Marshall the Miracle Dog

Wow–at Robinson we cram lots of fabulous things into short periods of time.  I already told you about how our first 1/2 day was Read With Your Roadruner, and our Olweus Kick-Off Day.  Well…it started with a great visit from Marshall the Miracle Dog!

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Cindy, Marshall’s mom, came to read the book she wrote about his story:

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We learned about how Marshall’s story included people (and dogs) who mistreated him–he even lost a leg because of how neglected he was–but he overcame and learned to love again because of special people like Cindy in his life who showed him love.   We talked about how we can do the same thing!  Cindy took questions from the audience, and then everybody got to give Marshall a quick pet on the way out.  They were moving so fast, though, that it was hard to catch….

I think one of the best parts of Marshall’s story is how far it has spread.  They even made a movie about his life!  To learn more about Marshall, check out his website here.

What an inspiring story that none of us will soon forget!


It Just Takes One!

We have a very special community of learners in our school–both children and adults. 🙂  Last year I highlighted the fun and learning we experienced on our Olweus Bully Prevention Program Kick-Off Day (wow…that’s a mouthful for sure!).  Olweus is the program that we use with grades 3-5 to help prevent kiddos from developing bully-like behavior.  The focus is on turning bystanders into defenders.

In grades k-2, we start with a series of lessons from a program called Second Steps.  It is teaching kiddos about learning behaviors, as well as how to be assertive, ask for help and also help others.  That, in tandem with our work around our Robinson Road Rules, will set a strong foundation for the work that they will then do in 3rd grade and beyond (Olweus is also a priority in our middle schools!).

So, this year on our first half-day (when we also had our first Read with Your Roadrunner), we again had our Olweus Kick-Off Day.  It was a little different doing this with first graders, but no less magical as we had great conversations and talked about what it mean to stand up for ourselves and help our friends, too.

We focused the morning around this great book by Kathryn Otoshi:


In the story, Blue is a great color, but he is pushed around by Red, and all of the others colors are too scared to stand up to Red and help Blue.  And then 1 moves into town.  1 is different, and decides to stand up to Red, saying NO! when he is pushed around and then encouraging all the others to do the same.  Eventually, 1 helps his friends become stronger, but also finds a way to be kind to Red and include him, too.  And yes–there is a happy ending!

We read the story and had a super conversation about what it feels like to be Blue, as well as Red, and how one of the reasons Red probably acts that way is because he is lonely.  We shared times when we’d felt like each of the characters and focused on the importance of being strong and standing up like 1 did in the story.

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After that, we illustrated our own version of the story:

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We also decorated 1’s that will become part of a poster to remind us how IT JUST TAKES ONE to make a difference!  What’s been the most exciting about this day is listening to them use the language from the story in our everyday lives.  I’m hearing them talk about being 1 and standing up when they hear their friends being treated in a way that isn’t ok.  And when they don’t remember to be 1, we are having great conversations about what to do next time.  This is the important work of first grade right here, as we mold friends, citizens and leaders for today and tomorrow!

Are you down with OBPP?

Ok, so I have to admit making a really old reference to a less-than-great song from the early 90s with that title, but hey, it sounded good. 🙂

What is OBPP, you probably wondering?  OBPP stands for the Olweus (ohl-vay-us) Bully Prevention Program that we have recently started at our school.  It’s not new–just new to us–and is actually been around for years and based on some great research.

We began our Olweus journey with a very important definition.  Regardless of what we (or our students) thought bullying was, this is now our school-wide, shared definition:

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 2.40.42 PMWe started talking about this definition last fall, after we discussed what we thought it meant.  What we found out was that we were not all on the same page.  How important that we’re all now speaking the same language!

The second part of starting Olweus with our kiddos came by way of learning some new bullying rules.  They are related to the Robinson Road Rules that we already have in place, but are specific to what every kiddo (and adult!) should do if we see bullying happening:


After we’d been working with these two important documents for a little while, and after the staff/teachers had done some learning together about OBPP, we were ready to officially kick this off with our kiddos.  This happened on a really spectacular half-day in January.

Check it out!

We started the day off together as a whole school in an assembly.  The energy in the gym was so great--wish we could do this every Friday!

We started the day off together as a whole school in an assembly. The energy in the gym was so great–wish we could do this every Friday!

5th Grade sang “Everyday Heroes”

Following our assembly, 3-5 grades rotated through some activities designed to get us motivated and excited about the work ahead.

First, we had a class meeting around our new bullying rules, and our thoughts about them.

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During our 2nd rotation, we got to go to the gym to work with Mr. Lee on some tae kwon do.  He’s been to our school before, and always has a great presentation for us.

Here we’re learning about how bullies are more likely to target people who seem like they don’t have confidence….


Among some other things, we also did some exercises.  In this video, Landry did an AMAZING job of leading us.  He is BEAST!


For our last rotation, we participated in something that teachers around Robinson do all the time–look at data.  As part of the Olweus work from last year, every kiddo in grades 3-5 took a bullying survey and we were looking at the results.  There were graphs up all around the cafe, and our job was to silently comment on what we thought about what we saw. (As a point of clarification–our answers are represented by the 4th grade data.)

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What an amazing day of inspiration and learning!  We are ready and motivated to make a difference in our school and our world!