Student Self-Referral Form

Posted on

Many times throughout the school year, students will need and want to visit the school counselor to discuss their problems.  I mentioned a form I use in a previous post which uses “rocks” to help describe the urgency of the referral.

My original form included pictures which I couldn’t post for distribution because of the copyright, so I chose a picture of a rock from a free clip art site,, for the purposes of sharing the form here.  Click HERE to print the form.

Students can select one of the following options:

A Small Rock  (See me soon!)

A Medium Rock  (See me this week!)

A Large Rock  (Urgent!  See me as soon as possible!)

As I receive forms from students, I will write an appointment in my calendar and then write it on the form.  Once I see the student, I will check or initial that the appointment has occurred for documentation purposes.  I then store these forms by grade level in a plastic file organizer.

I also created a small 8.5 x 11 poster explaining and listing  some examples.  This helps so students don’t check “Large Rock” when they need to work on making friends or disagree with a teacher.  This can be printed with a border or you can back it with a nice patterned paper. Click the picture below to print.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Do you tend to have a large number of student self-referrals at your school?

Lunch Bunch Anyone?: Getting to Know You

Posted on

The first lunch bunch sessions I hold with my first through fifth graders are “Getting to Know You” sessions for new students to our school.  Teachers choose students from their classes who they feel I should get to know.

At the beginning of the session, I showed students the self-referral forms on my door and talked about how to make an appointment with me.  I also shared my School Counselor’s First Aid Kit.  We talked about their old schools as well as things they enjoyed about their new school.  Then we used my “Getting to Know You” cards.

Ice breaker statements are always a great way to learn more about your students.  They get them thinking, and I’ve found the students really enjoy sharing about themselves with me and the group.

I made these “Getting to Know You” cards to use with every grade level.  To make them, I cut a few sheets of card stock into quarters.  I printed and cut out the title for one side of each of the cards.  I also printed and cut out the statements for the opposite side of each of the cards.  I used a glue stick to glue them to the cards and then I laminated them.

The statements on the cards came from the book 201 Icebreakers.  This book has just about any icebreaker activity you’ve probably ever participated in!  It has icebreakers for all audiences from children to adults and small groups to large presentations.  I chose the “Favorite Things” activity.

I have used the cards for my new student lunch bunches over the last week and a half.  I read them aloud for my first grade friends and they took turns answering them if they wanted to.  The older students pulled their own cards, read them aloud, and answered them.  I also gave group members opportunities to answer the questions other students pulled.

I really liked that these simple “favorites” sparked wonderful conversations among new friends.  Students were excited to share about the crazy stunts their pets have pulled as well as sharing about their favorite place to be.  I enjoyed getting to know the new personalities.  It was nice to even see the more quiet students open up during the conversation.

You can print the statements and the title for the back of each card by clicking these links:

Getting to Know You Cards

Getting to Know You- Back of Card

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Have you held any new student lunch bunch groups?  What did you do with your students?

Kindergarten: Feelings and Responsibility

Posted on

One thing I really look forward to each year in my school counseling program is my very first visit with my new Kindergarten friends.  After seeing grades 1-5 over the last three weeks, it’s finally time to share my first lesson with Kindergarten.  I usually schedule them last intentionally.  I do this as to not disrupt the teachers’ firsts days with them.  They have so many new things to learn including classroom procedures.  Usually by the time I visit, they are ready to sit on the carpet crisscross applesauce with hands in their fish bowls and listening ears.

I had the opportunity to assist with the Kindergarten assessments, so I worked with most of them one-to-one during their staggered entry days.  So, many of them are already waving and saying hello when they see me.

I have thirty minutes to complete this lesson. The first part of my lesson includes my “A Counselor is…” cards I wrote about in a previous post.  These cards are great for explaining what a school counselor does.  As mentioned in my other post, the students learn that a counselor is a friend, a helper, a listener, a problem solver, and a secret keeper.  I make sure to stress that I can keep any secret as long is no one is being hurt.

