Archive for January, 2018

Speak Your Kind


We’re participating in the Great Kindness Challenge this week at my school. Here’s an example of an act of kindness and generosity from one of our families…Absolutely love my new Speak Your Kind mug!




Join the Great Kindness Challenge: Jan 22-26th


Wanted to share with you how we are celebrating Kindness at my school this week:

(To learn more about the Great Kindness Challenge and how to get your students or your family involved, click here.)

Dear Families,

As many of you may have heard from your children, I have been working with students on turning kindness and compassion into verbs over the last two months.
This coming week, I’d love for all Swain students and families to join together to take part in the 2018 Great Kindness Challenge, a national campaign to create cultures of kindness in schools and communities.
Beginning tomorrow (Monday, Jan. 22), all students will receive a GKC 2018 Checklist, filled with no-cost ways to show kindness to others.  The students will be challenged to carry out as many of the acts of kindness as possible. Teachers will be checking in with students throughout the week to talk about how their acts of kindness impact others and how showing kindness makes them feel about themselves.
We would love to involve you as well!  Attached, please find the Great Kindness Challenge Family Edition checklist that you can use to carry out acts of kindness with your children. Please engage them in conversation about how small acts of kindness can make a big difference for others.  I hope you will enjoy this as a family challenge!
Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for your help in making this school-wide Kindness Campaign work!!
Signe Whitson
Director of School Counseling

The Thing Your Students Need Most


Today was one of those days where this was so very true!  To make someone feel genuinely heard, understood & accepted…to meet a young person where they are without any judgment…to show compassion…a better gift than any possible lesson plan objective!


5 Key Skills for an Effective School-Based Bullying Prevention Program


Most schools have policies that guide their practices around bullying.  While these policies are vital to have in place, a truth that most professionals, parents, and kids can verify is that policies don’t change people; people change people. 

Young people who struggle with social interactions don’t develop new skills because a policy told them to and kids who like to dominate and control others don’t give up these behaviors because they read a rule on a poster.

Check out my recent post on Psychology Today to learn what I consider the five essential social emotional skills that must be part of any school’s comprehensive bullying prevention program.

For more information and workshop inquiries, please email me at

How to Respond to a Young Person’s Anger


One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from teachers and parents is, How should I respond when a young person is upset or emotionally overwhelmed?”  Since self-regulation is the core of emotional well-being (not to mention a pre-requisite for academic progress), I am not just willing…but completely eager…to share practical strategies for helping kids manage intense feelings and develop self-regulation skills.

Check out my recent post from Psychology Today to find seven practical strategies for responding well to angry kiddos…and please share it with professionals, parents, and others in your network who may also find it helpful.




8 Things Kids Can Say & Do to Stop Bullying


My students tell me that one of the most frequently applied skills I teach them is the use of Bully Bans. Bully bans are short, to-the-point statements meant to interrupt an incident of bullying in its tracks without escalating the conflict.  These practiced responses take into account that during stressful moments, kids’ brains rarely come up with “helpful” things to say. Rather, the heat-of-the-moment usually sparks emotionally-charged, conflict-fueling words and actions. Bully bans help turn this around. Find out more from my recent Psychology Today post, here:


Specific lesson plans for teaching Bully Bans to kids are featured in Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Teach Young Girls to Cope with Bullying.


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