Project Cornerstone

Project Cornerstone

When you “catch” kids modeling positive behaviors…

Notice, Name it, and Celebrate it!


This month’s ABC book: “When Sophie Gets Angry: Really, Really Angry” by Molly Bang tells the story of a young girl who is searching for ways to cope with “big feelings” like anger.

Goals of the lesson:

  • To identify, acknowledge, and express feelings in safe, positive, healthy ways.
  • Stop and think and choose how to react when our emotions feel out of control.
  • Be able to switch directions and make positive choices.
  • Use peaceful conflict resolution to resolve conflict and the steps to a genuine apology.

To reinforce this lesson at home:

  • Help your child identify and acknowledge how they are feeling with words. “You are frowning, is that puzzle frustrating? Can I help?” “You are using a loud, angry voice. Are you mad? Tell me about it.”
  • As a caring adult, notice and acknowledge your feelings. Role model the techniques you use to stay calm and in control. Share your successful strategies with youth.
  • Help your child chose safe ways to calm themselves:
    • Do physical activity. Put on music and dance away the anger. Go on a walk or bike ride.
    • Take deep breaths.
    • Count to 10. If still angry, count to 10 again and add deep breaths.
    • Remove yourself from the situation. Take a break in a safe, quiet place.
    • Use art materials such as markers, paint, or other art materials to express feelings.



This month’s ABC book: “Big” by Coleen Paratore encourages students to become BIG people. The author defines BIG as being bright, imaginative, healthy, helpful, and valuable members of society.

Goals of the lesson

  • Encourage students to take small steps to achieve BIG outcomes at home, school, and community. 
  • Internalize intrinsic rewards of doing things for the right reasons-Being an UPstander.
  • Perform intentional acts of caring for others.
  • Understand that everyone can be BIG in their way.

To reinforce this lesson at home:

  • Discuss ways your family contributes individually and together to make a difference in the world.
  • Ask your child
    • How can I be BIG in my family?
    • What do we do to be BIG toward our planet?
    • How can we be kind to each other in a BIG way?
    • How can we be BIG in our community?
    • Name people who are BIG (famous, friends, family, in the news) and explain why.

Parents can consider reading the book: The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute by Craig & Marc Kielburger.

This book focuses on simple everyday actions that can have a lasting influence on your child’s life and the lives of those around us.




October book for kindergarten is Join In and Play by Cheri J. Meiners. This bookteaches children about getting along with each other, making friends, and playing together. Students learned how classmates and friends play with each other by discussing rules, being a good sport, and cooperating with others.

To support this lesson at home, you can play a game and act out the following as simple role-plays or a simple discussion.

Ask your child to tell you ways to ask other children to play. Answers may include the following:

  • Saying, “Hi” and smiling.
  • Asking, “What are you doing?”
  • Asking, “Can I play too?”

Also, your child can share ways to deal with disappointment if a friend says that they don’t want to play:

  • Wait and ask to play later when there is a break or a new game starts.
  • Find another friend to play with.
  • Ask an adult to intervene.

Here are some ways to practice ways to include others by inviting them to play and cooperating.

  • Asking, “Would you like to play?”
  • Asking, “Do you want a turn?”
  • Saying, “This is fun, why don’t you play with us too.”

Our ABC reader also discussed how to play and get along in a group. Sometimes things don’t go smoothly and kids need to understand that losing in a game, not getting a turn, or being picked last is part of playing with others. The class also learned ways to help kids who are having a bad day by being kind, using words to express feelings, listening to each other, and solving problems together. Showing respect helps others be your friend.


ABC October Reading – Giraffes Can’t Dance

The ABC October book is Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea. In this book, Gerald, a gangly giraffe, wants to join in at the dance; but all the other animals make fun of him. Luckily, Gerald meets a friendly cricket that helps him tap into his inner-self and discover his unique talents.

One of the most important lessons discussed in this book is: There are some things we can control, and some things that we can’t control. In the story, Gerald is teased with name-calling and put-downs. His new friend, the cricket helps him learn that he only has power and control over how he responds to the teases and put-downs. He learns to focus on the fact that you have the power to choose how to react to situations.

Like Gerald, your child is learning about developing positive personal power. One important aspect of personal power is being responsible for your behavior and feelings. Our ABC readers discussed some specific skills to gain personal power:

  • Be an optimist. Look on the bright side, and expect good things to happen.
  • Tune in to your inner voice, and use positive self-talk.
  • Build a skill. Learn what you need to do to improve, and then practice!
  • Be an UPstander. Use your words and actions to make sure that everyone—including yourself, is treated with respect.
  • If you need help with any of these skills, find a supportive peer or adult who will offer you the help you need.

We hope you will talk with your child tonight about Giraffes Can’t Dance. To reinforce the message at home and help your child to develop these skills:

  • Create opportunities to encourage her or him to try new things.
  • Offer praise for their willingness to try.
  • Whenever possible, give your child control over choices and decisions made at home.
  • Whenever they’re in a negative situation, help your child “switch the channel” to reframe their inner dialogue to create an “I can do it!” attitude.