Search This Blog

Monday, February 25, 2013

Individual Counseling Progress Chart

One of my goals for my second semester of my internship was to track student growth in individual sessions. To do this, I created two forms to use with the older students at school. I print out the assessment on half sheets of paper and measure the lines to exactly 10 cm.

How To Use Progress Charts:
1. Student circles current feeling
2. Student marks each line depending on how they are feeling about each area (scale between terrible and great)
3. Measure the length of the line at the point where the student marked (using a centimeter ruler).
4. On Progress Chart, write today's date on the first line at the bottom.
5.Make a dot above the line with today's date on the Progress Chart, using the appropriate color as marked at the bottom of the chart. (There should be four different colored dots for each session)
6. In future sessions, connect dots of the same color to track growth in each of the four areas.

The student could easily complete this so that they could see their own progress in the different areas. This also ties in some math skills during counseling! The scales can be changed to reflect the specific goals that the student is working towards. (ex. How well do you think you did with staying at your seat this week? How have your strategies worked this week?)

Since starting to use these progress charts, I have noticed another added benefit. It has become a catalyst for students who are reluctant to explain why they are having trouble. Many times students dont want to just walk in the office and tell me that they are having a problem at home. However, if they are able to show me on the scale, it opens the door for conversation right away without having to beat around the bush. I have found it helpful to simply ask "tell me about what you wrote" without giving my interpretation of how they answered the questions.

(Click on the pictures to be taken to my TPT store!)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Simon's Hook: A Story About Teases and Put-Downs Lesson Plan Ideas

With the third graders, I did a unit on Simon's Hook. There is so much that can be done with the book! Simon's hook is a story about how to deal with teasing and put-downs. When Simon has a bad hair day and someone calls him a name, he gets very upset. Grandma Rose then tells Simon a story about how to handle teases and put-downs, from a fish's perspective. When someone teases you, they are throwing you the hook. When you get upset, you are biting onto their hook. Grandma Rose helps Simon learn how to "swim free" from the teasing hooks that people toss his way.

Youtube Videos

Grandma Rose's Neighborhood Youtube Videos: As a review of the book, or even in place of the book, show these videos to the class. Part one has the intro about how teasing is "throwing a hook". Part two is the story about how the fish learned to swim around the hooks instead of biting. Part three shows some role plays about handling teasing.
Grandma Rose's Neighborhood Part 1
Grandma Rose's Neighborhood Part 2

Grandma Rose's Neighborhood Part 3

Which Strategy is it?

After discussing the strategies of how to avoid biting the hook, we played a little class game. I wrote each of the five strategies on the board. After another student reads the scenario, the class would show me with their hands which number they think the scenario is an example of. Below are the scenarios that I used.

The whole class is about to play kickball. Sam says to the Dustin, “We’re gonna beat you guys!”. Dustin looks at Sam and shrugs, thinking to himself, “I really don’t care if they win”

Amy and Sara are playing checkers when Matt approaches them and says to Sara “Your mom is fat”. Amy and Sara continue to play checkers as if nothing had happened.

Patrick is telling a joke to his friends. “Knock knock!” (who’s there?) “Interrupting Cow!” (interrupting Co-) “MOO!!!”. Chris looks at Patrick without laughing and says- that was a dumb joke. Patrick says “yeah, it sure was!”

While playing dodgeball, George says “Ha ha you missed me!”. John responds by saying “what I really miss is my X-box. Man I would love to be at home playing that now!”

Josh just got finished telling a story to his friends about embarrassing himself this weekend with his family. When he was finished,  Jason said, “wow. Really? How dumb can you honestly be to think that would work!” Josh responds by saying “well, you’d be surprised just how dumb I can be sometimes”

Stay away (avoid)
Kelly started calling Sharon names on the playground. Sharon decided that she’s had enough of the name calling, so she decided to turn around and walk in the other direction from Kelly. 

Role Plays

Students were divided into groups of 4 and were assigned one of the 5 strategies. They came up with a short role play of a situation where a kid used that strategy. While presenting to the class, the other groups had to figure out which topic each of the groups had chosen. 

Game Time!

This is an activity that I saw on There is a ship at the top of the board that has a teasing remark, "You're a little shrimp!". There are a lot of fish cards in a pile that have responses to that statement. If the statement is one that "bites" the hook, it is place on top of the baited hook/strings. If it is a statement that helps the fish avoid the hook, they are place on the side with "Free Fish".

Take Away!

At the end of the unit, each of the students received one of these cards to remind them of what they can do to avoid "biting the hook".

Other Activities: 

  • Give each kid a hand cutout, fishing pole, string, and two paper fish. Have kids write a teasing comment on the pole or hand cutout. On one of the fish, write a comment that would be considered "biting" the hook. Glue this fish to the string. On the other fish, write a comment that would represent the "free" fish. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Diversity Lesson- The Crayon Box that Talked Lesson

I taught a lesson on diversity to a class of PK/Kindergarten students.

Introducing the topic, I opened a box of crayons, grabbed a handful and laid them out in front of me on the floor so that everyone could see. Next, I asked students how these crayons are different. I got the expected responses: different colors, some are longer than others, some have paper and others don't, etc. I then asked the class how the crayons are the same. One kid said that all the crayons do the same thing. Another pointed out that they are all called "crayons". I added that the crayons all go back into the same box when we were through.

