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

5th 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)

8th Grade November Supports


8th Grade November 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).

 

Additional Resources:

Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Respect

 

8th Grade November T-2-4 Topic: Digital Footprint

Conversation Starters (for Parents & Mentors):

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?

1.   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 (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 (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!) if you

2.       Look at the profiles and apps on your student’s or your phone or 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.

Additional Resources

8 Tips to Manage Digital Footprint

App to generate and keep passwords safe

10 Types of internet Trolls

You Can’t Win an Argument with an Internet Troll, So What Can You Do?

Follow the digital Trail

December Supports 5th-, 8th-, 11th -Grade

December 5th Grade Supports

5th Grade December SEL Topic: Respect, Citizenship, Accepting Differences

Conversation Starters:

1. What does your web look like? Who have your attracted into your web of support and friendship? How did you do this? If you are trapped in someone’s web who is not a good influence, how can you get out of it?
2. What are the character traits of a good citizen? What actions would show you that a person is a good citizen? Which do you do or wish you could do?
3. How are careers and good character connected? Which character traits are most important for being a respected employee? Which are most important for being a good boss?

 


Making Connections:

 

1. Write the letters R-E-S-P-E-C-T on index cards or strips of colored paper. On the back of each card, brainstorm with the student to write words starting with each letter that represent ways to show respect (i.e. R: Remember to say “please and Thank you.”). Hang all the cards from ribbons attached to a coat hanger to make a Respect mobile or from a rope to make a garland.

2. Alike and Different: Divide a piece of paper into two columns (or use this template). At the top of each column write the words Alike and Different. Using the student’s and a friend’s name, fill in the column with how the two are alike and different. Repeat the exercise with your name and the student’s name. Discuss what the student thinks is good or not so good about the similarities and differences, and what changes could make the relationships stronger.

3. Read a book together and then draw a picture of the main character in the middle of a paper. Write phrases and words around the drawing that describe how the character showed good citizenship (i.e. Was he/she kind, or helped the community, or made things better, etc.).

Additional Resources:

How to Teach Citizenship

Everybody is Unique

Positively Respectful

Brush Up on Respect

5th Grade December T-2-4 Topic: Hospitality and Tourism & Human Services Career Clusters

Conversation Starters:

  1. What is a customer? What skills does it take to make a customer happy? Why is it important in a business for customers to be happy? Where do you feel valued as a customer? Why?

  2. What do the words hospitality and hospitable mean? When hospitality is done well, how should you feel? What happens when an employee is not hospitable to you? How do you feel?

  3. Close your eyes and picture your last visit to the doctor’s office. How many people helped you? How did you know whether they liked their job or not?


Making Connections:

 

1. Look at a photo of a theme park. Race to see how many jobs are represented in the scene?  Which jobs are necessary but not visible here? What does it take to run a theme park?

2. Look at the list of jobs in the Human Services cluster on this website. Think of someone the student knows who has one of these jobs or review one that aligns with the interests of the child. Review the description, the video, and level of education needed. Have the student draw a picture of herself/himself doing this job.

3. Do a service project to help someone in need. Make a list of places or people who need help, and think of one small thing your student can do to improve the situation. Examples: litter pick-up walk, weeding a garden, babysitting, collecting dog or cat food for an animal shelter, bringing treats to a fire station, visit an elderly person, make a tied fleece blanket for a homeless shelter, etc. Make photo montage showing before and after results.

Additional Resources:

8th Grade December Supports

December 8th Grade SEL Topic: Caring

Conversation Starters:

1. I hear you have been learning about the difference between Sympathy and Empathy. How are they different? How are they alike?


2. How does empathy expand our self-centered universe?


3. Empathy is just like any other skill: the more we practice it, the stronger it gets. What are some ways you might work to expand your empathy by showing care and concern for others?

 


Making Connections:

 

  1. Ask the student to identify a social injustice (current or in the past) his or she feels passionate about (i.e. homelessness, war, racism, religious oppression, immigration, etc.). Divide a piece of paper into four quadrants and label them Feel, Think, Say, Do. Write down at least one emotion the student feels about this topic, a thought connected to the emotion, what can be said that shows the student has experienced something similar, and what could/can/should be done to demonstrate empathy.

