Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Career Presenters Needed

Elementary is a time for children to be exposed to different career opportunities. We are looking for parents and/or grandparents to come in and present about their career. During the thirty-minute presentation, we would like for the following points to be addressed:

• Describe your career
• What subjects should you be good at to have this career
• Some of the things you did as an elementary student that led you to this career
• What character traits are important to have in this career field
• Discuss what kind of training you received to be in this career

Click here to sign up to present. If it doesn't work out for you to present in your child's classroom, we welcome you to present in another classroom. There will also be another opportunity to present in April. For more information check out our 2017 Career Presenters in action. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

College & Career Readiness

It was fun to see a variety of colleges represented on College T-shirt day and hear about the great conversations teachers and parents had with the kids. Several parents have showed interest in participating in a Saving for College presentation in January.  If you have not already and would like to participate contact one of our school counselors. 

Our students are enjoying learning about careers posted on our Picture the Possibilities wall.  Each teacher also received a book of the submissions for their classroom libraries. We appreciate our parents taking time to contribute to this project. Parents click here to sign up and present your career to our students the week of January 22. 

During the thirty-minutes presentation, we would like for the following points to be addressed: 

  • Describe your career
  • What subjects you have to be good in this career
  • Some of the things you did as an elementary student that led you to this career
  • What character traits are important to have in this career field
  • Discuss what kind of training you received to be in this career

Friday, October 6, 2017

We Are Family

This afternoon was Family Fun Day!  Our school families met and went through activities together. We had a great time!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Picture the Possibilities

Parents click here to get more information and see an example.  You can contribute to the slide show or send in your own. 

This is how fourth grade students get on the Career Trek web site. 

If it doesn't work click on this link

Email this code ypx32KL@x9b4

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Be Proactive

Fourth Grade - Circle of Influence/Circle of Concern
Stephen Covey defines proactive as “being responsible for our own lives…..our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. Proactive people focus on issues within their circle of influence. They work on things they can do something about. The nature of their energy in doing this is positive, enlarging and magnifying. They increase their Circle of Influence.  

Third Grade - The Four Questions


Thoughts come and go.  If we cling to the mean thoughts and start believing them we create stress. The four questions based off of Byron Katie's work helps use reframe and turnaround our thoughts. Freeing us to replace our pain with positive thoughts and feelings. 

Second Grade - Pause, Think, Choose 
When a person is reactive, there is no space between what is happening to him or her and how they respond.  When a person is proactive, he or she creates the space they need to choose the best response to the situation.

First Grade - Play Dough & Rock Problems 
A rock problem is similar to a rock in that no matter how much we push on a rock, it is not going to change. For rock problems we focus on feeling better about the problem.  We can do this by getting our feelings out through talking, writing or drawing, and by doing fun things that take our mind off the problem.  Examples of rock problems include divorce, death, moving schools... things that children don't have any control over.

A play dough problem we can change it into something else. Just like you can change a piece of play dough into something new.   A play dough problem can be "fixed" in some way.  For play dough problems we focus on trying to find a solution to the problem.  Examples of play dough problems might include forgetting to do something, or having a fight with a friend.  For these problems, we might make a visual or written reminder, or talk out the problem with our friend.

Kindergarten - Soda Can & Water Bottle Reactions 
If your child is reacting to a situation unreasonable, ask him or her if she or he is having a soda can or water bottle reaction? It is okay to have emotions of anger, frustration, and sadness. However, it is not okay to take our emotions out on others. Help your child replace their soda can behaviors with new more acceptable actions like deep breathing and counting to ten.

Your child will have conflicts with others at school. Remind them to use these Problem Solving SAFE strategies to work through the conflict.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Building Relationships

Talking to Children About Being Judgmental
Taken from Julia Cook's book The Judgmental Flower.

By nature, children are not judgmental. They are not born to make damaging assumptions about others who seem different. In fact, children are gifted with an innate sense of justice and a deep level of respect for everyone.

