Friday, July 31, 2015

Group Proposal Binders

My part-time counselor for the past 2 years loves her label maker; therefore, she labeled all the group binders we use to run groups.  We have several group proposals for each grade level. All our groups are for students in just a single grade because of the schedule.  Since some students will participate in groups each year, the books for sessions and activities are unique to one group.  For example, the session plans call for different books for each of the groups on self-regulation in kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2.  The same is true for our study skills and organization groups for grades 3, 4, and 5.  In side each binder is the rationale, the goals for the group and ASCA mindsets covered, pre-post surveys for staff, parents, and students, sample communication with parents, written session plans, and copies of all handouts and worksheets. Last year my part-time counselor and I ran 52 small groups, 466 sessions lasting @ 30 minutes each.  Approximately 40% of our student body received direct service from a counselor in a counseling group.  Without these binders with everything we need to lead a session at the ready, we could not have possibly provided this level of service. Sample of what is inside can be seen on Groups page (Howard B. Wigglebottom group).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Name It Tame It Reframe It

When teaching children to cope with unpleasant emotions like sadness or anger, research tells us that labeling the emotion is the first step.  This is often taught in mindfulness training.  For example, "that is sadness I am feeling, it is really big right now I need to think about all the good things in my life, the sadness reminds me how much I loved my grandmother." The Zach Rules series by Mulcahy does a great job of bringing the skill of emotion management to the level of a grade 1-3 student.  In Zach gets frustrated the author uses a triangle to remind the character to "Name it, Tame it, and Reframe it." I think this is a book that should be on every counselor's bookshelf.  I have used it with several groups and loaned it to parents whose children were exploding at home. Teachers, parents, and counselors could all benefit from sharing the book with children who need to learn to cope more appropriately with unpleasant emotions.

Friday, July 24, 2015

College & Career Month

I am planning to condense some of my Career Cafe, career visitors, and lessons into a College & Career Month this year. I found this video that has some great ideas. I have contacted my administrators and other key staff to try to get buy in and pick a month with not too much else going on. I'd like it to be March to tie in with March Madness but our school has been trying to spread out schoolwide activities so I will need to be flexible. I'd love to get comments with any good suggestions...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Get Into It

Every year our teachers with special needs students ask for ideas about how to explain disabilities to classmates. I always share some of my favorite books on individual differences. This year I will also suggest they check out the lessons at I really like their warm-up activity "Step Right Up." I am going to use that with my newcomers get togethers when school opens.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#Reach Higher: Grit and Goals

I have decided to redo my fifth grade goal setting lesson on academic success. I am now calling it #Reach Higher: Grit and Goals.  The lesson will address several of the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors For Student Success. The self-management skills and learning strategies covered include:  
Self-Management Skills: 2. Demonstrate self-discipline and self-control  4. Ability to delay immediate gratification for long-term rewards  5. Demonstrate perseverance to achieve long- and short-term goals
Learning Strategies: 7. Identify long- and short-term academic, career and social/emotional goals
As the hook I am going to have the students complete the 12- item Grit Scale. I will put the scoring part on the PowerPoint. Once they are focused on their own level of grit I will use the PowerPoint to guide a mini lesson tying grit to goals and then have them write a #Reach Higher goal that I will then post as a bulletin board.
If you want to learn more about "grit" or share this key concept with parents I recommend Paul Tough's book. We used it in the past as our parent/staff book club book.

Grit: The Key to Your Success at FLVS

I am going to show this video in either grade 4 or 5 as an introduction to goal setting.  I follow-up with another lesson in grade 5 that uses the Grit Scale. I hope the short video will inspire the students set challenging goals for their own academic success.

Friday, July 3, 2015

ASCA Mindsets Alignment with Second Step Suite

The Committee for Children has stepped up to help counselors by publishing a crosswalk showing the alignment of Second Step (Early Learning to grade 8) with the ASCA Mindsets. Check it out

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Using ASCA Mindsets in Lesson Plans

I am working this summer to update my classroom lesson plans with the new ASCA Mindsets.  I also indicate our State and Local standards for each lesson. I include learning and language objectives for each lesson as well.  Most of my lessons are guided with a PowerPoint or SMART Notebook outline. I always take a book into the class just in case the technology is not working. I have been trained to share the lesson objectives in kid friendly "I can" statements so students are clear in advance what they will be learning and what they will be expected to do.