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)!
In an effort to promote kindness amongst the student body I started a kindness raffle. Teachers are asked to award students a kindness ticket if they catch he or she doing an act of kindness for another peer or staff member. Either the student or the teacher fills out the raffle ticket with the student's name, homeroom teacher, and a brief description of the kind act that was performed. Students are asked to place completed raffle tickets in the raffle basket that is located in the main office. Every Friday afternoon I choose five tickets out of the basket. I then do a "kindness broadcast" announcing the five winners and their acts of kindness. When introducing this initiative to my staff I emphasized the importance of having the students write down the act of kindness they performed. This reflection is not only important for the student receiving the ticket, but also for the entire student body listening to the broadcast. It is my hope that reading these descriptions will help students to truly get an idea of what a kind act looks like, feels like, sounds like, etc.
The five winners are awarded these adorable shirts that the generous PTO at my school purchased for this program. Honestly, aren't these t-shirts just fantastic?
This is a fun and easy program to implement that can have a big difference on the climate in your building.
Lesson Objectives: 1. For students to learn the definition of cooperation. 2. For students to learn the behaviors associated with being cooperative. 3. For students to practice being cooperative in order to complete a task. Materials Needed: 1. 6"x6" pre-cut construction paper squares (multiple colors) 2. An Our Cooperation Quilt paper 3. Stapler 4. Copies of the Cooperation worksheet This lesson is best for grades 2-5. To begin I read the following letter to provide structure for the lesson (all my class lessons follow the Responsive Classroom format):
Next, we review the definition of cooperation. I ask students to share a time in their lives where they showed cooperation in order to complete a task. Some of the responses I typically receive are:
"Helping my family cook dinner".
"Working on a class project with a friend".
"Working as a team to win a sports game".
"Helping my mom hang a picture".
"Cleaning my room with my brother".
I follow up each student's response by asking them, "What did you do to work together"? Did you talk to each other? Listen to each others ideas? Compromise? Encourage each other? Take turns? Distribute this worksheet to review the behaviors associated with being cooperative. After the discussion period, I then move into the first cooperative activity. To do this, break the class into partners, and have them find a space in the classroom where they can sit down. Ask students to sit with their backs against each other and link arms. Tell students that their task is to stand up at the same time with out unlinking their arms. Give students about 3-5 minutes to try and do this. Bring the class back together and process this experience with them. Use the following process questions:
What was the easiest thing about doing this activity? What was the hardest?
If you were not able to stand up, what do you think stopped you?
If you were able to stand up, how did you do this?
Which behaviors (from the worksheet) did you use when showing cooperation to complete this task?
The next activity is to create a cooperation quilt. Distribute a square of construction paper to each student. Ask students to draw and/or write about time where they showed cooperation with a friend, family member, teacher, etc in order to complete a goal or a task. Collect each square and staple them all together to create a cooperation quilt. Staple this sign to your quilt for completion.
Close the lesson stating, "when we all work together and show cooperation we can achieve great things"!
Does your school tend to have "problems" arise during recess and lunch time?
Being new at my school last year I noticed my office would clog up with students right after recess and lunch trying to talk to me about an issue that had just occurred. I started to feel completely overwhelmed in the afternoons.
One of my goals this school year was to cut down on the amount of recess and lunch time panic visits. To do this, I created cafeteria and recess rules. I created large posters and hung them up in the cafeteria. I reviewed them during the first week of school everyday.
These seemingly simple posters have really cut down on the amount of after lunch visits to my office.
I spent lots of time this summer setting up and organizing my office. I want students to feel happy and comfortable when they visit me. Take a look!
Reading/carpet area. I plan to utilize this space during small group sessions. I love how cozy and inviting it is.
My desk! Students and adults can opt to sit in the fun green comfy seat, or desk chairs while we chat.
The "Get inspired" wall with motivational posters. During both individual and group sessions I make reference to these sayings. This is a great way to spark discussion with students who are hesitant to talk at first. I ask students what poster they like best and why.
I found these gems at the Christmas Tree Shop of course! How can you not smile when you read these?
My wall of goodies. To maximize time with students I have all my important paperwork organized and hanging right in front of me.
The view from my desk. Note, my office is a classroom divided into two rooms with a chalkboard wall as the divider. Students love to draw and write on this board. I also use it to highlight goals and objectives for small group sessions.
Organizational bins are a must! As you see from the pictures above, I don't have a ton of storage space. I use these bins to hold student folders. They are organized by grade.
I created the Miss Lemberg's Rules board last year. I left it in place to remind students about confidentiality!
Having a bright, clean, organized, and happy room is essential for me. I am excited to work in this space everyday.
I am very excited to be heading back to school, and even more excited to be connecting back on my blog again! I always get the BEST ideas, information, and inspiration from my fellow blogger friends. Thank you to The School Counselor Space blog for creating this great linky party!
I don't officially start until the Tuesday after labor day. However, I plan to head back the week of August 19th. I will set up my room and get organized for the school year. I truly believe the key to a successful school year starts with setting your foundation in the summer! I also enjoy the laid back feeling of being in my office before everyone comes back. I am able to get paperwork done, set up my bulletin boards, and CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN my office.
