Fresh Start

Fresh Start

I started my 3rd year as school counselor with a fresh new room (well really I just rearranged the furniture) and fresh new lessons.

I am extremely blessed to have such a large room to be working in, but at times (during these past two years) it turned into a race track. With no division of work space and play space, my computer area turned into a tennis court, with balls bouncing on the back walls.

I thought this year I would rearrange so that each different section of my room had a purpose.

A play area.

photo

photo 2A sand tray area.

photo 1[3]A group table.

photo 5[3]An art table.

photo 4And (thank goodness) a grown up desk/office area.

photo 3

photo 1[4]Also, as I began the year, I was ready to expand my resources. My first year, I gathered a few books with lesson ideas and browsed blogs looking for, really, ANY ideas for my weekly character education lessons. I liked the lessons I found and vowed to use the same lessons in each grade level the following year (what is it they like to say . . . No need to reinvent the wheel). Well, darn it, I like reinventing the wheel, no . . . I LOVE it! So, as my third year began I was ready for a change.

I started with two new “Meet the Counselor” lessons. One for my K-1 students and one for my 2-4 students.

 The Important Book – Meet the Counselor

Topics Covered: Communication Skills and Counselor Intorduction

For my K-1 students, I began my lesson by showing the Howard B. Wigglebottom video from We Do Listen.org. If you recall from my past posts, I use this video to help set up my #1 Listener Star. You can find that lesson here. After the video, we talk about what a Number 1 Listener looks like. This is where I introduce my Look SMART. You can find that lesson here. Lastly, we talk about our Character Skill of the Month – Respect.

Last year, I started a program called Kids of Character. Each month, we would practice a Character Skill (K-4). At the end of the month, students would vote for someone in their class who they felt exemplified that trait. It was so successful. The boys loved seeing their pictures in the hallway and the parents LOVED receiving the e-mail.

After these “housekeeping” items, we began reading The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I told the boys to be thinking about what was important about them.

After the book, I named a couple things that made the counselor important . . . they listen, they play, they can keep things confidential, they can help, etc.

Then the boys went around and named things about themselves that were important.

Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High Fives – Meet the Counselor

Topics Covered: Communication Skills and Counselor Introduction

For my 2-4 graders, I bought a new book Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High Fives by Erainna Winnett. This book does a good job of talking about the counselor from a kid’s perspective. Although some of the pages talked about things that aren’t relevant for my school (how to come to the counselor, how we gain permission from parents, etc) it still allowed an opportunity to talk about how we do it at our school.

After the book, we talked about the things that made me important. I told them that sometimes it’s easier to come talk to someone when you know a little bit about them. So, I created a Circle Map of myself to share with them.

My name in the middle, important things about me on the outside circle, and ways to get to know people better around the outside.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.48.33 PMThen, I gave each boy a circle map of their own. They completed the outside ring explaining things that made them important. We were also able to share a couple of these things with the group.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.48.46 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.49.00 PM

Afterward, we brainstormed ways to get to know friends a little better, and placed these items around the outside.

As for the new year, might as well start fresh. What’s done is done and we can only look forward to the future.

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