Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fabulous Friday Friends

I have been wanting to start a "Lunch Bunch" group for a while, but honestly, I just couldn't get past the logistics of who can come, how will they know they get to come, how will the teachers know they have permission to come, and what will we do to make it a meaningful learning experience.  Usually when I start a small group, it has a focus topic and specific students are selected to attend based on their needs.  Then I can notify teachers that this small group occurs weekly and to expect a pass each week on that day.
But what I want to create is an always revolving group that meets during recess and the only "need" is the need to be a part of a Group.  I even had 5th graders suggesting that I start a group like this, so I know the "need" is out there. Thus I am back to my problem of logistics.
So I came up with this idea:  I would have a group that meets on Fridays at recess called the Fabulous Friday Friends.  We will play cooperative games and work on social skills.  Anyone can come to this group, but since I am limited in space, only the first 6 students who notify me get to come.  I made a sign-up sheet with six spaces to write names and made clothespin passes to attach to the clipboard.  On one side of the clothespins I wrote, "Fabulous Friday Friends" and on the other side, "Recess Pass to Mrs. Privette".  When students sign up on the clipboard Friday morning, they can take a clothespin pass and attach it to their clothing.  That way they do not forget about our group and the teachers know they have permission to attend.  The students will have to bring back the clothespin pass as their "ticket" to attend.  I'm thinking this will be a popular group and I will need to add Terrific Tuesdays as well!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Relaxing Rice

This past weekend I was inspired to dye rice using Kool-aid.  My intentions were to make a rice tray; a colorful alternative to a sand tray.  I also thought... maybe students could make feelings jars.  Let each color represent a feeling and have students make a visual of how much of each feeling they have in a sealed jar.  It would make a beautiful piece of art out of an issue that is on the mind of the students.

The process was so simple!  Put about 1 cup of rice in a ziplock bag.  Use 2 tablespoons of hot water to liquify the Kool-aid powder.  Pour into the ziplock bag of rice.  Squish, squash, mash and the rice is covered in color.  Pour the rice out on wax paper and spread out to dry.  It only took about 15 minutes to dry, but I left it out for longer just to make sure.  I  made bags of different colors of rice - cherry red, grape purple, watermelon pink, orangy orange.  Plus I used food coloring to make some yellow, green, and blue. 

 I couldn't wait to take it to school and find a use for my dyed rice.  The first opportunity presented itself very quickly.  As I was working with a student on how to relax and manage her anger in a better way, we were trying to come up with alternatives to destroying  classroom property.  The student spotted my dyed rice that I had sitting on my counter and wanted to  know how I had made the colored rice.  As we were talking and still discussing ways to cool down, it occurred to me that instead of counting to 10, I can give her something to get her mind off of the situation long enough to calm down.  We then made a Relax Jar.  Using beads with the letters R-E-L-A-X and other small beads and sequins, we filled a baby jar with blue rice. We left a little air at the top so she can rotate the jar and the rice will slide around inside revealing the letter beads and sequins.  Now when she gets angry, she can turn the jar until she finds all the letters that spell relax.  Hopefully she will have had enough time to calm down!
I am sure I will be coming up with more ways to use my rainbow rice while counseling students.  Any thoughts?

UPDATE JULY 2014:
I still love this rice. I have been using it with students for a year and a half now. If you keep the rice in an air tight container, it lasts forever! I love to reuse my liquid coffee-mate containers.  Just peel off the wrapper and you have a clear container filled with colored rice and a convenient pouring spout!
I just made another 14 pounds for the next school year. Some things I have discovered:

  • Use 1 pack of Kool Aid per pound of rice
  • The flavors I used are mixed berry (blue), strawberry kiwi (pink), green apple (green), lemonade  with a few drops of yellow food coloring (yellow),  grape (purple), orange (orange, obviously), black cherry (red).
  • Only add a few spoonfuls of water to mix the powder
  • Put rice and Kool Aid dye in a quart size ziplock and Shake, Shake, Shake.  It only takes about 30 seconds.








Friday, January 27, 2012

Coping with Change

Coping with change is difficult, no matter what your age.  To help students cope with change, whether it is the divorce of parents, moving to a new school, or the loss of a loved one, school counselors can work with students in small group or individually to help children find coping strategies.  One activity that I like to use with students is making a kaleidoscope. I found this website with directions to make kaleidoscopes out of recycled paper towel tubes:

Make Your Own Kaleidoscope Directions

A kaleidoscope is a visual aid to remind students that things are changing all the time.  The way we handle change is all about the way we look at it.  Change can be good and in some instances beautiful.  While making the kaleidoscope, we can discuss, "What things have changed in your life as a result of this change?" and "How have you changed as a result of this change?"  "What are some things you do to help when you are feeling upset about this change?" 

Here are some pictures of kaleidoscopes students made in small group:  




I also like to pull up this website on the Smart Board where children can make their own virtual kaleidoscope: Interactive Kaleidoscope

What activities do you use when helping children cope with change?  I would love any new ideas!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dry Erase Dots

I found a 3 pack of Dry Erase Dots this summer and knew I could find some creative way to use them.  I decided to put them up by m y office door with this saying, "Spot a Dot...Write a Thought."  Now students have  permission to leave some graffiti on my wall or sometimes I can use them as an exit slip.  Students can write about what they learned in small group.




Puppet Display

So this is my official first post.  I have been wondering to myself, "Where do I start?"  Well I figured I would start with where I start my day as a school counselor everyday...my office.  It may be small, but I try to make it inviting and fun. As an elementary school counselor, I have my fair share of puppets, but where can you keep all of these puppets?  I have found that a picket fence is an excellent multi-puppet stand!  My puppets are always on display and the children love to use the puppets to talk or even act out stories.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome

Welcome to The Creative Counselor.  I am starting this blog to share creative ways to counsel children.  I am an Elementary Guidance Counselor in South Carolina.  I have been a school counselor since 1993.  I love developing fun, creative ways for children to learn and share about the many topics that Guidance Counselors teach.    I am known for saying "Let's not recreate the wheel", so you will see many activities that counselors have done over the years, but updated.  I love technology and think it is a great way to catch the attention of our students! I hope you enjoy these ideas.  Michelle