BES Guidance‎ > ‎

Weekly Guidance Lesson (3rd and 4th grade) Reflections…

October 21, 2016 - Perseverance and Purpose

posted Oct 24, 2016, 7:56 AM by Julie Bassi   [ updated Oct 24, 2016, 11:36 AM ]

One of our fourth grade students came to me with the following video (google Gopro video friends plant trees...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx6hBgNNacE), which he felt would be inspiring for all of the third and fourth graders to see.  It is a story about friendship and perseverance, where two people without a whole lot of luck or privilege decide to make meaning of their lives by working together and offering a true gift to their community in the form of planting trees.  Watching the movie (in Chinese but with English subtitles) captivated our students and allowed us to explore topics such as the idea that we feed our soul when we engage in pursuits that benefit each other.  A life of competition alone, where our only path to get ahead means pushing others down, eventually becomes stale and unfulfilling - even for the so-called “winners.”  Deep down, human beings are wired for connection, and when we remember to hone and value our collaboration skills, we feel fulfilled.  Money and power cannot purchase the sense of joy and satisfaction that the two friends shared.  The kids understood this, perhaps better than most adults, and they marveled at the true miracle of creating something good from practically nothing - of their choosing, of their hard work, of their passion for the earth.  We discussed mindset and creativity - not to give up when all hope seems lost (only 2 of their first 800 trees survived) and understanding that the right answer is not always known in advance.  This is where a hopeful, creative spirit must live - and this is where education must prepare our children as they grow up to engage in careers that move beyond what computers can produce more cheaply than human cogs in the wheel.  Our next generation is called upon to creatively solve bigger problems, of which there are so many - and to learn to think outside “the box” to find work and fulfilment born of both competitive AND collaborative means in order to find joy and meaning in their lives.

Julie Bassi, Ph.D.

School Psychologist  


October 14, 2016 Learning about the brain and the "River of Calm"

posted Oct 18, 2016, 6:17 AM by Julie Bassi

Students this week were offered a preliminary lesson on the two hemispheres of their brains, and the amazing “corpus collosum” or superhighway that connects the two sides.  The point of the lesson, in addition to learning about major functions of the right and left hemispheres, was to help them understand from a structural perspective that they are in charge of steering their own “ships” down the “River of Calm.”  We reviewed the right side of the brain as being responsible for emotion, creativity, and artistic tendencies, while the left side is more responsible for words, language, organization and lists, and literal interpretations.  We discussed the right side as encapsulating the “spirit of the law” while the left side represents the “letter of the law.”  With the analogy of a superhighway, the children were introduced to the concept that we all have tendencies toward both sets of traits, and it is through the superhighway of the corpus collosum that the right side of our brains can talk to the left side to process things like “big emotions.”  Kids considered the danger of being stuck in the riverbank of rigidity (left side) and the danger of being stuck in the riverbank of chaos (right side).  Picturing themselves paddling down the river, the children were left with the knowledge that our brain is formed to adapt to challenges and big feelings, and it is through language and planned strategies that we can process those big emotions so as not to become stuck on one side of the riverbank or the other.  There is such power in our capacity to stay calm and present in the midst of hard times or chaos, to think through problems reasonably and with an understanding that no problem is insurmountable as long as we fight hard to remember our options.  It is easy to give in to fear or to react in a tantrum type of way, at which point our brain tells us untruths that simply make us more upset and more stuck.  As human beings, we have choices, we have options, and we have the capacity to steer our own ships down the “River of Calm” and to realize that the more we practice calm reactions and talking through feelings, the better at it we get.

Julie Bassi, Ph.D.

School Psychologist


October 7, 2016 - Kindness and Compliments

posted Oct 11, 2016, 6:16 AM by Julie Bassi   [ updated Oct 24, 2016, 8:23 AM ]

This week, the theme of kindness as a culture was promoted by offering the kids opportunities to give each other compliments - to think from the heart, to write them down, and to present them to each other.  Devoting classroom time to this type of activity sends a message to kids that we feel noticing strengths is a valid component of education.  Further, the exercise offered the chance to truly FEEL what it’s like to be noticed and appreciated by others - and to reflect on that feeling, both in the giving and in the receiving.  Most obviously, the smiles that the activity induced were worth a thousand words - a visceral moment of trust, safety, and sense of belonging.  I find it so amazing to think how little it takes to make each other smile, and how in the competitiveness and sheer busyness of our lives, we sometimes forget to take the time.  How can we do better at noticing and bolstering others as a priority in our daily lives?  You can see the kids and read some of their complements as depicted on the bulletin boards in school - near the nurse’s office and in the guidance wing.  As we begin to discuss the neurobiology of our brains, it is important for children to recognize what we are learning from within - to note the legitimacy of our feelings and the power they can have over us and our decision making and our mindsets.  Next week, as we explore the different sides of the brain’s anatomy (right, left, and corpus callosum), there will be an inner context to the lesson - and the hope that not only are we learning about our brains, we are building a kindness culture within our school and within our greater community.

Julie Bassi, Ph.D.

School Psychologist


1-3 of 3