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ASCA 2018 Information on Encouraging Kids to Stand Up for Others


Thank you to all of the amazing & dedicated professionals who are attending the ASCA Conference this week in Los Angeles and a special thanks to those who chose to attend my session on Group Activities to Help Bring an End to Bullying.  I loved all of the audience participation during the presentation and enjoyed the many conversations with attendees after the session.

A few people asked about the activity I described in which the School Counselor presents to students a set of statistics about the powerful influence of bystanders and the students become engaged by guessing the numbers.  The reference for this information comes from:

* Hawkins, D.L., Pepler, D.J. and Craig, W.M. (2001).  Naturalistic observations of peer interventions in bullying.  Social Development, 10(4). pp. 512-527.

A full activity on this concept can be found in my book, The 8 Keys to End Bullying: Activity Book for Kids & Teens.  It is featured as Activity 29:  10 Things to Say and Do to Stop Bullying.  Step by step instructions for using the activity with students are detailed in the 8 Keys Companion Guide.



Lastly, for those who did not get a copy of the 4-question Rude, Mean, Bullying assessment tool, it can be found here.  Further explanation and activity instructions for using the assessment in schools are also in the Companion Guide, in Chapter 1.


If you have other questions, please feel free to be in touch on Facebook or by email.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the Conference!





I’m Speaking at ASCA 2018!


If you’ll be in Los Angeles at ASCA this week, I’ll be presenting Sunday morning on Group Activities to Bring an End to Bullying. Come visit!


Tech Retreat for 7th-8th Grade Students


Last week, we offered a Tech Retreat for our 7th and 8th grade students.  This day included a total break from regular classes.  Instead, students participated in small group activities, heard a panel of speakers from our community, and learned about brain health and screen time.  To learn more about how we structured the day and to hear feedback from students, please click on my school’s Blog below.


For more information on teaching kids Digital Citizenship or any questions about setting up this kind of opportunity at your school, feel free to email using the Contact Form.


Students Focus on Impact of Tech

Breathing Beads to Teach Mindfulness to Young People


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending the day in beautiful, sunny upstate New York to lead a day-long workshop on How to Be Angry, featuring brain=based strategies for helping young people de-escalate from intense feelings of anger and make positive choices for anger expression.


Among strategies discussed were the benefits of teaching of Mindfulness practices to kids.  I showed participants photos of my work with students, including our making of Mindfulness Beads to help us remember to take slow, deep calming breaths. Here’s the video, from the blog, The Middle School Counselor, for all who requested it:



Bullying Prevention Efforts in Elementary School

Last November, I had the opportunity to bring my 8 Keys to End Bullying presentations to Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School in Baton Rouge, LA. Today, almost 6 months later, I received this heart-warming email from their School Counselor, letting me know the impact of the workshops:
I hope you are doing well as we approach the end of another school year! I have been thinking about you and your brilliant wisdom, and I thought I’d give you a shout out. I want you to know how much your bullying material has impacted my 3rd and 4th graders this year. The number of bullying reports have significantly gone down, and I’ll get statements in my office like, “Ms. Alaine, I went over the three P’s, and I don’t think it’s bullying. But I still need some help!” We also spent a long time in 4th grade talking about our Bully-Busting Spirit Animals, so I’m able to point out in individual sessions when someone is acting like a “Tiger” and they know exactly what I’m talking about. It has been so neat to give such clear directions for helping my kiddos navigate their world. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!
Alaine Dawson, M.Ed.
School Counselor Grades PK-4
(shared with permission)

Sesame Street Tackles Bullying


As an independent, nonprofit organization; programs like Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children would not be possible without charitable giving. If funded, Sesame Workshop will tackle another major issue for families in the autism community and beyond: how to prevent bullying by fostering empathy and compassion.

Childhood bullying hurts, and research shows that kids with autism are disproportionately affected. Since 2015, Sesame Workshop has reached millions of kids and families with their work in the autism community. However, in order to tackle bullying prevention, Sesame Workshop is looking to their passionate community of fans and families for help. If the campaign’s first funding goal is reached, Sesame Workshop aims to create a kid-friendly digital storybook about understanding differences through everyday activities and play plus articles and supplementary materials about bullying for grown-ups.

As with other materials and storybooks featuring Julia, this new content will offer parents and caregivers a perfect starting point for deeper conversations with their children.  Here are some fun videos to check out:

Julia and Rosita Celebrate Families

Julia and Grover Search for Patterns

Julia, Rosita and Grover Play Freeze Dance

Different Ways to Say Hello


If you’d like to help fund Sesame Workshop’s endeavor to bring an end to bullying, please visit their Kickstarter page here:

Does Your Child Worry Too Much?


