Friday, August 31, 2012

Lat Minute Lesson Change-Up :)

Well it turned out to be a busier weekend than I had anticipated and as of Sunday afternoon, I didn't have any of the items that I wanted to use for my introduction lesson to the students!  So I had to come up with something quick that would work.  I had seen the School Counselor's First Aid Kit floating around on Pinterest and decided that I could make it work for me.  I went to this wonderful blog and got all of the directions that I needed to create my very own School Counselor Tool Box.  Yep, you read that correctly-- I made a tool box instead of a first aid kit.  I like using the analogy of adding tools to the students' tool boxes throughout the year and I figured it was a good start to teach them about the different "tools" that I use in my job.  They got a kick of out me asking them if they thought that I had a hammer and a saw in my box-- of course I don't use those types of tools!  I used it with all grade levels (even the upper grades) and it worked so well to help explain my role to the kids.  Since the lesson was done in such a short amount of time (15 minutes each) I was able to meet all classes before next week when I will start my lessons... 7 Habits here we come!!

Here is a picture of my tool box:

I didn't have time in each class to cover all of the items, but I was able to pick and choose.  I used the eraser (to help them fix mistakes), the head phones (because I'm a good listener) and the key (to explain what confidential means and tell them the exceptions to that rule) in every lesson.  I only used the star in 5th grade to talk about how I was going to help guide them to middle school and get them through the lonely, confusing, scary times along the journey.  I just picked and chose the rest of them depending on the grade level I was with.  I made sure to talk about all of  all of the points I wanted to make even if I didn't use the tool that specifically represented that (they all tie together pretty nicely).

Also, the most important (and my favorite!) thing that I did, was leave them with with their own tool to solve problems this year.  When I came in the middle of last year, I brought with me Heart Talk.  It was something that I learned in my internship and came from a WONDERFUL lesson planning resource, Puzzle Pieces by Diane Senn.  Heart Talk teaches the children to use I-messages (I feel, because, please) when they have a problem.  In every class I had at least a couple of students fill my bucket by showing me that they remembered Heart Talk!  :)

What did you use for your first lesson with your kiddos?  I'm so glad to have met all of the classes and I can't wait to get started next week with my lessons!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School!

Well, we made it! This has been my first first week back to school since I was a student myself, and I must say I am loving the chaos, smiles, nerves and excitement as our students and teachers gear up for a wonderful year.  I've gotten so many hugs and "Hey, I remember you!"s that make me truly excited to be back in the swing of things.  This week I've been mostly floating around to be helpful wherever I can, but next week I'll be "popping" into classrooms for a quick counselor introduction lesson plan.  Last year I introduced myself for a full 30 minutes lesson with Mrs. Potato Head for K4-1, counselor trivia 2-4, and decorating puzzle pieces in 5th grade (the counselor helps "connect the pieces"... their puzzle pieces went on my bulletin board. So cute!)

This year however, I think most of the students already know who I am, and I really want to get started with my 7 habits lessons in September so that I can cover all of them, so I plan on getting a few things here and there and taking them to each class to introduce myself for a quick 10-15 minutes.  Some of things I'll be looking for this weekend are: a large ear (where to find?!?), big shoes (maybe I can borrow a pair of the hubby's), an oversized key, a hand (thinking a foam hand would work), large sunglasses.  I'll share whatever I am able to come up with next week.  I'd like to have students in the upper grades help me out by wearing some of the things that I'll bring.

A little back to school FUN:

I just thought I'd share this with you since it was crafted for back to school.  Below is a picture of our volcano that was in the middle of the atrium for Meet the Teacher and the first day of school.  Our theme is Learning is a Treasure and we turned the atrium into a treasure map!  We found some footprint peel and stick wall art that we put on the floor with the volcano in the middle ("we're erupting with learning!") and a pirate ship on the wall.  The ship has pirates that will hold the "scrolls" of our honor roll students, perfect attendance and Bug Club for the 9 weeks.  It was so much fun to see the kiddos walking on the footprints around the atrium.  What did your school do for back to school??  I'd love to hear about it!

Have a wonderful, fabulous school year!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gettin' Crafty School Counselor Style

So long summer!  We officially start school next week, and I’ve been spending some time making some different crafts for my office.  Most things on here came from Pinterest so I’ll try to attach the tutorials that go along with it.

First things first: A School Counseling Planner 

One of the biggest challenges that I had my first few months as a school counselor was keeping track of everything that I had to do: classroom lessons, groups (who, what, where), individual appointments… and then some of the less glamorous duties, state-wide testing, meetings, records—the list goes on and on.  This school year, I wanted to do my best to start off with more organization.  Enter this *amazing* planner that I found on Pinterest.  Click here for the original post and tutorial- you won’t be sorry! J

I used the freebie template from the blog that originally created this and just added new headings to make it work for me.  As you can see, I have my month on one side and my weekly planner on the other.  I usually do about 2 different lessons per week (grade levels that is) and around 3 groups going at a time. This planner gives me room to write the session/ lesson topic and student initials so I can keep track.  Also, I struggle w/ remembering which students need an individual follow up session.  Now I’ll just write their initials down on my appointment list for the following week!  After each week, I’ll simply turn the page and violĂ ~ start a new week!

Next up, Crate Seats!

I’m lucky to have a table w/ 4 chairs and a small couch in my office for students to sit on, but there is always room for more—especially when I have a bigger group meeting in there J  I have been eyeing these crate seats for a while and one of our teachers set up a get together for those of us who wanted to make them this school year.  I definitely recommend doing this so that you can share your plywood and mattress foam!  Here is the finished product.  Also, they can still be used as storage…endless possibilities!

There are so many uses for these little guys!  I see myself giving them to homesick babies during the first week of school, kids who need some extra love, groups to invite them to share the love w/ others, ect.  Also, I love using the book The Invisible String with students who are homesick, missing a loved one, or who have had a love one die—although it is a younger book, I still like to use it w/ the big kids too because I think it has a very powerful and true message.  One of these hearts can be given to a student after reading the story while they process who their string is connected to. *Disclaimer: I am NOT a sewer. Seriously. Not at all.  However, these will be going to my little friends and I don’t think they’ll be too concerned with the shabby edges—don’t let that stop you either!

Sweet Treats for the Soul (Affirmations)

I took an old pickle jar and washed and cleaned it (but it still smells like pickles a little bit…oops!)  I then decorated it to say “Mrs. Kendrick’s Sweet Treats.”  It is full of sweet treats for the soul not the tummy.  Inside, I cut up little strips of paper that have different affirmations printed on them.  Students can have one when they’re feeling down or need a pick me up (teachers are welcome to them too!)


I also made a mind jar (which has been floating around Pinterest) and brain sprinkles with the left over glitter.  I don’t have their pictures here, but the brain sprinkles are just glitter and little beads in an old spice jar that can be used to give kids an academic boost.  I’m thinking I might bring these to my academic skills groups and give them a sprinkle at the end of each lesson to encourage them to remember what we've learned and give them a little extra boost to get ready for class.

Summer was wonderful, but I am so excited to see the kids and teachers that I work with.  It is going to be a great school year!  Good luck kicking things off at your school—thanks for stopping by!