Children who grow up in environments where differences are respected, acknowledged, and explained are much less likely to belittle or demean others for being different.  To encourage understanding and greater acceptance of differences, here are some helpful strategies you can use in your home…..

  1. Talk openly about differences.
  2. Be a role model. Ask yourself are you the adult you want your child to grow up to be?  
  3. Take advantage of teachable moments to highlight the contributions of people who are different than your family.
  4. Make your messages developmentally appropriate.
  5. Practice and model empathy and compassion.
  6. Engage in diversity related conversations and activities as a family.

Host a Taste of Difference Party 
Invite your child's friends and/or parents to bring their favorite dish representing their heritage to your house. Ask them to cut the servings into small sample sizes. 

When everyone has arrived have your guest take turns talking about the ingredients in their recipe, where it originated from, and why it is so special to them. 

After the presentations, have your guest sample food. 

Bonus: Collect the recipes and make available for all the guest. 

For more parenting information, visit 

"I don't like that man.  I must get to know him better." - Abraham Lincoln 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Families Welcome to Old Bonhomme

We are glad you are here and can't wait to meet you.  Since we know it is normal to be nervous about coming to a new school, we created a Welcome Presentation to put your mind at ease.  In the presentation you will find information about transitioning, our expectations, and themes along with photos of our principal, administrative assistants, and speciality teachers. Let us know if you have any questions. We are going to have a GREAT year!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

FGC Panel Discussion @ OB

The fourth graders have met Fifth Grade Center principal, Mrs. Helm and counselor, Ms. Amy. Current fifth grade students have given them tours of the building. However, they still had a few very important questions to get answered. Like.....How long is recess and lunch? What are the lunches like? Can you play football at recess? Do you get to see your friends? Which class do you get the most homework in? Which team is the best one?

We invited Old Bonhomme "graduates" to come over from the FGC today to answer their questions. We appreciate them taking the time!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Soar Up @ Old Bonhomme

Today your child participated in Soar Up!, a transition activity to help the students learn a little bit more about how next year will be.  Although class lists will not be finalized until this summer, students had an opportunity to visit a classroom in the next grade level.  They also got to hear from each one of the teachers in the next grade level.  We encourage you to ask your child about the event.  Here are some lead questions:

What are some things you are going to learn next year?
What special activities do you get to do next year?
What are some of the things the teachers will expect from you next year?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Summer Reading - How to Raise an Adult

Are you looking for a good book to read this summer? Check out How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. This semester a few of us met to discuss the book and had the opportunity to hear Dean Julie speak.  She made us feel better about parenting by being honest and real with us.  She gave us tips to improve our relationships with our kids and strategies to prepare them for success. Here are a few of the things that stuck out for our book study group. 
"You are not your child's concierge." It is not your job as a parent to make everything in your child's life smooth and comfortable. If we do everything for children, they do not learn that they are competent and independent people with hopes and aspirations parents may not even be able to imagine. - Melora Pruneau (OB teacher and parent of three adults) 

"Perfectionism is not only the enemy of the good; it is the enemy of adulthood." (P174) Allowing our kids the freedom and safe space to fail encourages independent thinking. 
​- Stephanie Afful ​(OB parent of 2) 

Dean Julie got me thinking about how I greet my son the minute he walks in the door from school. Do I bombard him with questions before he even gets a chance to sit down? Putting myself in my child's shoes, how would I feel if every day when I got home from work, I was questioned. i.e. "How was work today?  Did you turn in all your projects? Did you listen to your boss? How was your behavior?" Now, I give him a chance to relax, and ask a simple "How was your day?" or "Tell me something good about your day." Not interrogating him about every little thing every day shows him that I trust him to do what's required each day without me checking up on him and I am genuinely interested in what he chooses to share with me about his day. 
- Camilla Wilson (OB parent of 1) 

If we teach our kids not to talk to strangers, then they leave home as adults and literally everyone is a stranger.  Teach them how to discern among the 99.9% harmless and 0.1% creepy. - Stacy Jurgiel (OB parent of 4) 

