Websites and Free Resources

 Conscious Discipline
This web site consciousdiscipline
 has many free resources as well as many available for purchase.  The STAR relaxation strategies are well worth investigating and trying out.

Common Sense Media 
All counselors should download their free Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum available from Common Sense Media
This is such an important topic and the lessons on cyberbullying are very specific and done for small age ranges.

The Teaching Tolerance magazine (free), newsletter, and web page have so many valuable resources for counselors.  The site has lessons on inclusion and fostering a healthy school climate regarding race, gender, and language to name a few.  Sign up for newsletter here Teaching Tolerance newsletter.

Out on a Limb - A Guide to Getting Along

A terrific free resource I have used frequently is Out on a Limb: A Guide to Getting Along conflict resolution website! This website is designed to help teach youth how to better manage conflicts and challenges they face on a daily basis. The activities on the Out on a Limb website are designed primarily for third graders, but can be used to entertain and educate youth from the second and fourth grades as well. Check it out at

The We Do Listen Foundation is a nonprofit that produces books, songs, games, lessons, posters, and animated free books.  The material promotes inner peace and effective communication strategies.  The books teach through the adventures of Howard B. Wigglebottom, an endearing bunny. The books teach how to listen, solve problems, resolve conflicts, and increase positive feelings about self and others.  The materials could be used in classroom lessons (animated books can be projected through Smartboard), used in individual and group counseling sessions, and recommended to parents for family sharing.  The character and materials works exceptionally well with boys in grades 1-3.  
Check it out

 Faces Show Feelings This free game can be printed from It is a great way to reinforce with K-2 students how to identify and label feelings. I also have them use the feeling they land on in an "I statement." It can be used with individuals or in a small group. They also have a lotto game that would be perfect for a K group. You could also make your own game using this idea with other emotions.

A dozen counseling games worth the money

I have many games in my office cupboard that I use maybe once a year. Those in the picture are the dozen I use over and over again. Some of these are revised editions of old favorites.
1-3 Talking, Feeling, Doing Game and the various special sets of cards, especially the Anger and Teasing sets;
4-5 The Play – 2- Learn Dominoes (Feelings and Anger versions);
6 Ungame
7 Face It! Feelings Cards (I use to play Concentration and when someone makes a match they use that feeling in an “I statement.”)
8 Dealing with Feelings (A Card Game)
9 Totika (Self-esteem cards)
10 Look Before you Leap
11 Escape from Anger Island
12 Don’t Stress Game


Teaching I Messages
Obviously one of the main points in using I messages is not to blame the other person but students want to say "I feel mad because YOU..." I got some ideas about how to clarify this from the ASCA Scene list serve. I made these posters to use in small groups to share emotions and improve communication skills.

A lot of times we replace "you" with "people," so it sill isn't blaming and it allows children to work together without triggering a defensive response.  This is easy to practice in small groups in pairs.
The steps are
1 Ask to be heard
2 Look directly at the listener
3 Speak in a clear voice
4 Use "I Messages"
5 Check for understanding
6 Thank the listener 

Teaching Belly Breathing


A goal for many students who worry a lot is to develop strategies to use when they start to feel anxious. When talking to students I visuals are a big help  Since many anxious people have thoughts that ruminate on their worries, a useful first step is visualize a STOP sign and say "stop."  Since breathing is one of the fastest ways to stop the fight or flight response, I suggest they then take several deep belly breaths.  Finally we talk about other things to do to handle the anxiety.  They need options for home and school (also the car, etc). Usually children have several strategies for home - listen to music, read, go outside.  Many of our children have electronics that can hold relaxing music they can play in car or at home.  School is often more tricky.  They may be able to get a drink of water, roll their head, or use a stress ball.


Props for Belly Breathing
All children today are exposed to  large doses of stress. Diaphragmatic breathing (best called "belly breathing" for young children) is one technique that is effective in creating relaxation and clear thinking. This technique is effective for all kids but extremely beneficial for those with anxiety disorders because it can help children avoid panic attacks, meltdowns, and other symptoms of anxiety.  The more you practice this technique with a child, the more confident they will become in using this technique  when challenging situations arise. It is best to introduce breathing for relaxation during calm peaceful moments. You can make a pinwheel (kits available at Oriental Trading Company), blow bubbles, or feathers.  The bubbles are great because if you blow to fast they just pop. You can also have the child lie on the floor with a small stuffed animal or puppet on the belly and make it go up and down.  The props are engaging but should be faded out so the child can do the breathing anywhere when it is needed.