Tag Archives: Art

Whoo Can Help You With…


Most of you have probably already seen this on School Counselor Blog, but I did want to share my version as I am very proud of it, haha! As many of you know I am by NO means an artist, but I take immense pride in my cutting and gluing skills, haha. I LOVED the idea of having a poster in the hallway leading to my office that explains what a School Counselor does. We all know that there is immense confusion about our role amongst students, teachers, parents, and administrators, so a poster like this definitely cannot hurt!

Here is School Counselor Blog’s version…



And here is my version! (Don’t mind the buckets surrounding it – I used them for extra hallway decoration!)




Bucket Filling Lesson and Bulletin Board


At the end of last year I asked my principal for a bulletin board that I could use to display student work, information about upcoming events, etc. My principal came through and got me a beautiful, and HUGE, board! I am thrilled to use it and think it will be a great PR tool for me!

For my first bulletin board, I really wanted to post the gorgeous and adorable buckets that my 1st and 2nd grade students created last year. We read the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud (a counselor ESSENTIAL – if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do!). To sum it up in a couple of sentences, bucket fillers are people who do and say kind and respectful things for others. The story gives a GREAT, easy to understand visual and teaches students to be bucket fillers rather than bucket dippers (dippers “dip” from the buckets of others by using mean and disrespectful words.) For added effect, I decorated this big blue bucket and brought it around with me to my classes.

Image To help my students better understand what a bucket filler is, we sang a chant together in a circle. We all chanted, “Bucket fillers, bucket fillers, what do they do? Bucket fillers like to…” and then the students took turns, according to the order of their circle, stating something that a bucket filler likes to do. Responses ranged from helping mom cook dinner to telling my sister I love her to helping my teacher collect homework. I encouraged each student to share a DIFFERENT thing that bucket fillers do so that we had a wide variety of examples. Then, we went back to our desks and filled out these bucket filler pages.


The children wrote beautiful descriptions of when they are bucket fillers, decorated them so nicely with their crayons, and cut them out.



I was dying to display these around school at the time, but didn’t have a bulletin board. Luckily, now I do! I used sparkly scrapbook paper from Michael’s, sparkly garland, and lots of butcher paper to create this bulletin board. I free-handed the bucket based on an image I found online and am extremely pleased with how it turned out! Seeing how well this turned out really filled my bucket! 😉



I also displayed even more of the students’ beautiful buckets in the hallway leading to my office.

ImageHappy Bucket Filling! 🙂

Self-Esteem Portraits


I LOVED this idea that I found on found on the Art Class Works blog and thought it would be PERFECT for my 4th grade girls self-esteem group. Before group, I drew an outline of a head and neck onto a piece of card stock using a black sharpie.

When the girls arrived, I gave them each a blank portrait and a black marker. I first asked them to write 10 things that they like about themselves or that make them special inside of the head on the portrait. For example, the girls could write “I am beautiful,” “I am smart,” or “I am a great big sister.” Once the girls finished writing their 10 positive affirmations, I asked them to pass around their portraits to the other students. On the outside of the head, each girl wrote one nice thing about the other group members. These portraits were just oozing with positivity, kindness, and love – and the girls were thrilled and beaming when they saw what the other girls had written about them!

At the next group session, I had watercolor paints, paintbrushes, and cups of water ready for the girls. I asked them to paint their portraits however they would like. We talked about how certain colors may symbolize certain qualities – yellow could symbolize happiness, red could symbolize strength, and green could symbolize success. Here is how some of the girls’ portraits turned out…(I have blocked their names out for you!)

The girls REALLY enjoyed this activity and created beautiful, meaningful, and sentimental portraits. These portraits are a wonderful tangible item for the girls to remember their experience in group, and also serve as a reminder of how incredible, unique, and amazing they are! I’d highly recommend this activity with 3rd – 12th graders – it could even work well with adults!

Social Skills WANTED Posters


I got this GREAT idea from one of our 2nd grade teachers who makes these every year with her students and turns them into a cute friendship book. I made these with my 1st grade boys social skills group and they did SO well with it! They really understood the idea of a WANTED poster (looking for bad guys!) but how our WANTED posters are helping us look for a true friend! First, we drew a picture of what our true friend might look like. Their true friend could be a boy or girl of any color, shape, size, ect. Then, we talked about what qualities our true friend would have and wrote them on the bottom half of the paper. We talked about everything from loyalty to silliness to generosity! I’d definitely recommend this activity with any K-4 students – they did a wonderful job with it and had a lot of fun!

Kindergarten Listening Skills Lesson


After finishing my rotation of the “Meet Your School Counselor” lessons, I thought that listening skills would make a great topic for my second classroom guidance lesson. We all know that elementary school students struggle BIG TIME with being good listeners – they often interrupt each other and the teacher, and expect attention to be on them 24/7. My friend Sally and I brainstormed to create this lesson together based on this GREAT poster that we found on pinterest.

Based on this poster, I created 8 listening “puppets” that help students remember the 8 ways that they can use their whole bodies to be good listeners.

At the beginning of the lesson, I introduce the “Whole Body Listening” poster to students. I call the boy on the poster “Listening Larry.” As a class, we go through and discuss each of the 8 listening “puppets.” I hold up each “puppet” individually and ask students to explain 1) What it is and 2) How it helps us be a good listener. As we go through all 8, we continuously review the past “puppets” to keep them fresh in students’ memories. I also like using gestures (I’m a huge fan of TPR!) to help students remember the ways to be a good listener. For example, for the “brain” I have students point to their brains and say, “Think about what the person is saying.” For the “eye,” I have students point to their eyes and say, “Look at the person who is talking.”

