Monthly Supports Archive

Conversation Starters, Making Connections activities suggestions and Resources from previous months are posted here by month. Open the month section and scroll down to the desired grade level.

By Month

September Supports: 5th-, 8th-, 11th-grade

5th Grade September SEL & T24 Lessons Supports

September SEL Topic: Courage, Stand Safe, Stay Strong

Conversation Starters:

1. What makes you feel safe? Unsafe?

2. Which adult at school do you trust the most and why?

3. What would you do if your friend was bullied?

Making Connections:

1.    Establish a family rule about keeping private parts private. No photos in the bath. 

2.    Practice with your child what he/she should do if in an uncomfortable situation.

3.    Post emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

September T24 Topic: Law, Public Service & Security, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Conversation Starters:

1. What do you think your bus driver likes most about his/her job? How is this different than driving a city bus?

2. See that plane in the sky… who do you think is in it? Where are they going? What is the job of the pilot?

3. Which job do you think would be the best for you? Helping people? Fixing things? Making machines go? 

Making Connections:

1.   Bring treats to the fire fighters at a station near you.

2.   Have your child solve a mystery of something missing at home. Give clues and hints until the item is “found.”

3.   Look under the hood of your car to see all the things that could be repaired. If you know what some of the parts are for, point these out.

 

September 8th Grade SEL & T24 Supports

September SEL Topic: Bullying

Conversation Starters:

1. What do you think motivates bullies to make others afraid or anxious?

2. How would you be an ally for someone who is being bullied? 

3. Who is a trusted adult at school and away from school to whom you could talk to if you or someone you know is being bullied?

Making Connections:

1.    Draw a circle and write the word Target in the middle. Draw thought bubbles around the circle and write in statements that could be supportive of a person who is being bullied. 

2.    Make list of deflective statements or actions your child could use if bullied. Role play scenarios where the practiced words and behaviors are used.

3.    Discuss how your student could become a leader in preventing bullying. What kind of program would they design if they were in charge of stopping in-person and cyberbullying? Who would they get to help with this project?

September T24 Topic: Navigate & Endorsement Review

Conversation Starters: 

1.    Draw a circle and write the word Target in the middle. Draw thought bubbles around the circle and write in statements that could be supportive of a person who is being bullied. 

2.    Make list of deflective statements or actions your child could use if bullied. Role play scenarios where the practiced words and behaviors are used.

3.    Discuss how your student could become a leader in preventing bullying. What kind of program would they design if they were in charge of stopping in-person and cyberbullying? Who would they get to help with this project?

Making Connections:

1.   Look at this chart together. Which jobs have potential to grow? Which are on the decline? Read the job descriptions for a few and put a star by the ones that sound interesting.

2.   If you had to find a job today, what would you choose? Look on a job posting website such as Indeed. Which jobs available in Houston would you like to do? Will they pay you enough? Which endorsement would help you get this job?

3.   Make a list of as many adults as you know and include their jobs. Next time you see any of them, ask them if they like their job, how they got their to this career, and what they wish they had done differently when they were your age.

September 11th grade SEL-T24 Lesson Supports

September 11th Grade SEL Focus: Suicide Prevention

Conversation Starters:

1. What are some suicide risk behaviors that should raise a red flag if we observe them?

2. When you feel down, what do you do? With whom is it best to talk it out? What is the best way for you to hear or receive advice?

3. What would you do if your friend told you he was thinking about suicide, but asked you to promise not to tell anyone?

Making Connections:

1.    Practice having a conversation about suicide between your child and a “friend.’ What are things to do or say that will make the depressed person feel less alone?
2.    Make wallet cards with the 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) number on them for your student to hand out to friends.
3.    Post emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

September 11th Grade T24 Focus: SAT/ACT

Conversation Starters:

1. What are the differences between the ACT and SAT? On which do you think you are best suited to do well? Why or why not?

2. If you are not thinking about going to college, why is it still important to prepare and take the ACT and SAT?

3. What is the average SAT or ACT score for admission to ______ university? Where can you find this information?

Making Connections:

1.    Check out free SAT and ACT study helps and practice tests online. 

2.    Set up a reminder to check the SAT Question of the Day on the app. Make a game of using the question and answer in fun scenarios or accents to reinforce the learning.

3.    Help your child find a coach or mentor to check in with (bug!) your student to encourage reaching exam score goals.

October Supports: 5th- , 8th- , 11th-grade

5th Grade October SEL & T24 Lessons Supports

October SEL Topic: Red Ribbon Week/Bullying

Conversation Starters:

1. What is the difference between laughing with someone or at someone? How would you recognize if the joking was hurting someone’s feelings?

