Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission Possible: Meet the School Counselor

**Cue the Mission Impossible Music**  What kid has not dreamed of being a secret agent? My newest Meet the School Counselor Lesson takes the fun of being a Secret Agent and combines it with learning about the role of the School Counselor. I figured my third graders would love this lesson!

Secret Agents start by listening to a Welcome message introducing them to what they are about to do. They will be engaged in breaking codes on each slide to figure out what a School Counselor does. The Smart Board allows students to manipulate the clues such as wiping the steam off a bathroom mirror to uncover that School Counselors are caring.  

I also had my son, who has an awesome British accent, record one of the clues. Students have to listen and follow 12 different directions to uncover that School Counselors are confidential. One slide requests students to slide the magnifying glass around the screen to uncover that School Counselors are
Problem Solvers. On another slide they have to use a code to decipher that School Counselors are Listeners. Of course with each of these slides comes discussion and sharing how to let the School Counselor know when you need some help. After all the clues have been decoded, there is one more slide with a flashlight that the Secret Agents shine to find out we have a game planned!

Our super sleuth game of Discover the Secret Agent! starts with the Students applying to become a Secret Agent,
but first they must come up with a code name using the Code Name Generator.
Once all students have applied to be a Secret Agent, I will use the applications to play our game. To play Discover the Detective, I will read the Secret Agent's code name and the two facts they wrote about themselves. Then I will allow students to guess who the Secret Agent is. I can't wait to see how they like my newest lesson!

Watch the video below to see it in action!

If you are interested in purchasing this Mission Possible Lesson, please visit my TPT store by clicking this link. You must have Smart Notebook Software to open this file. Please note the Mission Impossible Music is not on the actual Smartboard. I just used the music at the beginning and end of this movie I recorded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My School Counselor is a Superhero!

Well of course we all know school counselors are here to save the day! Last year my co-counselor and I used a Superhero theme to review our program with the faculty and start off the year. We dressed up as super heroes with plastic capes (made from Dollar Tree plastic table cloths) and superhero masks. Below are a few slides from the slideshow for our faculty.

On the first day of school we dressed up once again and delivered teacher treats during planning times. We gave out bottles of water wearing capes with a Have a Super 1st Day message and popcorn. The teacher's were very appreciative! We also included any other faculty and staff:)

To continue the theme, I created a My School Counselor is a Superhero introduction lesson for the students. 

The slide show shares all the super powers a school counselor uses to help students.

 After the slideshow it's time to get to know each other better by playing Spiderman’s Web: Roll a ball of yarn to a student.  When they catch the ball, they share something about themself. Some examples are…”
  • Family “I have 1 sister.”
  • Interesting jobs “I feed my dog.”
  • Favorite foods “I like bananas.”
Make sure they continue to hold on to the yarn as each student catches the ball of yarn and shares. At the end, the students will have a Spiderman's web!

Another 'Get to Know You" Activity that we do is a Personal Shield. Students personalize their shield by coloring:
  1. In the first, outer ring,  favorite color.
  2. In the second ring, color of favorite food.
  3. In the center circle (behind the star), color of  eyes.
  4. In the star, draw a picture of yourself with a super power!” 

Finallly, I have a coloring sheet to leave with the students!

If you are interested in purchasing this My School Counselor is a Superhero Introduction Lesson, you can find it here.

Hope everyone has a SUPER year!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wii Talk - Wii Motivate

This summer I got to attend the  ASCA conference in Phoenix. While there, I attended some great sessions. One session I attended was School Counseling: Game On! by Christy Welch. Her children by engaging them with what they like to When they are engaged, they will feel more comfortable to talk about problems. So why not use what they love the most? Video games!

Christy uses a Wii to help children open up by playing bowling, or tennis, or other Wii games. She has found that her students are much more at ease talking and she even has teachers who like to come and let off a little steam. 

So I want to incorporate a Wii into my school counseling program to provide students with a fun, interactive, engaging strategy to overcome social/emotional problems. Consider the "typical" counseling session of sitting & talking. Imagine how engaged children are in that type of counseling-NOT! Now imagine playing a game of bowling on the Wii. Children immediately are engaged & find it easier to talk while playing; versus sitting & talking to an adult. The Wii allows students to show their true feelings by creating a Mii. Students can relax doing yoga, release angry tension playing tennis, learn to focus & follow directions while playing Just Dance. Students even can be rewarded with a game promoting activity for meeting their personal goals!

