Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to School 2008

Although the official start of school was August 28th, the wacky schedules of the first couple days which accommodate orientation assemblies and extended homerooms, along with the relatively high percentage of Cleveland families who will not send their children to school until after Labor Day, my classes don't begin to get rolling until the first week of September.
The first drawing exercise I give my students each year is a diagnostic tool used by art therapists. I ask my students to draw a picture, or pictures, of where they live and who they live with. I use the drawings to assess their skill level, of course, but I can also learn some very helpful things about their backgrounds, developmental levels, and emotional relationships.
The teen years for many students are traumatic, and as the shooting incident at Willoughby demonstrated yesterday, some kids can become so distraught they become a danger to themselves and other people. The more we as adults can do to become aware of individuals who may be going through an emotional crisis, or the early stages of a serious mental illness, the safer we all will be.
Perhaps best strategy for security in schools has always been the relationships we build with our students.
And those relationships begin on day one.
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