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Cliff's Corner - 6/9/2017

posted Jun 9, 2017, 5:09 PM by Rebekah Folsom

Hey folks, I’m wrapping up the lessons on bullying from the viewpoints of three students with Dare!, Weird!,  and Tough!  with the 3rd and 4th graders.  First grade had their lesson on Crickwing Monday that we will use to think about kindness and bullying in more depth next week, and Ms. Moran is doing her last bit of awesomeness with the Kindergarteners and 2nd grade.  5th and 6th grade will wrap up the year with Sex Ed.  Due to end of year activities, I may miss a few of these lessons next week.  

Something to ponder as summer approaches:  One of the hotter debates in education and in psychology is how much structure we provide for our kids vs. how much of that structure we expect them to create for themselves, and by extension, how much they learn to create those structures to manage themselves throughout their lives. You might consciously experiment with this over the summer and give your student some practice making their own decisions for the day in a responsible way.  If your student is old enough, discuss this openly with them and observe and process how it goes.  “Let’s try having you decide what you will do this afternoon.  Please remember that our expectations haven’t changed, we still expect you to make good choices.”  Be prepared for some challenges if they are used to a highly structured day, but be sure to talk about it with them afterwards.  Dealing with the inevitable struggles around this is a good place to grow some over the next few months and help them become more self-sufficient humans.  

The Question of the Week:  (A question for your family to talk about at a time together) What responsibilities come with being free to choose your path in a school?  In our society?     Questions or comments can be directed to Cliff Shaw at

Cliff's Corner - 6/2/2017

posted Jun 2, 2017, 7:07 PM by Rebekah Folsom

Counselor’s Notes Here is what’s happening in the world of counseling this week.

We are wrapping up the year.  I’ll only be visiting some classes one more time!  There is much to be done between now and then.  Kinder and 2nd continue to be taught by Ms. Moran who is working on diversity and inclusion lessons to round out the year.  1st, 3rd and 4th will be finishing up the bullying lessons we have been working on and then doing some end of year reflections.  5th and 6th grade will be starting (5th) and continuing (6th) sex education using the curriculum linked in last week’s email.  

On a broader note, one of the continuing struggles I see at Winterhaven is with anxiety around perfectionism.  I think that a school like Winterhaven that focuses so hard on academics can often draw out perfectionist tendencies in our students.  They are driven to do well, but they are still learning how to handle situations when they don’t do as well as they expect.  Something very helpful is for families to talk about their own struggles with perfectionism and failure, letting them know how you, as an adult make mistakes and deal with those mistakes.  

State testing is done.  Whew.  

Your Weekly Question: How does being anonymous online affect how people act?  What are the positives and negatives of having your identity hidden?  Younger grades can use this in a superhero context instead of online if that would help your kiddo talk about the issue.  

Cliff's Corner - 5/25/2017

posted May 31, 2017, 4:05 PM by Rebekah Folsom

Counselor’s Notes As our first grade teacher, Ms. Cooke says “Hi Everybody!”

Here’s the first of what will hopefully be a regular blurb from me mixed in the Winterhaven Weekly.  I’ll be sharing what the counseling staff is doing, ideas for you to try at home, articles worth reading and thinking about and the occasional struggles that may need broader attention.  Each one will also end in a question to pose to your youngsters for discussion during the week around the dinner table.

To get you up to speed on what is happening in the counseling world at Winterhaven: My fabulous intern, Molly Moran has been leading Kindergarten and 2nd grade all year.  If you have students in those grades and haven’t heard about her, ask.  I promise they’ll have glowing things to say.  She has been teaching emotional regulation for the past few months using the Zones of Regulation curriculum. Shortly, she will be changing gears and teaching lessons focused on inclusion and diversity appreciation to finish out the year before she leaves us to begin her doctoral program.  The other grades are with me.  I’m mostly buried in state testing right now, but when I manage to free myself… In 1st, 3rd, 4th we are looking into bullying from three viewpoints and examining the motivations for each person using the books Weird!, Tough!, and Dare! by Erin Frankel.  The older grades are also examining these through the lens of the four styles of communication and talking about how those play into the story.  1st grade may use the story Crickwing instead.  5th grade will spend two days with Nurse LueAnne and I going over very basic sex ed starting on the 31st. The curriculum is here, you’ll have to do some legwork making an account to get to it.   6th grade is deep in our state Health curriculum.  If you are curious what that looks like, here is the link:  I will be visiting 7th and 8th soon to do a little bit of Career Education as well, using the Japanese concept of Ikigai as a springboard.

That’s the plan.  However, the nature of my job is emergencies so I do miss lessons more often than I’d like to.  

The question of the week:  How is what we see on a screen different than what we see in real life?  Places to explore around this:  appearance, interactions, anonymity, kindness. The idea is to have a family discussion sometime this week based on this topic.  If you have any questions, please contact me at  Cliff Shaw, School Counselor

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