Category Archives: Who is the Counselor?

Changes to the First Aid Kit Activity!

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Although the School Counselor’s First Aid kit is adorable and creative, unfortunately, my 1st and 2nd grade students were not able to comprehend it as well as I would have liked. They couldn’t grasp the fact that the objects had a concrete, typical use, (i.e. a band-aid helps you when you’re bleeding) but also had a more abstract use relating to a counselor (i.e. counselors are like band-aids because they help you when you’re hurt). The whole concept was too abstract for my students and left them saying things like, “School counselors help you when you have a scratch or you fall down on the playground.” Keep in mind that my students come from high poverty backgrounds and are almost all English learners. So, I decided to scratch the first aid kit idea and change it to simply a “School Counselor’s Kit.” I made the objects inside of it more concrete and simple to understand. Here’s what I included in my kit  and its connection to a school counselor…

  • Tissue: Counselors help you dry your tears when you are feeling sad or overwhelmed. We also remind you that it is okay to cry – letting our feelings out helps us heal!
  • Eraser: Counselors help you fix your mistakes and learn from them so that you don’t make the same mistake twice!
  • Ear: Counselors are great listeners and will always pay close attention to you.
  • SHH!: Counselors always keep your secrets. When you tell us a story or something about your life, we will keep it to ourselves and not share it with anyone else. But, if you are being hurt or someone is in danger, we will have to tell someone so that we can keep you safe!
  • Candy: Seeing the counselor is a treat! We will talk through your feelings and even play some games to help you feel better. You are NOT in trouble if you are asked to see Miss Mac!
  • Heart: Counselors love and care about you. They have big hearts and want the best for you!
  • Life saver: Counselors can help “save” you from scary, overwhelming, or sad feelings. Counselors will help you “stay afloat” throughout the school year by offering you support, guidance, and love!

Here’s a picture of my new and improved kit and the items inside of it…

I also created this worksheet to help the students remember what we just learned and for their parents to become familiar with my role.

Has anyone else struggled with this lesson as well? Hopefully this plan will work much better for my students!

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“Meet Your Counselor” Game – Back to School Lesson!

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With my 3rd and 4th graders, I wanted to do a “Meet Your Counselor” activity that would be more mature and developmentally appropriate than the School Counselor’s First Aid Kit activity. I found this game on Savvy School Counselor‘s blog and thought that not only would it be fun for the students, but it also did a really great job of introducing my role and responsibilities to the students.

Materials Needed:

  • Game cards (see below, at least 1 per student)
  • Two bells (or another object that students can use to “buzz in” and answer the question)

  •  Toy basketball hoop and soft ball (I borrowed this from our PE  teacher who had it in his supply closet!)

I started by creating the game cards. I thought of true/false, fill in the blank, and open-ended questions that would help the students become more familiar with my role and the ways that I can help them. Here are the cards that I created…of course you can alter these to fit your school and your specific role!

So, here is how the game works…

I will divide the class into two teams. Then, I will ask one representative from each team to come to the front of the room, and one student will  choose a game card from the pile. I will display the card on the Elmo projector and read it aloud to the students. Once I finish reading the question, the two representatives will try to be the first to “buzz in”/ring their bell to answer the question. If the student doesn’t know the answer, he/she can ask his/her teammates for help. Students who answer the question correctly will earn 1 point for their team. After students answer the question, I will explain the answer and add any additional detail that would be important for them to know.  Then, both students will have a chance to score a bonus point for their team by shooting a basket into the basketball hoop that I have set up (this is just a way to keep the game more fun and exciting!). We will keep playing until we run out of cards and each student has had the chance to answer at least one question.

If you have any ideas for game cards to use or ways to improve this game, please let me know! As always, I’d love to hear your feedback! 🙂

Who is Your School Counselor? Back to School Lesson!

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My supervisor at my elementary school internship used this activity at the beginning of the school year to introduce herself and her role to the students, and she even used it in interviews to show the principal what she could bring to their school! I wanted to use this activity this year, but couldn’t for the life of me remember all of the things that she put inside of the first aid kit. I googled and pinterested and could not find the activity anywhere…until the next day, when I decided to search again, and Savvy School Counselor had posted it 2 hours earlier! Many thanks to her and her ever-creative blog for brushing up my memory on this great activity!