One of my goals this year is to decrease the chaos in the cafeteria and at recess. To do this I worked with my principal to create lunch and recess time rules. These rules have been printed up on 3'x5' paper and will be reviewed with all students the first week of school. I also plan on implementing Marissa Rex's "Good Behavior Competition" from the Elementary School Counseling Blog.
It is hard to choose just three, but I would say the following are VERY important tools: 1. My computer-I use google docs, drop box, prezi, power point, word etc. 2. My fellow blogger friends! A vast majority of my professional development comes from connecting with you. THANK YOU! 3. Books, books, books! Where would I be with out my books? I use biblio-therapy for majority of class lessons, and group/individual sessions. Some favorite authors include the wonderful Julia Cook, Trudy Ludwig, and of course Carol McCloud! I am also an avid reader of the Books that Heal Kids blog to get new book recommendations and ideas.
For the past few years I have done this lesson, but I'm thinking of changing it up this year. I love this idea from Vanessa over at the Savvy School Counselor Blog!
Communication is key! I try to make myself available at all open house events such as Back to School Night. Additionally, I send home letters and use the school website.
1. Make yourself and your services known! Get out there and talk to your colleagues, parents, and administrators Make a presentation on the first day back to school sharing your goals and plans with staff. 2. Create calendars and schedules for your services. Share these documents with important stakeholders. 3. Follow through with what you say you are going to do. We all know our schedules get crazy, and even our best laid plans often go awry. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we shouldn't reschedule our lesson or our group etc. Delivering what you say you are going to do shows teachers and administrators that you take your job seriously.
I adhere to the theory less is more! I create a file folder for each student. In this folder I keep important notes and/or paperwork that relates to this child. Each folder is then put into a filing cabinet that is separated by grade and teacher. For other important documents I use three ring binders with dividers to separate paperwork into categories. Lastly, I use dropbox! All my lessons and important documents are saved on my computer and then to dropbox. I LOVE this because I can access them anywhere at any time.
I am saddened that I have not written since February. There have been many personal and professional obstacles these past few months that put me in a dark place. I am finally finding my way out into the light again. I am thankful to now be in a happier, more peaceful state. I am looking forward to the upcoming school year as a fresh start. New year, new goals, new dreams, new ideas! I am hoping to begin blogging more frequently with the goal to inspire and be inspired! After all, isn't that what life is all about? I leave you with this adorable quote from Dr. Seuss that I feel connected to at this moment... You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” ~ Dr. Seuss
My classroom guidance lesson this month focused on being a GREAT listener. To do this I tailored Naomi Drew's fabulous lesson called "Reflective Listening" from her amazing book "No Kidding About Bullying". Here is the letter I wrote to my students to introduce the topic and objectives for our class meeting.
After greeting and sharing news, I used Naomi Drew's questionnaire to pre-test my student's listening skills. We then discussed their results, and I asked students why being a good listener is important. Many students responded, "to keep us safe", "to get good grades", "to not get detention", etc. Draw from their responses and emphasize that listening is a skill that EVERYONE needs to practice (sometimes even adults). Next, go over the5 Steps To Be A GREAT Listener. Chose a student to read each step and take a minute or two to explain it.
Once the students understand The 5 Steps the real fun can begin! Pair students up to interview each other. During the interview students ask each other three questions while practicing the 5 Steps.
To close the lesson, check student's listening skills by asking pairs to volunteer and share their partners responses.
As a parting gift leave the 5 Steps To Be A Great Listener poster!
My bookmark toolbar is so over crowded its become quite the chore to click through all the blogs I read looking for updates. This predicament has totally taken all the fun out of one of my more enjoyable hobbies. One afternoon I was chatting with a friend about my dilemma when she suggested that I use Bloglovin. Bloglovin is an amazing website that allows you to follow the blogs you read by letting you know when they update! Additionally, you can organize your blogs into folders by category (you know how I just LOVE to organize and categorize). So for instance, I have my school counseling blogs, food blogs, home decors blogs, etc all separated into different folders. Below is a screen shot of the school counseling blogs I follow. The blogs with current updates are listed from top to bottom on the left, along with a preview of the new post on the right.
Bloglovin has helped me make effective use of my reading time by streamlining all my blogs into one website (no more over crowded bookmark toolbar for me). There is even an app for the iphone and ipad so I can check my blogs on the go.
As part of my College Bound initiative I created a bulletin board to display the different colleges staff members attended. To do this I asked staff to complete a form with the following information:
1. Name of college/university attended
3. How did going to college help prepare you for your current job?
I then typed up their responses, took their pictures, and pasted them on different color card stock. I cut the card stock in the shape of college pennants and rectangles to make it more visually appealing.
This was such a fun, easy, and effective bulletin board to make. Staff members were excited to participate and students were anxious to find out where their teachers went to college!
This year my district has a goal to increase college and career readiness. I came up with four short term initiatives to help my school reach this goal. My first initiative was to create a college pennant for each hallway. Each hallway will be named for a college or university in the state of New Jersey. Here is a look at some of the pennants I created:
Teachers will be asked to refer to the hallway as the college/university name. For instance, you can find the school counselors office in the "Rutgers" hallway. This is just a small and easy way to get elementary school students familiar with simple college vocabulary! Stay tuned to find out about the other initiatives I will be starting later this month!
What do you do at your school to promote college readiness?