Lunch Bunch Anyone?: Planning and Scheduling

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At the beginning of the school year, I fill in my school counseling calendar for the year to include classes, regular small groups, and Lunch Bunch sessions.  I typically schedule all of my lunch bunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I host two grade levels per week and plan to see up to nine groups per grade level.  You can refer to my post Lunch Bunch Anyone? for more specifics.

Click the following photo to print a copy of the letter I send to teachers for lunch bunch.  You will need to create a letter that meets the needs of your program, but this will at least give you an idea of what to say.  I include a second page specific to each grade level as well with their assigned dates.  The sample includes 5th grade’s schedule on the second page.  I give each grade level their specific lunch bunch dates at the beginning of the year so they know in advance when their dates fall.

This photo shows my year-at-a-glance for lunch bunch from last year.  I post this beside my office door and on my bulletin board inside my office.

I am a planner, so I like to be able to refer to a chart of some sort for things I do on a regular basis.  I created a basic chart in Microsoft Word to refer to each week as I plan my lunch bunch lessons.  I consider it a “living” document that can be changed when necessary.  I just like to have a plan in place.  If new concerns arise within a grade level, I can easily switch out one of the subject areas to accommodate the issue.

Click here to see a Lunch Bunch At-A-Glance for this school year. You’ll notice some blocks say “Reward for SOARing.”  We are falcons at my school, and we “S.O.A.R.” which stands for:

  • Show respect
  • Order and safety
  • Awesome attitude
  • Responsibility

Although a majority of my sessions are planned to target specific areas, I also like to celebrate those students who are “SOARing” as well!

Stick around!  As the school year progresses, I will post about specific lessons I use for Lunch Bunch.  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d like to hear from you.  What other topics do you include for Lunch Bunch?


Setting Up the Office: B-Boards and Displays

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It’s amazing how we, as educators, can work in our rooms all day long and feel like we’ve barely accomplished anything by the end of the day!  I’ve been so excited to start seeing my school counseling Pinterest inspirations come to fruition.

Today, I finished the small bulletin board outside my office, the bulletin board behind my desk inside my office, and one of my doors-for the most part! I also put my character trait sayings back up.  I’ve been so excited to be back in my guidance office this year with sufficient space for all I need to do.  I had no bulletin boards last year, so even though boxes and such are still all over the floor- I spent most of the day laminating, cutting, and putting together my boards!

First is my board inspired by Danielle from School Counselor Blog.  I couldn’t wait to do this board.  I purchased the puzzle pieces from a teacher supply store. (Trend- Classic Accents)  I traced and cut out the letters by hand.  I even punched holes to add the polka dots on them.  I found the border at Target in the $1 section.

Also inspired by Danielle is my “What you say in here stays in here” poster I ordered from Vista Print.

Next is my bucket filler board.  I first saw these buckets on a bulletin board here on Pinterest.  Here is my adaptation.  I purchased the buckets at the teacher supply store. (CTP- Designer Cut-Outs)  I decided to put the title “How will you fill a bucket?”  On each bucket, I added different ways to fill someones bucket such as saying kind words, smiling, and giving compliments. I have several extra buckets to add more ideas in the future. The smaller side of the board is for the monthly calendar, my lunch bunch schedule, and other schedules I’ll need to see at-a-glance.

I’ve always had this on my door to show where I am.  I came across this pin on Pinterest and decided to try something new.  This is the door on the main hallway.  I have another door that enters into the student services suite area.  I’ll be putting my buddy Garfield back on that door.

 

Finally, I have my character trait sayings.  I’ve had these for eight years.  I have no idea who created them, but I took them from a paper I received at a school counselor meeting and created this display.  I purchased to kids from a teacher supply store.  I’ll probably create a caption to go with it at some point.

I still have A LOT to finish in my office.  We have several meetings and open house this week, so I am hoping I can have some final pictures by Friday.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Is there something special you’ve done in your office this year that you’re excited about?