My first aid kit looks very similar to Savvy School Counselor’s and the pieces that I included inside of it are almost identical to her’s. I used a pencil box that I got for .99 cents at Target and taped the label onto it that says “School Counselor’s First Aid Kit.”

Inside of the kit I included the following items… (most of which were already at my school, I just had to find them and put them together!)

  • Tissue: Counselors help you dry your tears when you are feeling sad or overwhelmed. Counselors  remind you that it is okay to cry – letting out our feelings is healthy and helps us heal!
  • Toothpick: Counselors help you “pick out” your problems and make sense of them.
  • Milky Way: Seeing the counselor is always a “treat” – it never means that you are in trouble! Also, just like a treat, counselors can help you feel better when you are sad or upset.
  • Star: Explorers from long ago used the “North Star” as a guide to help them stay on track and  find their way when they were lost. Like the North Star, the counselor can help you if you are feeling lost, confused, or unsure about how to solve a problem.
  • Penny: Pennies have value and are often considered lucky – “Find a penny, pick it up…all day long you’ll have good luck!” The penny reminds us that each and every one of us is valuable, special, and lucky to be who we are!
  • Band-Aid/Bandage: Counselors can help heal your wounds (the invisible ones that are deep inside of us) and make you feel better.
  • Eraser: Everyone makes mistakes and the counselor can help us deal with our feelings when we make mistakes. She can also help us learn how to not make the same mistake again in the future!
  • Life Saver: Counselors are there to talk to you and help “save” you from scary, sad, or stressful situations. Counselors will help you “stay afloat” throughout the school year by giving you support, guidance, and love!
  • Cotton Ball: Counselors are full of warm fuzzies and compliments! Seek us out when you are feeling blue, and we’ll help cheer you up!

Also, I can’t find mine at the moment, but including headphones would be a great idea to remind students that counselors are great listeners.

I included these index cards “cheat sheets” in the inside of the box to help me remember the purpose of each item (just in case I forget!)

I plan on using this kit with K – 2nd graders as a way to introduce the role of the counselor in a fun, easy to understand, and engaging way. I will begin the lesson by asking students what a first aid kit is usually used for. Then, I will open the kit and choose one item at a time. I will pass the item around the room and let students feel it. I will ask students, “What is this item and what is it normally used for?” I will then ask students, “How does this item relate to what a school counselor does?” Once students have answered, I will then give them my explanation for each item.  At the end of the activity, I will ask students to summarize what they have learned with the following questions:

  • “What does a school counselor do?”
  • “How can a school counselor help you?”
  • “What is an example of a time when you might want to talk to the school counselor?”

Next, I will explain to students the self-referral process for counseling. If they would like to talk with me, they should tell their teacher. I will then work with their teacher to set up a time to meet with them as soon as I can. I will also tell students that I will be coming to their classroom once a month to talk about all sorts of important topics, such as how to be a good listener, how to stop bullying, and how to be a good student. We will be playing games, reading stories, and doing art projects together.

My K classes are 30 minutes long, so I will end the lesson here. My 1st- 4th grade lessons are 1 hour, so I will continue the lesson by reading the story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. We all have bad days sometimes, and it is often helpful to talk to someone who can help us get our feelings out and feel better. I thought that Alexander’s description of his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is a great example of a time in which students may want to seek the counselor’s help, guidance, and support. Counselors can help turn Alexander’s day into a great, excellent, good, and amazing one! 😉

After reading the story, I will generate the following discussion with students:

  • Why was Alexander having such a bad day? What are some of the things that happened to him today?
  • What could Alexander have done to make his day better?
  • How could the school counselor help Alexander?
  • How could Alexander set up a time to meet with his school counselor?

Finally, I’ll close the lesson by saying that I am looking forward to working with each and every student and am so excited to be starting a new school year!

And…onto the next lesson!