Friday, April 11, 2014

Giveaway! Win $25 to!

Interested in getting new toys, puppets, games, art supplies for your office? Look no further then to get you started!
Enter the giveaway below and be eligible to win a $25 gift card!
You have until April 18th to enter. Good luck!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Notes from a Play Therapy Workshop

Do you ever use play therapy when counseling students?

As I become a more seasoned counselor I find myself drawn to play therapy theory, techniques, and application. In an effort to learn more about play therapy I attended a full day workshop at the The Play Therapy Training Institute (PTTI). The workshop was Pyschodynamic Play Therapy given by play therapy guru Heidi Kaduson

From the minute I walked into PTTI I was impressed! The institute was filled with toys, art supplies, and so many fun things for children to play with. Literally, every toy you could think of was in this space. It was VERY cool. I would imagine that any child that works with Dr. Kaduson would be thrilled to play in this space.

Some of the highlights I took away:

1. Inside/Outside Masks. Allow children to use any art supplies you have handy in your office to make a mask of their outer selves (how the world perceives them), and then flip the mask around and create their inner selves (how they feel about themselves).
2. News Network. News Network is an activity for therapist and child to role play together. The child plays an "expert" on a certain topic (grief, bullying, family issues, etc). The topic should be something the child is currently dealing with. You, as the therapist, call into the news network asking the "expert" for advice on how to handle that issue. This activity will allow you to gain insight into their world.
3. Children act out their "stuff" (grief, anxiety, depression, etc). 
It is natural to for kids to play! They use fantasy to work out the things they are experiencing. 

As give away prizes I won these cool toys to use in my office!

I love a training when I walk with BOTH concrete things to do with my students, and more knowledge about the topic. This training provided both! If you are from the tri-state area I highly suggest attending a training at the The Play Therapy Training Institute . If you are not, be sure to check out Dr. Kaduson's books.

The The Association for Play Therapy put out this adorable video a few weeks ago to celebrate National Play Therapy Awareness Week.

I'm considering becoming a registered play therapist. I would love to hear from any current play therapist, or professionals working towards their certificate. Do you feel play therapy is beneficial in your work with children? Share your thoughts below.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Got Conflict? Act Assertive!

I created this lesson to help students be assertive when they find themselves in a conflict.

The first part of the lesson focuses on defining conflict. I used this adorable video from Sesame Street. When the video is done ask students to share examples of conflict that they have experienced. Be sure to ask each student how they solved their conflict. Did they yell, hit, walk away? Did they get their way? Be sure to really emphasize how they behaved.
Next, say to the class "when we find ourselves in a conflict we can react three ways". Introduce the concept of mouse, monster, or me. Ask for three students to volunteer. Give each student a mouse, monster, or me paper to hold. Demonstrate how each one acts in the same conflict.

For example, I chose the common conflict of students cutting each other on the lunch line.  I asked the student to pretend to cut me. I acted as a mouse (very timid, didn't say anything), a monster (screaming, yelling, hitting), and me (being assertive).

Next, we move into the second half of the lesson which focuses on being assertive (acting like "me") when in conflict. We review what acting assertive means (standing up for your rights and other peoples rights in a peaceful way). I then teach students "I statements" as a tool to help them act assertive.

The lesson concludes with students acting assertive by using an "I statement" with the conflicts they shared at the beginning of the lesson.

Make extra copies of the mouse, monster, and me  handouts to leave for the classroom teacher. Kindly ask the teacher to hang them up in the room as a reminder of three reaction styles.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Great Kindness Challenge

My school took part in The Great Kindness Challenge (GKC). This was one week dedicated for students to perform acts of kindness for each other, our school, and our community.

All students received their own GKC checklist (the GKC checklist can be found on the GKC website) with 50 kind deeds to perform.  In order to spark excitement, I created a competition between homeroom classes to find out which class is the kindest. The class that completed the most acts of kindest would be crowned "the kindest class in school", and would receive a special bagel breakfast to celebrate their kindness!

Students and staff really got into the competition!  The kindest class performed 545 acts of kindness, and in total my school did over 5000 acts!

I also organized a kindness matters posters contest for students to participate in. I was overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful and thoughtful posters I received! Here are just a few examples:
The details of the poster contest can be found here.  This is a copy of the promotional flyer I sent home to families. Feel free to change them to meet your needs! 

Did your school celebrate The Great Kindness Challenge? How do you promote kindness in your building?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Peaceful Stationary!

As a holiday gift this year, my brother's amazing girlfriend, gave me this stationary set for my school counseling office. The set consists of notepads and note cards. How fabulous!? 

I cant wait to use them in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Class Lesson -"What I Am"

Have you heard the song "What I am" by Will I am and Sesame Street? It is adorable!

I created the following lesson to use in conjunction with this song for grades k-3. Here are the details:

Lesson Objectives
1. Students will gain self awareness


To begin the lesson ask students to think of positive words that describe themselves. As an example, I tell students "peaceful" is a word that describes me. As students tell you their words, jot them down on the board. You will refer back to them later.

Next, play the What I am Card Game. Explain that each card contains a word that can describe who we are.  Ask for volunteers to pick a card and read the word aloud. Instruct students that if the word describes them they are to stand up. Repeat this until all the cards are read. As cards are read hang them on the board to refer back to later.

When the game is over tell students that it is now time to listen to a fun song called What I am. Encourage students to listen for some of the positive words that we talked about in the game.

To reinforce student's self awareness pass out this worksheet for grades K & 1, and this worksheet for grades 2 &3. Students can refer to the words that were brainstormed in beginning of the lesson and the card game.

To close the lesson play the song one more time and encourage students to sing and dance along! This is a super fun lesson that students and teachers will love (I promise)!