Traits of Good Character Freebie

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Traits of Good Character Freebie - CitizenshipHappy Saturday, everyone!  I know some of you are already enjoying your summer break.  I’m entering into my last full week of school.  I’ll be working until June 10.  I still have so much to do, but it will all get done some how.

In the midst of all the busy days, an idea for character posters came to me and I had to create it!  The posters talk about how you can use different parts of your body to show the different character traits.  I created eleven of them, so I took one and made it into a FREEBIE for you.  Citizenship is the trait used in the freebie.  The actual pack of ten traits includes responsibility, respect, courage, kindness, self-discipline, integrity, perseverance, good judgment, fairness and empathy.  Each character trait comes with a poster in both color and black/white telling how to use your body to show the trait. It also comes with an activity sheet for a more hands-on approach. Students cut and glue the descriptions to the sheet, draw lines to the parts of the body they describe and create their own sentence about the trait using a different part of the body or one that has already been mentioned.

There is a Facebook giveaway for the entire pack which will end at 9:00 tonight and the Traits of Good Character Pack is marked at 50% off all day today.

Click HERE to get your Citizenship Freebie!

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Service Learning: Pasta for Pennies

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Pasta For Pennies - Savvy School CounselorA service learning project my school counseling program coordinates is Pasta for Pennies.  You may also know it as Pennies for Patients.  The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society teamed up with Olive Garden to present this great fund raising campaign for children with blood cancers.  Our school has participated in this worthwhile campaign since 2013.  This is our third year.  We’ve been very proud of how much we’ve raised  each year.  In our first and best year so far, our elementary students raised almost $3,000 in three weeks!  We are currently in our final week of this year’s campaign.  If you’ve never heard of Pasta for Pennies, or if you have and just haven’t participated, I want to share a little bit about how it works.

Everything you need to run the campaign is provided for you.  This includes the collection boxes for classrooms and students, posters for classrooms to chart how much money they have raised, daily announcements to read each day, ideas you can use to help increase donations and much more!  A Peanuts DVD, Why Charlie Brown, Why, is also provided to help young students get a better idea of what they are really raising the money for.

Pasta for Pennies - Savvy School Counselor

Campaigns last for three weeks.  Before you begin, you will receive boxes with all the materials you will need to run your school’s campaign.  You will have letters to send home with each of your students along with individual collection boxes for each child.  You’ll have classroom collection boxes to assemble and labels to affix to the front of each box.  I usually put the last name of each teacher on the labels.  I also label one for the office and one for the cafeteria.

Pasta for Pennies - Savvy School Counselor

Pasta for Pennies - Savvy School Counselor

Pasta for Pennies - Savvy School Counselor

This year was the first time we had a campaign kick-off assembly.  Our area’s Senior Campaign Manager came to speak. With the help of students, she gave a visual example of the white and red blood cells and platelets in the body and what happens when cancer cells cover up and crowd out the healthy cells.  Captain Chemo (a teacher volunteer donning a cape and wig) finally came to save the day.  She went on to explain how the money our school raises will be used to help kids fight blood cancers.

Our campaign will end this week.  In our first two weeks, we’ve raised over $1,500!  I’ll do my final collection at the end of the week to find out our final 2015 total.  Which brings me to counting the money.  This is probably the most challenging part of the campaign.  The good thing:  Our local bank has a coin machine.  The challenge:  I have to transport all of the money each week and pour the coins into the machine one classroom at a time in order to record the individual totals.  This can be a little time consuming, but I’m always excited to see the end result.  Additionally, I count the dollars and record the amounts for each class ahead of time so I can just hand them to the teller.

Pasta for Pennies - Savvy School Counselor

Classes earn Gold, Silver and Bronze Champion pennants for raising $300, $200 and $100 respectively.  The class who collects the most money during the campaign wins a pasta lunch catered by Olive Garden.  The restaurant delivers salad, bread sticks and spaghetti to the school.  Which brings me to a great perk:  I help the teacher of the winning class serve the lunch.  So, I get to enjoy the Olive Garden lunch each year!  It’s a really delicious perk!

Pasta for Pennies is an excellent service learning project.  It is a great way to instill good character in your students as it reinforces kindness, compassion and generosity.  So if you haven’t already, think about participating in this great campaign.  It is truly for a worthy cause.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.


Character Trait Superpower Poster Freebie

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I am in the process of creating my “Superpower” character trait theme to use in my school counseling program for the coming school year.  I’ve decided to retire my ice cream cones and scoops for now.  In preparation, I started by making a set of eight posters to go along with the character traits adopted by my school district.  Each trait will have it’s own “Super Hero.”  I will use these super heroes to introduce the traits during my classroom counseling lessons each month.

