Fourth Grade Lessons for Sexual Abuse Prevention

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 3.26.13 PMMy sexual abuse prevention unit for fourth grade consists of two lessons that focus on how to recognize and report about grooming and sexual abuse. Each lesson begins with a read-aloud story in which a child grapples with complex uncomfortable feelings and how to tell about what has happened. Follow up activities help students think about why it might be hard to tell; understand how telling can change how a kid is feeling; figure out ways to tell, even when you’re feeling very uncomfortable; and practice telling about unsafe or uncomfortable situations Continue reading

Where Do I Begin? Identifying Behavioral Targets

we Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked with a kid whose behavior was complicated. Yeah, I thought so. Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever had staff describe behaviors using terms like “disrespectful,” “rude,” “unfocused,” or any other vague descriptors and then wanted you to be able to fix everything quickly. Raise your hand one more time if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin! Join the club! We’ve all been there. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve had a conversation like this: Continue reading

SuperCounselor Saves The Future of School Counseling

SuperCounselor & minions-1I haven’t seen SuperCounselor in ages – she’s been M.I.A!  Well, not missing, exactly, more like keeping her nose to the grindstone, her head down, her pedal to the metal – choose your cliché – she’s been working hard! She’s just been so, so overwhelmed busy at school and trying desperately to find some kind of work/life balance, that she hasn’t had the oomph for heroics (beyond the regular ones she performs every day at school, anyway.) But never fear, even on her most tired, rung-out-iest days, SuperCounselor can always be counted on to leap to the rescue!  Continue reading

CareerSmarts Task 2: Web-Based Career Exploration

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 5.27.48 PMI’m so sorry that it took me this long to find time to blog more details about the CareerSmarts unit, but finally, here are the details about the second task, web-based career exploration. CareerSmarts is a student-directed, technology-based unit that I developed for upper elementary students. I’ve heard from a bunch of elementary and middle school counselors who want to use it in their schools – which is so exciting – and I’m glad to share all the information you need to be able to recreate it yourself. (Check out the links for a unit overview, specifics about teaching the unit’s first two lessons on multiple intelligences, and the culminating avatar creation project.) Continue reading

“Be Your Own You” Self-Esteem Resource

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 9.04.27 PMThere’s a new resource in my office, a favorite of my fifth grade girls. It’s BYOU “Be Your Own You” Magazine, which aims to encourage healthy self-esteem in girls. The bimonthly issue of BYOU focuses on a theme: bullying prevention, positive friendships, loving yourself, happiness, etc.  BYOU is a great resource - you can use the magazines themselves in group and individual settings, or as inspiration for classroom, group, and individual activities for girls and boys. Continue reading

Helping Little Ones Understand Bullying

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 12.38.43 PMThe concept of bullying can be hard for young elementary students to understand. They clearly recognize when something is mean, but once introduced to the word “bullying,” tend overgeneralize the term. Before you know it, everything becomes “bullying,” even small conflicts in which both participants share equal responsibility! In order to help kids understand what bullying is, you have to provide them with a definition. But figuring out how to translate “is done on purpose to hurt, happens over and over, involves an imbalance of power, AND is upsetting” can be a challenge for the little ones.  Continue reading

No Time? No Problem! Last Minute Bullying Prevention Month Ideas


Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 7.34.21 PMI’m surprised the truant officer from the Department of Blogging hasn’t been pounding on my door. Yup, I’ve been absent for a long time, but I’m hoping it will be an excused absence. I have been doing my homework, although I haven’t turned it in! If you need help catching up on your “homework” and haven’t had any time at all to plan, it’s still not too late to organize some activities for National Bullying Prevention month. And guess what, if October doesn’t work at your school, you can choose a different month to focus on bullying prevention. (Our Mix It Up Day will be mixing itself into a different season.) See below for some simple ideas and free resources. But first, my excuse. Continue reading

Bullying Prevention Through (Free) Songs, Posters, Videos, Dance, and More

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.53.19 PMJust in time to help you plan for National Bullying Prevention Month (October) or classroom or group activities anytime of the year  – some free resources from willUstand, Pacer, the We Do Listen Foundation, and more!

I’ve written before about willUstand, a wonderful bullying prevention initiative started by a middle school student in my district that features Stand, a crowd-sourced music video, and downloadable ($1) song. Now willUstand has added eleven different free, downloadable bullying prevention posters for elementary, middle, and high school settings. (They will be adding more posters in the future.) Here are a few examples: Continue reading

Nightmare on Back-to-School Street

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 4.31.46 PMDespite all my well-laid plans and Pinterest dreams, my back-to-school reality has been what it usually is – far from perfect. I headed back into school to set up my room (ahead of when I’m supposed to be there, of course, so I could get everything ready before things got challenging.  Bwhahahahahahaha, what was I thinking!), only to find that my carpets had not yet been cleaned, my new laptop had not been delivered, and the new phone system does not work. In other words, things are back to normal! But it could be worse. In fact, some years my back-to-school experience has been a bit more like a (literally) take-your-breath-away horror movie, complete with the creeping crud, horrendous odors, banishment, and a party line. Continue reading

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 11.45.14 AMI don’t even want to think about can’t really remember what it was like before the existence of our wonderful online school counseling community. It’s hard to believe that I used to have to “go it alone” and am not quite sure how I actually survived it. It was a lot lonelier, that’s for sure! It’s so great to know that there are people out there who understand what I’m experiencing, who know what it’s like in the school counseling trenches, and who encourage and inspire me to keep going when things are hard. I learn so much from all of you – from your helpful suggestions, comments, and the questions that really make me think. Continue reading