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October 10, 2011

Piece by Peace

Written By: Barbara Gruener
X Piece by Peace - Behavior in the Classroom

Piece by Peace - Behavior in the Classroom

I just love October because every year two amazing reasons to celebrate collide, National Character Counts! Week and National Red Ribbon Week.  I’m not saying that we need to set aside a week to celebrate character, but it’s just so exciting to join five million other students worldwide in saying YES to healthy choices!  We experienced such success with our Color the World With Character  theme last year that I wasn’t sure how we could ever top it.  But since our feeder intermediate has merged with our elementary school this year, I’m collaborating with another counselor now and together we have come up with a plan that I think is gonna R.O.C.K.!

Piece by Peace

We’ll start the week on the Saturday before by gathering as a community in the park at our annual Wrap the Town Red event.  Cheerleaders will cheer, choirs will sing, the Mayor will address the crowd and each campus will take their RED signs to post around town as a visual reminder that we are a Drug-Free community.  Since the wristbands that we’ll give to every student bear the slogan Say Peace-Out To Drugs, we decided to go with the theme:  Helping Our Community Piece by Peace.  Instead of dress-up days like we’ve done in the past, we’re asking our school family for donations with which we can support our local charitable organizations.

  • Monday: Be GROOVY and give. Bring toiletry items such as soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant.

**Students will receive a SAY PEACE OUT TO DRUGS wristband.

NOTE:  Wear RED and P.E. shoes today for our school-wide walk.

  • Tuesday: Caring for others is RIGHT ON!  Bring non-toxic, kid-

safe cleaning items like scouring pads or sponges, dish soap or clothes detergent to stock a local pantry. Parents are invited to a Coffee Chat With Our Counselors at 8:30 a.m. on the Bales campus.

  • Wednesday:  It’s FAR OUT to share with the less fortunate. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to a local food bank.

NOTE:  Hometown Heroes from FHS will lead our Westwood character pep rally at Wednesday Warbles – go ‘Stangs go!

  • Thursday: Donating toys for kids in need is OUTTA SIGHT!  Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Friendswood Blue Santa holiday program for local families.
  • Friday: Being a Peacemaker is TOTALLY COOL! Let’s dress for success to welcome our third graders’ GRANDparents and show them what professional Peacemakers look like.

On Monday, our littlest leaders – dressed in RED – will participate in a school-wide character walk against drugs, and mid-week our Hometown Heroes from Friendswood High School will lead a pep rally, something our little leaders look forward to every year.  On Tuesday, our parents or guardians will be invited to a Coffee Chat With the Counselors during which we’ll hold a parenting workshop to answer the inquiry: Just What Does A Peacemaker Look Like?  This will serve as a great opportunity to review our character education program expectations as well as to give anti-bullying tips and strategies.  I’ll share Eileen Spinelli’s Peace Week in Mrs. Fox’s Class as a launch from that meeting.

At week’s end, our third graders will host a GRAND celebration and invite their grandparents to breakfast, followed by a special assembly so that they can perform their signature character songs from the musical Movin’ In The Right Direction for their role models.  After the program, students will take their grandparents back to the classroom to interview them and let them take us to way back when. Grandparents are an important resource in connecting with kids and helping them avoid the pitfalls of drug and alcohol use.  As such, we’ll send home a copy of the Time To Talk article entitled Grandparents Hold the Key To Keeping Teens Drug Free.


About the Author

A bilingual educator who was raised on her family’s farm in Wisconsin, Barbara Gruener has been the counselor and character coach at Westwood-Bales Elementary School in Friendswood, Texas for the past ten years. She’s also a motivational speaker and loves to influence and impact workshop participants in her signature Sing, Dance, Laugh and Build Character sessions. When she’s not at school, Barbara likes to write, read, knit, bake, and spend time with family and friends.  Check out Barbara’s new blog to read her inspirational stories about positive people and elevating experiences.


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  • Beatriz Patten
    October 27, 2011

    I love your ideas

  • Amanda
    October 11, 2011

    LOVE these groovy ideas, Barbara! We’ll share this on our FB page!
    Amy, it’s not too late to have your own CHARACTER COUNTS! Week celebration. Visit the CC! website where you can sign up and access plans and ideas for CC! Week 2011. Free!

  • Amy
    October 10, 2011

    I love all these ideas. I wish our community had a week like this happening to celebrate Character Counts and making healthy choices. I’m sure a lot of time and effort went into the plans.
    Amy Gosla
    Tucson, AZ

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