Lesson 8: A month in review

This week was a review of what to do when you feel certain ways…
Sad – remember The Pout Pout Fish?
Frustrated – remember Sally Simon Simmons?
Mad – remember Alexander and his bad day?
Worried – remember Wilma Jean?

No matter how you feel, the first step is to calm down using SAIL. Next, figure out what size the problem is and make sure your reaction to the problem matches the size of the problem.

After our review, we headed outside for some running relay races. Each lap earned the girls a letter to spell Girls TALK (heart).

The girls also celebrated donating 150lbs of canned food to TABLE in the month of October. They were so proud of themselves. Thanks so much for your continued support of this aspect of the program. The folks at TABLE are super grateful for our continued support. What a great lesson to learn as young girls….helping others in their community. My hope is that each and everyone of them continue to give back as they grow up.


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Next month the focus will be on how to be a part of a group. As always, I have a blast hanging out with your girls each week. Thanks for sharing them with me.

Lesson 7: what to do when you are worried

We had some really honest discussions today about what do when you are worried. I shared that after I use the SAIL strategy, I find it helpful to talk to someone about my worries. If I don’t, a small worry can turn into a really big worry. The person you talk to about your worry might have some strategies that you have not thought about, but oftentimes simply talking about what is making you worry helps make you worry less.

The book reading was Wilma Jean, The Worry Machine. One of the girls went to the bathroom before I got into character. Her face when she returned to the classroom and saw me as Wilma Jean was *priceless.* How did I do?


We played the cone race and defy gravity as our ways of being active.

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I gave each girl a Guatemalan worry doll. You tell your worries to the doll and then tuck it under your pillow and she takes care of your worry.



new location!

A lot of the local charter schools have enrichment clubs either as a half day early release option or as an after school activity. I have not had a lot of luck at Woods, Expedition, or Voyager. But I finally got some good news the Endeavor Charter School. They advertise the clubs and open them up to the public, which I think really helps with enrollment. I will be running an 8-week Girls TALK program there starting week after next! The only bad part? The school is in Wake Forest…. 40 mins from Durham. I am not sure why, but I had it in my head that the school was in Durham. Oops.

Determined to make it work, I made a plan. Aidan will go home with an upper school student who happens to be a girl and lives in Chapel Hill. He was *totally* up for this, by the way 😉 Sign Samantha out 15 mins early on those Mondays so she can help me. She is a pretty amazing Jr Counselor. Wish us luck at the Endeavor Charter School. It should be fun meeting and teaching at a new school!

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Lesson 6: What to do when you are mad

The book reading today was very appropriate. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Our family went to see the movie over our rainy weekend. Alexander has a bad day, but like the Pout Pout Fish, he does not do anything to make it better.


One of my Jr Counselors held up the repeating phrase shown above and each time I read it from the book, they said it along with me. Just another way to keep girls engaged in a book reading 😉

Next, we talked about the size of a problem and the size of your reaction to the problem. Your reaction is how you act when there is a problem. The goal, no matter the size of the problem is for your reaction to the problem to match the size of the problem. There was some good discussion about what size the actual problems Alexander had in the book. Example: having to wear railroad train PJs….size 1, right? Who sees you in your PJs? Mom forgetting to put dessert in your lunch…..size 1-2 (or for some 4….haha). I asked if anyone thought Alexander’s mom woke up and thought that she would be mean to him by not packing his favorite dessert. The overwhelming response was NO. One girl said that I had some experience in this area….haha. SO TRUE! Moms have so much to remember, and our goal is never to make our children sad/mad, etc.

Our way to practice being active this week? Yoga. We practiced some breathing exercises, then some poses, then some animal poses. So glad the rain stopped so we could enjoy our yoga outside today!

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Lesson 5: What to do when you are frustrated

I was proud of the girls today. Many were able to give examples of problems that have come up during the school day, and we were able to brainstorm ways to “think it through” before responding. I think it is important to mention that sometimes when problems come up, we all need some time to calm down before we respond. That is where the strategy SAIL© comes into play:


And take a deep breath

In 1….2….3

Let it out 1…..2…..3…..4…….5.

