Maybe the word sounds and feels the same to you as it does when kids hear it. When kids hear the word, “rules”, they think of everything they can’t or aren’t suppose to do. To them, rules are usually made by an adult and enforced upon them. Rules are made to be challenged.

Let’s try another word…what do you think of when you hear the word, “standards”? How does this word make you feel? How does it sound to you?

When you ask kids what the word, “standards”, means they usually say it is something they should or are expected to do. Standards are something to live up to.


How Does Your Own Behavior Influence Your Students’ Behavior
Posted: September 6, 2019, 4:35am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

If classroom management is an ongoing issue for you, you are not alone. It's an ongoing issue for many teachers or anyone who works with kids. Nearly half of new teachers report they feel “not at all prepared” or “only somewhat prepared” to handle disruptive students. This is, in part, because the average teacher training program devotes just eight hours to the topic, according to a 2014 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. This lack of training comes with a cost. Teachers report losing 144 minutes of instructional time on average to behavioral disruptions every week which comes out to roughly three weeks over the course of a year.

Unfortunately, research indicates that teachers overwhelmingly report lack of professional development support in improving classroom management. How to effectively manage student behavior is the #1 concern I am asked to consult, coach and train on. It doesn’t matter if you are the most experienced teacher or the least experienced. We all deal with problem behavior. Over time it can take its toll on you, and the students, if not addressed as early as possible.


Why 1 in 3 Teachers Consider Quitting the Profession.
Posted: August 30, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Starting a new school year on a positive note with a classroom or group of students is important. It's important for learning. It's important for teamwork. It's important for enjoyment. Let's just say, it's important for everything!

One way to start the year on a positive note is creating an environment that minimizes negative student behavior and maximizes the positive. Unfortunately, too many students are losing critical opportunities for learning – and too many teachers are leaving the profession – because of the negative behavior of a few students. Student discipline is and continues to be a major concern to teachers and parents that affects both teacher morale and student learning.


Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together
Posted: August 23, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

“I want to be a nurse. I’m going to be a fireman. I want to be a professional basketball player.” Ask elementary-age youth what they want to be when they grow up and they have quick and definite answers. They have hope and optimism for their future.

Ask middle school youth the same question and you may still hear similar answers, but you will also hear comments such as, “I don’t know” or “whatever”. Starting in the middle school years a sense of hopelessness, apathy and discouragement can set in with some youth. The clear vision they once had for their future is now blurry or completely gone. Research shows that kids who “don’t know” what they want in their future or “don’t care” anymore are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.

In last week’s masterclass, One Thing You Can Do to Instill Hope and Prevent Vaping, I introduced a prevention strategy called “Idealism.” This strategy has proven to keep kids from engaging in risky behaviors – including drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping, misusing opioids, fighting and being sexually active.


Helping Your Parents Transition to Middle School With Their Student
Posted: August 16, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

A new school year has already started for some kids while for others it will begin in the coming weeks.

I was watching the kids walk to the nearby elementary school for the start of a new school year on Monday and it brought back memories of the first day of school with my two kids.

Both of my kids are now young adults, but the memories of their first day of a new school year are still vivid in my mind. Some of the memories make me sad as I yearn to have that first day of school experience with them again. But, there’s also a few memories of the first day of school I would prefer not to re-live.


Measuring Hope With Your Students
Posted: July 25, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I hope my blog series on instilling hope with your students over the past few weeks has been helpful and insightful. I've appreciated the comments and stories shared with me by my readers on their hope-filled work with kids.


Creating a Ripple Effect of Hope With Your Students
Posted: July 19, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I've been thinking about those students we talked about in last week's blog. Those students who are stuck and have no hope. And, are likely students you are working with right now.

But, the good news is that hope is something you can cultivate with all of your students – even those who are at risk for losing it or have already lost it.


Are Your Students Hopeful or Stuck?
Posted: July 11, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I want you to think about two kids you work with…one who is resilient and happy and the other who is struggling and discouraged. Imagine if you interviewed each of them and you ask them to respond to each of these statements with a “yes” or a “no.”


Vaping Surges... Largest Year to Year Increase Ever Recorded
Posted: June 28, 2019, 5:53am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

How Your Kids Will Remember You
Posted: June 24, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

You are a leader. You are a leader of children. You are creating a legacy every day you come to work. You are leaving your mark – an indelible impression upon the kids entrusted to your care.

In this week's blog, we wonder How Your Kids Will Remember You.

If you're wondering, too, then take a moment from your busy life and read on.

We don't think you will be wondering any more.


Lessons Learned from Stories Told
Posted: June 13, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

One of the best parts of my job is hearing stories from All Stars teachers after they have taught the program. Some stories make me laugh. Some stories make me proud. Some stories make me cry.

But, every story teaches me (and you!) a lesson that impacts our work with kids, especially in All Stars.


Teens And Volunteerism: "Try It! They'll Like It!"
Posted: June 6, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I remember a summer day when I told my 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son that I was taking them to lunch. They were excited and quickly requested their favorite restaurant.

We got into the van and drove off. It didn’t take them long to notice I wasn’t going in the direction they expected me to go. Instead I parked in front of a local soup kitchen with people lined up outside waiting for lunch.


Lessons Learned From a “Dark Monday”
Posted: May 31, 2019, 1:26am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I refer to it as “Dark Monday.” It was April 15, 2019. In a matter of hours, I learned…

I had to write a check to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). (UGH!)

My daughter was moving out and into her own place to live; leaving me to live alone for the first time in my home.

My aunt had hours to live.

My dad was diagnosed with kidney failure.

I was diagnosed with shingles.

I’ve had challenges, bad news and unfortunate luck in my past, but usually it’s over the course of weeks, months or years. I have never had a single day when, within hours, I have been hit with so much devastating and life-changing news.


The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Posted: May 17, 2019, 3:39am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

A dear friend and colleague shared a podcast with me this morning and encouraged me to listen to it. The podcast, What's Not On The Test: The Overlooked Factors That Determine Success, was published by NPR as part of their Hidden Brain podcast series. It featured an interview with James Heckman, a professor at the University of Chicago who, in 2000, won the Nobel Prize in Economics.


To Pick The Tomatoes Or Not Pick The Tomatoes
Posted: May 10, 2019, 3:26am 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.


Tips For The Opinion Poll Game
Posted: March 12, 2019, 2:22am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I offer coaching to All Stars teachers who desire to be their best and do their best when teaching the program . The lesson I coach the most is the Opinion Poll Game. I want to share with you the tips I recommended to teachers to improve their effectiveness. I hope these insights are helpful.


Every Good Teacher is Prepared
Posted: October 15, 2018, 5:07am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I think everyone will agree how important it is to prepare before teaching an All Stars lesson. However, agreeing and doing are two different things. Two challenges I hear All Stars teachers say they face in prepping is time and not knowing how to effectively prepare. Here are some suggestions.


Becoming A Loving And Nurturing Adult
Posted: June 21, 2018, 2:48am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

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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