You have to be brave to do the right thing for your kids. Julie talked about letting them fail now so they learn how to be resilient as adults.  It's hard to do, but letting them learn how to deal with forgotten homework or lunch boxes in elementary school is a far kinder place to learn that lesson than high school or beyond. - Stacy Jurgiel (OB parent of 4) 

It's not healthy to set unrealistic goals for your kids, such as is done at the high school level competition to get into the very few most prestigious highly selective colleges.  If they only accept 5% of applicants, it's like taking an umbrella when the chance of rain is 5% - it's foolish!
- Stacy Jurgiel (OB parent of 4) 

Dean Julie told us to stop cutting our ten year olds meat.  I felt like she was talking directly to me.  Every since then I have let my son cut his own meat.  He is getting pretty good. 
 - Hayley Arnold (OB counselor and parent of 2) 

Julie had me at....I'm not really into this parenting thing....and yet she adores and loves her children "fiercely." I ave thought many times how draining this whole "parenting" thing is...and how much happier I am as an individual and thus as a parent and spouse when I do NOT hyper focus on "parenting" but rather on GOTR, the Race for Refugees, friends etc. I really think it's important for us to understand that our kids are not obligated to be the one and only source of our joy - that if our children do not have a good day then we do not have a good day.  Too much pressure on our kids! I felt very relieved that yes, it is possible to love our children so much but not really be into this parenting thing. And that what we are really trying to do is "help humans to thrive." 
- Heather Huewe (OB parent of four) 

Read this New York Times Article  and check out Julie's Ted Talk to learn more about the book. You can follow Julie on Twitter @DeanJulie and learn more about her work by visiting  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Celebrating College Signing Day @ OB

Today Old Bonhomme celebrated National College Signing Day by wearing college T-shirts and colors. College Signing Day was created as a part of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative.  It provides a way to celebrate ALL students making the commitment to pursue postsecondary options. Check out posts across the country using #collegesigningday. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Career Presentations

Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who made career presentations in January and April.  We have a REMARKABLE group of parents and appreciate everything you do to help us grow and learn. Click here to check out our 2017 career presenters in action.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Class of 2030

Welcome to Old Bonhomme Elementary!  We are looking forward to getting to know you and your child.  Starting out at a new school can be overwhelming for the students and their parents.  Check out this article Getting Ready, Getting Set, Going to Kindergarten and take some time to view this presentation which briefly goes over our expectations and introduces the specialist in our building.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

G.L.A.D. Technique

The G.L.A.D Technique may be something you want to use to start conversation at the dinner table, in the car, or at night when putting the kids to sleep.  This technique was developed by Donald Altman as a particularly useful approach to developing a positive attitude towards life (see The Mindfulness Tool Box, New Harbinger Publications).  It is designed to help people pay attention to positive things that are around them all of the time, but that frequently go unnoticed.  To learn more visit

G - One Gratitude that you're thankful for today
L - One new thing you Learned today
A - One small Accomplishment you did today
D - One thing of Delight that touched you today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RSVP for Parent Town Hall Advisory Meeting

In November, we started a very important and meaningful discussion about diversity at our Old Bonhomme Parent Town Hall Advisory Meeting. We want to continue to provide opportunities to have these courageous conversations, reflect on them, and educate ourselves and the community about what we can do to make this a better place for all of our students. Next Tuesday, February 21, at 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. we will hold another OB Parent Town Hall Advisory meeting in the library. If you can join us, click here to RSVP.  If you have questions, contact Hayley Arnold at or 314-983-5546.

Building Empathy at Home

Try one or all of these activities at home to help your child practice understanding others before they seek to be understood.

