Be Where Your Feet Are Review and Activities

Sunday, July 29, 2018
Have you grown weary of everyone talking about mindfulness all the time? If so, you're not alone. Not because I don't think mindfulness is great - it's awesome and powerful. I think the weariness comes from people overusing the word and applying it to anything that resembles relaxation or coping. Mindfulness in its purest form is focusing your awareness on the present moment with acceptance and without judgment. Constantly bringing your attention back to the here and the now. That is mindfulness and that is the discussion in Julia Cook's newest (wonderful) book: Be Where Your Feet Are.

be where your feet are review and activities

5 Tips for Setting Up Your First School Counseling Office

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Someone on Instagram recently asked me for any advice I had on setting up her very first school counseling office. This has all been super fresh in my mind as I packed up my office and prepare to move into a new building. Offices can run the gamut, from old custodial closets to classrooms with wall to wall windows. I tried to keep that in mind and provide tips that can apply to any type of situation you find yourself in!

school counseling office

1. Meet sensory needs.
The most used item in my whole office is surprisingly my sequin mermaid pillow! Really comforting to hold and fidget with. I think having a variety of fidgets available and visible makes a big difference. My pillow is from Amazon but I've seen them cheaper at 5 Below and WalMart. The majority of my fidgets have come from the Target Dollar Spot. I've also got seat discs available to students in small groups. You have to look out for your own sensory needs to - for example, I sit on a yoga ball instead of a desk chair because it keeps me more engaged both physically and mentally.

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.
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