Cathedral Building

Another Teaching Blog

Posts tagged social work

36 notes

Seasonal Activity: Feelings Egg Hunt


This one is going up a little late, but all it takes it a trip to the dollar store and about fifteen minutes to set up.  This activity is not age-limited — it can be adjusted by adding pictures or more complex feelings, or even by giving scenarios instead of feelings and having kids talk about them in reverse.  It’s not only good for socioemotional learning for therapists, counselors, or teachers, but could also be used as a creative writing activity (or art if you’re working on drawing expressions, body language, etc).

What You’ll Need

  • Plastic eggs, available at most stores for cheap (mine are from Dollar Tree, tiny plain ones in a 24-pack and the larger patterened ones in what I think was a 12-pack but a few were lost in my car)
  • Paper strips (above are cut-up index cards for durability)
  • List of feeling words (balanced between + and - is best)
  • Baskets or other containers for collection (optional)

Print and paste or handwrite feeling words (and faces, if necessary, or possible scenarios for higher-level activity) onto strips.  Fold up strips and place in eggs.

If weather permits, this is a great outdoors activity — unfortunately, today it’s raining and we’ll be doing it indoors instead.  Explain to your kids (students, clients, etc., and guardians if applicable) that you’re going on an egg hunt, and (if appropriate — i.e. if they’ll understand that it’s a game rather than reality) these eggs, just like them, have feelings that they’ll be able to relate to.

Depending on your kids, you may want to give a limit (everyone try to find five, etc.) to be sure it’s more or less even.

When everyone has collected their eggs, sit in a circle and have each participant open one egg and read what the egg is feeling.  Have the participant respond, “I’ve felt like that too!  I felt ___ when…” and give an example of a time when they felt the same way. (If doing the higher-level activity, have participants instead read the scenario their egg is in, state how they think they would feel if they were the egg, and brainstorm some ways to respond; this can also be a group activity.)  Continue until nobody has any eggs left.

Close out the activity by asking participants which egg was the most challenging, and which was their favorite. In a formal setting the latter could be done with a coloring activity and/or augmented by having participants create their own egg with a feeling and a scenario.

If you want to be really goofy about it, I would absolutely give every single egg a ridiculous egg-themed name, whether on the paper slip or in marker on the outside. If I didn’t have to reuse mine, the sharpie would be coming out to label Eggbert, Eggwina, Shelldon, Shelly, etc… On a serious note, adding a name adds an additional supportive, scripted conversation piece — “It’s okay, Fry, I feel that way sometimes, too.  Once time…” “That’s awesome, Scrambella!  I…”

Filed under education social work feelings feeling identification psychology counseling easter teaching therapy

5 notes

The Parent is Part of the…Equation.

Strengths-based.  Positive.  We try not to say “problem.”

But right no w part of the issue is a parent who is so passive they are actually veering more toward apathetic. It’s beyond not putting their foot down in terms of discipline — they don’t follow through with processes to get the household basic needs and assistance even when they have help for all but the last piece of the process, they have no desire to be involved with the school but at the same time will not say no to suggestions of going to parent-geared activities or connecting with seeing grades on the computer.  They just won’t say yes either.

Their entire demeanor could be reduced to a shrug, but they voice wanting to keep everyone together with strong feelings…sometimes. They say they feel they have no support system when other providers described to us how they have offered and given numerous supports in numerous circumstances.

Maybe part of this is learned helplessness.  Maybe part is depression, though we aren’t privy to the parent’s diagnoses — and maybe I should mention the possibility of need my team mate.  But what can we do to help this parent develop assertiveness when the parent is barely present while they’re there?

(If more information is needed, I can talk privately to give some more detail while still maintaining privacy of information.)

Anyone familiar with this challenge either in the school or therapy setting and have any suggestions?

Filed under social work therapy family therapy education assistance please advice needed assertiveness mental health family functioning family systems

14 notes

Give and Take

In the last few weeks I’ve been told by kids, parents, or other professionals that it is my fault that a crisis is happening (parent), that my presence is what’s making a kid act up (professional), that I should be shot in the face (child); have been called unnecessary, useless, f*ggot, p*ssy, b*tch, motherf*cker, and “that girl”; have been swung at by a few different sets of small fists; and have had communication continuously ignored by a handful of people with whom we’re supposed to be working in tandem.

I have also been complimented by my supervisor, an admissions counselor, coworkers,and parents; given stickers to appreciative colleagues for themselves, not kids, and seen them hang onto them for days; have seen people overjoyedly become a permanent family, adults hug their kids and kids hug their adults; become a human chair by sitting down on a preschool circle rug for more than a minute; and watched removed and unresponsive kids get so excited over playing jenga with people that they move into jokes, laughter, and silliness.

I am very, very tired.  But I love my job.

Filed under therapy social work education mental health

3 notes

I swear I’m not a big-hearted robot.

It occurs to me that I post personal life stuff specifically to another blog, but that many other folks in the #education and related communities multitask — so you end up hearing about babies, pets, spouses, cooking, utilities, transportation, adventuring, etc.

So, because I’m trying to stay awake long enough to get some progress notes done, the ask box is open to questions of the random sort for anyone who’s been following and wondering if I’m actually a human being and not a conglomeration of therapeutic androids (or who have been following long enough to know better and just feel like poking at me).

EDIT:  Looks like the way the schedule just stacked up that this will be the case for the rest of the week.  Ask away. I’ll have some piles to work with.

Filed under education social work personal life ask box is open counseling therapy

4 notes

Sometimes what we need is what we give the kids.

I was exhausted and nearly on a tear this morning — when it comes to my kids, hospitals can be involved, cops can be involved, unexpected relocation can be involved, reporting, etc. — and shook my fists (via text) at a friend.  Who in turn via text gave me a fist bump.

Can I tell you how much that unwound me?  Probably not without sounding ridiculous.

But if someone just took a long look at the professionals and gave THEM a fistbump or a high five every now and then, I can’t help but think everyone would feel the slightest bit better.

Filed under education therapy kids social work stress go high five someone I miss fist bumps I miss the kids that gave me fist bumps because they thought high fives were lame

3 notes

Is it a fine line, or not?

I have a grade schooler on my client list who gets loud and violent in part due to communication difficulties.  It also seems triggered by an extremely low frustration tolerance.

But especially lately it seems to be triggered particularly when they aren’t getting their way, in an effort to get others to give in. They’ve voice to two different people after the fact that they have done this to get out of programming, etc.  It’s difficult to tell whether this is a conscious effort, or whether the question-and-answer has been led, but when they see that they are absolutely not going to get what it is they’re after no matter what or they are told they will, they calm down.  A lot of the behavior is aimed at their parent, and sometimes at another couple of authority figures, and includes directed swearing and statements of destructive intent (“I’M GONNA BREAK ____”) followed by attempts.  It’s been categorized thus far as a variety of potential difficulties with mood.

So the question that keeps bubbling up in my head is, with the targeted destruction, when does this start edging into Oppositional Defiance Disorder territory?  Thoughts?

Filed under therapy psychology social work education odd oppositional defiance disorder