Next, I introduce my Jellybean Friend Eugene, the emotional blue jellybean from Jellybean Jamboree.  This leads us to a discussion about feelings.  You can read more about Eugene and the other jellybeans here.  I read The Feelings Book by Todd Parr to Eugene and the class.  It is a great book which showcases many different feelings including some silly ones like “Sometimes I feel like eating pizza for breakfast” or “Sometimes I feel like kissing a sea lion.”  This year, I also have Todd Parr’s “Feeling Flashcards” which I am so excited about using.  For the purpose of this lesson, I will share the flashcards for happy, sad, angry, and scared as I discuss the different feelings Eugene has experienced.  I’ve decided to use the majority of the cards during Lunch Bunch and other small groups.  I will also use some cards here and there throughout the school year during future lessons.

Finally, I talk about all of the BIG words they’ll be learning about throughout the school year called character traits.  I share the first trait, responsibility, which is on their very first scoop of ice cream.  I mentioned my ice cream cone and scoops incentive  in the post They All Scream for Ice Cream.  I make a big deal about how big the word is, and we count the 14 letters.  (Then I make a big deal about how they can count to 14!)  I explain what it means to be responsible by sharing the book You Can Count On Me.  This is one of the character songs I sing with my kindergarten friends throughout the school year.  The words in the book are the words to the song.  After sharing it and having them repeat the chorus, we sing along with the CD and give ourselves a “round of applause” by clapping around in a circle.  If time allows, we will usually sing it two times.

To close, I review all the things we talked about during our lesson and add their very first ice cream scoop to their cone.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  What special activities do you use with your Kindergarten students during your first visit?

The 3 Learning Styles

Posted on

This week, I am working with my fourth grade friends for the first time this school year.  Over the years, I have incorporated the learning styles into individual school counseling and in my small groups for academic advisement.  This year, I decided to introduce the learning styles to my fourth graders in order to get them thinking now about how they learn best.  I worked with my first class today, and it went very well.

Knowing that all students learn differently, I thought fourth grade would be a good age to introduce learning styles and to help students understand why knowing their preferred learning style(s) can be beneficial to them.  The students seemed very interested during our discussion today.  It was nice to see some of them react when they connected with one of the learning styles as we discussed them.

I decided to create a basic three-flap foldable.  As usual, I made sure my lesson targeted each of the learning styles as well.  This is the same group of students I created the Test Taking Foldable for last year.  I explained that I wanted their new foldable to be another in which they could refer to as necessary.

I gave them a 9×11 sheet of manilla paper.  They folded the paper in half and divided the cover into three equal sections by drawing two lines.  Some simply cut across twice to make the three sections without drawing the lines.  While students were cutting, those who were ready were instructed to draw a hand on the first flap, an ear on the second flap, and an eye on the third flap.  Once everyone got to this point, we were ready to begin our discussion about the three learning styles.  I began my discussion by connecting the three pictures to how we learn.  Using the document camera, I displayed my sample foldable so they could label each flap.  I included two words for each picture: “Doing” for Kinesthetic, “Listening” for Auditory, and “Looking” for Visual. I used both words as I described each learning style.

Behind each flap, the students wrote the meaning of each learning style.  I used the meanings from an activity sheet from Diane Senn’s book Spectacular Guidance Activities called “Which Way Do I Learn?”  These were already written behind each flap on my sample, so I opened each flap one at a time so they could transfer the the meanings onto their foldables.

On the right side, the students wrote the tips I shared for each learning style.  I continued to refer to the “Which Way Do I Learn?” sheet as well as another chart from the book Academic Advisement Program.  We talked about several tips and how they can be used to help students study and learn throughout the school year.  I also talked about how their teacher creates lessons with these learning styles in mind.  Near the end, I asked student volunteers to tell the class how I incorporated the three learning styles into my lesson.  I shared that I am more of a visual learner and talked about the things I do that help me.  I even shared my “Which Way Do I Learn?” sheet in which I used three different colors to highlight the three learning style examples on my sheet to use during my discussion.  The students were able to see that as a visual learner, the colors were helpful for me as I taught the lesson.

I’m looking forward to visiting the remaining four classes to do this lesson.

You can find a template for this activity and a Learning Styles Cube Game in my TpT store.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  How do you teach your students about the 3 learning styles?

