Saturday, November 28, 2015

Understanding Mistakes

When teaching about growth mindset or consulting with staff and families I like to use this image. I hear some people misinterpret or over simplify that mistakes are good. This clearly shows that some types facilitate learning and some do not. Check out the full explanation at

Friday, November 27, 2015

Keeping Kids Safe

One of the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors is "Demonstrate personal safety skills." The best free resource for that self-management skill is TeachingTools

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stress Management

The students in grades 3-5 really get the stress cup metaphor to explain stress.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to talk to kids about attacks in Paris

When there is a tragedy in the world today children are exposed to it either through the media, from discussions they hear, or from friends sharing the "news." Many of our students already know something about what occurred on Friday in Paris. Many churches openly prayed for the victims. However they know counselors need to be prepared with a response come Monday morning. Here is a good article for parents how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-the-attacks-in-paris/ The same advice goes for staff: generally don't bring it up but if a child mentions it ask what they know, respond that we are safe, it is okay to feel upset (share personal feelings of sadness and compassion), let them no France and countries around the world or working harder to being the terrorists who did this to justice.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Worry Wise Group Activity

My second graders discussed Julia Cook's Wilma Jean Worry Machine that talks about many different common worries. In the book she encourages writing down worries and putting them in a "worry hat." I prefer to have the members write their worries on a worry tree. We talk about what is currently worrying them and when they start thinking "what if" thoughts about their anxieties they can imagine just hanging them on their worry tree.  Most of the members quickly identified and wrote down 5 worries and marked them with a glitter leaf. They also each wrote one worry they used to have (marked with a bird) that no longer concerns them (it flew out of their mind).  They can take these home and share their worries with a trusted adult.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Organizing My Counseling Services for the Day

I am currently running 28 small groups. Our program relies heavily on small group counseling because it has been shown to help our students acquire specific skills that can be practiced. For each group topic I have a binder and for each group I have an accountability sheet to capture process data and notes and each child has an individual folder. I hold on to all work and send folders home when group ends. These are the groups I am leading just today.  Every morning I make sure I have what I need (books, handouts, materials, etc.) and line them up in front of my book case.  The pink folder at the end holds my classroom lesson I will teach at the end of the day. To manage a comprehensive counseling program requires a lot of time with the organization and management part.  I am lucky because my Kindergarten team gives me 2 slots I can use as does my second grade team. That allows me the flexibility to run 6 groups in both of those grades.  First grade only gives me one slot so I run 5 first grade groups (one each day of the week). Third grade I do a lunch group every day. In grades 4 and 5 I run 3 lunch groups each.  I will start more groups after some of these conclude.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Favorite Author

If you are expanding your library for books to use in classroom lessons and small groups, I would recommend all or Maria Dismondy's books.  She really understands common issues children face including diversity, problem solving, self-esteem, and bullying behavior. Her books promote pro-social skills like kindness and other character traits. I use them in grades 1-3.  To learn more about her work check out her website

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Shoes Will You Wear?

Julia Cook's book What Shoes Will You Wear? is very popular with my third graders. As the hook I ask, "How is what you wear and a job connected?" It is easy for students to point out shoes and uniforms are required for some occupations. The essential questions for this lesson are: Who am I? Where am I headed? How do I get there? During the lesson I review the 6 career paths. For more information about career paths At the end of the lesson the students each draw a picture titled "What shoes will I wear in the future?" and label the occupation and match it to a career path.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November is National Career Development Month

November is a good month to look at your Core Curriculum Action Plan to determine if your program has the needed lessons and activities to make all your students college and career ready. At the elementary school we need to make students aware of all the career paths and help them connect what they are learning today to their future tomorrow.  Parents often need help understanding why we even address careers in elementary school.  If you want to "celebrate" National Career Development Month go the the NCDA website