MS Advisory Update: Train your Brain to Handle Anger


This week in Advisory, MS students built on their knowledge about the brain as it relates to handling anger in a lesson titled, Train your brain to handle Anger. Students learned more about the amygdala and the reptilian part of the brain, the part concerned with survival and safety where our automatic fight, flight or freeze response kicks in when we feel a threat, whether real or perceived. Nowadays those threats may look like a perceived slight with friends, the upcoming test they think they may fail, a mean post on social media, etc. We talked about how anger feels and how it manifests. We also shared a clip from one of my favorite films, Inside Out, where all family members get angry with one another. We discussed the early warning signs of anger and how we can notice our anger, where it lands in our body, etc., so we can more skillfully choose our response in any given situation, particularly when we feel upset or frustrated.

We wrapped up our time together with an Anger checklist where students could reflect on their anger reactions and healthy ways to deal with anger. They also set a goal to work on one behavior they wanted to change. I highly recommend you talking to your child about this important topic as it relates to their social-emotional learning and growth. And please feel free to be in touch with any sharing. I am passionate about helping our students better understand, express and cope with the whole range of emotions we experience any given today. Thank you!
—Ms. Henning, School Counselor Grades 5-8,

No Name Calling Week

Violet K. shares a fun positive message during the 7th Grade No Name Calling Week event.

Middle School students have been learning about their brain this week and the important changes happening at this point in their life.They learned that their brains are in a pruning stage where they begin to hone in on their passions to prepare them for adulthood. Thus, what they focus on creates neural pathway that can be strengthened with continued practice. This goes for studying, and academic pursuits, as well as attitudes and thoughts that may occur about someone or something. They participated in an ancient mindfulness practice that’s been proven to boost the brain’s capacity for compassion.

We also met in grade level groups to discuss the power of our words and how words can change our brain. I co-led a group discussion with MS student leaders and every student contributed to an Advisory poster to bring back to their class with kind, positive words. We practiced different ways we can use kind words, show gratitude, and give compliments to one another. Whereas negative, mean words send alarm signals to the brain, kind, complimentary words spark the release of healthy hormones called endorphins, which create a warm feeling around the heart. As School Counselor, I was heartened by their sharing and maturity and look forward to continuing these conversations with them.

7th graders craft their positive words together with the help of Ms. Henning and student facilitators.

Students post kind messages on advisory group posters.

Student enjoyed a fun opportunity to “train their brains” while building friendships and community!