There is a point in every school counselor’s life when everything begins to pile up. It’s at this very moment that we realize our creative lesson planning has taken a back seat.
I was trying to think what I needed most during these times. READY TO USE LESSONS! I needed a place where I could go that would have everything I needed in one place. And not just a creative, cutesy lesson, but one that built on our ASCA mindsets and behaviors AND also hit all my students’ social-emotional goals.
Well that’s exactly what I’ve decided to offer you! You see I may not be in the school every day any more, but every day I do hear how much my lessons made a difference and how much my kiddos miss me. So, if I can’t use them, someone should! Continue reading →
Optimism is often a hard one to teach. Young children like to generalize optimism to mean, “I will be happy all the time otherwise it’s bad.” Well . . . that thought process is only erasing every single emotional awareness lesson I ever taught.
This year I was trying to think of a way to make optimism an internal feeling and not an outward display of happiness. How do we feel hopeful about things even in our darkest days? Positive self-talk! And then the Shield of Optimism was born . . .
Positive self-talk is the amazing ability to tell ourselves just how special and important and good and wonderful we are so that we have the resilience to approach difficult situations with confidence. I took this approach when teaching my K-4 students about optimism. We should talk to ourselves like we would a great friend . . . and if that’s not happening, then let’s look at how we fix it.
Without giving too much information and breaking confidentiality, I wanted to share the difference in two back to back sand tray experiences with the same child. This truly defines the saying, “What a difference a day makes.”
I have had SO much interest in my The Bully is Back in Town post from nearly 4 years ago! It was one of my firsts.
There were pieces of it I loved and pieces that I hated myself a little bit for also. When I began counseling, our head of school at the time was big on creating or having or using some sort of “bullying program.” I know I make it very clear often that I don’t really LOVE (in fact really dislike) using the word bullying. But sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do to make certain people happy.
I am love, love, LOVING the new Kimochis program for our Preschoolers. I have even gotten some of my mommy friends to buy the program for use at home . . . that’s how much I believe in what it is teaching!
I have noticed that it seems to move quite fast, not practicing the skill long enough for my 3s. So, I took a step back and began creating some extension activities on concepts I think are really important, or need practiced more (because they may or may not be continual issues at school), or because they build on my elementary program.
I struggle each year with a creative way to explain Red Ribbon Week to my younger preschool and elementary-aged students. I don’t think this community of children need to hear the repeated “Don’t Do Drugs” mantra. It just doesn’t make much sense to them. In fact, I didn’t even buy red ribbons for my students this year.
GASP! I know. What a terrible, terrible counselor. But I’ll be honest. I wanted a more meaningful activity. One that they might actually remember and keep as a momento. Not a red ribbon that will be splattered with ketchup and mud in 4 minutes, fall off before lunch, and find stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe on their way out to carpool.
After a few seminars on the subject at the end of last year, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my year than teaching my boys mindful breathing techniques.
I did this lesson back in March to conclude our month of practicing curiosity. But, this lesson would be a great May lesson, as well.
This lesson incorporates a review of character skills from December on (mine was obvious only a 3 month review, but you could easily review as many months as you want), as well as recognizing things that we’ve had to LEARN how to do.
I’m almost jealous of all the people who can use this lesson in May as opposed to March. What a great review of all the new things you’ve learned over the course of a year!
Our 4th new character skill was curiosity. This one was especially hard to teach because so many students were taught that curiosity would get them into trouble. I had to reframe their thinking into remembering that curiosity leads us to learn new things. All learning starts when we are first curious about something.
I taught grades K-6 a variation on the same lesson and I have them all . . . yes I know it’s a lot . . . outlined below. I have labeled them by grade level, so feel free to skip down to the one that most interests you.