You breath in slowing through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.

We also came up with a definition for a problem – when what is supposed to happen does not match what actually happens. This can lead to feeling frustrated.

We read the book Sally Simon Simmons’ Super Frustrating Day by, Abbie Schiller. The girls were quick to notice that Sally turned a small problem into a big one. We will talk more next week about the size of your problem and the size of your reaction to the problem.

Now, for our ways to practice being active? We played Marshmallow Basketball and Wiggle Rope. Oh, and we had a special guest this afternoon (my son). He had a blast hanging out with us (really, he did) and even tried the Face the Cookie Challenge 🙂

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The Phenomenon of the Hungry Obese

I am the volunteer director of PR for TABLE. Most of you know that TABLE is the community service focus for Girls TALK. What that fancy title really means is that I do social media postings on Facebook and Instagram.

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Today’s blog post that I shared was not new information, but it was still hard to read. Here is a link to the full article, but this one statistic was truly shocking: A recent study done by the University of Washington found that a day’s worth (2,000 calories) of junk food commonly found in grocery stores would cost $3.52 per day, while a day’s worth of low energy density (read: fruits, vegetables, etc.) would cost $36.32 per day. 

I try my best when selecting canned goods to donate to pick ones that are affordable and healthy, but that can be a challenge. I can also remember when Samantha I helped out with a similar program at her previous school. We were given a list each week of food items to buy. I was shocked at the items to purchase. All processed food, made with high fructose corn syrup, and most of all very few nutritional ingredients. I will never forget Samantha asking why she could not have those food items to eat. When I explained that we did not eat food like that, she questioned then why would I buy them for children at her school. What a hard question. Is the right answer junk food is better than no food at all? It should not be. How to break the cycle and provide food to hungry children without contributing to childhood obesity? Any takers?


Boys TALK?

When Girls TALK was just in the planning phase, I can remember some friends asking why the focus was just on girls. At the time my thought was that boys would not be interested in this type of after school program.

Fast forward to this school year. My father in law was the first to mention that the work I was doing with the girls was equally as important for boys. Again, I thought the interest would not be there.

Then parents started asking. This week I have had 3 parents ask about a boy program, and just yesterday at dismissal a teacher at Willow Oak asked if I would be interested in doing a boy program.

So, I did 2 things – set up a coffee meeting with one of the interested parents and also talked to my “boy” and his friend Sam in carpool. Much to my surprise they were both receptive to the idea of a boys “club” as they called it. The mom I met with also brought up an interesting point….girls are born with the ability to talk it out. They just need help with what that looks like. Boys on the other hand are not born knowing how to talk it out, which makes the argument that they might need this type of program even more.

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I am still putting on my thinking cap in terms of what this might look like, but since it keeps coming up, I feel like I owe it to my son to at least consider the idea.



What to do when you are sad

This  month the focus will be on what to do when you feel certain ways….sad, frustrated, worried, mad, etc. The first lesson focus was when you feel sad. This was appropriately fitting for me since I have been feeling very sad this week. We had to put down our 14 year old family dog. It was time, but that did not make it any easier to say goodbye. I am grateful for my work with the girls, since it forced me out of my sadness and gave me a reason to think about something else this week.

The book reading was The Pout Pout Fish by, Deborah Diesen. It is one of my favorite books. The pout pout fish is sad and does not know what to do to feel better. It is not until another fish comes along and plants a kiss on his lips that he realizes he is actually a kiss kiss fish.

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I stressed that when you are sad, just like when you do not “think it through,” you need to think differently if you want to feel better. It is also helpful to talk to others when you are sad. They might have ways to help you think differently.

We played a new game today that my daughter taught me called Spots. It was a hit with the girls, which means I am sure we will play it again soon 🙂

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