Sunday, September 18, 2011

Who Are Your School Counselors and What Do They Do

Like most school counselors at the beginning of the year I want to remind all students on my case load who I am, where my office is located, what I do, how students get to see the school counselor, etcetera. In Kindergarten I use a shopping bag with items that are clues about what the counselor does: fake ears – listens to children; career puppet – teaches lessons about community workers and arranges visits; feelings cube – teaches children to recognize and handle emotions, etc. I always include a book about friendship that I can say is in my bag because I love to use books to teach children. If there is time I read the book. Before I leave I give them a test. What is my name and where is my office? I just call on a few volunteers and have them all say goodbye to me to reinforce knowing my name. For first grade I show the students a sand dollar and share my love of the beach and read Who's Ms. Sand Dollar? A Visit with the School Counselor by Barbara M. King & Laurie Wilcox-Meyer . In second grade I usually begin with a clock as a prop and point out what time school starts and the importance of being on time, and then I read A Helping Hand: A Story to Help Children Learn About School Counselors by Tammy S. Berg. In grade 2 I have a PowerPoint that is a more advanced version of what is in my bag but utilizes technology. With the young students I prefer having them in a circle on the floor with me and sharing a book. I think it builds a better connection than when they are focused on the image on a screen. I’d love for other counselors to share how they reconnect with students at the beginning of each year.

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