There are so many uses for the Wii in counseling. Here is a short list I came up with:
Wii learn more about Mii (personal, divorce)
Wii open up to talk about problems (personal)
Wii learn friendship skills (getting along)
Wii listen & follow directions (ADHD)
Wii release anger & tension (anger management)
Wii understand rules (Behavior problems)
Wii use good sportsmanship (name calling)
Wii learn teamwork (cooperative learning)
Wii learn to set goals (academic skills)
Wii cess Recess (rewards)

So I submitted my project to Donors Choose. This is a great site to fund educational projects. My project is called Wii Talk–Wii Motivate. You can check it out here: I
raised $400 to purchase a Wii system for my students. I actually did not have to raise all $400. If you get donations the first week, Donors Choose will match donations up to $100 per donation.
Feel free to use my proposal as a starting point for you to write one too :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Counselor Craze over Inside Out

Who isn't Coo Coo over this summer's block buster Inside Out? School Counselors everywhere are thanking Pixar for making a movie that highlights feelings. I am always telling students we all have feelings and even though we don't like some, it is ok to feel them. Of course then I talk to them how important it is to recognize what is causing those feelings and to find ways to cope with them in an ok way.

So now that most kids in America have seen the movie (and if not, they definitely have an idea of what it is about), school counselors will have endless strategies to teach and build upon how we experience feelings. I can't wait to see what creative lessons can come from this! I am totally giving my feelings small groups and classroom guidance lessons a facelift! More to come when I get those done:) Really, I am still trying to enjoy my summer!

To start, I have created passes and self-referrals for students.

I leave a folder with self-referral slips in the classroom. This is the cover of the folder.
Self-Referral Slips for my K-2 students.

Self-Referral Slips for my older students.
These will be printed front and back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Introducing the Role of the School Counselor

Have you seen the new, babbling yellow guys movie? If you have not, I bet your students have! They are cute and adorable and have their own funny little language! I decided that I needed to update my 1st grade School Counselor Introduction lesson. So I made one I knew my little ones would relate to and remember. Here are some examples from the slideshow:

After I introduce myself and share how I use all my body parts (eyes, ears, hands, feet, mouth) to help students, we are going to play a get to know you game. I plan on buying a yellow rubber ball, you know the kind that kids are always pulling out of the wire bin in the back of Walmart and then you have to somehow shove it back in. I am going to use Sharpies to draw goggles on it and then we will toss the ball to each other. When a student catches the ball, they will say one thing about them-self and then pass it on to another student in the class.

Finally, I made Goggles for students to draw how they see themselves.  Here are their choices: 1 goggle or 2:

 I also made self-referral slips for students to fill out to let me know when they want to talk.

If you would like to use this  Meet the School Counselor Lesson, (contact me.) I put together a packet that includes:
1. Meet the School Counselor Lesson Plan (3 pages)
2. Meet the School Counselor Slide Show (10 slides)
3. Activity - 1 Goggle (1 page)
4. Activity - 2 Goggles (1 page)
5. Self-Referral K-2 (1 page)
6. Label for Student Request Folder (1 page)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Setting the Stage

Call me crazy, but I am excited about the new school year! It's only half way through summer vacation and I already have made my passes, self-referrals, and classroom guidance orientation lessons. As I was cleaning my closet this summer, I came across some Film Strip bulletin board decorations I bought and never used so I decided that will be my theme this year! I will make Hollywood themed passes, self-referrals, and introduce myself in Hollywood style. Here are some pictures of what I made:

Label for Self-Referral Folder
Self-Referral Slips

Passes for Individuals

Small Group Pass 

K-2 Self-Referral
Teacher Referral

Referral Feedback

You can purchase the Hollywood Theme Pack for $3. Click Here.

I got so excited about making those, I went ahead and made a Hollywood Themed Guidance Orientation for my older students. I plan on starting the presentation with a countdown, like an old movie, and then introduce my role as a school counselor.  We will do one of my favorite activities where you show students a $20.00 bill.  Talk about how valuable it is and how much we like it, etc.  Crumble the bill up, throw it on the ground, stomp on it, yell at it, insult it, etc.  Open $20.00 bill back up and ask whether it is still valuable.  Ask if anyone would still like to have it. Why?
(Students will tell you it doesn’t matter if it has been crumpled, it is still worth $20.)  Make the comparison to self-esteem and self-confidence.  “No matter how many names we get called, or bad things happen to us, we are still who we were before  – valuable. After I have reviewed the role of the School Counselor, we will play Surprising Facts of the Stars. Students will complete a card with one thing others may not know about them. I will collect these and read them out loud for their classmates to guess who it is. Finally, to get some information about my students, but in a fun way, I created a Mad-Lib Movie. Students will complete questions on the questions sheet and then fill in the blanks with their answers. Students will end up with a hilarious story and I will collect the top half questions to keep and get to know my students better!
Here are some examples from my Setting the Stage powerpoint:

Surprising Facts Cards
Mad Lib Movie

Mad Lib Movie

If you are interested in purchasing this Setting the Stage lesson, I have created a $5 packet that includes:

1.         Lesson plan (4 pages)
2.         Power Point Slide Show Designed for personalization (19 slides)
3.         Surprising Facts of the Stars Cards (1 page)
4.          Mad-lib Movie Get to Know You Activity Sheets (2 pages)