EDUCATOR IDEAS: “Frog Fridays!”

We have a great idea for you on this fabulous Friday! …Or should we say, on this fabulous Frog Friday?!

Erin Grigsby of Melrose School in Jamestown, Rhode Island gets her students excited about conflict management by hosting a special Kelso event at the end of the week. She’s affectionately called this day “Frog Friday,” where her students wear bright green shirts with the message “The Frog Expert” printed on the front to encourage her kids to solve small problems on their own.

Although the shirts are really cool, they are not just a fashion choice – they assist in motivating and educating her kindergarteners about conflict management in a very positive and engaging way. By getting her kindergarteners comfortable and excited about Kelso’s Choice, Erin is setting very solid groundwork for peacekeeping as her students begin their elementary school-long journey to using the curriculum and its lessons. As an added bonus, school staff and parents are jumping on board as well!

ERIN DESCRIBES THE EVENT IN HER OWN WORDS:

BACKGROUND:
“I am a school social worker in the Jamestown, Rhode Island School District. I was introduced to Kelso’s Choice program while I worked as a teacher’s assistant in a kindergarten classroom. Once I finished my master’s degree and started my first job as a school social worker, Kelso’s Choice was the first curriculum I wanted to teach to the school district I worked for.

Melrose Elementary School in Jamestown receives Kelso’s Choice in every classroom each week. I like to use role-playing with students to help them practice using the Kelso’s Choices. Older students create videos and younger students use Kelso and Lily puppets to help them rehearse how they would solve small problems with the nine choices.”

ABOUT FROG FRIDAYS:
“In the kindergarten classes this year we started the idea of Frog Fridays. Staff in those classes reinforce the Kelso Choices during morning meeting time. Each student has also created their own Kelso’s Choice book to take home to encourage parent involvement.

Recently, every Kindergarten student was surprised with a t-shirt this year that is worn on Frog Fridays. Students were named “Frog Experts” after they graduated from learning the Kelso curriculum. When they come to a staff member with a small problem, they are reminded they are a Frog Expert and can solve the problem!

School Social Worker, Erin, created these fun shirts to help get her kinders excited about Frog Fridays - a day full of problem-solving and peacemaking!

School Social Worker, Erin, created these fun shirts to help get her kinders excited about solving small problems on their own!

“I am a school social worker and I teach Kelso’s Choice to every classroom at the elementary school. This year I designed t-shirts for the kindergarten class. We wear them on “Frog Fridays”.

This is a great program that promotes confidence in problem solving and peacemaking.”

Erin and her students in her very fun Frog Friday shirts!

Erin and her students in their very fun Frog Friday shirts!

This is a great curriculum to build students’ confidence and self-esteem in solving small problems independently. Staff enjoy the lessons and report it improves interactions and cooperation between their students. Thank you so much for this effective program!”
– Erin Grisby, Melrose School

And thank you, Erin, for sharing your idea! This is yet another ingenious way our creative educators are building their own activities to support the Kelso’s Choice curriculum and its lessons. Are you adopting this idea in your own school? Post a comment and share! We’d love to hear how this activity works for your students!
HAPPY FROG FRIDAY!

SHARE YOUR STORY!
Have a unique idea, story, or just want to share your thoughts on the Kelso program? Let us know for an opportunity to be highlighted on our blog!
customerservice@kelsoschoice.com or message us at https://www.facebook.com/KelsosChoice!

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The “Reason” We Cyberbully

CyberBullying

Everyone knows about cyberbullying – what it is, how it can effect us, why we fear it, but do we know why we, even as adults, do it?

The New York Times wrote an article about cyberbullying among adults, and how insensitive comments or jokes made on social media can result in an international backlash that could lead to severely damaged reputations, lost jobs, and alienation from society. Although the context is different from child-on-child cyberbullying, I think there is a lot to be learned from the cyberbullying that is occurring amongst adults, often times highly educated and highly successful adults.

This article talks about empathy, and how we learn it:

Psychologists say that empathy is learned two ways. The first is by seeing, hearing or even smelling how your action has hurt someone else — something that is not available to those behind a screen and keyboard. The second is to experience something painful yourself.

