Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Favorite Lessons of the Month

I teach over 450 lessons a year. Sometimes I just forget what I've done and sometimes a lesson changes multiple times as the month progresses. In an effort to help me remember what worked, I try and blog about my most successful lessons of the month. Here's some of my favorite from the past month:

3rd: We read Ping and Pong Are Best Friends (mostly) and then discussed feelings of jealousy and what we can do to cope with those feelings using my activity packet online. Next we watched this cute video on conflict resolution.

After the video I broke students into teams and they had to create as many conflict resolution strategies as they could. We ended our lesson with some words of wisdom from Kid President.

4th Grade: We talked about perseverance and growth mindest.
First we read one of these awesome books:

As we were reading or during reading students wrote down examples of a negative or fixed mindset. You can use blank post it notes or Counselor Keri has an awesome resource for this lesson.

Next we watched some great videos on Class Dojo. 

After watching the videos I put students into groups and each group had to change at least 4 fixed mindset statements into positive mindset statements. I made it a relay race and as teams finished they either got supplies for the Marshmallow Challenge or the paper for the Class Dojo challenge

5th- We are doing to Weird! Series. Check out all the details here.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


It's NSCW again!
I'm a little behind this year due to a illness, snow days, and a never ending to do list. Here's a little sample of how we are celebrating!

Sharing - I always put together a newsletter with a little info. about why we celebrate, what school counselors do, and different challenges for the week.

Challenges- Each year I challenge my classes to participate not only with the ASCA signs, but also with trivia challenges along with the way. My questions this year were about stars and me, but they can also be about your role. One year I asked students questions that reviewed what we had been learning in class. For example - what are the 2 times we tell an adult (the 2D rule)? (answer: when something is dangerous of destructive).

Mystery Reader- Mystery reader videos are so fun. My teachers and staff read a book, but hide their face. We upload videos onto our announcement system Canvas for teachers to watch when time allows. If the class can guess the reader they win a prize. See an example of my amazing music teacher here:

This week I am the mystery reader and I read I Wish You More!

Teacher gifts:  I totally stole my idea from this great blog: http://www.rebeccapropes.com/2015/05/teacher-appreciation-gift-diy/

Visit this page as I continue to update what I am doing as the week progresses!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Minute Meetings

Do you use minute meetings?

Minute meetings are a quick simple way to meet your students. Ideally, you can use your minute meetings as a quick introduction and to gather data on needs. The goal is to meet with every student (yes I know that's a lot) for 2-4 minutes, learn about them, and take a survey on how you can meet their needs.

I say ideally, because even though they are designed to only take a few minutes, it can be challenging to see every student. I really enjoyed the School Counselor Files blog about her experience with minute meetings.

Here are some of my ideas on making minute meetings work:

Use technology! I've created this Google form that is ready to go on my iPad. As you visit with each student you (or the student depending on age) can quickly fill it out. There's also a spot for follow up- which allows you to identify students that need more than a minute.


Don't go far. Have your minute meetings in a location close to the classroom for efficiency.

Image result for clockPick a good time. Even though you are asking teachers to do this just once a year, it can still be difficult to coordinate allowing students to step into the hallway. Try to pick a time that the teachers won't mind, like a rainy day in door recess.

Have a list of students ready to go. As you visit with each student check their name off the roll and ask the next student to visit. This helps you track who you have seen and not seen.

Image result for lunch bunchLunch bunch it! Invite students in groups to eat lunch with you and have them take the survey then, or go to the cafeteria and visit with students. You could even set up a counselor in the cafe table and encourage students to visit you, take the survey, and maybe even enter to win a door prize. Ask the teacher if he/she would be willing to let students eat lunch in the room that day and you go to them! Students could play cooperative games, engage in conversation starters, or even watch a movie while you are doing your meetings.

Flip your minute meeting. Have teachers share a video or powerpoint introducing the counselor and the meeting expectations before hand (check out this Prezi example). Teachers could share this quick video/presentation during a morning meeting or in English class. You could also share it on the daily news. Why? This helps you give students a pre understanding of what you are about to do. It cuts down on time to explain the process and for new students it also helps you introduce yourself. I heard Erin Mason and  Franciene Sabens talk about flipping your lessons and it's a game changer. Learn more about flipping lessons by clicking here. 
Image result for flip lesson

Share your ideas! If you have a minute meeting story of success share it in the comments!
You can also visit schcounselor.com and JYJoyner for more ideas!

