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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