Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Jelly Donut Difference (compassion and empathy)

I ordered The Jelly Donut Difference a few months back and keep forgetting to write a post about it. The Jelly Donut Difference is written by one of my favorite authors, Maria Dismondy.  I originally purchased The Jelly Donut Difference to read with my first graders during their unit on compassion and empathy.  After reading the book I decided to use it with a group of kindergarten students who are having a hard time getting along with their classmates.

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The Jelly Donut Difference is about a brother and sister who don't always get along (argue, push each other out of the way, etc...)  They notice that an elderly neighbor is lonely and work together to show empathy and compassion.  The author has a free Reader's Guide available.  Many of the pages are more beneficial to a classroom teacher, however, I did use the comprehension questions as well as the pages that are focused on making a difference.  I also downloaded a free lesson on TPT (link below) and found this to be the most useful in teaching the idea of kindness to kindergarten students.  Finally, I gave each student a kindness goal and rewarded them with jelly donut holes from dunkin donuts if they met their goal.  I also love the idea of doing a jelly cake in a crockpot for a classroom lesson and have included a link to that blog as well.


You can purchase The Jelly Donut Difference HERE. -jelly cake in a crockpot

Teacher's Pay Teacher's FREE lesson by An Apple A Day in First Grade

Another lesson and downloadable writing template HERE by

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fidget Spinners

Apparently Fidget Spinners have been "all the rage" for the last month or so.  My son, a third grader, came home from school begging to have one and said that he would even use his own money to purchase one!  I had not heard of fidget spinners so I did a quick google search and saw claims that they were good for ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism.

These claims perked my interest and we went to Target to find one of these gadgets.  We quickly found out that fidget spinners are not easy to find.  My son was told that Target does not sell them and that they were looking into getting stock as they were getting questioned about them by multiple people daily.  We were able to track some down at a local grocery store and paid $8.99 for one of these gadgets.  Later that night we showed up at a benefit and to my surprise many of the children attending the benefit had these fidget spinners as well.  I show up to work on Monday and one of our fifth grade students pulls one out of his pocket to use during my classroom lesson.  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

So, what is a Fidget Spinner?  Its a very simple gadget that you hold in your hand, spin, and watch twirl in circles.  The toy is supposed to be used as a fidget and is said to relieve stress.  I'm not so convinced.  My son has already looked up videos on YouTube and has been trying to do "tricks" with his.  I have seen where some schools have already banned the toy...for being "distracting".  My own son will be leaving his at home for the time being (although they are allowed at his school).  I do provide services to an autistic student who stims with a pencil and I would be curious to see if he would be willing to try using a fidget spinner instead.  I'm curious to know if other counselors have had any success using fidget spinners as a tool?

Fidget Spinners on Amazon:
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