Story Time!
I then read the story, "The Crayon Box That Talked" by Shane DeRolf. This is a book about a box of crayons that do not get along with each other. In the story, a girl buys the box of crayons and takes them home to draw a picture using every single one of the colors in the box. By doing this, the crayons all start to realize that they each have something to give that is different from every other crayon in the box! We talked about what it meant to be "unique" and discussed how each student in this class is unique, just like this box of crayons. We talked about a few ways that we are different from one another, and about a few ways that we are the same as everyone else. 

To really drive this message home, I told the class that we were going to make a puzzle as a class! I created a puzzle using a file folder and numbered each of the pieces to make putting it back together easier. (Plus, the kids can practice their counting skills!) I gave each student a piece of the puzzle to decorate with crayons however they would like. The teachers also helped color a piece.

Once everyone was finished, I taped all of the pieces together. Each person's unique puzzle piece came together to create this beautiful class puzzle! No two puzzle pieces are alike, just like no two kids are alike. The class now has this puzzle displayed in their classroom to remind students that they are all unique! 

(Click the images below to be taken to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and purchase this lesson!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

National School Counseling Week

Happy National School Counseling week! Each morning we read morning announcements about how school counselors help kids succeed.(See the announcements here) The "big event" of the week, however, was a teacher and staff appreciation breakfast. After sending an email out to the teachers that morning, we went around to relieve teachers for a few minutes so they could get some breakfast. On the menu: coffee, donuts, muffins, fruit, and banana nut bread. I'd call it a success! I also decorated the table with a thank you note to the teachers and staff, and put out some "teacher jokes" on the table so teachers could be entertained ;)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Classroom Behavior Management

At my internship, guidance was a part of the Specials rotation. One thing that I focused on was how to effectively manage the most "energetic" classes. In my Master's program, we are not taught how to manage a classroom as a school counselor. I was an Education major during my undergraduate days, but the discipline that is appropriate for a classroom teacher may not always be appropriate for a school counselor to use. This has been a growing experience for me, leading me to look for alternative ways to manage a classroom effectively. Below are some ideas that I have tried, and some ideas that I have found on Pinterest that would be easy for a school counselor to implement in a classroom.

1. Mr.Potato Head-  I have used this as a visual for whole body listening. At start of a classroom guidance
or small group lesson, discuss what ears, eyes, mouth, hands, brain (hat), and bottom should be doing, adding body parts as you discuss. If you notice that kids are not using their body appropriately during the group or class, remove that part of Mr.Potato head. Replace when you have everyone's attention again.

At the end of class, if Mr.Potato Head has all of his parts, give the class a compliment when their teacher arrives to pick them up, or another agreed upon incentive (see below). For smaller groups, you could pass around Mr.Potato Head at the end.

2. Counselor versus Students game- Draw a T-chart on the board, labeling one side "counselor" and the other side "students". When students are actively participating and using whole body listening, the class receives a point. If the counselor is waiting on students to finish conversations, or is not feeling respected by the class, the counselor receives a point. The objective is for the class to have more points than the counselor. 

3. Erasing letters of a word- Write the one-word topic of the lesson on the board at the beginning of class. If class is speaking out of turn, not following directions, or disrespecting teacher, erase a letter. The objective is to still have a part of the word left on the board at the end of class. 

4. Building a word- Similar to the erasing letters of the word, the class must work together to build the vocabulary word by showing positive behaviors. The objective is for the class to build the entire word by the end of class.

5. Bucket Fillers- Introduce this using the book, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?". Remind the students throughout the class to think about if they are filling your bucket, and/or filling another student's bucket.

6. Peace Makers- Introduce by talking about peace. Discuss ways to make or break the peace in a classroom. Create an anchor chart with things that are "peace makers", and things that are "peace breakers". Through the lessons, remind the class to be peace-makers, not peace breakers. (Click picture for source)

7. Mystery Person-  Before each lesson, pick a Mystery Student to watch for. Do not tell the class who the mystery person is. To redirect students during the lesson say, "I wonder if my Mystery Student is on task!"  If the Mystery Student follows the “rules” they receive a reward of some kind. If the Mystery Student does not follow the rules - a brief, vague discussion is had with the whole group about what we should be working on to earn "Mystery Student". Source: Growing Kinders Blog

8. Class Bingo- Use a BINGO board for each class, and a bag with the individual spaces listed or bingo balls- (ex. B3, N5, G1). If the class is following directions and being respectful, choose a student to randomly pick a number from the bag, and color in that spot on their class BINGO board. When class gets an entire row of numbers filled in (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) the class will receive a special reward/party.

9. Marble Jar- When you catch your class doing something really well, add a marble/pompom to the jar. The objective is for the class to fill the jar to a certain point to obtain a class incentive. 

10. Quiet Critters- Quiet Critters are Pompoms with googly eyes and felt feet. They only appear when students are being quiet. Each student receives a quiet critter when they are being quiet, but have to turn in their quiet critters if asked to stop talking. Source: Teaching Chick Blog

Counseling Classroom Incentives:
  • Game day (Teambuilding, following directions)
  • Minute to Win It games (builds on teamwork skills)
  • Feelings charades/ Onion Head cards (identify feelings, building empathy)
  • Brain Breaks for extended amount of time
  • Compliment to teacher
  • Students enter drawing for special seating during classtime
  • Pass around a puppet friend
  • Share individual stories at end of class