Children learn at a young age what is right and what is wrong behavior, and how being mean can hurt someone’s feelings. Although these basic skills are learned and understood, the lines become blurred when the medium changes (ie: from verbal to online communication). It becomes harder to understand how pixels on a screen could cause very real emotional pain, especially when it’s not possible to see an immediate reaction as you would if the communication was verbal.

Sometimes cyberbullying is not motivated by wanting to be mean at all, but rather feeling like you’re doing the right thing and shaming someone who might have hurt someone else. The article references several incidences of an individual posting a comment that was highly insensitive or offensive, although in most cases made as a tactless joke rather than a public statement of hate. In each case, an online mob relentlessly bullied the poster to the point of causing very real harm such as personal safety threats, and loss of jobs.

…I’ve come to the realization that most people do not join these online mobs with the intention of being mean.

“You show your proof of membership in a community by criticizing the most erratically,” said Anil Dash, a tech entrepreneur and blogger who has been on the receiving end of racially charged Twitter mobs. “There’s a social dynamic that says ‘Let me show that I belong.’ And there is a reward structure for being even more inflammatory.”

Mr. Dash noted that online mobs can sometimes serve a public good, as in cases when the powerless are given a voice to hold the ruling class accountable.

But the next time we want to provide justice from behind a keyboard, we should remember that there is a nuanced human being on the other side of that screen.

And that is just it, cyberbullying occurs frequently because it is hard to realize that there is a human at the other end of your attacks. A human with thoughts, and feelings, and one that can make mistakes from time to time and should not be severely shamed for those mistakes.

As adults that are helping shape young minds, we must be very attentive to how children are perceiving the internet. Do they realize the power of the internet – that once something is out there, it will always be out there? That if they spread a rumor, or say something mean to someone else, those words will not only follow the victim, but can follow the poster as well. Do they think about how someone else will be affected by what they say online – what will their expression would look like, and how will it make their heart feel after reading the message?

The more we educate children, the more they will understand that cyberbullying is not only unacceptable, it’s not an option. We all need to promote positivity because negativity will not only perpetuate the problem, but can result in something we never intended.

“It isn’t big to make others feel small.”

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Co-author, Diane Hipp, Presents to Chief Charlo Students

Diane Hipp, co-author of the Kelso guidance curriculum kits, conducted a school-wide assembly for the students and educators of Chief Charlo Elementary School in Missoula, MT.


On May 8, 2014, Diane Hipp made a visit to Chief Charlo Elementary School to share her counseling expertise in an assembly themed around the character trait, “kindess.” Chief Charlo is an MBI (Montana Behavioral Initiative) school that believes students should be taught all the skills necessary for success: academic, social, emotional, and behavioral. As part of this program, the school focuses on one character trait each month to learn about and practice use of.


Since “kindness” was Chief Charlo Elementary’s trait for the month of May, Diane Hipp arrived on-site with her Kelso and Lily puppets to help with her lesson. Students engaged in a puppet play with the frogs, explaining what “kindness” means, and then acting out scenarios of kindness. Incorporated into the lesson was a segment about “caring” and how it relates to “kindness.” To close out the event, students sung along as Diane recited “Kelso’s Song,” a song teaching the importance of having good character, included in the Building Character with Kelso curriculum. As students trickled out of the assembly and onto the playgrounds, they were still singing Kelso’s song and chanting “Kelso rules!” Diane is honored to have been a part of Chief Charlo’s character education program, and is especially proud of all of the elementary students for their dedication to learning and to displaying good character.


ABOUT DIANE
Diane Hipp is a National Certified Prevention Specialist and International Prevention Trainer, conducting all on-site Kelso’s Choice, Building Character with Kelso and other guidance training sessions. To book a training session or to get more information, please click here.

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my daughter and kelso

Scarlett and Lilli, Kelso Fans!

