Goodbye School, Hello Summer!

As we say goodbye to the strangest school year any of us have ever experienced, we might have some pretty mixed emotions. The structure that the school year provides, even while working digitally from home, will be gone, but we’ll still be social distancing at home. If you and your kiddos are looking for some fun activities to do around the house, click on the Happy Hooligans link below. We wish our graduating 5th graders all the best in Middle School!

Summer Fun

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, like many of us are, please visit the Virtual Calming Room set up by the the CNUSD counselors from California. There are links to animal cams, meditation rooms, calming sounds and music, exercise and yoga, and more. We posted this last week; it helps to see it again!

Virtual Calming Room

This isn’t the way any of us wanted this school year to end. We love you and miss you and hope very much to see you all at the end of July/beginning of August. Please have a safe and happy summer, and feel free to reach out to any of us along the way.

  Your Counselors

Operation Sope Creek Strong

Last weekend, Atlanta celebrated the frontline healthcare workers who are tirelessly caring for the sick in our community. The amazing United States Navy Blue Angels and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds performed a flyover to the “oohs” and “aahs” of everyone witnessing the feat. They served as a reminder for Americans to stay strong together. Just as the pilots of every jet showed wisdom, determination, grit, courage and effort, our Sope Creek family is staying strong together. Please take a moment to enjoy the view from inside the cockpit and to reflect on all the Sope Creek learning heroes who are soaring in their own way!

Choose Calm

We are learning under circumstances that we could never have imagined or prepared for. We want you to know that all of your feelings are valid, no matter what. Our own children feel happy to sleep in a bit later as well as angry to miss special events.  They feel lonely and are missing friends as well as excited for zoom meetings and extra screen time. Your feelings are normal; the situation is not. Don’t forget to breathe.

We found this Virtual Calming Room from the counselors of the Corona-Norco Unified School District in California. They have gathered helpful websites that provide students and families the tools and strategies that can help manage strong feelings. Check it out.

virtual calming room

 

 

Resilience

 

 

We are all doing our best. Whether that’s keeping up with work demands while at home, educating our kids while they are out of school, caring for others ‘virtually’ or simply taking care of more responsibilities while trying to create a ‘new normal’ in a time of uncertainty. You are doing a great job.

You’ve heard the word resilience, but maybe you’ve never really thought about what it means. Chris Peterson, one of the founders of Positive Psychology, said it best when he described resilience as the ability to ‘struggle well’. We are more apt to thrive when we embrace the life lessons in our challenges, examining with curiosity, the patterns in our struggles. We can cope…with hope.

This is a time to do a few things we normally don’t prioritize:

REFLECT
Use this time to reflect on what you’re doing well. It may not feel like you’re having many successes each day. You may feel lost or hopeless at times. But, if you spend some time each day reflecting on the small victories (completing a task for work or getting a load of laundry done) you’ll find that you’re making it work.

BE GRATEFUL
Aside from celebrating the small accomplishments, recognize things for which to be grateful. Do you have food in the refrigerator? Are you healthy? Can you connect with your family and friends via phone or computer? Did you smile at least once today?

COMMIT TO SELF-CARE
Self-care doesn’t mean you should take a bubble bath or get a massage. It means you should do the things that bring you joy and give you energy. Do you like to cook? Enjoy exercising? Play an instrument? You may find there is more time for you to focus on things you’re passionate about or start something new.

BE PRODUCTIVE
Even though you may not be accomplishing all the things on your ‘to do’ list, make sure you’re getting done what you can so you can feel a sense of purpose each day. Don’t push yourself (see the second point in self-care), but try to set realistic expectations of yourself.

GIVE GRACE
The main thing to keep in mind during all of this—give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can with the situation at hand and putting pressure on yourself to ‘do better’ can make challenging times even more difficult. And, make sure to give grace to those who may be having a hard time being productive while juggling various challenges of their own. Everyone manages stress differently. None of us know what the other person is going through, so be kind.

For more ideas on how to keep being an awesome person during Covid-19, visit us at www.randomactsofkindness.org.

 

Has your family had a little TOO much “together” time?

While this time together as a family can be a blessing in many ways, siblings don’t always get along perfectly (neither do the grown-ups).  When conflicts come up, it helps to have a plan for talking things out and finding a solution that works for everyone.  Here is an interesting article from Psychology Today about a process for helping kids learn to solve problems.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/peacemeal/201010/3-steps-transform-sibling-conflict-sibling-camaraderie

Here is a kid friendly version of the steps as a reminder for you and your kids to follow.  If you’d like to print it, go to this link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Conflict-Resolution-Poster-1067209

 

 

STEM Stars #16!

Have you ever wondered about the truth of myths and popular ideas you hear or read about? Our STEM Stars have spent years using science and engineering principles to test myth after myth. Check them out!

STEM Stars #16

ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors
M 1. Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional, and physical well-being.
B-SS 6. Use effective collaboration and cooperation skills
B-SS 1. Use effective oral and written communication skills and listening skills
B-LS 1. Demonstrate critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions
B-LS 2. Demonstrate creativity                                                                                                                                         B-SMS5. Demonstrate perseverance to achieve long and short term goals
BSMS7. Demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem

 

 

A Roller Coaster of Feelings

 

You may have noticed, during the past several weeks, that each day presents with ups and downs. Some of our feelings are easier to manage, like happiness, surprise, comfort, excitement and love. Other feelings are more difficult, such as sadness, disappointment, boredom and worry. Try not to think of your feelings as “good” or “bad”. We can’t help how we feel,  as our feelings just come and go. What we DO when we have a feeling is important. Try talking to someone who listens well, draw or write about how you are feeling. Sometimes listening to music, playing a game or exercise can be a great way to spend some of the energy that feelings give to us. It’s a bit like being on a roller coaster. Just as surely as a difficult feeling takes you down the track, before you know it, you will be on a new up-sloping part of this ride we call life. Hold on tight. The roller coaster ride’s about to start!

 

 

Let it go, let it go…!

Living and learning during the pandemic continues to challenge our ability to manage our levels of stress on a daily basis. Sometimes it helps to focus on what is within our control and to try to let go of things outside of our control. This is good to remember for kids and adults! The graphic below reminds us that we have many choices in the matter. If you can’t control it, can you LET IT GO?