Sunday, September 30, 2012

Getting to know my students

This post is a little late coming since most of us are well into our school year. However, I thought I would share so you can store the idea away for next year. After I did a guidance lesson for every classroom introducing my role as the school counselor, I wanted to give my students a way to introduce themselves to me. I also use this lesson as a way for students to think about what makes them special and to help build their self esteem.

First, I read the book I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont, and we discussed what makes us special and how it doesn't matter what we look like on the inside. What matters is what we are like inside our hearts, that we are nice and caring to others.

Then, I had each student think about all the things that make them special and unique, and they created either an "All About Me" T-shirt or puzzle piece, depending on their grade level. Then, I displayed their work for Back to School Night. The T-shirts are hung up with clothespins and the puzzle pieces are glued to together to show how the class "fits together." Both the kids and parents enjoy seeing these around the school!

Below are pictures of my example, student examples, and my bulletin boards. I also strung some of the shirts up across the ceiling in my classroom!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be Proactive lesson

This year most of my classroom guidance lessons will be focused on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Happy kids. I wanted to share a book and activity my students did this week on being proactive (Habit 1).

One day I was literally running through our library taking a short cut on the way to one of my classes when I spotted a book with a girl doing the high jump in the Olympics with the title "Touch the Sky." It looked like it had lots of potential for a guidance lesson since we just had the summer Olympics, so I grabbed it and kept on running. It turned out to be a great book for a lesson on being proactive!

The book is Touch the Sky, by Ann Malaspina, and it is the story of Alice Coachman, the first African American woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics. There are numerous examples in this story of how Alice was proactive. She had a dream to be a high jumper and she practiced everyday, even making her own high jump from sticks and rags. She overcame harsh discrimination and plowed her own path to success.

After we read the book, I showed the students a YouTube video of an interview with her when she was much older where she talks about how she was champ. She talks about how no one can bring her down because she is the champ. This is the perfect example of choosing to have a positive attitude.

Then, each student completed the activity below. They wrote 5 ways they could be proactive in the Olympic rings and drew pictures of these examples inside the rings. They turned out amazing!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Teaching Trustworthiness with Chocolate

This is my first time joining a linky part.  I still feel really new to blogging, and do not know all the ins and outs so bear with me and cross your fingers that it will work.  I couldn't pass up the chance to join Maria Dismondy's monthly Let's Make A Difference link party since the topic this month is trustworthiness.  This is one of my most successful lessons I have done so far. I did this lesson with 5th graders my first year as a counselor when I was teaching Character Counts.

I did not tell the students we were discussing Trustworthiness, because I did not want to give anything away. I began by telling the students that over the weekend I went to this amazing specialty candy shop out of town and brought them each back a little piece of chocolate because it was so good.  I handed every student a little piece of the chocolate and asked them to please wait and not eat it until I said it was okay. I just said I want to be fair and have it all at the same time.  I really built up the hype for how good this chocolate was and they were so excited that I brought them some. (Here is the kicker: the chocolate is NOT from a specialty shop; it's UNSWEETENED baking chocolate) When I give them the okay, all the kids eat their piece of chocolate.  They immediately start gagging and wanting to spit out the chocolate; its hilarious!!  The best part is they start saying, "Hey, you lied" or "you tricked us."  And I say, that's right I lied to you.  Then to make amends I tried to offer them a wrapped up Reese's cup and they don't even want to take it, because they think I'm lying again.  It is a perfect message: It only takes one lie to lose someone's trust, and it takes a lot of effort to gain it back.  They say after that, they will never trust me again. It's so funny.

This fun idea is a great intro to any lesson on trust.  It fits well with the Wall of Turst activity, because its the same message of building someone's trust and tearing it down with one lie.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Individual Counseling Activity Pages Holder

I found this great idea on Pinterest this summer and thought it would be an awesome way to keep up with all of the counseling pages I use with my students. I don't use these pages every time I talk with students, but it is nice to have them handy and organized in case I feel like one would be helpful.

I used a paper towel holder, the inside metal piece of a three ring binder, sheet protectors, colored card stock, and a little duct tape for this simple DIY project. The original idea suggested using metal rings, but I couldn't get them to stay up on the paper towel holder, so I tore the metal binder clips out of a binder and used duct tape to hold it tight to the holder. This wasn't perfect, but it works. Then, I simply added card stock to the sheet proctors. I kept certain colors together to represent different counseling topics so I could find pages quickly.

The pages come from different counseling resources I have. Most of the resource books come with CDs that allow you to print all the reproducibles. This is a simple way to pull all your favorite pages together from many different books.

How do you organize your individual counseling resources?