2. Is everyone the same in the world? What would the world be like if everyone liked and did things exactly the same? Why is variety necessary? How do you treat people who are different from you?

3. What would you do if someone asked you to try a drug that you know is bad for you? Who is a trusted adult at school can you ask for help in this situation? (Parents: once the child gives you a name, please send that person an email to let him/her know they are your child’s “go-to” person.)

Making Connections:

1.    Work through the What Should You Do? worksheet, and discuss each answer.

2.    Cut pictures of healthy foods and activities from magazines or online. Create a Healthy Choices collage letting the child pick which pictures to include. Talk about why they chose the pictures and what could happen to their brains and bodies if they made a bad choice. 

3.    Drive by an area of town where homeless people live. Discuss the circumstances and consequences that may have resulted in having to live on the street. 

October T-2-4 Topic: Careers in Arts, Audio Visual Technology and Communication

Conversation Starters:

1. Do you have an active imagination? Do you like to act things out? Do you like decorating your room? Would you be interested in a creative career? If not, what elements of art and communication are needed in other jobs?


2. Listen to the radio while driving in the car or watch television together. Which advertisements stand out? Which annoy you? What words or images are used to appeal to the audience they are trying to convince? What are the elements of the ad: voice, singing, music, call-to-action (BUY THIS, VOTE FOR…). 

3. What is the name of your art teacher? What makes him/her think differently than other teachers? What is your favorite thing to do in that class?

Making Connections:

  1. Visit the Sawyer Yards where dozens of artists DO their work. Talk to the artists about how it is to make a living doing this (open house every second Saturday).

  2. Attend a performance and point out all the audiovisual technology being used: speakers, microphones, video, miles of cables, lighting, etc.Talk about the people who make this behind-the-scenes technology work for the audience’s enjoyment.

  3. Draw or paint an awesome picture. Take photos of it, and make a plan to “sell” it to a friend or family member. What is a fair price? How would you market it? How would you package it? Use this website for ideas.

8th Grade October SEL & T24 Lessons Supports

October SEL Topic: Drugs

Conversation Starters:

1. Research shows that young people who talk to adults regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs. Why does this work? Why is the percentage not higher? Why do some adults not talk to children about this?  

2. Why do some people choose to take illegal drugs? Is the risk worth the consequences?

3. Excessive drinking poses serious risks to physical development of teens, such as negative effects on reproductive system, liver damage, reduced growth potential of the limbs and the body, reduced memory. How might these facts affect your choices when pressured to partake?

Making Connections:

1. Participate in the Red Ribbon Week photo contest by decorating your home or school with a Life is a Journey. Travel Drug Free theme.

2.    Make a chart with the harmful drug types listed in the Drug Facts Among Texas Youth 2016 report (see link below). Next to each, write the harmful short-and long-term effects of each.

3.    Role-play with your student how to say “No” in various scenarios. Do reverse role-play and let the student be the person offering the illegal substances, and you, the adult, model how to say “no,” change the subject, walk away, etc.

October T-2-4 Topic: Naviance Cluster Finder

Conversation Starters

1. What is a career cluster? Which do you feel is the best fit for you? Which jobs in this cluster sound interesting to you?


2. What do your strengths, values, personality and skills have to do with finding a career path?


3. Do all careers need a college degree? What are some that DO and some that do not? What kind of degrees or certifications are needed for each?

 

Making Connections:

Use the Career Clusters link to look up five possible careers. Make a list of the best parts of each job or draw a picture of yourself doing this job.

Look at the SBISD Guthrie Center programs. Which are of interest? Which pathways offered here are of interest?

Think of songs or lyrics that mention different careers. How many can you list together?
 

Additional Resources:

Career Clusters

The Guthrie Center

 

11th grade October SEL & T24 Lessons Supports

October SEL Topic: Social Media 101

Conversation Starters:

1. What are some pros and cons of using social media? Which kinds of words or pictures cause problems for you or others?

2. What would you do if you saw a threatening post from someone you know? Someone you don’t know?

3. If you were hiring someone to work for you, what would you look for in their online postings that would make you want to hire him/her or NOT?

Making Connections:

1, Help the young person be involved in uplifting activities that could be posted to highlight character strengths (i.e. volunteering, personal performances, tutoring, job duties, cultural events, praise for friends’ accomplishments, etc.) to create a positive digital footprint. Present your best self on social media.

2.    Identify trusted adults at school, and other settings away from campus, who your child can talk to if they see high-risk threats online. Make sure the adults’ contact information is readily accessible (contacts list, wallet card, etc.). Email each of the identified adults to let them know the young person has “chosen” them as a trusted, go-to person.

