On the one hand, my kiddos have to put up with a school counselor mom who talks to them constantly about emotions and how we treat others and all that good stuff. On the other hand, my oldest will regularly ask me to play my ‘school counseling games, like the bug one’, so I think they kinda like it. He once even took things from the recycling bin in their playroom to make his own ‘school counseling’ game with prompts like ‘what would you do if...’ and ‘show what each feeling looks like’. And my youngest actually USED AN I-MESSAGE yesterday. Sometimes your kids are human tornados. Sometimes they make you proud. (The game they’re playing is from my primary social skills group: bit.ly/SSGroupCurriculum)
The Cool Bean was just as amazing as I had hoped when I pre-ordered it months ago. My ‘big kids’ always had coolness and popularity on the mind, especially in second semester, and this book is SO good for talking about what cool really means. I know that in present shopping season, it’s harder to buy things for your office/classroom, so I’m giving away a copy of this latest gem from @jory_john and @peteoswald as well as my companion resource for it 🎁 (GIVEAWAY CLOSED! @thefancycounselor is the winner!) To enter: 1. Make sure you’re following me. 2. Tell me something that was very cool or ‘cool’ in your upper elementary years. 3. Tag a friend that might also want to enter. Fine print: This giveaway is not affiliated in any way with IG. Entrants must be 18 or over and live in the US. One winner will be randomly selected Wednesday (December 11th) in the morning. I’ll edit this post when they’ve been picked.
This is such a great way to help our teachers, our parents, and ourselves to better understand children’s big emotional reactions to things. I think it’s super important to help students learn about different sizes of problems (within their own experiences) and at the same time it’s crucial that we always validate the feelings that come with any size problem. I’m not on twitter and couldn’t find this woman on IG but she just said this so perfectly! If you know her on IG, please help me tag her here.
I bought the original Danny book last year for work but ended up not using it there - my students seem to connect best with school specific examples. But it gets lots of use and love with my own kiddos! I wish I would have had this school day version last year, though! 😍 For my own lessons and for teachers to borrow. Here are some reasons I think this book rocks: 👉🏻 It makes very clear that all day long, we have several opportunities to control our day and to make choices. 👉🏻 None of the language is shaming. It simply shows the consequences of each option. 👉🏻 Bad days end on a positive and hopeful note. 👉🏻 There’s lots of opportunities to talk about self-talk also. #elementaryschoolcounselor #schoolcounselorlibrary #bibliotherapy #socialemotionallearning
It can be hard for kids to make the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions. 💭♥️👋🏻 One way I help them is to use these ‘CBT Stories’. We work through several different situations (see more in my stories) and talk about the power of our thoughts - how the students experience the same situation but feel and act differently in part because they thought about it differently! This resource (and pretty much everything else on TpT!) is 25% off today for the final day of the Cyber sale 😃 bit.ly/CBTStories
Cyber Monday on TpT started today and I want to show you a resource I haven’t shared on here before. Sometimes our younger students don’t know how to express themselves when they’re experiencing strong emotions. They might make threats or statements of self-harm that they don’t really mean; it’s just the only way they know how to say ‘I’m really, really, really upset right now’. This resource, ‘Sam’s Super Strong Feelings’ is a way to teach students other options. It’s on sale today (with the rest of my store and lots of other great stores!) Swipe to see the whole story in action. bit.ly/expressingstrongfeelings (This resource does also include a small section for if a student IS having self-harm ideation, and has two different parent notes to go home: one for after a class lesson and one for after a targeted individual session)
Circles are incredibly powerful. When people sit or stand in a circle, you get an increased sense of equality, shared responsibility, ownership, safety and trust, and connections. And the best part, is that circles can be used in so many situations. Proactively, responsively, for academics, for social-emotional skills…all the things. I was at a training years ago that was boring and didn’t apply and was overall not good, but one of the speakers shared about the power of circles and that really stuck. The more I pushed myself to use them the last couple years, the more I fell in love with them. My recent RP readings have cemented it. If you don’t already use circles in your work as a teacher or a counselor, I encourage you to give it a go, or to use them even more. Any time you have the kiddos sitting on the rug facing you? Sit in a circle. Small change, big impact. Side note: We just replaced our rectangular dining table with a round one and my husband and I can both feel a difference. We sit in the same places, the same distances apart, but the circle really rocks and feels more cozy, even though it’s bigger. Extra excited to host the gathering at our home tomorrow!
