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  • Back to School: Gearing Up for Resiliency And Readiness to Learn

    Back-to-school time is here!  Children across the country are headed back to the classroom and moving another step forward in their education and development.  Now is the perfect time for teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents to reinforce social emotional learning skills in kids.  Here are a few of our thoughts to help you maintain the back-to-school momentum throughout the school year and keep kids motivated.

    Make it cross-curricular. Social skill development doesn’t have to stay in your Too Good lessons.  Looking for More? lesson extenders provide great opportunities to infuse the social skills development concepts into other subject areas.  They could be that quick activity idea to fill a few free moments in your Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science lessons.  Have you ever thought about the science of erupting emotions?  How about the mathematics behind determining consequences?  Regular journaling builds vocabulary and writing skills while providing opportunities to reflect on peer pressure refusal skills and positive peer selection skills.  These skills make children better learners and give them greater ability to interact with others, so keep the learning growing in every subject.

    Involve parents and caregivers. Parental involvement is essential to any child’s healthy development. Activities like Too Good’s Home Workouts bring the learning home to keep parents and caregivers tuned in to what their child is learning and help them practice and reinforce the concepts at home.  Whether it is setting family goals or finding constructive solutions to completing chores around the house, these family activities extend the reach of what is learned in school.  Invite parents and caregivers to write a newsletter articles about how she or he is positively reinforcing SEL skills at home.  Bring parents into the classroom to help facilitate your Too Good lessons and enhance the bond between school and home for your students. The more parents are in tune with what is happening at school, the more your students will engage.

    Promote community connectedness. Social skills are about more than just children interacting with one another. When families and communities are involved in developing these skills in children, they are twice as likely to use and retain them. To promote community connectedness, enlist participation and cooperation from family members, community leaders, school board members and medical professionals. Enlist the media to advocate prevention. Establish a community-wide task force. The Too Good for Drugs and Violence After School Activities offer tools tailored specifically towards enhancing prevention in recreation centers and community after school settings. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to enlist as many community members as possible for the benefit of that communities' children.

    So get ready! A new school year means a fresh start, and there’s no better way to kick off a fun year of learning than to help young learners practice the social skills they will need to succeed as they continue in school and later in life.

  • Promoting SEL with Games

    C5XLTUVVcAQh-0JLast week, the Too Good team packed our bags and headed to the NASP conference in San Antonio, Texas.  We spoke with school psychologists and graduate students from across the country to learn more about emerging trends in the field.

    So what did we hear?  One major focus is measuring social-emotional skill development through game-based learning.  Games are a powerful way to develop social-emotional skills in children and adolescents.  The SEL skills necessary to play well with others are the same skills needed to succeed at work and in adult life.

    Experience-based learning tools like games teach and reinforce SEL skills, such as cooperation, problem solving, emotion management, and communication.  Games also provide a safe, fun environment to simulate obstacles and teach resilience.

    Tips and Tools to Get Started

    When facilitating a game, make sure to model positive behavior and make learning connections for students.  Focus on cooperation over competition, and after the game, ask students to reflect on what they learned.

    The Too Good toolkits incorporate games designed to balance engagement, assessment, and learning.  If you’re interested in implementing game-based learning, check out these fun and interactive games:

    Ages 9-11:

    Pop Up!:  This card game teaches respect for others, perspective-taking, empathy and solving problems.

    Around the Block:  This fun and engaging board game teaches decision making, goal-setting, teamwork, self confidence and communication.

    Ages 12-14

    Anger Outlet:  Students test their anger management and conflict resolution skills through a variety of scenarios. This board game teaches students how to identify emotions, impulse control, stress management and decision making.

    The Buddy System: Students learn positive friendship qualities in the Buddy System Jr. card game.  This games teaches relationship building, social engagement. respect for others and communication skills.

    Ages 15-18

    Deciding Factor:  Deciding Factor gives students the opportunity to learn the role different influences have on their decision making. Players must differentiate and categorize influences such as media, values, and family.

    Quality Assurance:  In the Quality Assurance card game, students are faced with scenarios to practice healthy relationship qualities and teaches relationship building, social engagement, decision making and analyzing situations.

  • The Countdown to Red Ribbon Week Begins!

     

    Group Of Children Enjoying Drama Class Together

     

    Can you feel the excitement in the air?  Red Ribbon Week is almost here!  During October 23rd - 31st, schools and communities across the country will celebrate living a substance-free lifestyle.  Here are some fun ideas for making the most of Red Ribbon Week in your schools and communities!

     

     

    Monday: Goal for It! Talk to your students about how substance-use interferes with reaching their goals. Students can name a short-term goal they’d like to reach by the end of the week.  Display the Goal Setting Poster in your classroom to help your students track their progress.

    Tuesday: Brain Science!  Talk with students about the negative effects of substance-use on the developing brain and body and how they can protect their bodies as they grow.  Hold a short essay writing contest for students to choose and research one negative effect of substance-use on the brain or body.

    Wednesday: Bring it Home!  Parents and caregiver influence is essential to helping students stay substance-free.  Home Workouts provide great opportunities for students to share with their parents what they are learning about substance-free living.  Choose one from your Too Good toolkit to send home with students or design your own.