A Bandage For Your Heart

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Hello all!  After a busy last week of summer vacation, I finally started back to work on Friday, August 17.  I was so excited to move BACK into my guidance office from the much smaller office I used last year.  While cleaning out one of the drawers in my file cabinet, I came across another lesson I’ve used for discussing when students should see the school counselor.   I want to share it with you today.

The activity is called A Bandage for Your Heart.  To make the bandages, I used manila paper.  I cut them 18 inches by 6 inches.  I used a brown crayon to draw the “look” of the bandage.  I cut small red hearts using construction paper.  On the opposite side of each bandage, I added some sentences giving some reasons students may want to complete a self-referral form to see me.

There are eight bandages which have the following sentences:

  • My grandmother died this summer, and I really miss her.
  • My daddy is sick all the time, and he never plays with me anymore.
  • There’s somebody who showed me a knife at school and told me I better not tell.
  • My mommy and daddy scare me when they fuss.
  • There’s somebody on the bus who keeps picking on me and hitting me.
  • I don’t have anybody to play with.  Nobody will be my friend.
  • I got a trophy at my soccer match last Saturday.
  • It’s my birthday, and I’m so happy!

Use the last two statements to give examples of non-urgent situations that do not require an appointment with the school counselor.  Explain that you definitely want to hear good news from them, but an individual counseling session just for that purpose isn’t necessary.

Also, you’ll want to wear a bandage on your shirt close to your heart.  If no one asks why it’s there, ask the students if they noticed anything when you came in the room. From there, begin to share and explain each of the bandages.  Many times,  I would talk about different sized rocks to help explain urgent vs. non-urgent referrals.  A big rock is urgent, and students might need to see you on the same day.  A medium rock means it’s important, but the counselor can see you sometime that week.  A small rock is something you want to talk about, but you can wait until the following week to see the counselor if necessary.  If you use this to assist with your discussion, have the students share examples of what they think a small, medium, or large rock would be.  This is also a great time to show students what the form looks like, where to find it, how to complete it, and where to return it.

Check out this Self-Referral Activity in my TpT store if you’d like to use this activity with your students.

Healing the Heart- Self-Referral Activity

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always,  I’d love to hear from you.  How do you explain self-referrals to your students?


The “Anger” Games

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As I continue to prepare for a new year of school counseling, I’ve been on the look out for games to use with my anger management groups.  I want to share a couple I have found with you.

The m&m® Anger game is a fun and TASTY way for your group members to share their feelings about anger.  I found this game board by Lori Kotarba in an old PIC (Practical Ideas for Counselors) Newsletter. 

You’ll need to create your game boards, color them, and laminate them.  Give each student a fun size pack of m&m’s®.  If you have one large bag, give each child 10-15 of them making sure they have at least one of every color.  The students will then sort their m&m’s® on the game board.  Students will take turns sharing their answers for each color.  If a student has two orange m&m’s®, he or she will share two things that make him or her angry.  (This is according to my sample.  Your color order can be however you choose.)  As the students share they may eat their m&m’s®.

Another popular idea comes from Diane Senn’s latest book called Guidance Mini-Lessons.  She calls it Beach Ball Buzz.  Her book gives suggested statements for an anger management beach ball.  She includes a couple of silly directions to add fun to the game as well.

This beach ball has the following statements from the book:

  • Show us how to take three deep breaths when you are angry.
  • Name one thing that happens to your body when you are getting angry.
  • Share a time when you got angry.
  • Name one thing that helps you calm down when you are angry.
  • Sing the “ABC” song out loud.
  • Pretend you are a bird and fly around the room.
Beach Ball Buzz is only one of many great mini-lessons in this book.

 

Be sure to check out my Teachers pay Teachers store for an Anger Management Activity Pack which includes a foldable, 8 anger management strategy posters, and an I-Messages Activity.  You can also find The Anger Games which includes a BINGO game and cootie catcher.  Each product sells for only $3.00.