Throughout the school year, students will meet Responsibility Reggie, Respect Renee, Courage Carlos, and Kindness Keisha.  They will also meet Self-Discipline Steve, Integrity Isabel, Perseverance Pam, and Good Judgment George.

Each poster has a picture of the super hero.  The hero introduces himself or herself and says what his or her superpower is.  That hero will then be the face of that trait for the month.  Students will earn a small image of the super hero of the month each time I visit.  I will make super hero shields for each classroom to display their super heroes on throughout the school year.  This will be done similarly to the ice cream scoops I’ve used for so many years.

I am giving Respect Renee to my readers as a freebie.  You can download it by clicking HERE or by clicking the picture above.  Visit my TpT store to purchase the entire set of eight posters for only $3.00.  You can also find activity sheets to go along with each trait and hero in my store as well.  Additionally, both are sold together in a COMBO pack. Click the pictures below to check them out!

Superpower Character Trait Posters- TpT

Superpower Activity Sheets

Superpower COMBO Pack








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Leo the Lightening Bug-Perseverance

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Leo the Lightening Bug- A great book about perseverance!When teaching about perseverance in my school counseling program, I always reach for one of my favorite books by Eric Drachman.  Leo the Lightening Bug is an adorable story of perseverance.

Little Leo is the “littlest” lightening bug of all his friends.  When you look at the cover of the book, can you guess what Leo’s problem might be?  You probably guessed it:  Leo can’t make his light.  All of his lightening bug friends are able to make their lights.  Leo’s mom lets him know he simply needs a little time and practice.

Leo decided to practice making his light, but as much as he tried- he still couldn’t light up.  It didn’t help things when his friends laughed at him when they saw him.  At this point, Leo is so frustrated that he flies away to a cave and cries.  After some time, he remembers his mother telling him he needed to practice.  Before long, in the midst of a thunder storm, Leo is finally able to light up!  He’s so proud of himself that he declares he could be “King of the lightening bugs!”

You’ll enjoy reading this story, but you will especially love hearing the story narrated on the CD which is included with the book.  The little voice of Leo will warm your heart, and the sound effects are just great!  You can hear a few excerpts from the book HERE on the Kidwick Books website.

If you don’t already have this wonderful book, add it to your list of future purchases!  It’s a winner!

Over the past couple of years, I’ve used this book with my Kindergarten friends.  I always include the song “Never Give Up” from my character song collection.  Initially, I always used it each year with second grade. After reading the story, we would talk about how Leo showed perseverance in the story. The students were given the opportunity to share how they have shown perseverance.  Next, each child was given a sheet with six boxes to create a short comic strip illustrating perseverance.  This idea came from my former intern Rachel.  Here is the sample comic strip Rachel created to help the students understand what to do.  It shows a little girl learning to ride her bicycle.  She falls off, but she gets back on and tries again- showing perseverance.


Through the years, I have always enjoyed seeing the comic strips created by the students.   I created comic strip tables for the eight character traits my school district uses.  Click HERE to download this FREEBIE from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.  Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for the Social Skill Builder iPad App!  It ends Friday night at 11:59 PM, and three will win!


Character Trait Paper Folding

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Courage Paper Folding- Freebie

I recently began creating more character trait paper folding activities to use with my students.  I first shared one in this blog post about respect.  Since then, I’ve tried to find a simple way for my blog readers to make these activities with their students too.  This courage activity simply needs to be copied onto your preferred paper (front to back) and given to your students to cut and create.

Where to Cut


Once they fold the paper in half and cut the two lines on the inside, they are ready to illustrate and write about how they show courage.

Character Paper Folding 004
Character Paper Folding 003

Character Paper Folding 005

To copy front to back, I fed my sheets into the copier’s feeder one on top of the other this way:

Character Paper Folding 001I won’t promise that it will work for your particular copier, but I do believe with 95% certainty it will copy correctly.

To print your own copies for this activity, simply click the pictures below.

Courage Paper Folding- Freebie

Courage Paper Folding- Freebie







I have created a character pack for my Teachers Pay Teachers store which includes Courage, Kindness, Respect, and Responsibility.  All four sell for $2.50.  I will be adding more character packs soon.  I’d love for you to visit if you’re interested, but I am happy to give away the courage freebie here.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates!  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  How would you use this activity?

4/8/13 ETA:  Two new character packs have been added to my store.  More Character Trait Paper Folding Activities includes Self-Discipline, Integrity, Perseverance, and Good Judgement for $2.50.  The Character Trait Paper Folding COMBO PACK includes all eight for $4.00.

Kindergarten: Feelings and Responsibility

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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?