    Thursday: Around Town!  Students who live substance-free are positive role models in their communities.  Red Ribbon Week is a great time to encourage students to volunteer in their communities and help others see how passionate they are about making healthy decisions.

    Friday: Happy, Healthy, and Strong!  A big part of being a good friend is being a positive influence.  Students can sign a cutout handprint to put on the classroom door in a pledge to a substance-free lifestyle that will illustrate pro-social bonding.

    Looking for more?  Check out Celebrating Healthy Choices!  This one-week activity set for Grades K-5 introduces the fundamentals of social-emotional skills while building school connectedness.  Kits include everything you need to organize your school-wide events: plans and scripts for opening and closing assemblies, fully scripted fun and engaging activities, and so much more!

    However you choose to celebrate, here’s wishing you a fun and inspiring week!  Let the countdown begin!

  • 3 Tips for a Positive Schoolyear

    board-928378_640Back-to-school is the most exciting time of the year!  Crisp, cool fall air and new school supplies get things off to a great start.  But why stop there?  Here are a few ways you can use your Too Good toolkit to keep up the positive momentum throughout the schoolyear.

    Make it schoolwide.  Schoolwide involvement keeps everyone engaged and on board with building social-emotional skills that will contribute to students’ success in school and life.  A learning environment that expects and reinforces positive behavior will lead children to practice positive behavior.  Lesson Extenders at the end of each Too Good lesson are designed to foster school connectedness, and provide practical ways to get the whole school involved.  Use these activities to set class goals and school goals, or to help out in the community.     

    Involve parents and caregivers.  Parent involvement is essential to implementation success.  The Home Workouts included with each Too Good lesson keep parents and caregivers tuned in to what their child is learning, and help them practice and reinforce the skills at home.  Keep families involved by inviting a parent or caregiver to write a newsletter article about how she or he is positively reinforcing SEL skills at home.

    Build on the last year.  Are teachers in earlier grades also implementing Too Good in their classrooms?  Brainstorm with them to find out what worked in their previous year’s implementation.  Each grade level of the Too Good program reinforces and builds on the core concepts and skills.  Practicing SEL skills daily sets students up for success and provides them with the skills to handle challenging and uncomfortable situations in healthy ways.

    So get ready!  A new school year means new beginnings, and there’s no better way to kick off a fun year of learning than to pick up your Too Good toolkit and start using it today.

  • How will you celebrate Red Ribbon Week?

    Group Of Children Enjoying Drama Class TogetherSchool is back in session, and summer is winding down. It won’t be long before the first nip of fall will be in the air, which means October and Red Ribbon Week are just around the corner. This October 23-31, youth will celebrate substance-free living with this year’s Red Ribbon Week slogan “YOLO. Be Drug Free.”
    It is common for youth to perceive drug-use as normal, but in actuality most youth do not use drugs or alcohol. And when kids say or hear “YOLO” this is the exact reason why. Our kids know they only have one chance at life, and rather than risking it on drugs and alcohol, they embrace healthy activities.

    How will your school or organization choose to raise awareness for living healthy, substance-free lives? Red Ribbon Week is the perfect time for Celebrating Healthy Choices. This one-week activity set helps you make the most of special school-wide events for your Kindergarten through Grade 5 students. Everything you need to organize your school-wide event, including plans and scripts for opening and closing assemblies, as well as fully scripted fun and engaging activities, is provided in straightforward kits. Activities include songs, raps, and puppet play that teach students the social emotional skills they need to make healthy choices. Students learn rap lyrics and get a chance to perform them at a school-wide performance. Celebrating Healthy Choices is a fun way to bring everyone together to foster a healthier school climate and celebrate a good cause.

    YOLO. So make healthy choices and stay drug free.

  • Big news from the Big Easy!

    Elementary school teacher helping pupilSchool may be out, but we’re not on vacation yet. You can find us in the Big Easy July 9th-11th, as this year we are proud sponsors of the ASCAFE at the American School Counselor Association Conference in New Orleans.  Come on out and meet us for coffee or visit us at Booth 225 for a quick chat.  While you are with us, enter to win a free curriculum kit of your choice.  And on this notable occasion, we are excited to announce our upcoming release of the revised editions of Too Good for Violence-Social Perspectives for Grade 4, Grade 5, and High School!  The revised curricula build social emotional skills in children and teens for self-awareness and social awareness, protective factors essential to promoting peaceful peer engagement and mitigating risky behavior.  Fun and engaging activities in the curricula teach children and teens how to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts peacefully, manage bullying situations, and so much more.

    In our efforts to provide children with effective prevention education, where would we be without our school counselors?  Indeed, few people know a school and its students better than school counselors do. Their dedication to improving students’ lives shows not only their commitment to student success but also to ensuring their students are equipped with the skills necessary for success in life.  Efforts to building social emotional competencies encourage students to develop a better understanding of their lives and be more present in the world around them.

