My "No Worksheets" Rule

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
This is the fourth post in my school counseling curriculum series! If you want to catch up, the first is on curriculum mapping, the second on needs assessments, and the third on best practices.

I once offhandedly made the comment to a colleague that I don't use worksheets; her facial expression couldn't hide her skepticism and confusion. I specified that I just meant in classroom lessons (I still use worksheets with individuals and small groups); her face did not change. It was then that I realized I was in the minority with my 'no worksheets' rule. I have since had many conversations with other counselors about my reasoning. While they might not always agree (especially if their school demographic is different), they do always understand my 'why'. For the majority of the time, they just aren't awesome for my students in my lessons. Do I ever use worksheets in classroom lessons? Of course! And I wrote about those situations at the end. But it's pretty rare for me. Keep reading and I'll explain why. I'm not trying to convince you to stop using all your worksheets - just to maybe think about them a little hard to decide if they're your best option.

school counseling lessons no worksheets

With that said, here are five reasons I don't use worksheets in my classroom lessons:

The Invisible Boy Lesson Plan for Upper Elementary

Sunday, July 1, 2018
Last year, I used the gem that is The Invisible Boy with my second grade classes. This past year, I included it as part of my 4th grade unit with Trudy Ludwig books. With their more advanced brains (and trickier social networks!), I went with a new plan of attack.

The Invisible Boy lesson plan school counseling

This time around, after reading the story, we dug a little deeper into the concepts of included and excluded. The students and I co-created anchor charts representing these ideas and what they look like (what would we see if people were being included), what they sound like (what would we hear people saying if kids were being included), and what it feels like (what type of feelings words would describe being included). For each, students did a quick 'turn and talk' with a partner before sharing out as I wrote on our sticky chart paper. What I found after doing this in two classes was that my students already have a veeeerrrryyy good idea of what exclusion is all about it - it's the inclusion piece we need to understand better - so in the remaining classes we only did the anchor chart for included.

The Bad Seed: Review and Activities

Sunday, June 24, 2018
I'll admit it - I bought The Bad Seed after seeing it on a few education instagrams, just crossing my fingers that it would live up to the hype. Spoiler alert: It does! It's amazing.

the bad seed school counseling review and activities

This. Book. Rocks. In the first month I owned it, I used it with two different individual students and read it as part of a mini classroom lesson. The illustrations are fun and the story is engaging and simple without being the slightest bit preachy or like it's "teaching a lesson".

The Responsive Counselor on a Podcast

Sunday, June 10, 2018
After a few years of obsessively listening to all sorts of podcasts (true crime, home DIY, TED talks, etc.), I had the honor of being the first guest on a brand new school counseling podcast. Alaina of Cutting Edge School Counseling took on the challenge of hosting and I'm really excited to add it to my weekly listening list. Click the image below to get to the podcast's webpage, or just find it on the podcast app on your phone! Alaina's awesome (I connected with her on IG) and I had a blast chatting with her about school counseling things keeping me up at night.

School Counseling Office Tour: Round One

Saturday, June 9, 2018
I've been meaning to do a post about my office for five years. I procrastinated because my office was either "too messy" or, when it was clean, I realized it looked crazy blue due to the filters I put on my fluorescent lights (#excuses). So then when it got closer to time for me to pack up and move to a new school and new office, I decided I needed to make it happen before it was too late! I'll go ahead and apologize now for posting an office tour again in August when I'm in my new one.

My office was small, but could have been smaller. I managed to squeeze quite a bit in the 13'x18' space. Because I worked in a fairly old building, I had the luxury of painting and decorating however I saw fit. It's a challenge to create a space that's child friendly, professional enough for meetings (we have a conference room but I hold some meetings in my office if I think the main office may be intimidating/threatening), and also a safe haven for when I'm pulling my hair out during test coordination. I worked in this space for five years, improving on it bit by bit, and I absolutely loved it (minus the nasty chipping wall paint I didn't have time to paint over). The biggest challenge with the space is the complete lack of closed storage - everything is totally out in the open, meaning it looks cluttered very quickly.
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