I wanted to write and share our story with you. My daughter, Scarlett, is in Kindergarten. Since September, she has struggled with many aspects of becoming a kindergartner and being in school in general. We have had months and months of teacher conferences, with and without the principal, many tears, many temper tantrums, even meetings of, “Do we need an evaluation done for her?” As I would stand in line at the end of the school day to pick her up from school, I would literally feel sick to my stomach wondering how her day was, will I hear her crying as she walks down the hall, etc. She hasn’t wanted to go to school since the very first day. It has been very hard, to say the least.

For the past three weeks, she has come out of school smiling — something has changed for her. Yesterday afternoon, we she was playing, her little 11 month old sister came up and took her toy. She asked her sister to give it back and gently took it back from her. When her sister took it away again, Scarlett stood up and came over to me. She put her hands on her hips and said to me,  “Mommy, I’m going to choose to go somewhere else to play. Kelso said that we always have a choice and that I can choose to get mad and yell and scream but what good will that do? The better choice for me to make is to tell her that I don’t like her choice and go play somewhere else. So, that is what I am going to do.”

As I sat and listened to her, I was so impressed with how she worked through that entire situation! Later that evening, as we were reading stories before bedtime, I yelled something downstairs to my husband about him bringing something upstairs for me. He yelled something back like “Well if you stop interrupting me, I could do it faster.” You know, “blah, blah, blah…” Well, Scarlett looked at me and said, “Mommy, I think you should ignore that.” When I asked her what she meant, she said, “Kelso said that if someone says something not nice to you, you can choose to ignore it. That is what I think you should do since that wasn’t very nice for Daddy to yell that to you.” Again, I listened to her and I swelled with pride! Something has changed for her. Something has really helped her and it is so obvious! That something is Kelso and your program. Scarlett has really connected with Kelso and his program and she especially LOVES that he is a frog!

I wanted to say THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart. Kelso and his program has changed my baby’s life forever. She is problem solving, resolving conflicts, managing her behaviors and so much more and it is because of Kelso. Thank you so very much. This program has given her the tools that she will use for the rest of her life and I am forever grateful.

I would love to be able to use the program at home as well, especially with the cute little puppet! (Also even cuter since Scarlett’s little sister’s name is Lilli!)

Thank you again.

Best Regards,
Tonya
Proud Mother of Scarlett….and forever endorser of Kelso!

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guidance counselor from lowell, montana helps kids solve problems with kelso

Dave Garlitz, guidance counselor at Lowell School, uses Kelso and Lily to teach conflict resolution skills to his first-grade class.

Garlitz' kids during a Kelso lesson.

Nine years ago, Dave Garlitz retired from his 32-year teaching career in Maryland and headed west to Missoula, Montana, to live closer to his son.

Garlitz missed teaching so much that he quickly took a job as a guidance counselor at Lowell School, where he began using Kelso and Lily to help children solve their problems.

Every week, the students gather around him, voicing troubles such as conflict with friends, siblings, and grandparents. He offers them simple solutions: Talk it out, share and take turns, ignore it, walk away, tell them to stop, apologize, make a deal, wait and cool off, or go to another game. If the problem is too big to handle on their own, always seek help from a trusted adult.

“Our kids have a lot of challenges, and my work is to help them meet with success in school,” said Garlitz, “I like the idea that they are open to new ideas, that they are so accepting of everyone, and that they are so open to sharing their problems,” he said.

Dave Garlitz shows students how to solve conflict with Kelso's Wheel.

Kelso’s Choices are displayed on the wall, offering a “wheel” of options for solving problems. Kids can reference the wheel whenever they have a disagreement with another student.

Even with over 40 years of teaching under his belt, Garlitz says that the students’ issues haven’t changed over the years.

“The topics generally haven’t changed,” he said. “The problems are usually when students’ parents are having problems, when the family is split and the kids come to school upset. My role is to help them when they get to school, to get them to talk about it so they can be successful while they are here.”  Read the original article here.

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warrington elementary receives november kelso grant

leaf graphic
Congratulations to Warrington Elementary School in Pensacola, Florida for being chosen as the October recipient of the Kelso Grant!

We are confident that school counselor Linsay Whitley will be able to use the Building Character with Kelso Curriculum Kit to improve the lives of the students at her school, both socially and academically. We are inspired by Linsay’s resolve to help her students overcome their circumstances and succeed, and know she will be able to guide them.

