The Bridge Program: Burlington High School
This month, our module theme is centered around family dynamics and the different roles we each play within a family. Families are not democracies. Each family has its own ways of deciding who has the power and authority within the family unit, and which rights, privileges, obligations, and roles are assigned to each family member. What are examples of roles? (think: provider, $ maker, housekeeper, cleans, cooks, makes decisions, etc).
During the module, each student was given a card with the following question: "What do you like best about your family?" There were a number of responses throughout the day reflecting different outlooks of family and when their family is at their best.
Our favorite modules are the modules that include FOOD! We placed a napkin and a small donut in front of each student. They were not able to eat or touch the donut during the exercise. The students were asked to describe the donut to someone who has never seen one. Most students explained the hole in the middle of their donut as part of their description. In this exercise, the hole in the donut represents all of the things we see wrong in our families, we tend to focus on the missing or negative parts first - and we are all guilty of that at some point in our lives!
The majority of the students shared that the best part of the donut is the cake... and that there is a lot more cake than there is hole! We discussed that in our homes, we need to look for the positive things happening. The students are part of the cake, and that is the part that really counts! We tend to find what we look for. Isn't it better to focus on what you have instead of what is missing and/or something you can't change? A positive outlook can change the entire mood of a home and/or the people who live there! What we really need to enjoy about our families is not the HOLE but the WHOLE!
Before you start the test, take a long, deep breath and slowly exhale.
Carefully read all of the directions before beginning the test so that you understand what to do.
Be confident and do NOT panic.
Quickly survey the entire test and decide how much time you will spend on each section.
If some questions are worth more points than others, they deserve more of your attention.
Before you even look at the test questions, turn the test paper over and take a moment to write down the formulas, definitions, and major ideas that you have been studying. (Helps to provide quick access to the information while you are taking the test).
Expect that you will be puzzled by some questions.
If different sections consist of different types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, essay, etc.), complete the types of questions that you are most comfortable with first.
Remind yourself that you will be okay and that you do know the material and can do well on the test.
Stay and check your work for errors.
Reread the directions one last time
If you are using an answer sheet, make sure that all of the bubbles are filled in accurately.
Scented Slime for Your Calming Boxes
Since this slime is extremely resistant and thick it provides a great deal of deep pressure and joint compression. As you squeeze, fold, roll, and even pull the slime, you are sending signals to your brain that are calming and organizing! Much like chores, brain breaks and simple daily tasks; playing with slime is actually calming and can increase focus. While you twist, turn and roll the slime in your hands, your mind is almost immediately taken off guard. By providing a sensory stimulus, your brain is now thinking that you are not in danger and there is no reason to be stressed and alarmed.
By adding in pure essential oils, you are enhancing the calming effect of the slime itself! There are many essential oils that will help you be calm and focus. By adding these, you are getting the benefits of the olfactory system as well as the tactile input.
What do you think a “Calming Box” is and what is it’s purpose/function?
This month, during our modules, the students are creating their own Calming Boxes. Creating “Calming Boxes” provides us with opportunity to create a tangible resource of objects that serve to distract and self-soothe us in times of distress. It is one thing to think about something, but another to provide a tangible object that is especially helpful in times of emotional upset. These objects are used to give immediate comfort and can serve as a distraction.
Today we will be focusing on the sense of touch. We will be making Rice Socks. Rice socks are used to treat both muscle pains and stress. When heated, they are a more effective tool for calming and relaxation.
Directions for making a Rice Sock
Fill sock with 1.5-2 cups of rice
Tie the end of the sock or secure with a rubber band
Place in microwave for 2-3 minutes (optional)
Throughout this month’s modules, we will focus on items or objects to add to your “Calming Boxes”. Each will have to do with one of the 5 senses. Some senses may be repeated.
The Guidance Department at Burlington High School will be hosting a Parent Breakfast on Wednesday 11/29, from 8:30-9:30 AM in the BHS Guidance College and Career Center. The purpose of this breakfast is to give parents of Burlington High School students the opportunity to have an open dialogue around stress and anxiety with Burlington High School staff members. Stress and Anxiety impacts all students in a variety of ways. The breakfast is aimed at providing insight into stress and anxiety in adolescents and effective coping strategies. We look forward to seeing you! Please RSVP by calling 781-270-1780.
Creating positive habits and tracking them helps students foster accountability, intrinsic motivation, and internal reminders in hopes to move habits to involuntary behaviors. Students will be asked to reflect upon “habits” they would like to focus on with regards to personal, academic, or physical change. They will start small with 2-3 habits they would like to track for positive change.
The following examples and ideas that were developed during the Habit Tracking module are:
The idea that too much as well as too little stress and anxiety is undesirable and unhealthy.
