I really, really enjoy visitng my Kindergarten friends. They are like little sponges and are always ready to hear something new. A few years ago, I came across the resource Jellybean Jamboree by Susan Jelleberg. As with many school counseling resources I order, many times I can only go by written reviews of the product or just the description alone. This purchase was a great choice for me. It is amazing how you can copy, color, and laminate a picture of a jellybean, tape it to a ruler and have the complete attention of a Kindergarten class! I call them my “Jellybean Friends” and bring all six of them on separate occasions. I usually have my jellybean friend hiding as to not be seen before the big reveal. Because each jellybean friend comes with a different lesson to portray, the students are always very eager to find out about it. What color is the jellybean? Is it happy or sad? Is it nice to the other jellybeans? Whenever possible, I try to tie the jellybean’s story in with the character trait of the month.
I begin the school year with Emotional Eugene, The Feeling Blue Jellybean. He comes with me to my first lesson of the year as I introduce myself to our new Kindergartners and talk about feelings. As I teach them about what a school counselor is and does, Eugene’s situation warrants itself for a referral to his jellybean counselor. They begin to understand that if they ever feel blue, as Eugene does, I am available and they may come and talk with me.
Me Maureen, The Self-Knowing Lavender Jellybean, visits when I talk about respect. I use her to remind the students to show respect for themselves. We spend a lot of time talking about how to show respect for others, property, and the environment as well. Maureen helps me tie in eating healthy foods and exercising in order to take care of (respect) oneself and to also have confidence in individual abilities.
Ornery Ordean, The Misbehaving Green Jellybean, helps me talk about Self-Discipline. He doesn’t always think before he acts and ends up making poor choices. He can be a bully, at times, towards the other jellybean friends, so he also helps me facilitate a discussion on a kindergarten level about bullying.
Friendly Francine, The Neighborly Pink Jellybean visits when we discuss the character trait kindness. She is a very friendly jellybean, shares with others, and fills others buckets with kind words and good deeds.
Angry Arlene, The Grumpy Red Jellybean visits when I focus on anger management. My kindergarten friends are so cute as they listen in disbelief to the things Angry Arlene does to the other jellybeans. By the end of the lesson, we hope we’ve given Arlene some helpful tips on being a good friend and controlling her anger.
Decision-Making Dean, The Problem Solving Orange Jellybean, visits when I talk about good judgment. Dean thinks about the choices he makes and tries his best to always show good judgment.
Since I’ve used Jellybean Jamboree, not one school year has gone by where I haven’t visited my first grade friends for our first guidance lesson and heard, “Which jellybean friend did you bring today?” When I tell them the jellybeans only visit kindergarten classes, they are actually pretty disappointed! This reminds me that the jellybeans really make an impact, and as long as they do, I will continue to share them with my kindergarten friends!
Do you use the Jellybean Jamboree units? How do you incorporate them into your school counseling program? I’d love to hear from you. Connect with me!