“Thank you so much! I am super excited about this curriculum for my students. It has given us a great opportunity to teach the students about character building.” – Linsay Whitley, Guidance Counselor

About the creators of Kelso’s Choice
Diane Hipp and Barbara Clark, the authors of Kelso’s Choice, are professional school counselors with over 45 years of experience between them. When working with elementary-aged children, Barbara and Diane saw the need for a conflict resolution program and Kelso’s Choice was born. The Building Character with Kelso Kit was created later to expand on character education.

About the Kelso Grant
The mission of the Kelso Grant is to provide valuable bullying-prevention tools to schools in need, one school at a time! We are choosing a new grant recipient every month in 2013. This month, we are giving away THREE kits! Find out how to enter at our grant page.

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’tis the season of giving: enter to receive one of 3 december kelso grants!

Kelso’s Choice and Cerebellum Corporation are awarding a complete Building Character with Kelso Curriculum Kit to one school in need every month in 2013. This month, we are giving away 3 kits!

Entering Is Simple:

1. Tell us why your students need a Building Character with Kelso kit and explain your school’s financial state, in as much detail as possible
2. Email customerservice@kelsoschoice.com or make a post on our Facebook page
3. Tell your friends and colleagues!

Who Can Apply:

Any school, institution, or educator in the U.S. working toward conflict resolution for elementary-aged students. Homeschoolers, homeschool co-ops, counseling centers, after-school or daycare programs, and libraries are welcome to apply.

What We’re Looking For:

• Schools or other institutions with a financial need, and whose students have a need to learn conflict management skills
• Schools or other institutions whose students cannot achieve full academic success as a result of poor conflict management skills

Deadline:

Friday, January 3, 2014

About the Building Character with Kelso Curriculum Kit:

The Building Character with Kelso Curriculum Kit teaches elementary students to be honest, responsible, caring, fair, and respectful through examples. It contains differentiated instruction for lower and upper elementary students and introduces each positive trait while being fun and engaging.

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Patwin Elementary School receives October Kelso Grant!

leaf graphicCongratulations to Patwin Elementary School in Davis, California for being chosen as the October recipient of the Kelso Grant!

We are confident that school counselor Ellen Shields will put the Building Character with Kelso Curriculum Kit to good use at her school. We are inspired by Ellen’s motivation to find a fun and meaningful character education for her students, despite her school receiving very little funding.

From her unique and creative grant entry, we can tell she has a passion for character education and will make great use of the Building Character kit. Below is an excerpt from her letter.

Dear Kelso and Lily,

It’s your long-lost friend Ellen, the counselor at Patwin Elementary School in Davis, CA! Oh how I’ve missed you both! I’ve been so busy teaching the children at Patwin about how to solve problems with Kelso’s Choice that I haven’t had time to write. Let me tell you how much we could use your Building Character with Kelso Curriculum Kit!

You know that at Patwin we have a Character Word of the Month, right? And at the Character Assembly at the beginning of every month, a class presents a skit so that all the children at Patwin will understand the word and what it means? Well, the classes have been doing a great job with this, and each month a few kids from each class get a certificate for demonstrating that trait…but sometimes I worry that during the month they forget about that special word and how to use it. What these kids really need is a reminder, something super concrete and easy to remember, so that they are able to internalize these traits. Just like your Building Character Kit!

I had the very special opportunity to borrow it from a friend recently, and the Patwinners loved it–I couldn’t believe how great they were at discussing the word “Responsibility” using your wonderful pictures of the kids cleaning up after themselves on the playground, turning in their homework, and picking up their room! They were even able to give me more examples of where and how kids can be responsible. We really need a program to help kids get along–remember I told you about the surveys we asked parents to complete last Spring? Despite the fact that most people love our school, there were lots of comments about how kids are treating each other, in class and on the playground. It sounds like they really need a reminder about respect and all those other words that help us get along. I truly hope my friends from Willow Pond can help us out!