    Equipped with these skills, children are prepared to resist negative peer influence, engage in pro-social bonding, and make positive decisions that will help keep them on track to reaching their goals.  As mentors and educators, school counselors bring prevention efforts full circle; they truly guide children toward their happiest and healthiest selves.  So let’s give a shout-out to all our school counselors and the impact they have on their students’ lives and their school environment.

    We look forward to seeing you at the conference this week!

  • June is National Safety Month

    It’s a great time to spread awareness of and ensure safer environments that can improve students’ social emotional learning and behavior.

    Academic Safety: As advocates for student learning, teachers are in a unique position to create and promote a safe and supportive learning environment that encourages students to challenge themselves to learn.  A learning environment that rewards an effort to try, even at the risk of failure, promotes resiliency as the child is encouraged to try and try again.  Having high expectations of the students is a big part of this supportive environment.  Students who know their teacher is invested in them and expects them to perform will work harder to meet that expectation.

    For adults, words of encouragement and a reminder that someone cares about us and is invested in us go a long way to building our commitment in our work.  Children are no different.  Simple gestures that reinforce the commitment of a teacher will bond the child more to their school and to their learning.

    Students need a safe and supportive learning environment that encourages them to try and to risk failure so they can learn from their mistakes and keep trying.  The student bond with school is a strong protective factor that encourages children to interact with each other and their teacher as they learn, motivating them to work hard to reach their goals and resist risky behavior.

    Physical Safety: Supervision and clear communication about maintaining boundaries while at school promote safe environments in places like classrooms, hallways, lunch rooms, and outdoor areas.  Children who are self- and socially aware and equipped to resolve disputes peacefully are less likely to engage in physical confrontations with others and are more likely to deescalate conflicts when they arise.  Students encouraged to respect differing opinions and to acknowledge the needs of others, build stronger, healthier relationships.  Learning environments that emphasize and encourage more peaceful approaches, such as compromise or agreeing to disagree, encourage children to practice resolving differences and respect others despite those differences.

    Emotional Safety: Students excel in an environment that nurtures healthy relationships with their peers and their teachers.  Students thrive when they have positive role models in their lives who set examples of appropriate behavior, healthy attitudes, and emotional response.  Whether it is a teacher, a counselor, or a coach, students need someone at school they can reach out to in times of need.  Peer groups matter too.  Children who are part of a group that values respect for themselves and for others are less likely to be bullied and less likely to bully others.  Students who can identify and bond with positive peer groups who are positive influences make better, more responsible decisions.  Students are more likely to speak up if they are the target or witness of a bullying situation when ready and equipped to report and refuse bullying behaviors alongside other children.

    Safe learning environments can be created or enhanced for students.  Hence, children will feel more comfortable learning about key concepts such as taking healthy risks, conflict resolution, and bullying prevention.

  • The revised Too Good for Drugs High School is here!

    HS3901 TGFD Binder cover for web 1-16Summer is drawing near, but we have some exciting news before you launch into your vacations—the revised edition of Too Good for Drugs High School is here! The revised program features an enhanced delivery model with interactive games and activities that promote social and academic success through practice and positive reinforcement.  The course has been expanded to address current and developing trends and temptations facing students, including various nicotine delivery devices, prescription drug misuse, and the increased societal normalization of marijuana use.

    Open Training sessions starting this June will include the Revised High School program.

    With the help of educators, counselors, law enforcement officers, and prevention specialists, our evidence-based curriculum equips teens with the skills they need to resist negative influence that may lead to substance use, as well as prepares them for academic success that will carry over into their college and professional careers.

    So before you pack up for the beach or the mountains or your long planned travels abroad, make sure you are stocked up for your fall implementation!

  • Wagner Celebrates National Prevention Week

    Wagner MLKThis week is National Prevention Week, and Wagner has enjoyed participating in the SAMHSA "I Choose" initiative by exploring his own backyard.  Be sure to check Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the places he’s visited!

    We’d also like to take a moment to address this year’s theme for National Prevention Week: “Strong As One. Stronger Together.” With the release of the revised Too Good for Drugs for High school right around the corner, the challenges of adolescence have been on our mind. During the teen years, it can at times prove trying to develop inner strength alone. Self-aware and socially aware teens are better prepared to forge solid and meaningful relationships with their peers and are more resistant to negative peer pressure and influence.

    Differentiating between healthy and unhealthy relationship qualities emboldens teens to choose their social circles wisely. These relationship networks often become a key piece of the foundation for how teens perceive and interact with the world around them. Teens who build healthy relationships bolster themselves with a strong support network that will offer positive peer influence when they are faced with difficult decisions. Educators, community members, and parents can all help students identify and develop healthy relationships by acting as role models themselves and by teaching and reinforcing essential social emotional skills.

    Teens who are relationship savvy and socially and emotionally equipped will be “strong as one” and “stronger together” as they embark on the road to successful futures.  We know Wagner would agree!

  • Too Good Programs and Positive Behavior Support

    This week participants from around the world will gather in San Francisco for the Association for Positive Behavior Support's annual conference. APBS is an organization of practitioners who use evidence-based methods to build safe and supportive environments for students to thrive and learn. Check out the below chart to see how Too Good programs align with Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support.

    MF PBIS Alignment 3-16

    Click to view larger image.

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