In SOS, we often focus on 8 specific strength areas - positive friends, family support, mentors, healthy activities, spirituality, medical access, generosity, and mental health. In January, students reflected on one area of strength in their life that is currently strong and one area of strength where they want to grow this year. It's a great conversation to continue with your students. We all have strengths, but we all also have areas where we can grow. We also asked students to think about how they would achieve their goals of growing in this strength area.
Our next meeting was postponed due to a surprise winter break! As a SOS group, we used this break to teach a positive strategy that we will continue throughout the year. We asked students to work together to make a list of EVERYTHING positive that they could think of that happened during their surprise time off school. So often, we think about the negative things that happen. We can easily list off being bored, being stuck inside, shoveling for hours, having extra chores, etc., but we forget about all the good things that happen like having a snowball fight, sleeping in, spending quality time with our family, baking, and helping our neighbors! While it's an easy skill to practice with something like a surprise winter break, we are challenging students to use this strategy themselves or to teach a friend when they have a bad day. We promise, in every bad day, there are hundreds of good things happening. You just have to train your brain to look for them!
Lastly, we had students review a list of all the fantastic Col E Brooke Lee students and staff. Students were asked to mark how well they knew each person, and then we had a discussion after students looked at their own results. Many observations were shared. We talked about how we may know a lot of students in our own grade, but we are less familiar with people in other grades. We also noted that we may know a core group of friends within our grade, but we don't know many people across our grade. Often, when we are having difficulties with our friend group, we forget that there are LOTS of other people who we might be friends with! We also know that there are many awesome people who might not feel connected to others at school. So SOS members - staff and students alike - were challenged to try to increase the number of connections they have in the building. We talked about talking to new people in class, sitting with new people at lunch, how to introduce yourself to someone on the bus, at a school dance, or at a sporting event. We can help others and help ourselves by becoming a more connected school community!