Adjusting to Distance Learning

  • June 1, 2020 -- Resources for talking about race

    Posted by Deidra O'Brien on 6/1/2020

    Hopefully you have received and read Mr. Ortiz's recent email to families regarding our current climate. Included in his email is a list of resources that you can use as you process events with your families. You can access that list here. Know that McDonald staff are available for you. Our contact information is on our Counselor Welcome page.

    We see you...
    We respect you...
    We support you...
    We love you!

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  • May 22, 2020

    Posted by Deidra O'Brien on 5/22/2020

    Social Emotional Learning (SEL) teaches children how to self-manage and develop interpersonal skills. Each week, Aperture Education releases a brief summary of an SEL skill along with an at-home strategy to try. Check it out!

    Some topics include: optimistic thinking, self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness. New skills are released periodically, so continue to check back.

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  • May 13, 2020 - Update to the Daily Blog!

    Posted by Deidra O'Brien on 5/13/2020

    Hello McDonald Families! In an effort to minimize the places for families to log in and check each day, we are reducing our posts to weekly. We believe there is a wealth of information already posted here and want to make sure that it is easy to find. Please remember that we are always available via email and can follow up virtually with video or telephone chats, as needed!

    So far we have posted topics on:

    • Adjusting to Distance Learning
    • Connecting as a family -- resources from the Peace Center
    • Managing strong emotions -- resources for both students and their families
    • Focusing on the positive

    Make sure you check out the tabs on the left to see information about our SWPBIS program and COVID-19 resources for families.

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  • May 8, 2020

    Posted by Michelle Lederman on 5/8/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Tired of Power Struggles with Your Children? 

    Children often test boundaries you have set, they do not realize how hard you have worked to create rules that will keep them safe. How does one handle and avoid power struggles with their children?  Check out these tips below on how to avoid powers stuggles.


    18 Tips to Avoid Power Struggles with Your Child

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  • May 7, 2020

    Posted by Deidra O'Brien on 5/7/2020 9:00:00 AM

    What is Emotion Coaching?

    This post is for the adults at home! Emotion Coaching is a simple strategy for adults to use to help their children process their big feelings. It's important that we support our children and acknowledge their feelings during this time. The best way to do that is to listen to and problem solve with our children when they cannot manage their feelings independently. 

    The Gottman Institute has laid out 5 specific steps for Emotion Coaching, though this is something we have probably all done to some degree without realizing it. See the chart below to learn about each of the steps. This is a helpful strategy that works best when you are calm and have the time to talk to your child. If you are upset yourself or short on time (we've all been there!), you may want to try this later in the day.

    Five Steps of Emotion Coaching


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  • May 6, 2020

    Posted by Deidra O'Brien on 5/5/2020 9:00:00 AM

    Zones of Regulation:

    The Zones of Regulation is a way for children to recognize what they're feeling and determine if they need to use a coping skill to manage that feeling. As you saw in the Willow Dale feelings video, all feelings are okay and normal. But, there are some feelings that we do not like to have or do not want to have for a long time. These include fear, sadness, anger, and disgust. When we have these feelings, we need to use a coping skill to manage them and get back to the Green Zone where we are happy, relaxed, and focused.

    Green Zone: happy, relaxed, and focused

    Yellow Zone: (slightly outside of Green) excited, frustrated, worried

    Blue Zone: sad, bored, tired

    Red Zone: mad, angry, afraid

    Take a look at these visuals for more information. 

    Inside Out Poster with Zones

    Green Zone Poster

    Yellow Zone Poster

    Blue Zone Poster

    Red Zone Poster

    These are just ideas to get you started. You know yourself best. What helps relax you? What calms you when you are afraid? 

    Common Calming Strategies:

    • Exercise: Have you ever felt your body tense up and your fists clench when you are angry? Doing physical activity can help release that pent up emotion in a healthy way. It is also helpful when you are afraid or anxious. Your body goes into "Fight or Flight" mode and sometimes you need to work off the adrenaline (something your body naturally makes when angry or afraid to prepare your muscles to move).
    • Take deep breaths: You may have noticed that your breathing changes when your emotions change. Your heart may race and your breaths may be quick. Take control of your breathing to help yourself slow down.
    • Listen to music: Slow, peaceful music can help relax you. If you're bored or tired, upbeat happy music can wake you up!
    • Talk it out: Sometimes you just need someone to listen. Pick a trusted person, usually an adult or close friend, and tell them how you're feeling. Remember that more serious situations should be shared with an adult because your friends may not know how to support you yet. Not ready to talk? Write or draw your thoughts.
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  • May 5, 2020

    Posted by Michelle Lederman on 5/4/2020

    A Calm Corner at Home

    What is a calm corner?

    A calm corner is a set and agreed upon space where your child can go to regulate their emotions when they have big or strong feelings. It can be in their room, in a private area in your home, or just a cozy corner of the living room.


    When to Use the Calm Corner

    When your child has or is showing signs of big feelings like anger, frustration, or dysregulation, a trip to the calm corner might be in order.  The calm corner isn’t a punishment! It’s a space for your child to take a break and regulate and a great way for us to remind kids that it’s okay to step away from a situation to calm our bodies and minds before we move on. You might say something like, “Hey it seems like right now would be a good time to use the calm corner.” This is just one more option to try so your child can learn how to calm those strong feelings. 

    What to Include in Your Calm Corner

    You definitely don’t need all of these items, but you may find something your own child really gravitates to and likes to use to regulate their feelings. Stock your corner with calming activities they like. 

    • Noise-canceling headphones
    • comfortable seating like pillows, stuffed animals or floor cushions.
    • Timer
    • Sequin pillows or animals
    • Weighted lap animals or blanket
    • Sensory toys like squishy balls or fidgets
    • Water or gel drips
    • Favorite books
    • Coloring materials
    • Pictures they like 
    • Have fun creating this space!


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  • May 4, 2020

    Posted by Deidra O'Brien on 5/4/2020

    Check out our talented colleagues at Willow Dale! They made this video to show how to identify and manage feelings we have.

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  • May 1, 2020

    Posted by Michelle Lederman on 4/26/2020 7:40:00 AM

     The Peace Center: Peace Begins at Home 5: Listening, this video is a good "refresher" on the things we can do to be a good listener. We all benefit when we take the time to listen to each other.


    Peace Begins at Home 5: Listening

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  • April 30, 2020

    Posted by Michelle Lederman on 4/26/2020 7:30:00 AM

    The Peace Center: Peace Begins at Home 4: Talking it out by using "I Messages." If you want to create peace in your home this next video is for you!  It is important to let others know how you are feeling about a specific situation or action and also let them know what it is you need. Modeling this for your children will help them learn how to use an "I message" or a "Bug and a wish."  Just keep on practicing! 


    Peace Begins at Home 4: I Messages


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