Learning and Sharing

Turn On Your Social Filter

social filter collage


Here are just a few important ways that a social filter protects us:

  • keeps us from saying hurtful words to others
  • keeps us from embarrassing ourselves
  • keeps us from making social mistakes
  • helps us stay out of trouble


This week the Flexible First Graders learned how to filter thoughts to decide if they should “think it” or “say it”.  Julia Cook’s book, I Can’t Believe You Said That! is always a big hit with students.  We also learned a great deal from Professor Cranium.  My Social Filter is a product created by Jenna Rayburn and available in her store at

Effectively using your social filter takes lots of practice, especially if you need to work on filtering angry words.  An upset brain has to work hard to control those angry thoughts before they turn into spoken words.

Find this activity as a free download at


Have a spooky good weekend, everyone!







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When You Think Your Life Stinks!

Proactive or reactive


People feel a wide range of emotions on a daily basis.  It is important that we work through the emotions and develop resilience as a way of coping.  Often we get stuck in a pattern of reacting in a big way.  We can have trouble bouncing back from hard times.  When we are stuck in this pattern we can feel and think that our life stinks.  One of several factors that contribute to resilience is the ability to manage strong feelings and impulses.  Social skills and self-regulation play a big role in developing a resilient view.  Books and videos provide us with a way to see how other people react to hard times and learn coping strategies.  Here’s one of our new favs –

Our week focused on how to change “Baditude into Gratitude”.  We read Julia Cook’s new book –


We talked about triggers and strategies.  Mrs. Rairdan taught us a new strategy-hook ups.  It is a very calming Brain Gym® movement that helps us deal with stress.

One student made a list of what smelled good in his life.  This exercise helped to focus on many of the good things in his life.

Turns out this book is perfect for a variety of grades and age groups.  The children love the book and we just adapted the lesson to the needs of the students.

spot it halloween

Spot it! Halloween is sure to make you happy.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.





What’s the Size of the Problem?

Girl Deep in Thought


Everyone has to deal with problems on a daily basis.  Some of those problems can be solved very quickly and easily and what we thought were big problems are really just bumps in the road.  It is important to match the size of one’s reaction to the size of the problem.


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What’s in Ned’s Head?  His head is full of problems big and small.  This week we carefully considered each of the problem cards from Ned’s Head.  Our Problem Thermometer gave us the criteria we need to check the size of the problem and make sure that our response was the expected response.

The problem cards came from The Spontaneous Speech Spot store at







The Problem Thermometer is available at









This new book, Social City, provided an additional way of looking at problems.  I like the way this book stresses that you have back-up to help solve problems regardless of the size.

Social City


Enjoy the weekend,


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Narrative Development

Some of my Lunch Buddies are now in 3rd and 4th grade and struggling with reading comprehension and narrative development.  Last summer I participated in an online webinar to learn more about the Story Grammar Marker® and learn how I could further help these students develop communicative competence.  The Story Grammar Marker assists students in expanding skills in perspective taking, critical thinking, and problem solving.  Mary Ellen Rooney Moreau, creator of the SGM®, says that it can “help them to independently re-tell stories with cohesion and academic language, understand motivations and thought processes of characters, make inferences, solve problems and take perspective”.  I learned from the webinar and the excellent posts on the blog at, that my role in collaborating with reading professionals is to scaffold for my students.

We are ready!


Eggbert, the Slightly Cracked Egg by Tom Ross, was used as an example during the webinar. I decided to start with that book.


The SGM® Teachers Manual will guide you through the concept and process with visual supports.



The SGM® app will help the students create and tell a story or retell something they have read, seen, or experienced.  It is an  engaging way to help them organize their thoughts for expressing or writing.



Followers of this blog, please add your comments if you use SGM®.  I am always excited to add something new to the Toolbox as students evolve.  Check back to see how we are doing.


My Best,




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