Reputation - Lesson Plan

Saturday, May 27, 2017
Elementary school counselor lesson plan on reputations

The 'end of the year' lesson is always a tricky one for me. My goals for my lessons are usually for students to learn and start using a specific SEL skill. I could do this in May, but with only a short amount of time remaining in the year, the timing isn't ideal. This leaves me with doing a reflective lesson, a warm fuzzy lesson, or a 'next year...' lesson. My 4th grade group this year wasn't the warm fuzzy type and one of their teachers recommended something about reputations - which I thought was a great idea!

School Counseling and Social Emotional Awards

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Social Emotional Learning awards

Each May I have the pleasure of attending (and sometimes facilitating) the end of the year awards for each of my grade levels. Getting to see my students celebrated for their growth and greatness is incredible, and I also love the chance to see and meet many of their parents. A few years ago, some of our related arts teachers began giving awards as well which got me thinking...could I give awards too? I worried at first that it would look like favoritism and that it could in some way damage the relationships I've built with the students and the role I play in their lives. With some more reflection though, I realized the opportunity to honor social-emotional growth was worth the risk, and that having teachers nominate (and physically hand) the awards to the students put the focus back on the kiddos and off of me.

Enter: School Counseling/SEL Student Awards!

The Invisible String - End of the Year Lesson

Saturday, May 13, 2017
Students involved with The Invisible String activity

That time has come...the time for my final lesson of the year in my classes. My 3rd grade homerooms are pretty tight knit and family like, with many students feeling sadness and anxiety about leaving their homerooms for the great unknown of 4th grade. Enter: The Invisible String and a web of warm fuzzies.

Must Have Books - All the Feelings

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
This post contains affiliate links.

This is Part 4 in my must have book series. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here!

Obviously, as a school counselor, we spend a lot of time talking about feelings. There are one million gazillion trillion books out their for kiddos that have to do with emotions, and a lot of them are pretty great. If I had to narrow it down to my absolute favorites, the ones I would buy first if I had to start my collection from scratch, these are the ones I would get. To avoid the longest blog post in the entire world, I'm breaking this down even more specifically to posts on "all of the above" feelings, anger, shyness and worry, and emotional regulation.

I don't want to talk about it book cover
This book is technically about divorce; the book goes through all the different animals she feels like as she processes the news. I've used it with kiddos to process all sorts of different life events however. Where most kids' books with metaphors are above their heads, this one is much more concrete. It's also a great opener for art or craft projects.

Counselor's Corner - Library Collaboration

Monday, May 8, 2017
A photo of our counselor corner created in collaboration with school libraian

Inspired by this article on the librarian's role in SEL, I wanted to share about a small collaboration between our counseling department and library. In the corner of our library's fiction section lives our "Counselor's Corner"; a collection of books hand selected and recommended by myself and my co-counselor.

  • I love books. I want my students to love books.
  • Our reading scores are not where we'd like them to be. If I can do a tiny, tiny thing that may help more students check out more books, which may in turn help their reading, I'm in. 
  • I believe in bibliotherapy.
  • Social emotional learning and development should be occurring in many environments outside of my classroom lessons. By encouraging students to read books that have social/emotional lessons within them, I'm also promoting SEL development at home.
  • Some of these books wouldn't see a lot of action if it wasn't for them being displayed differently and next to pictures of mine and my co-counselors' faces. 

Miles McHale, Tattletale

Monday, May 1, 2017
This post contains affiliate links.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm picky. Really, super picky. That means it's rare that I come across a new counseling book and think "YES I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW"...but I had that exact reaction to this new book on tattling, Miles McHale, Tattletale (Little Boost)

I stumbled upon this gem in a stack of brand new books our librarian received for the library. We've used A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue;for awhile now, and sometimes use Tattlin' Madeline, but I think this will be our new go-to. Unlike Tattle Tongue, it's not overly long or wordy and it doesn't contain a lengthy list of 'rules'. Unlike Tattlin' Madeline, it's visually appealing and up to date. Unlike Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal: A Tale of Tattletales;it doesn't contain plays on speech that are inaccessible to my EL students. The examples also feel really true to what we see in our classes. It also handled the peer exclusion that can happen when a kiddo tattles a ton in a gentle way.

It was no surprise that when I looked up the author, I discovered she'd also penned Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker (Little Boost);which I also recommend. 

***I'm linking the google books page for this here because it has an even longer preview than Amazon!***

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