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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Intro Class Lessons K-12

I had 30 minutes with each class to do an intro lesson to school counseling. Here's what I did with each level:

K-1: Object Lesson

Materials Needed:
  • Rainbow Fish book
  • Finding Nemo ("just keep swimming")
  • Dumbo (great listener)
  • puzzle pieces (help put the pieces together)
  • heart (care about all of the students)
  • Frozen characters ("Let it go!")
  • Star (reach for the stars and achieve goals)
  • angry birds (anger management)
  • happy face (help you be happy to be at school)
  • tissue (dry up tears when you're sad)
  • Bandaid (help when you're hurting)
  • Funny glasses (think about things from a different perspective)
  • eraser (cant change your past mistakes, but I can help you make better decisions next time)
  • lock (I keep your secret, unless the secret will hurt you or someone else)

Intro: After going over rules and expectations, I told students I was going to read them one of my favorite books of all time, Rainbow Fish. I asked that when I was reading, think about who in the story helps rainbow fish learn how to be happy (The Wise Octopus). After reading the story, I explained that I am like the Octopus at this school because I help kids when they have problems.

Activity:  I explained ways in which I can help students by letting each student pull one object from my bag. As a student pulled an object from the bag, I let them explain to the class what the object is, and take a guess about what it could represent about my job as the school counselor. (Originally I was just going to explain to the students what each object meant, but I LOVED to hear their ideas!) After each object was pulled from the bag, I placed the item on the board for the class to see.

Conclusion: Once all of the objects were discussed, I gave the students a coloring worksheet that had a summary of the symbols that we talked about around an octopus. We talked about how to get help if they need to talk to me. Before I left, I gave each student a "shiny scale" (a.k.a. metallic star sticker) for them to remember Rainbow Fish.

2-3 Grade: Object Lesson

In second and third grade, I adapted the same lesson as K-1 to be slightly more advanced. We did not read Rainbow Fish, but instead spent longer discussing what each of the symbols meant. I let more students guess what the symbols could mean, and for the most part, everything that they said was even more profound than what I had planned to say! As the conclusion to the lesson, I gave the students a matching worksheet where they line up the symbol to what it means. This was a great assessment and review to make sure the students had learned the information that I gave them! Before I left, I gave each student a heart sticky note that said "Your School Counselor cares about you!" and a shiny star sticker to remind them to "reach for the stars".


4-6: Rocks and String Activity

Materials:
  • Small and large rocks
  • student volunteer
  • 3-4 foot string for each student

Rocks: At the beginning of the class, I asked for one volunteer to be my helper.  I had the class brainstorm things that would be considered "small problems" (small rocks) and things that would be considered "big problems" (big rocks). I explained that with many of the small problems, I can teach them ways to handle their own problems responsibly. If it was a BIG problem, I could help them figure out what to do. When discussing the "big problems", I made sure to mention confidentiality, and that I can not keep their secret if it means that someone might get hurt. For each of the problems, big or small, I would place a stone into the hands of the volunteer student. Once the volunteer's hands are completely full, I told the volunteer that I needed him to take a quick test for me, and immediately handed him a test and a pencil. Of course, he could not take the test because he was holding on to so many problems! I explained that although I can't make most of their problems disappear, I can help them with their problems so that they can do their best at school. 

From here, I explained how to get in touch with me if they need to talk, and where to find me. I told them about small groups, classroom lessons, and other fun programs that I would be having this school year. 

String: I gave each person a piece of string. I told them that the object was to tie a knot in the middle of the string. The rules are that once they pick up the string, their fingers become "superglued" to the ends of the string- they can't switch fingers. There can NOT already be a knot in the string when picking it up, they can NOT cut the string, and the knot can NOT be on the outside of the string (tying the ends together). I then quickly added that "it's okay to ask for help, BUT it is possible to do. It CAN be done."  I let the students struggle with it for a while, repeated the instructions several times, and waited for the first person to ask me for help. Once they asked for help, I motioned for them to follow me to a hidden area of the class, and explained the trick to them. (Cross your arms into a "knot" so that one hand pops up through the hole in your arms. Grab each end of the string while arms are crossed. Uncross arms, and you should have a knot.) Make sure you try this first before doing it with kids so you know how!! I explained to three of the students, before others started to catch on. From this point, I let those I had helped teach others in the class how to do it.   

7-12: Advanced Rocks and String Activity

Materials:
  • index cards
  • Small, medium, large rocks
  • student volunteer (class nominated to be the strongest)
  • 3-4 foot string for each student
Introduction: I handed out index cards to each student, and had them write down their name, grade, what they think I do as their school counselor, and any questions that they might have about me or about school counseling. 

Rocks:
I asked the class to nominate one person in the class who is the strongest, and that person came to the front to help me with the next activity.  I asked what it means to be "strong" (Physically, emotionally, academically, and spiritually, etc) I explained that even the strongest people need help sometimes, as I dumped a pile of rocks on a desk in front of the class and smiled at my volunteer. The rocks represent the problems that teens deal with on a normal basis. Some are just small problems or annoyances; others are big problems that consume much of your daily thoughts.  I asked everyone to brainstorm what types of problems teens might have to deal with. As they named things, I had each one come to the front, choose a rock to represent the problem, and hand it to the volunteer. I also added a few to keep it going and give them more ideas. Once the volunteer’s hands were at capacity, I gave him a SUPER easy test and a pencil. (I printed off a one digit addition test.), and said he had 10 seconds to finish. After a few seconds, I started “yelling” at him saying things like, ”This should be easy! Why have you not started? You should be done by now!” After the point was made, I asked the volunteer how he felt right then (frustrated/ agitated, etc). I asked the class why he was struggling to take such an easy test, and what would make it easier? I then explained that it’s nearly impossible to do well at school when you are holding onto so many rocks. The school counselor (me!) can help them handle all of their rocks. I told them again that even the strongest people will need help at times. 

From here, I transitioned to the specific services offered to students (Groups, classroom, individual, school programs, etc), and  how to get in touch with me if they did need to talk about something. I also used this time to discuss any questions that we had not already covered from their index cards. 

String: 
I gave each person a piece of string. I told them that the object was to tie a knot in the middle of the string. The rules are that once they pick up the string, their fingers become "superglued" to the ends of the string- they can't switch fingers. There can NOT already be a knot in the string when picking it up, they can NOT cut the string, and the knot can NOT be on the outside of the string (tying the ends together). I then quickly added that "it's okay to ask for help, BUT it is possible to do. It CAN be done."  I let the students struggle with it for a while, repeated the instructions several times, and waited for the first person to ask me for help. Once they asked for help, I motioned for them to follow me to a hidden area of the class, and explained the trick to them. (Cross your arms into a "knot" so that one hand pops up through the hole in your arms. Grab each end of the string while arms are crossed. Uncross arms, and you should have a knot.) Make sure you try this first before doing it with kids so you know how!! I explained to a handful of the students, before others started to catch on. From this point, I let those I had helped teach others in the class how to do it. I told the class that the point of the exercise is that it's okay to ask for help! Even the strongest people... (will need help at times!)

(Purchase the lesson plan and worksheets from my TPT store!)
School Counselor Introduction Lessons K-12

1 comment:

  1. I love that string activity!!!! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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