You lose about ½ pound of muscle every year after the age of 25 if your not adequately using your muscle. Did you know that when you lift weights, microscopic tears actually occur in your muscles. Increased muscular strength doesn’t occur as you’re lifting weights; it occurs during your rest period, or your day off from lifting weights.
So stress can be compared to our muscles. In order to gain physical strength, it is necessary to stress the muscles. The microscopic tears are good because it is the building back up of the tears that result in increased physical strength ...so to it is with stress.
Experiencing or dealing with stresses can cause microscopic tears in our emotional health and stamina. But learning to recover and build ourselves back from stressful experiences result in increased emotional strength. BUT if the muscle is stressed too much or you lift weights too often, your muscles can be torn down too much and your body doesn’t have the chance to build back the muscle. In other words if you lift too much weight and don’t give your muscles a day off and give yourself recovery time, your muscles don’t have time to rebuild themselves before you tear them again.
Again, so to it is with stress. If you’re dealing with too much stress and you don’t have enough of a break between those stressers, you might not have a chance to recover or deal with the stress effectively. On the other hand, if you don’t sufficiently stress the muscles, or you don’t lift enough weight, you won’t develop your physical strength. If your weights are too light, it is too easy.
The challenges that we face serve as the weight we lift in order to strengthen our ability to handle stress or our emotional strain. If we’re never faced with emotional stress, we will never have the opportunities to strengthen our coping abilities and develop the capacity to effectively handle stress. So next time you are faced with a stressful situation - look at it as your opportunity to “Work out.”
Based on the Bell-Curve graph, the optimal amount of stress is correlated with an optimal amount of performance or emotional health. For example: Athletes perform best when they feel some degree of stressed or when they are psyched up to an extent prior to a competition. The same goes for non-athletes.
Have you ever felt less productive when you have too much time on your hands? Too much to do because you feel overwhelmed? So what is the optimal amount? We are all different in the way that we handle stress, so our optimal amounts differ.
Our students created their own bell-curve using pictures from magazines or google images to share the setting where they felt at each performance level. Below are some examples!
The month of October we are going to focus on Anxiety and Stress and how it impacts the brain. The goal is for students to grasp an understanding of the physiological and psychological affects of Anxiety and Stress to help motivate for learning of new coping skills.
Anxiety is defined as: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
There are typically three types of responses to Anxiety. We have the fight response, flight response, and freeze response. Can you guess what each of these responses mean?
Our students in the Freeze response typically have intense worries about the future (e.g. college, professional prospects), difficulty tolerating feedback, few or no close peer relationships, Shutting down or "getting stuck" on test, and possible academic over achievement.
Our students in the Fight response tend to have many panic attacks, engage in self-injurious behaviors, suicidal thinking, substance use, instability and intensity in relationships, and disordered eating.
Our students in the Flight response may be late to school or have frequent absences, skip class, be involved in substance use, or avoid major projects such as college applications, essays, etc.
Does this remind you of anyone? Next week the students will focus on what is going on in our brain when we have an anxious or stress producing response.
Our students completed their vision boards this week and categorized each goal as having "no control," "some control," and "all control." Goals such as buying a vacation home, having children, and traveling fell under the category as having "some control" for most of our students. Character traits and growth mindset terms fell under the category as having "all control" for the majority as well. These vision boards focused on compartmentalizing what we can control in the future.
Needs: things you have to have in order to live/survive. (For example: air, food, water, shelter, clothes, safety, love) Wants: things that you would like to have to make your life easier -- things you can live without. (For example: CDs, new clothes, TV set)
Values : guidelines on how you live; your beliefs about right and wrong; (For example: freedom, honesty, trust, health, friendship, fun, money, power, love)
Goals: Where you want to go – something you want in the future that will make you happy.
This week in Bridge for our coping module, each student (and staff member) will begin brainstorming ideas for their "Goal Poster." We discussed with the students that goals are something you with to accomplish and setting goals gives you a direction. It is important to set goals in all areas of your life. Therefore, we focused on Health/Wellness, Career, Personal/Family, Financial/Material Items, and Bucket List Ideas.
1) Health & Wellness: Eating well, yoga, run
2) Career: To become and assistant principal
3) Personal/Family: Married, Children
4) Financial/Material Items: Buy a bigger home with a yard, vacation home/beach house
5) Life Bucket List: Travel more (Greece, Fiji, Australia, and many more!)
Next week, the students will use their brainstormed ideas and divide them up on a scale of "no control," "some control," and "all control" to represent how much ability they have to control each goal. They will research for pictures and images to represent the goals they chose.
We are looking forward to see what goals the students have for their future!