You work hard every day to help kids communicate clearly, solve problems, collaborate, gain independence, understand others’ perspectives and cultures, and become college and career ready. You facilitate discussion in one-on-one, small group, and whole-class settings. Depending on the grade levels you cover, it’s likely that you read books with kids, help students prepare for college or job interviews (or disciplinary hearings!), help them interpret assessments or other data to make decisions, and provide guidance about writing application essays. So guess what! You’re probably already on your way to addressing the Common Core State Standards. Here’s some information to help you better understand what the Common Core standards are all about, and how you can integrate them into your practice to improve student learning and build system-wide support for your school counseling program. Continue reading
Let’s be real: group counseling can be really hard. No matter how carefully you build the group membership and plan lessons and activities, sometimes things do not go as expected. Here are some ideas that I have found to be most helpful:
Think carefully about whether the group members are actually ready to be able to be in a group. Sometimes kids need some “pre-teaching” about things like how to listen, take turns, or manage their personal space. They may need a chance to Continue reading
I have a good collection of board games and card games in my office, but my hands down favorite — and the kids’ favorite too – is Max. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the most beloved game on my shelf! You should get it! Seriously! You can get it for less than $12 (at Funagain Games, or for a little more at Amazon), which is a rarity for any game, much less a game that is so applicable to the work that we do with kids. Here’s the spiel that I give to kids before they play the first time: Continue reading
No one is really sure what’s going on around here — is it the water? – but our school is becoming Boyland. In some grades boys account for more than two thirds of the population. In fifth grade last year we had only 13 girls, which presented some challenges, but also provided a great opportunity to do a lot of group work. Because their numbers were so small, we have been able to work on issues as they arise and do a lot of practicing of the skills we have learned about in class councils. They all participated in groups Continue reading
Zax are terrible role models for how to solve conflicts! But their story, “The Zax,” by Dr. Seuss, is a great way to start a discussion about conflict resolution. The zax are two single-minded characters, one who wants to go north, and the other who wants to go south. When they meet face-to-face on the north-south path, neither one will budge. At all. Ever. End of story.
I use “The Zax” to introduce my conflict resolution unit because it perfectly illustrates what happens when you don’t use conflict resolution strategies. Continue reading
This is not a tale of the high seas. It’s about one stormy year in kindergarten, when a combination of individual students’ behaviors developed into a “perfect storm” of bullying. A couple of kids didn’t know how make and keep friends without using intimidation. Some others’ impulsivity hindered their ability to think before they acted. Some did not know how to be assertive, and reacted in a way (tears, giving in to intimidation) that reinforced the bullying. A few did not know how to make good friendship choices, and consistently put themselves back into situations in which someone else might be mean to them. Some had annoying behaviors that unwittingly provoked Continue reading
Looking for a way to expand upon what you’re able to teach in your limited time in the classroom? Wondering about how to assess your students’ learning at the end of a unit? Book studies can help you do both.
Book studies can be used for a variety of topics: conflict resolution, bullying, responsibility, differences/diversity, friendship, emotional literacy, etc. All you need is Continue reading
I am just as happy as the next person to be completely prepared well in advance of all groups, classes, individual sessions, presentations, meetings, etc., with copies made, technology tested, and materials arranged. However, the reality of school counseling means that sometimes planning and prep have to happen on the fly. Perhaps an issue has arisen in a particular classroom or grade, and you have to go in to address it on a minute’s notice. Or you find out that an assembly was scheduled without you knowing it and you have to move a class or group to an earlier time. Or a kid is on her way after being asked to leave class because of some behavior that is getting in the way of others’ learning. Yikes! This calls for Guerilla Planning! Guerilla????