3.    Talk about how “little kids” argue and call each other names immaturely. Think of hypothetical scenarios where conflict between people should be worked out in person vs. posting online. Discuss why “walking away” from a hurtful online post and talking through the situation with other person face-to-face with active listening is a more mature approach. Practice using the phrases in this article. Sometimes writing them down gets the ideas to stick in your mind so they are ready to use when needed.

Additional Resources:

Stay Safe Online

A Teens Guide to Social Media Safety

11 Phrases That Will Help Your Defuse an Argument

College Admission Officer Are Reading Your Tweets

October T-2-4 Topic: College Night

Conversation Starters:

1. Which college criteria matter to you? Size, location, climate, majors, supports, athletic programs, academic reputation, research? Which of these criteria align with your personality, strengths, preferences? Why or why not?

2. If you could go to ANY college in the state/country/world, where would you go? Why? Look up this college online, and see what the admission requirements are. Naviance is a great place to look at all colleges and universities under Super Match.

3. To get into college and receive scholarships, students need to write persuasive and personal essays. What characteristics and accomplishments about yourself are you most proud? What hardships have you overcome and what have you learned along the way? What would your brag sheet look like?

Making Connections:

1.    Use the Prompts for College Essays to discuss and draft written responses.

2.    If your student attended the SBISD College Fair on Oct. 8, develop a follow-up plan and schedule some college visits (some universities have virtual tours on their websites). These additional steps will show the universities you are truly interested in attending there and could favor your application over others.

3.    Call at least one college representative, use the questions in the Tips for Talking to College Representatives to gather information about their university.  Write down the kinds of questions they ask you so you are prepared for future calls and conversations. 

Additional Resources:

Houston Area Recruiters Network

College for All Texans

Launch My Career Texas

Tips for Talking to College Representatives

Career & College Planning: Prompts for College Essays

6 Quick Tips for Contacting Colleges

November Supports 5th-, 8th-, 11th-grade

November Supports

5th Grade November SEL Topic: Self-Awareness, Conflict Resolution

Conversation Starters:

1. What are six ways to disagree with someone without making everybody feel terrible?


2. What does the term common ground mean? What is an example of when you worked on a project or task with someone you did not agree with… how did you find common ground and make the project work?


3. What does win-win mean to you? What does compromise look or sound like?

 

Making Connections:

1, Help the young person be involved in uplifting activities that could be posted to highlight character strengths (i.e. volunteering, personal performances, tutoring, job duties, cultural events, praise for friends’ accomplishments, etc.) to create a positive digital footprint. Present your best self on social media.

2.    Identify trusted adults at school, and other settings away from campus, who your child can talk to if they see high-risk threats online. Make sure the adults’ contact information is readily accessible (contacts list, wallet card, etc.). Email each of the identified adults to let them know the young person has “chosen” them as a trusted, go-to person.

3.    Talk about how “little kids” argue and call each other names immaturely. Think of hypothetical scenarios where conflict between people should be worked out in person vs. posting online. Discuss why “walking away” from a hurtful online post and talking through the situation with other person face-to-face with active listening is a more mature approach. Practice using the phrases in this article. Sometimes writing them down gets the ideas to stick in your mind so they are ready to use when needed.

5th Grade November T-2-4 Topic: Gen-Tex Week, T-2-4 Plans

Conversation Starters:

1. Who do you know that went to college? Why do you think they went to college? What kinds of jobs do these people do?

2. What is a college mascot? What is the purpose of having one?

3. When people graduate from high school, are they done learning? What other learning is needed to get a good job?

Making Connections:

1. Write the student’s name vertically. For each letter of the alphabet, look at the list of college mascots and find one the student likes, and write down the name of the mascot and its university (example: B = Blue Jay from the University of Kansas). Use the links on the list to find an image of each mascot. Some can also be found here.

2. Use this handout to create a mix and match game. Go over the sheet discussing each term. Then cut the College Words and Definitions into separate sections, scramble them up, and see how quickly the student can match the words and definitions back together.

3. Use the Roadtrip Nation website to map out the student’s interests and preferences. Read about the Leaders who have similar roads. Which of these careers are most interesting to the student? Which require a college degree and which do not?

Additional Resources (5th Grade, November):

College mascot list

College Day Word Wall

 

Roadtrip Nation

 

Texas Genuine (career and college exploration tool)

November 8th Grade SEL Topic: Respect

Conversation Starters:

1. Why do you think some people use slurs against others?


2. What does respectful discussion sound/look/feel like?


3. What would you do if someone did not respect you?

 


Making Connections:

 

1.   Some teams have offensive names (i.e. Redskins). Look up the team names in various sports leagues and discuss which might be offensive to certain people and why. Make fun suggestions about what the new names should be.