I’m not sure if you can ever have enough books about feelings. Especially when working with younger students about identifying and expressing emotions, it’s incredibly helpful to have clear books that include examples and illustrations that prompt conversation. Body language, facial expressions, how the student would feel if they were in that situation, who they could tell if they had that feeling, etc. I am so grateful for books and this one is a win! 👍🏻
I believe our thoughts are the root of many of our emotions, so talking to kiddos about their thinking is a natural piece of all of my work. While there’s a space for using the terms ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ in regards to thinking, the language of ‘helpful vs. unhelpful’ is even better. Sometimes there is no positive yet realistic way of looking at things BUT there is always a more helpful way of thinking. Sometimes this can be tricky for students who have internalized the idea that everything good must be positive. Helping them finding a flexible, balanced, and helpful way of thinking gives them a strategy to handle the tough stuff when it inevitably happens. #elementaryschoolcounselor #childtherapy #aconfidentcounselor bit.ly/CBTcards
My husband and I have had some sort of family photo shoot done every year since 2012. Every year, I worry about the cost. Every year, I stress about what we will all wear. Every year, I think they might be a wreck. And every year, I am so thankful to have done it. We can be grateful for things that are messy, things that are frustrating, things that aren’t perfect, things that are a lot of work. We can hold gratitude and stress in the same heart. (See also: parenting 😜)
It’s ok that we want our students to experience guilt and remorse when they’ve caused harm. Guilt can be a productive emotion. The problem is that sometimes we can’t see that they’re already experiencing this. And then in our efforts to ensure that they feel remorseful, we accidentally make them feel shame. Shame is NOT a productive feeling. Shame does not promote growth. Shame moves us backwards. One way we can help our teachers is by acknowledging their need to see a student’s guilt while also reminding them that just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. By talking with them about the difference between guilt (“I did something wrong.”) and shame (“I am wrong.”) Asking them to reflect on their own misdeeds and what they needed in the moment to move forward. And sharing our own mistakes with this. I’m the first to admit I’ve done this in the past! #elementaryschoolcounselor #shame #restorativepractices
Sometimes as a counselor, I had books on my shelves that were less for me to use in lessons or counseling sessions and more for me to loan out to teachers to use for tackling specific issues or community building. This is one I would have loved to have had at the start of the year or for any time a teacher is doing intentional work establishing their class culture. Super short and simple, it serves to explore to the concept of holding one another up; of being connected and working towards a shared vision. It’s written for younger students, but I think it could absolutely be used with middle elementary kiddos and an even deeper discussion. My public library system had more than one copy so there’s a good chance you could borrow it to check it out, too!
Resiliency! One of my favorite topics to learn and share about - and now - to have a group about. This curriculum is for kiddos needing extra social emotional support in order to weather whatever life throws at them (changing families, sticky life situations, tough developmental transitions, etc.) * It covers skills like: expressing emotions, identifying stressors, coping skills, using social support, understanding locus of control, positive thinking, developing hope, and problem solving. * Linked in my profile or you can type in this URL: bit.ly/resiliencygroup * #elementaryschoolcounselor #groupcounseling #resiliency
I used to be nervous about doing role plays in my lessons. I worried that the kids would laugh at each other, that everything would fall apart, that it would be a waste of time, etc. But then I really needed to do a lesson about ignoring distractions and my best idea involved students acting out little skits using self-talk to stay focused - so I gave it a go and it was AWESOME. They were engaged, they took it seriously, and it was a win for all. The two keys for my students? 1️⃣ Having the role plays scripted already (lots of English language learners + no experience with role plays in class = this scaffolding was needed) and 2️⃣ Using the clapboard. No joke, the clapboard was like this immediate tool for student investment - and it was also something great to use as a student job for each skit as well. * #elementaryschoolcounselor #studyskills #guidancelessons * Affiliate link for clapboard in my profile.
I think it’s important and helpful examine student behavior; to analyze it, to determine the function of it, and plan interventions accordingly. I also think that it’s easy to only think and tackle the behaviors we see, especially when we’re trying to help frustrated teachers and classmates. Sometimes we do this at the expense of the internalizing thoughts and feelings. It shouldn’t be an “either or” approach, we need a “both and” approach. * I recognize that one of the barriers to this is (wo)man power. With counselors (and social workers and school psychs and behavior analysts) having super high caseloads, it’s tough to spend time developing and implementing (or helping to implement) multiple interventions. Consider this just one more reason to increase the number of mental health professionals in schools!