Monday, January 8, 2018

New book by Molly Bang!

I'm sure most of you have seen When Sophie Get's Angry: Really Really Angry

and I was so excited to get When Sophie's Feelings Get Really, Really Hurt two years ago.

So imagine how excited I was to see a new Molly Bang book on the Scholastic Preview!

This looks like the perfect way to explore mindset and perseverance. Here are some of my ideas for using the book.

1) Do an author study. Read more about Molly here.
2) Combine with a "power of yet" activity and bulletin board, like this FREEBIE from Lone Star Classroom. 
3) Partner with your favorite perseverance game like the Target dollar spot ring toss or create your own ring toss.
4) Get younger students excited by showing this video:
5) Explore Pinterest and tell me your favorite partner activity!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Last minute holiday lesson ideas

In need of some last minute holiday lessons? Here are a few quick ideas:


Activity Idea: Partner with a Santa application (like this the one a co-counselor and friend made).

 Or partner with a first resume like this freebie from TPT or this freebie for younger grades or this vocabulary activity. There are lots of options on TPT. 

Read or watch:

Activity Idea: Partner with this acceptance activity from Counselor Keri.


Activity Idea: Partner with this feeling lesson from Counselor Keri.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Scholastic Book Club- it's where I get a lot of my books

Every wonder how I manage to get enough books to give students and staff over 800 books each year?

Scholastic Book Club!

1) I asked teachers to volunteer to let me run their book club. Each year I have at least ten teachers willing to do this. Why? It's less work and time for them.
It allows me to provide books school wide. They don't have to do anything.

2) Next I created an account and listed all the different grades who I was serving.

3) When flyers come in I separate them into two piles: classrooms I am serving and teachers doing it on their own. I put the flyers for classrooms I am not serving directly in teacher boxes.

4) I have a library volunteer help me get the flyers ready. It's simple- you just pull them out and I staple a letter with my class code and ordering details to it. It's the perfect job to do while watching Monday night TV. Scholastic even creates the letter for you. I simply copy and paste and make 3-4 a page to save paper.

5) Put flyers in teachers boxes.

6) Wait for the orders to come in. Most parents order online. Some return checks to me and I enter the order myself.

7) Get the benefits! August and September are big months. You earn triple the bonus points, which means more free books. So, I really push the orders early on. I give books away as part of our character education awards, to teachers as an extension of class lessons, to classes as school wide incentives, to individual and small group members that achieve their goals, etc.

8) Deliver the books. When all the books arrive organize and deliver them. I've become known as the book lady. As I deliver books I do check in's with kids so it's a win win. Insider tip: when you submit an order print it out. When books arrive check them off. Books don't arrive all together, so you may get parts of orders. This helps you track what still needs to arrive.

9) Celebrate!!

10) Extra perks: send books recommendations to parents that partner with program topics. For example, in Sept. I recommended books about school and in Oct. books about kindness. You can also start a classroom wish list!

Bullying Prevention Month


Newsletter sent to teachers

Here’s the school wide challenge I set up for my teachers:

K-1: Being kind is so sweet! Help students differentiate between a "sweet" friend and a "sour" friend with the activity from Counselor Chelsey. Next have students write one they can be be a sweet friend on a watermelon seed. Turn the seeds into your counselor for a “sweet” wall display and win a friendship book for your class library. Also, check out a book from the counselor on being a sweet friend to add to your lesson, morning meeting, or for students to read independently.

2nd-3rd: We stand up to bullies! Borrow any book on bullying to read to your class. After reading the book have students sign the anti- bully pledge (I got these from the Dollar Tree.) If you turn in your pledge cards to the counselor you will win a book for your class library.

4th-5th: Choose Kind: Become A Certified Kind Classroom.  Read Wonder or borrow the picture book We’re All Wonders to read as a class. Visit www.penguin.co.uk/choosekind to become a certified kind classroom. Share your success with the counselor and win a Wonder series book or related title for your class library.