2.   Make a list of possible slurs your child might hear, and develop an empowering response to each.

3.   Write the word RESPECT with the letters going down the side of a page. Have your student share a way to show respect that starts with each letter (i.e. Recognize not everyone is like me).

EDIT CONTENT

Additional Resources (8th Grade, November):

Teaching Tolerance

Lessons and Activities for Teaching Respect

EDIT CONTENT

November T-2-4 Topic: Digital Footprints

Conversation Starters:

1.    Once it is out there, it is out there. Discuss what it would feel like to have the most private part of your life on display for anyone in the world to see. If you think you are just sharing something with one person, likely it is accessible by multitudes. What can this do to your reputation? What kinds of things SHOULD be posted that will help your reputation?

2.    Apps are Spies. What do “hunters” look for when they are tracking game? (foot/paw prints). What do detectives look for at a crime scene? (foot/tire prints) What do internet trolls look for to steal your identity, spread false information about you or even track you down? (digital footprint) What are some ways to keep your digital identity safe? How would you deal with a troll?

3.    Imagine you owned a treasure chest. What kinds of valuables would you want to find in it? What would you do to protect the valuables? If you have lots of keys made and hand them out to everyone, or tell everyone where you have hidden it, how secure will the valuables be? Your online reputation and information are like a treasure chest. What should you do to protect them?


Making Connections:

1.    Using good judgement about what to post. Draw a large square and imagine it is a bulletin board in the school hallway. Make a list of things that would be okay to “post” here for everyone to see (i.e. smiling photos, birthday party photos, hobbies, activities you enjoy). Use a small box (or draw one) to put words into of things that should be kept private (i.e. full name, birthday, address, phone number, date of birth, photos of vacations while on vacation, mean things about others, things your grandma would not be proud of you doing).

2.    Look at the profiles and apps on your phone or your student’s device. Make a list of the information a stranger could collect based on the types of apps downloaded, content posted, the websites they have visited, purchases they have made, games played, comments made on online forums. Who IS this person? List adjectives that would describe the person the digital footprint reveals. Look at the privacy settings of each app, and make sure they are set as tight as can be. 

3.    Making Passwords secure: What makes a strong password? (Capital letters, numbers and symbols) Make a list of possible passwords (pet names, name of best friend, birthday numbers, etc.) and add something to each one to make it more secure. Consider using the Dashlane app; it will store all passwords in one safe place, and will change weak passwords to be stronger.

11th Grade November SEL Topic: Drug Awareness

Conversation Starters:

1.    What are some reasons why drug abuse can cause a person to visit the emergency room? What is the cost—to the family? To society?

2.    Imagine a scenario where everyone in a city decided to drink and/or take drugs, all at the same time? What would the consequences be to the city? Do you think our country or the world is headed in that direction? How can we turn the tide? 

3. What harm do drugs do to your body parts? Short term? Long term? What harm do they do to relationships? Your values?

Making Connections:

1.    Ripple effects: Draw a word web. In the center circle, put the words “Drug User.” In the next ring of circles, write the people who are connected to or affected by the Drug User (i.e. mom, girl friend, boss, etc.). Connect these circles to more circles that describe the consequences (good or bad) that result of these people having the drug user in their life. How far out can you draw the repercussions? Is this fair?

2.    Once upon a time… Take a look at these photos. Do these people look like they are having fun? A great life? What advice do you think they would give you? Is this the story you want for your life?

3.    The effects of alcohol on the body begin to appear 30-40 seconds after drinking. Review this chart and article, and talk about the side effects of alcohol abuse, short term and long term.

EDIT CONTENT

September T-2-4 Topic: CTE (Career & Technology Education) and Technical School

Conversation Starters:

1. In what ways could a person get into the workforce faster than taking time to attend four years of college? Take a look at this list of high paying trade school jobs and see which ones your student is interested in thinking about?

2. What are the pros and cons of attending a trade/vocational school? What are the cost comparisons? Do you have to go TO a trade school to get certified? Are there some online options?

3. Some employers help pay for tuition if a student wants to get a further degree after working for a while. What do you think the benefit is for the employer? The employee? 


Making Connections:

1.    Look at a posting for a job the student is interested in. What skills does the applicant need? Write a résumé for the “perfect person” for this job. 

2.    Look at the list of trade schools in Texas. Click on the school name to explore which vocational programs they have.  Choose one from four different parts of the state and make a comparison chart. 

3.    Look at the graph in this article. Discuss the financial benefits of completing some post-secondary course work vs. getting a job with or without a high school diploma. Complete a budget for a typical month to see how much earnings a person needs to live comfortably.