  2. Bust or Boost?—to learn what empathy is not review these empathy busters (see link below, Activity 5). Then co-create or tell a story (verbal or written) where the main character has a problem, and different friends come along and DON’T show empathy using phrases from the empathy busting list. As each friend departs, include the main character’s feelings about how the friend’s words of ‘comfort’ didn’t really help the situation. The final friend in the story should show empathy by actively listening, seeing the situation from the main character’s point of view, and/or just showing understanding. Sum up how the main character felt once someone finally understood his/her situation.

  3. Work through the Crying Baby worksheet (see link below) together.

8th Grade December T-2-4 Topic: Career Day Pre-Plan

Conversation Starters:

1. What are some careers that have not been invented yet? What are some that have or are disappearing?


2. Why do people work? Why is it important to carefully choose a career? How can a career evolve into other possibilities? If you work for yourself, how can you do work that you like? Will you always like every part of a job?


3. Discuss what Minimum Wage means. What are the income differences between people who have a high school diploma vs. those who have a college degree? What do you think are the earning differences between men and women? Is this fair?


Making Connections:

1. Use the Interest Profiler (see link below) to explore the world of work and find occupations relevant to the student’s likes and interests.


2. To practice in advance of Career Day in January, talk with your student about how to respectfully ask good questions (see link below) of the professionals who will come to talk about their careers. Why is it important for SBISD students to make a good impression  with the volunteers who will share their time on Career Day? How would the guest feel if students were rude or silly? Discuss why it is not polite to ask someone how much money they make.


3. Do you want to live with your parents forever? No! Use the Texas Reality Check (see link below) tool to show how much living expenses will cost and how much the student will need to earn to pay for them. Choose three careers of interest to the student that would support the lifestyle he or she wants. Discuss what type of education each career option will need to be able to get a job.

11th Grade December Supports

11th Grade December SEL Topic: Soft Skills

Conversation Starters:

1. What does Active Listening look like/sound like? What are some verbal and non-verbal skills you should have if you are a good listener?


2. What happens when you make assumptions about what someone is going to say or do?


3. What are the four parts of an “I” message? When should you use “I” messages?

Making Connections:

  1. Examining assumptions: Look at pictures of three different people (online, in a magazine, etc.) You and the student each write down three “facts” you think are probably true about the people in the photos. Compare lists. What are some things you had in common on your lists? What assumptions were different? Do you think one of you is more right than the other? How do biases and prejudices contribute to our assumptions?

  2. The importance of non-verbal communication: Stand back to back and one person talks for 30 seconds about what he/she did last weekend. The other person cannot ask any questions. Switch roles and repeat. Reflect: Did this feel natural? Did you miss anything in what the person said? Is it important to see the other person when talking with them? What non-verbal cues would have made the weekend descriptions easier to understand? When texting or talking on the phone, what parts of communication are present or missing? How can this contribute to misunderstandings?

  3. Use the “Feedback Formula” (see link below) to practice conversations about real or potential conflicts.

11th Grade December T-2-4 Topic: Career Exploration

Conversation Starters:

1. What is your goal for having a job? What will you spend your pay on? How much should you save?


2. What do you think is a reasonable amount of hours to work each week for a high school student? Make a time budget to figure out what will need to shift in order to have a job.


3. Whose responsibility is it to find a job? What sets you apart from other applicants? What does a person need to do to keep a job? Why is it important to have a good work reputation?


Making Connections:

1. Look up some job applications online to see what kinds of information are required. Discuss why a potential employer will want to know the student’s salary history. Talk about how to use responsibilities at home, as a volunteer and/or at school as work experience.


2. Rehearse an interview with the student by asking typical interview questions (see suggestions in Resources below). Help him/her formulate good, thoughtful answers. Try to not say “Ummm,” “Ya’ Know,” “Like,’  etc.. Put a quarter in a jar every time you catch each other saying things like this in order to break the habit.


3. Role play two scenarios using this article (Tips for Keeping the Job You Have--link below) as a guide. Scenario 1: you pretend to be an employee who does NOT use these tips… what would this look like, sound like? Scenario 2: the student plays the part of an employee who follows these tips. Discuss how generational, gender or cultural differences might affect a boss’ perception of whether the student is a valuable employee or not.