AngerFoldable

AngerGamesCover

 

 

 

 

 

 

OT:  The PIC article suggested creating m&m® game boards for whatever topics you choose.  So, I created two others to share with you.  One can be used in a  self-esteem group and the other is for a  getting to know you session with new students.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  What are some anger management games or activities you have used?



Open House is PR Time

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In a previous post, I wrote about Public Relations for School Counselors.  Open House is a great time to promote your school counseling program.  Not only is this important for new school counselors- it’s important for veterans as well.  Use this opportunity to let parents know who you are and how you will be involved with their child(ren) throughout the school year.

How you go about it will depend on your assigned duties.  Over the years, I have usually been assigned as a greeter at the school’s entrance.  This is an excellent area to set up a small table to advertise your program.  Your table should showcase the different programs you plan to implement throughout the school year. Find a simple table cover and add a sign or banner with your name and title.

On your table, include brochures describing your program, business cards with your contact information, and a sign-up form for small groups that require a parent’s permission like Separation/Divorce or Grief Groups.  You can also have your QR code available for parents with smartphones and a small bucket or basket of stickers for students.

This is also a great opportunity to solicit parent volunteers.  If you are hosting Career Café at your school, you can sign-up parents who are willing to come in and share about their profession with your students.  You can also find parents who are willing to serve on your advisory council.  I’d even like to find a parent who enjoys taking pictures. What ever your program needs are, open house is a great time to find your volunteers.  Additionally, be sure to have a small board or poster with post-it notes listing any wish list items you have.  Parents can choose the item they wish to donate to your program and take the post-it note with them as a reminder.

Why not have a free raffle for students who stop by your table?  Find a local business that is willing to donate a free meal, gift card, or sundae.  You may also chose to purchase the prize(s) yourself.  Announce the winner(s) on the first day of school.

Finally, it never hurts to have a fun puppet on hand.  Whether it is on display or on your hand, the students will love to see and interact with it.  Here’s a picture of my puppet after her mini-makeover with a new t-shirt featuring our school mascot the falcon.  All she needs now is a yellow headband, and she’ll be ready to make her debut!  My friend Ed (also known as “Character” Ed) may need to be on stand-by as well.  The kids LOVE him!

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  How will you promote your program at your open house this year?


More Character Breakfast Club

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I want to share examples of the flyer, invitation, and exit tickets I will be using for my Character Breakfast Club.  I can’t wait to hold my first one in the fall.  I’ll be sure to update everyone on how things turn out along with any lessons learned.

I made a sample flyer using the Bullying topic I talked about in my first Character Breakfast Club Post.  I will change my flyer each time to tell specifically about the topic of each breakfast club.  If you would like a copy of this form in Publisher in order to make it your own, just email me through my contact page and I will send one to you. ( I can only post PDF documents.)

I ordered my Character Breakfast Club invitations from Vista Print.  I’m looking forward to receiving them soon.  Here are images of the front and back of the invitation.  They are pretty basic as any extra information will have already been included on the flyer sent home with students. If you don’t have time to write each invitation, you can always create labels with the information and attach them to the back of the cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also created a very simple exit ticket.  In order to determine how things are going, you’ll want to know if your guests enjoyed the breakfast club, what activity they liked best, and if they would attend another one.  There is also an area at the bottom for comments or suggestions.  Have these available about ten minutes before the conclusion of the event.  You can also have special stickers on hand for the students as they return them.  I’m thinking about making some that say “Ask me about the Character Breakfast Club!” or “I went to the Character Breakfast Club today!”

I am super excited about including the Character Breakfast Club in my school counseling program.  I am tossing around ideas in regard to how I will invite families.  I am thinking about focusing on one or two classrooms to start in order to gauge the response.  If the response is good, I will offer more than one session in order to accommodate families.  My goal is to host one breakfast club for each grade level this year.  However, response will dictate how things go.  I’ll keep you informed!

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates! As always, I’d love to hear from you!  Did I miss anything?  Do you have any suggestions for the flyer and/or the exit ticket?