Sincerely,
Ellen Shields
School Counselor, Patwin Elementary School Davis, CA

We notified Ellen that she will receive the complete kit, and she was thrilled. She wrote to us, “I can’t tell how excited I am, thank you so much! This is such a generous gift and we will make great use of it. Our Patwinners will love being able to use this program to supplement and extend the learning from our monthly character ed assemblies!”

About the Kelso Grant
Diane Hipp and Barbara Clark, the authors of Kelso’s Choice, are professional school counselors with over 45 years of experience between them. When working with elementary-aged children, Barbara and Diane saw the need for a conflict resolution program and Kelso’s Choice was born. The Building Character with Kelso Kit was created later to expand on character education.

The mission of the Kelso Grant is to provide valuable bullying-prevention tools to schools in need, one school at a time! We are choosing a new grant recipient every month in 2013. Find out how to enter at our grant page.

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Qatar Academy Primary School celebrates “Kelso Day”!

Kelso the Frog has made quite an impact in Qatar, where Qatar Academy Primary School had it’s first ever “Kelso Day”! The event was such a success that it was even featured in The Qatar Tribune, shown below.

We contacted school counselor Krisztina Douglas, who organized Kelso Day, to find out more about how Kelso is being used at their school. Read our Q&A with her below to find out more about Kelso Day and gather some new ideas on how to implement Kelso’s Choice at your school!

What is the idea or objective behind the Kelso Day? I know that Kelso’s choices have been used by the school for a number of years now but is this the first time that a day was specifically assigned to be a Kelso day?

Krisztina: We’ve have had a “crazy hair day” and “twins and triplets day” among others, but this is our first ever “Kelso Day.” We had great participation – almost 900 students dressed in green from preschool to grade 5. Even our Early Education Center joined in by coming to school dressed in green; the children are 6 months old – 3 years and they are also part of our Qatar Academy family. They may not know who Kelso is yet, but they will! Our preschoolers are taught just 2 of the choices, “Tell them to stop” and “Apologize”. That is the focus for 2 years and then once they get to Kindergarten, they are ready for the whole wheel.

What are the activities lined up for the day?

Krisztina:It will be a regular school day but we hope that seeing everyone dressed in green reminds them about Kelso’s Choices and gets them excited about it again. We have been using Kelso’s Choices for several years now so we want to keep the students and staff enthusiastic about it. Students will be given a black and white Kelso wheel to color and decorate to take home so that they can share the idea with their families and use the wheels when conflicts arise at home.

What are the ongoing efforts of the department to ensure that the program is being implemented?

Krisztina: Every year, each class in Kindergarten through grade 5 has Kelso lessons. Where possible, we link in with the first unit of inquiry. Our school counselors provide lessons and teachers and assistants follow up and support the program on a daily basis. The idea is that everyone in classrooms, on the playground, and in the hallways is giving the same message; that even young children can solve small problems on their own. The counselors have worked with the music teachers to incorporate Kelso songs and raps into music classes and assemblies. Last year the school purchased a few 3D standing Kelso statues. Each one shows a different choice printed in English and Arabic. They are positioned in various locations around the school and are moved from time to time to new spots. This year Qatar Academy has also started a house system and Kelso is part of that as well. The house system is a positive reinforcement initiative where students can earn “caught you being awesome cards” when they are caught using Kelso’s choices, as well as for a number of other positive behaviors. Each card earns one house point for their house.

Any other info you’d like to share?

Krisztina: Another exciting first this school year was when grade 5 students prepared lessons for their younger buddy classes about Kelso. They had freedom to present in a variety of ways; some used iPads, some used Kelso puppets, some performed plays. It was amazing to see the older students sharing their knowledge with their 5 year old “buddies” who are fairly new to Kelso’s Choices. As they move up through the school, they will become very familiar with Kelso’s Choices, and hopefully will become experts at conflict resolution.

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kelso’s choice around the world!

Here’s an awesome free resource created by Maysoun Al Qawasmi of Qatar Academy!

She translated the Kelso’s Choice poster into Arabic. Click here to get a PDF version of the poster for yourself!

Also, make sure to check out our Bug Out page for even more free downloadable resources!

Kelso Poster arabic kelsos choice

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