“Who Are You?” Thumball Giveaway

Posted on

If  you don’t already have one, the Thumball (Thumb Ball) is a great ice breaker to use in your school counseling program at the beginning of the school year.   It is also great for small groups.  I’ve been using it this week during my visits with my fifth graders.  It’s always neat to hear some of the answers they come up with.  Some answers made me laugh, and others touched my heart.  I mentioned the Thumball in my last post and explained that as students catch the ball, they share an answer for whatever is under their thumbs.  The size of the Thumball is about four inches.

Some of the phrases on the ball include:

  • Three Wishes
  • Happiest Memory
  • Three Yummy Foods
  • Three Gross Foods
  • Favorite TV Show or Movie
  • Best Book or Author
  • Great Vacation Place
  • Funniest Cartoon

During one of my classes this week, several students told about their happiest memories.  One student said his happiest memory was when his football team won the super bowl.  Another said his happiest memory was seeing his dad for the first time in the hospital after his heart attack.  A girl shared about a time before her grandma died when her family washed the car with water guns.  Students sharing their three wishes often included things like having certain electronics devices or owning horses.  One student shared her third wish saying, “I wish my mom and dad were never divorced.” Another student wished he could just see his dad. Even during a simple ice breaker activity, I was able to make note of some of the concerns my fifth graders are having.

So today, I want one of you to have one of these Thumballs.

There will be one winner selected to win this prize.  I will contact the winner by email to request the mailing address where he or she would like the Thumball sent.  I have already ordered it with some other items of mine and will ship it directly to the winner once it arrives.  You may enter this contest by using the Rafflecopter widget below this post.  There are several ways to enter.  You will receive three entries for subscribing for email updates.   Two entries are given for liking Savvy School Counselor on Facebook or pinning this giveaway on Pinterest.  Also, one entry is given for following Savvy School Counselor on Twitter.  

Enter to win before 11:59 P.M. EST on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Thanks for participating!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


School Counseling Office Updates

Posted on

Getting my school counseling office situated has been a slow work in progress.  However, I did want to share just a few photos.


First, I have been SO excited to put up this awesome display created by Susan Fuller at Entirely Elementary School Counseling!  I can’t tell you how thankful I am to her for generously sharing all of the words she created along with the quotes.  I printed the words onto colored card stock, had them framed with black construction paper (since they were going on a white wall), and had them laminated.  I love how it turned out!  Thanks, Susan!


In this next photo, you can see the entire area outside one of my office doors.  I’ve been putting out the “Take What You Need, Take a Smile, and Today I will be…” pull-tab posters and have had to replace several already.  I even saw that a student teacher had taken some “strength” and taped it to her shirt. 🙂 I’ve also put a couple in the staff lounge and they are being used as well.  I was inspired by Pam Dyson from St. Louis Center for Play Therapy Training to make these great signs.

Inside my office, I still have several piles I’m working through, so I only took a picture of one side of the room.  You can see my desk and two extra chairs for guests behind the desk.  When I have individual sessions, I like being able to turn around and talk with students without a desk or table between us.  On the walls I have my “You Are RESPONSIBLE For You!” sign which I’ve had since I was in the classroom.  I also have several character posters scattered throughout the room as well.  There is a table for six on the other side of the room along with a small portable dry erase board, a mail sorter, and a larger television.

I also put up this bulletin board in the main hallway.  It will soon be the home of 5×7 group shots of students nominated by their teachers for showing the different character traits.  The month of September is when we recognize students showing responsibility.  I will display a group shot of each grade level. (six pictures total)  This board was inspired by this pin on Pinterest.  Each large piece of popcorn has a character trait on it.  I found the real popcorn images on Google, enlarged them, and printed them onto card stock.  To make the popcorn box, I projected the picture onto poster board, traced it with pencil, re-traced it with a Sharpie, and colored it in with a red Crayola marker.

Now that our teachers have finished their beginning of the year assessments, I am ready to begin getting into classrooms.  I am very excited to start meeting with students next week!  I’ll be seeing third and fifth grades.  The lessons I’m using have been shared previously on my blog.  For third grade, I’ll be using the First Aid Kit along with Annie’s Plan to talk about creating a plan for student success.  For fifth grade, I’ll do a quick getting to know you activity using my “Who Are You?” thumball.  Students toss the ball and share an answer for what is under their thumbs.  Next, we will be playing the Meet the Counselor basketball game.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you!  Is your office ready and just like you want it, or are you like me and still slowly bringing it all together?