This week, I’ll be doing a presentation on how to understand and effectively respond to anxiety in children & adolescents at The Hillside School in Allentown, PA.    There’s some natural overlap between this presentation and my Brain-Based Strategies for Helping Kids Calm Down workshop, as both anxiety and anger are brain-issues at their core–uncomfortable states caused by the triggering of the amygdala.

The bad news:  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million people or 18.1% of the population every year.

The good news:  Anxiety disorders are highly treatable.

Being able to recognize the symptoms of anxiety for what they are, rather than confusing them with stubbornness, drama, or defiance is a key factor in meeting kids needs and helping them feel heard and understood.  The article below, 15 Things Kids or Teens Say That Could Mean ‘I’m Anxious’–Where they Come From and How to Respond, is a great resource for helping adults to ‘decode’ the common ways kids describe their anxiety, in order to respond more effectively.

Another priority I’ll be talking about at Hillside is the importance of teaching kids–at a developmentally appropriate level–about their neuro-anatomy.  Knowledge is power and even very young kids benefit from understanding the connection between their brains, their feelings, and their behaviors.  The second post below, What Anxious and Angry Kids Need to Know About Their Brain, offers a terrific script for teaching little ones about their brain.  My book, The 8 Keys To End Bullying Activity Book for Kids & Teens, offers explanations and activities for upper elementary and middle school aged kiddos on this same topic.

UPDATE, 4/27/18:  Thanks to all who attended the presentation at Hillside last night.  For those who attended–and those who emailed me because they were not able to attend but would like information–here are the video-instructions for making the Mindfulness Beads, as well as well as the HandBrain Model video from Dr. Dan Siegal.

For more information on training programs related to helping young people cope with anxiety, please email or use the Contact form on this site.


15 Things Kids or Teens Say That Could Mean ‘I’m Anxious’ – Where They Come From And How to Respond

What Anxious and Angry Kids Need to Know About Their Brain


What Parents Need to Know to Keep Kids Safe Online


It’s a fact of 21st century life that kids are connected to each other 24-7.  While many professionals and parents feel like digital immigrants in their kids’ native cyberlands, any lack of technological savvy on their parts is usually made up for by the social and moral savvy that comes with age and life experience.

While adults have good reasons to believe that they’ll never be quite as knowledgeable as kids about social media, it’s essential that we do our best to keep up on the options available to young people and offer them our guidance and wisdom (in place of our lectures and thou shalt nots) on how to use technology safely, respectfully, and with dignity.

The following links, offered to help parents and professionals keep up with 17 of the most popular apps of this season, are based on my training, Practical Strategies for Keeping Kids Safe Online.

Anonymous apps:


About Sarahah:

About Burnbook:

About Whisper:


About TBH:


Disappearing Media Apps:


About Snapchat:

About Instagram stories:



About Periscope:


Teen Dating Sites:


About Down:

About Tinder:

About Hotornot:

About Blendr:




About Omegle:

About Kik

About Vero:


For more information on what professionals and parents can do to keep kids safe online, check out 8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents and Schools

Teacher Feedback on Signe’s Recent Presentations


I had a great time visiting Pohatcong School District this week in eastern NJ!  This is the third time I’ve been to the K-8 school near Phillipsburg, NJ and each time, I just enjoy the students (and faculty!) more and more.  Whether it was during last period on Friday afternoon or first thing on Monday morning, the students of all ages were attentive, engaged, curious, and respectful.  They asked great questions, gave spot-on responses, and came up with some fantastic ideas for how to stand up for and reach out to peers who are on the receiving end of cruelty.

A bonus from this visit was that in addition to getting to hear from the kids, three teachers shared their thoughts on my presentations as well:


“Signe Whitson’s presentation was 100 percent appropriate for our students. She was extremely energetic and really connected with our students! It was even helpful for teachers to hear the differences between “bullying, meanness and rudeness.” I know the kids really remember the 3 P’s of Bullying as well. This will really come in handy when students are trying to determine if they are in a bullying situation or not.  Thanks a ton!”


I went with the 6th grade girls and it was about recognizing the differences between rude, mean, and bullying behaviors, which I felt was very important to know and well received by the girls. For the most part, I think they realized that most of what they quickly call “bullying” is actually “mean” and now they know to look for repetition and an imbalance of power for it to be labeled bullying. Also, it was made clear that if they feel bullied, they need to tell someone, even a friend!!!!


Thank you, Signe. Your in-services are so valuable and helpful to not only our students but the staff as well.


Visit my Bullying Prevention Workshops page for details on available school presentation topics or email me directly at




Hang on, America. The kids will save you.



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