Game night idea: Try playing “Emotional Charades” which works on communicating emotion nonverbally. Start by writing feeling words down on paper or cards, then take turns drawing cards and acting out the feeling without using words.  The other players try to guess what feeling is being portrayed.  You can also follow up each word with questions such as:
How do you know when you are feeling____________?
How do you let someone else know you feel____________?
How do you know when someone else is feeling this way?
What was it like to try to express that feeling without words?
You can also follow up with a discussion about when your child experienced these feelings or saw someone else experience them and what that was like for your child.

TV/Movie Connection: Like watching shows with your child?  Next time a commercial comes on try putting on the mute button and having a conversation with them about what’s going on in the show, how the characters are feeling, and how you can tell. You can also use this to start making predictions about what they might do or how they might act based on what you’ve observed so far.  Are you more of a DVR family that fast forwards through the commercials? No problem, you can use that pause button to stop and discuss at opportune times in the plot line.

Reflective listening:  In our busy lives and caring for our children, it’s easy to fall into task master or problem solver mode immediately. Take some time to practice really listening to what your child is trying to express and identifying and acknowledging their feelings. Telling them “you’re excited/upset/frustrated/nervous/etc” can help them learn to identify and put names to what they’re experiencing and feel noticed by you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Check This Out - Career Presentations at OB

A big THANK YOU to the parents and grandparents who took the time to present their career to our students last week. Visit 2017 Career Presentations to see them in action.

We will have another round of presentations in April.  If you are interested in presenting then visit the 2017 April Career Presentation document to sign up.

There are some fun games, videos, and resources on the Individual Student Planning page for kids to explore and learn about other careers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lunch on Mrs. Arnold

Visit the OBPTO online bidding site and bid on this chance to eat lunch in the Private Dining Hall (counseling office).  Your child will get to invite a friend, and Mrs. Arnold will buy their lunch from McDonald's, Panera, Papa Johns, Jimmy Johns the choice is theirs.  Bidding closes Friday, January 20. All proceeds go to the OBPTO.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Conflict Resolution - Think Win-Win

During CARE Time, students learned about questions to help them process and resolve conflicting situations.  Reinforce and practice using these questions at home to help your child develop the habit of using them.  Developing these skills know will help them interact with others and build relationships. 

Check out this kindergarten class creating actions to go with the think win-win poem.

Help your K-2 child identify when they are having a conflict and have them use these How to Resolve a Conflict steps at home.   
Step 1. Stop take a breath.
Step 2. Talk and LISTEN to the other person.
Step 3. Think of ways to solve the problem together.
Step 4. Choose and idea you both like.

Here are five questions you can use with your third/fourth grade child to help them process conflicting situations and think win-win. Display a chart like this to serve as a reminder of this process.

Fourth Grade Parent Panel Discussion on FGC

On Tuesday, January 31 at 7:00 PM we are hosting a panel discussion for our fourth grade parents to attend.  We have invited Old Bonhomme families with fifth grade students to be on the panel and answer your questions about the Fifth Grade Center (FGC). Visit the counseling web site at and go to the Individual Student Planning tab to learn more about Old Bonhomme's transition plan for all of our students.

How to Raise An Adult Book Study

Would you agree that this parenting gig is hard?  Would you like to join a book club to hear what an expert has to say and talk with other parents? Well, Old Bonhomme is hosting a book club on the National Best Selling book How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. Read this New York Times Article about the book to gain insight on what the book is about. 

Our meeting times will be Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00 PM on the following dates: March 28, April 11, and May 2. If you are interested in participating in the Old Bonhomme book study, RSVP by emailing school counselor, Hayley Arnold at   

You can follow Julie on Twitter @DeanJulie and learn more about her work by visiting 

Kindness Challenge

The Great Kindness Challenge is January 23-27.  The Great Kindness Challenge is one week dedicated to creating a culture of kindness on campuses nationwide. Our school is proudly participating in this proactive positive initiative.

All students will receive a GKC checklist (K-2 list, 3-4 list) with deeds to complete.  Please encourage your child to complete the checklist and show the world that....KINDNESS MATTERS! Students can turn their completed form into the counseling office and earn a heart to write their name on and display on the front bulletin board.