Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holiday Break

As we are winding down before Christmas break, I'm thinking about how I will spend my time while I'm not in school.  Of course, I will fill my time with family, my dog, and REST! But I won't know what to think without my busy schedule.  I'm sure I will be already planning out ideas for when we return, but I think it's important to remember Habit # 7 (from Sean Covey's 7 Habits for Happy Kids): Sharpen the Saw.  (I will be posting more about the 7 habits later).  Hiking with my dog is by far the best way for me to stay sharp!  It always seems like I am more inspired and able to serve my students after a restful break.'s wishing everyone a restful break and a Merry Christmas!

How do you "sharpen the saw"?

My guy, Deakon! My dog, Deakon

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dianne Senn

One of my most recent purchases is Small Group Counseling for Children: Grades 2-5.  I really enjoy this book because it has everything you need to run small groups.  How to get started, planning, needs assessments, and lesson plans. This is a great addition to my collection.

Another Dianne Senn gem is Creative Approaches for Counseling Individual Children.  This great book includes sample forms, information gathering tools, tips for identifying the problem, as well as a variety of different topics and ideas for use in individual counseling sessions.  I've used some of the ideas for small groups as well.  There's even a section on behavior support. 

Lastly, for classroom guidance lessons, I've been using Puzzle Pieces: Classroom Guidance Connection ever since my internship!  I still use some of the same lessons.  This book has a collection of lesson plans on almost any topic you can think of for all grades K-5.  This book is one I know I can always turn to when planning classroom lessons.

What other Dianne Senn resources have you used??  I'd love to hear!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stop, Think, Do!

The steps for self control.  I teach the "stoplight method" in individual, small groups, and sometimes in classroom guidance.  It's an easy way for kids to visualize their thought processes.  I first learned about this on the yahoo elementary school counselors listserve, and I've tweaked it for my kiddos.  I start by asking them what happens when mom or dad is driving down the road and they come to a red light?  They all yell out "stop!" We then talk about the other colors...slow down, and go.  I tell them that the traffic light "controls" the drivers on the road to keep everyone safe.  We talk about what would happen if people ignored the traffic lights.  They all comment "they would wreck."   I then explain that this is the stoplight for their brain!  It helps them control their decisions and also helps prevent "wrecks" from happening in their life.  Sometimes when we "go" without thinking first, disaster strikes...we get in trouble, someone gets hurt, etc.  We then talk about each step....Red means "stop!", yellow means "slow down and think!" and green means "go!"  We have to think about our actions before we go!  I keep this posted right beside my board where I teach my groups for easy access.  I use this several times a week at least!  I even have a traffic light that lights up that I sometimes pull out.  This is a great technique to help with impulsivity and self control.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

"Everyone has an invisible bucket.  You can't see it, but it's there"...This is one of my favorites!  Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud teaches children the concept of words and actions and their impacts on people.  When someone does something kind for someone else, it "fills up their bucket" with good thoughts and feelings.  But when someone does something unkind to someone else, it "dips out of their bucket."  Students can easily make the connection to real life.  I use this book in so many ways!!  Last year, I read this story to all grade levels as part of introduction to the counselor lesson.  All year long, students made references to the book as they noticed other students behaviors.  That really filled my bucket!  This year, I regretfully did not use the book with all grade levels, but I will definitely pick it back up again next year!  Not only does this book apply to classroom guidance lessons, but also in small groups or individual counseling sessions.  I use this book during my initial sessions in small groups (particularly in self-esteem, in-control, and anger management groups).  The students love it.  We then practice filling up someone's bucket.  Definitely one to add to your collection!

Below is my "paper" bucket in my room.  The flowers have bucket-fillers from my self esteem/friendship groups.