I was recently looking for information gathering ideas for meeting with individual students. I have my emotions tree, I have my feelings charts, but I wanted something more. Something to really let me peer into what's going on inside these kiddos. As usual, I consulted my copy of Creative Approaches for Counseling Individual Children in the School Setting by Diane S. Senn. (I've posted about this book before). The activity I was drawn to was entitled Windows to Our World. I drew a window (complete with curtains) on my white board with panes so it's seperated in 4 sections. Next, I cut a piece of paper into 4 pieces and taped each piece on the board. I talk to students about what the purpose of a window is. They will say "to look outside" and I say, "what happens when you're outside and look inside a window?" and they will say "you see what's inside."
Explain to students that this is a window to our world. This is a chance to look inside your world at home, school, with friends, and yourself. I ask students which they would like to begin with, and then we pull down that piece of paper and they draw a picture of that aspect of their world. I've really enjoyed this activity because kids have really bought into it. Some of them even like to draw curtains on each of their pieces of paper, so it really looks like an outsider is looking in. This is a great way to learn more about what is really going on in a child's life and see their perception of it.