Monday, November 21, 2011

Build Your Relationship with 20 Questions!

When I start working with students it is my first priority to build my relationship with them.  I think it is important to get to know the student, and for the student to get to know me.  One of the ways I do this is to play "20 questions".  I complied a list of 20 non threatening/getting to know you questions and put them on card stock.  Click this link to find a google doc of my 20 questions.

To play the game I put the cards in a circle like so:

Then the student and I take turns picking a card, reading the question, and responding. Here is an example of the opposite side of the card:

Be sure to ask open ended follow up questions when the student answers.  

At the end of the game, be sure to emphasis anything you may have in common.  Students always have fun playing "20 questions", and I always learn valuable information about my student!

Could you play "20 questions" with your students?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bullying Contract

I LOVE to use contracts with students for a few reasons.  First, they tend to take them very seriously especially when you ham it up, and say this is an "official" document.  Secondly, they are GREAT to refer back to if the same student finds themselves in a similar situation for a second time.  You can always say, "hey, you knew the consequences"! Lastly, it is a tangible item you can share with other staff members and families.

Check out the google doc of the Bullying Contract I made to hold students accountable for their actions when they find themselves involved in a bullying situation.  The contract clearly outlines the actions that are not acceptable, and the consequences that will be given if the student demonstrates the aforementioned actions.

I always have the student fill out the contract as part of accepting responsibility for their actions.  Once the contract is signed, I make copies to share with appropriate parties.

What are your thoughts on using contracts with students?


"Don't let what you don't have 

keep you from using what you do have." 

Lou Holtz

Roll the Dice!

I love ice breakers! Here is a fun and quick one I play with students in small groups:

Materials: Dice

Activity: Create six questions to correspond with each number on the die. Ask students to roll the dice and answer the question that corresponds with that number. The questions I use are as follows:

1. What is your favorite color?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What do you want to be when you grow up?
4. What do you like to do when your not at school?
5. What is your favorite thing about school?
6. Who is in your family?

I typically let students roll the dice 3 times before ending the game. I then ask these follow up questions:

1. Did you learn something new about someone in the group you did not know before?
2. What do you have in common with other group members?

I would love for you to share some of your ice breaker activities with me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Community Resource Binder

I put together a Community Resource Binder in order to have easy access to different resources families can utilize in my school community.


I have tabbed the binder into following resource categories:

1. Support groups for parents
2. Support groups for students
3. Mental health providers in the county and their contact information
4. Crisis Counseling Services
5. My School Counseling Services brochure 
6. Extra curricular activities 

I have made copies of the different brochures and flyers showcasing the resources above. When I meet with a parent I always bring my binder with me, so I can send them home with tangible resources to refer back to. 

Keeping all your community resources and contacts in one binder is a great way to stay organized! Do you have a Community Resource Binder?  

Monday, November 14, 2011

My First Prezi!

I have been meaning to post the Prezi I made to review my role as a school counselor.  I used this in my September "Welcome Back" lesson with students and staff. 

Click the link above and tell me what you think!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Students Want to Speak to their School Counselors (duh)!

Did you happen to catch Rachel Simmons author of Odd Girl Out speak on Anderson Cooper? If not, check out this video above.

I LOVE her shout out to school counselors around the 3 minute mark!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Gonna Like Me

I am using Jamie Lee curtis and Laura Cornell's book I'm Gonna Like Me to talk to k-2 students about self esteem. This books is very cute and gives students concrete examples of different things they can like about themselves. I especially like that the authors emphasis you should still like yourself even if you make a mistake, or get picked last in gym.

After I complete the book I ask students to share one thing that they like about themselves. After that students complete this paper to bring home and show their families.  I encourage students to draw at least four different things they like about themselves.

It is never to early to begin talking to kids about self esteem, and using I'm Gonna Like Me is a great conversation starter!

PS-Ask students if it fills their bucket to say things they like about themselves!

PPS-A great follow up lesson is talking about compliments!

Class Meetings

Lately I have been noticing an extreme lack of social skills amongst my student body even in the older grades. Because of this I have decided to change up the format of my class lessons this month. I have been incorporating the concepts from Responsive Classroom into each of lessons. I begin each lesson by having the class get into a circle and read a letter I wrote to them. The letter indicates the things we will be doing in the meeting. The meeting has four parts:

1. Greeting

The greeting in the meeting is so critical and important for students to recognize each other. Just this simple "hello" really can change the whole the dynamic of the classroom. Also, express to students that greeting someone is filling their bucket!

2. Share

Depending on the age of the students I allow them to share whatever they like, or I ask them to share on a specific topic.  For example, this month I am asking my 2nd graders to share what they are thankful for.

3. Message

Here I talk about the "theme" of the meeting. This is where I introduce the topic I will be discussing with the class. This month the theme is listening. I review the 5 steps of being good listener from Naomi Drew's No Kidding About Bullying.

4. Activity

This is the interactive part of the meeting.  To practice the 5 steps of listening the class engages in a game of telephone.

It is my hope that using the "meeting" format will help to increase social skills, and help to build a more "peaceful" classroom environment.  Here's an example of the letter I write to students...

Have you ever used this technique? Was it successful?