After reviewing each of the 8 tips on the “Whole Body Listening” poster, we make “Listening Ears” hats as a class. Sally and I found this idea on pinterest as well. Here are the supplies needed to make “Listening Ears”…

  • My Listening Ears worksheet (created by Sally)
  • 1 piece of construction paper per student
  • Stapler
  • Markers
  • 1 glue stick per student

Before the lesson begins, I cut construction paper strips that make the band part of the “Listening Ears” hat. I cut the construction paper in half and stapled two pieces together. They turned out like this…

I also pre-cut each of the listening ears for my K students. The teachers told me that their students are working on how to cut straight lines, but that they would struggle too much with curved lines this early in the school year. My pre-cut listening ears look like this…

And here is my sample “Listening Ears…” I like to wear it as we make the ears – as a model and just for laughs! 🙂

So, to make the “Listening Ears”, I start by giving each student a “MY LISTENING EARS” strip of paper, two pre-cut listening ears, crayons, and a pair of scissors. I ask students to cut along the dotted lines and when they finish cutting, to hold up their strip of paper. Some K students needed help cutting out their strips, but others were able to do it independently. After students have cut out their “MY LISTENING EARS” strips, I model for them how to glue it onto the center of their construction paper band.

Since it is so early in the school year, the teacher and myself worked together to glue the listening ears on for the students. As we came around and glued on their ears, the students decorated their hats with crayons. After all of the ears were glued on, the teacher and I came around and stapled the construction paper bands together so that the students could wear their “Listening Ear” hats.

Students absolutely LOVED their hats and teachers thought they were the funniest and cutest thing. It has been hilarious to see little Kindergartners  walking around school and getting into their cars at dismissal wearing their hats! The exceptional education teacher stopped by my office to tell me that this activity was a “huge hit” and that she saw students still wearing their hats days later!

I highly recommend this activity to any counselor, but keep in mind that it does require a lot of supervision and individualized help to the students. Having a teacher present in the classroom is crucial – I was SO thankful to have such helpful and supportive teachers for this lesson! Also, this lesson took longer than the scheduled time – I had 30 minutes to work with K, but it took us about 45 minutes to finish. Again, the teachers were so flexible and loved the activity so much, that they didn’t mind it lasting longer than the scheduled time!



My principal wanted me to create an anti-bullying group for four 4th grade boys. One boy was consistently victimized by bullies and the other three boys were perpetrators of bullying to several students at school. For our first session together, I wanted us to create an “Anti-Bullying Pledge” for our school and then to create a banner to display in the entrance-way of our school. I found three anti-bullying pledges online and had my students look through them for ideas in creating their own pledge. Here are the 3 pledges that I used…

  1. “Anti-Bullying Pledge” from http://www.bullying.org
  2. “Anti-Bullying Pledge” from Arkansas Safe Schools Initiative
  3. “Steps to Respect Anti-Bullying Pledge” from the Steps to Respect Curriculum

The students worked together to underline the parts of each pledge that they thought were the most powerful and effective. We then combined pieces of each of the pledges to create our own pledge:

“I think being mean stinks. I won’t watch someone get picked on because I am a do-something person not a do-nothing person. It is up to each of us to make sure that bullying does not happen. Bullying bites! Report bullying! Be a role model. Tell a grown-up that you trust!”

After writing our own pledge, I gave the students a large banner and markers to use. We decided to write “STOMP OUT BULLYING!” on the banner and to trace each of our shoe prints onto the banner (get it, stomp our bullying, feet stomp…clever, eh?) Then, each student wrote a piece of our Anti-Bullying Pledge on the banner, as well as any other comments that they wanted to add. One student added, “Be a rockstar, not a bully!” and I added, “Bully free is the way to be!” We then decorated the banner with all sorts of different shapes and designs. Here is how it turned out!

It took us a total of 2 sessions (about 1 hour and 15 minutes to write the pledge and to finish the banner). The boys were VERY proud of their work and were thrilled to hang the banner right in the entrance-way of the school.

I stand in the front of the school every morning, and it was so neat and rewarding to see them look at the poster and discuss it with their friends. This was a fun and worthwhile project that I would definitely recommend to anyone! It could also easily be adapted for use with a wide range of ages!

“My Ideal Friend” Puppets


This is a GREAT activity for a friendship or social skills group that I learned about from my best friend and counseling colleague, Sally. The activity asks students to create an “Ideal Friend” puppet that represents the qualities that they look for in a friend. As the students come to understand the type of friends that they are looking for, they will realize that “in order to HAVE good friends, you need to BE a good friend” and exemplify those qualities yourself. I did this activity with six 1st grade boys, but it could be very effective with any group of elementary-aged students!

For this activity you will need:

  • Brown paper bags (lunch sacks)
  • Markers or crayons
  • White paper strips (5/student)
  • Glue sticks

First, have students brainstorm a list of qualities that they look for in a friend. Examples include someone who is funny, nice, caring, generous, thoughtful – you get the picture. As students name these qualities, create a list for them (this will help the younger ones with spelling later!) Then, ask students to choose 5 of the qualities and write them on the white strips of paper. Next, they will glue the white strips of paper onto the back of their paper bags (the side without the flap). The back of the students’ puppets should look something like this…here is Sally’s example!

Once students have glued their five qualities onto the back of their puppets, they will have the chance to draw their ideal friend! Here is Sally’s example…(what a smile, right?!)

And my example…(what long arms, right?!)

As the students are drawing their ideal friends, generate a discussion about the qualities that they look for in a friend. Tie this discussion into the idea that in order to HAVE good friends, we have to BE a good friend. Ask students how they can be better friends and what steps they can take to make good friends here at school.

This activity was fun, educational, AND gave students something tangible to take home from group – hello, positive PR for parents, teachers, and administrators! I’ll definitely use it again in the future – and hope that you will too!