CBT Baseball

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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Cognitive behavior therapy baseball activity: incorporating movement

Right after I graduated from grad school, I went back to take a CBT class. Besides being a phenomenal course (with a stellar instructor), the textbook I got for it was actually worthwhile. Cognitive Therapy Techniques for Children and Adolescents: Tools for Enhancing Practice had some actually tangible strategies for doing this kind of work with a population this is still developing metacognition (PS Kindle version is way cheaper Cognitive Therapy Techniques for Children and Adolescents: Tools for Enhancing Practice). My favorite idea from it was essentially CBT baseball. It's been over 6 years since I read the book, so I'm guessing my version is probably an adaptation of what was described in the book. The first time I used it was in a therapy position with a client that struggled with anxiety. In my role as a school counselor, I use it more often for negative thinkers and anger.

Goal Setting in 4th Grade - Part 1 - All About Goals

Monday, December 12, 2016
4th grade Goal setting lesson plan, Part 1 of 3

One of the options for the academic skills unit I gave my 4th grade teachers was a 3-part lesson on goal setting. Another was for an "all in one" goal setting lesson. I had one teacher pick each, so lesson planning/editing I went. So much of what I was finding on goal setting in my searches was about saving money to buy expensive things, or working hard to do something like get in the school play - not a fit for what my teachers were looking for. Or it was just a bit above my students, academically and/or developmentally.

I decided the three main components to goal setting that I wanted to include were: what are goals/why are goals important/what are types of goals, what makes a goal a "good" goal, and personal goal setting.

Journey to Friendsville Review

Friday, December 9, 2016
Because social skills/friendship groups are the most common small groups we do, we're always looking for awesome interventions for sessions. Games of course, are a hit with both us and the kiddos. More often than not, we're more successful just adapting regular board games to fit our needs, but sometimes "therapeutic" games can be great as well. I wrote here about Socially Speaking as one that I thought was worth the money.

Picture from Self-Help Warehouse Website

Journey to Friendship Island is a game I would consider a win as well - though its $50 price tag is a bit hefty. Some of my thoughts/comments:

Confict Resolution Review: Rotations

Last year I devoted an entire lesson in 3rd grade to reviewing the skills taught in previous lessons and I think it was well worth the time. This year I decided to do the same.

Last year I used both a Mario and a Jeopardy game (pre-created PPT templates with my Qs added in). They were a big hit, but it did require whole group attention for 45 minutes straight (that's a challenge for many adults I know!) and I'm not sure how much it helped to cement ideas in their minds.

Conflict resolution: Super Mario Classroom BlastConflict resolution Jeopardy image

Because so many of my lessons with 3rd grade this semester have involved sorting and/or task cards, I decided rotations would be the way to go. I tested something similar out last year and while it wasn't perfect, I decided I wanted to give rotations another shot.

Staying True to You Lesson Plan

Thursday, December 8, 2016
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Peer pressure lesson plan - Staying True to yourself

Last spring, my 4th graders became overly focused on being cool and some of my 3rd graders started doing really...well..stupid things...because others told them to. I wanted to do a lesson on peer pressure but needed something that was elementary appropriate and had nothing to do with substances. Something about staying true to yourself. And something that wasn't about accepting yourself for being different.

I found an unlikely winner in the book Sorry! by, of course, Trudy Ludwig. As I mentioned here, the book certainly does discuss genuine vs. disingenuous apologies, but the real focus is on staying true to who you are. The book is rich with discussion topics.

Identifying and Ignoring Distractions Lesson Plan

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Identifying and Ignoring distractions using self-talk lesson plan

Have you ever asked the teachers to tell you what they want a lesson on, and they tell you, and then you regret asking a little because you have no idea how to accomplish what they want? No? Maybe it's just me...

This year's most requested academic topic lesson is "Identifying and Ignoring Distractions". Yowza. That's a biggie. When I first was tasked with this last year, I did an exhaustive google search. While I got some great ideas for the identification side of things, I struggled to connect with finding a solid way to teach kiddos how to ignore them.

Just Say It! Communication Skills Resource Book Review

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Just Say It! book cover by Kathie Guild

Because positive communication is a major theme in my 4th grade Life Skills curriculum this year, I was excited to check out Just Say It! by Kathie Guild. The cover says "6 Fun and innovative lessons designed to teach students communication skills to use in everyday interactions." It states grades 2-5. At $22, it's pretty well priced.

This link has 16 sample pages, including the Table of Contents, which I always find useful: Just Say It! Sample Pages

My take aways:

Problems Inside vs. Outside of Your Control Lesson Plan

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Lesson plan: Deciding if problems are in our control or out of our control

Part of 3rd grade's problem solving unit, after we tackle conflict resolution, is to identify problems inside vs. outside of our control. As many, many other counselors have done, I start with a hands on visual to introduce the idea (though I don't use play-doh). This is the specific way I've worked it:

Time Management Lesson Plan

Elementary Lesson Plan: Time Management

A repeat request from both my 3rd and 4th grade teachers is a lesson on time management. There's a lot of different ways that this can go, but I focus on time spent in school...with a heavy emphasis on independent work time. This is the plan.

Compliments Lesson Plan

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
As part of our 2nd grade social skills/friendship theme, we did a lesson on giving quality compliments. Without a stellar mentor text, we turned to Sesame Street. While the "short" version of this video focuses only on complimenting physical appearance, my co-counselor found this "extended" version that covers a broader variety of traits. We start the lesson by watching it:

And stop at a few points to ask:

  • What is a compliment? 
  • What were some examples of compliments? Ask after each example – what KIND of compliment was this (outside vs. inside, physical vs. what’s in your heart… any wording you want)? 
  • How did the compliments make Ernie feel? 
  • Why did Bert say “well, they are all true!” before he walked away?

Then we move to the rug and make a bubble map of the different types of things we can compliment people on. This took a bit of prompting but most classes were able to give ideas in the areas of: appearance (pretty, clothes, shoes, etc), personality (nice, helpful, smart, funny), and skills/talents (sports, math, reading, video games).

Then we headed back to desks and projected some sentence stems and read them together.

Compliments lesson plan sentence stems

We tried two different things for our application activity:

Option A: Compliment Circle


  • Turn to person sitting next you, knee to knee, eye-to-eye.
  • Give that student a compliment. 
  • Student responds by saying thank you, turns knee to knee to next person, repeats with the next person 
  • Ask student what they noticed you doing, what they noticed their peer doing (saying thank you, listening, etc.), and what the rest of them were doing while you were giving a compliment 
  • Go around the circle giving each student an opportunity to give and receive a compliment (using the sentence stems)
  • How did it feel to receive a compliment?
  • How did it feel to give a compliment

Option B: Compliment Chain

2nd grades Compliment Chain completed during our Compliments Lesson Plan

I'll start of by saying this worked way better with my 3rd graders last year than with my 2nd graders this year. The essential idea was to give each student a strip of colored paper, have them write a quality compliment on it (using the sentence stems), and then make a paper chain with them. There's a couple ways you can have the teacher "use" the chain later:
  • Students write hypothetical compliments (not to any specific student, but compliments that would be appropriate for a 2nd grade classmate). The teacher has students remove a link when a) they're having a bad day and/or b) students can earn the opportunity to remove a link...and then they read the compliment and give it to someone who it fits! OR
  • Students are each given the name (secretly) of a classmate to write a quality compliment too on their strip for the chain. Teachers can have tons of options of how/when to decide to have these delivered.
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