Character Breakfast Club

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Before I was a school counselor, I taught second grade for thirteen years.  One thing I found very successful for parent involvement was hosting a Reader’s Breakfast Club.  These breakfasts were held once each grading period.  Parents were invited to bring breakfast from home or their favorite take-out restaurant and come to my classroom.  During their stay, they would eat breakfast with their children and read together.  The students really enjoyed it, and we always had a great turn out.

As a school counselor, you can host a similar event called the Character Breakfast Club.  This club offers another way to infuse character education into your school counseling program.  How often you hold your breakfast club will depend on your individual school, but once per grading period is a great starting point.  You can eventually hold it once per month if your schedule allows.  Character Breakfast Club can be held before school and does not interfere with the school day.

Decide on the number of families you can accommodate, and make that number clear on your flyer. The number will be determined by your breakfast club location and supplies available. Once you receive the allotted number of R.S.V.P.’s, you can send the official invitation.  You can make your Character Breakfast Club grade level specific, or you can supply a range of activities in order to leave it open to all.  You can also group your clubs K-1, 2-3, and 4-5.  The school where I work tends to have a higher parental involvement in the lower grades, so combining K-1 is difficult.  Once you get a feel for the demand at your school, you can better assess how to schedule each breakfast.

Character Breakfast Club Activities

You will need to schedule 45-60 minutes for your Character Breakfast Club.  This will allow time for families to eat their breakfast for the first 15-20 minutes and leave another 30-40 minutes for the character activities.  These activities may include BINGO games, crafts, and small group activities centered around the topic.  For example:  One topic I will address is Bullying.  I have the Bully-Buster Bingo game from Mar*co which shares several strategies children can use when dealing with a bully.  I also have the activity guide for Bullies are a Pain in the Brain.  This guide has a great true/false type activity about the characteristics of a bully that families can complete together.  Students can also make special buttons pledging to take a stand against bullying.  You can have crayons and stickers available for them to decorate their button inserts.  This will give them something to take with them to remember all they did at the Character Breakfast Club.

Mar*co Products has a lot of BINGO games to choose from including Character Education BINGO, Managing Anger BINGO, and Manners BINGO just to name a few.  They also sell Responsibility and Respect Bingo which I have and love to use.  These are additional topics you can use for your breakfast clubs.  It’s not difficult to find a couple of fun character education activities to keep your participants busy and enjoying some great family time.   Additionally, you’ll have excited kids ready to start their school day on a positive note!

One last thing:  Don’t forget to have an exit ticket at the end of each breakfast club.  It should be simple and easy to complete.  This will help you determine what is going well along with what you can do to improve the effectiveness of your event.

Stick around!  I’ll share more about the Character Breakfast Club in a future post.  I will include a sample flyer, invitation, and exit ticket.

You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you!  Is the Character Breakfast Club something you might consider?


How School Counselors Can Build Student Vocabulary

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Did you know building academic vocabulary increases student achievement?  Of course you did!  School counselors play a key role in vocabulary development.  We discuss vocabulary all the time in our classroom guidance lessons, but how can we take it a step further?

Several years ago, I received this great deck of cards already prepared for my use. The deck of cards contains a variety of character descriptions in addition to words that describe feelings.  The words on my cards are geared more toward upper elementary grades.  They are definitely appropriate for middle school students as well.  Of course the activities in this post can be adapted for lower grades also by using words suitable for younger students.  Using these cards is a great way to build vocabulary which can be very helpful for students when end-of-grade testing time rolls around.

To make them, you’ll need a pack of one hundred 3 x 5 index cards in multiple colors. On each card, you will write words that describe a person’s character or how a person might feel.

Click here to view and print a list of words to use.

How You Can Use Your Deck of Cards

  • Categorizing- This activity can help you check for prior knowledge of the vocabulary at the beginning of the school year.  Number twenty of the cards on the back anywhere from 1-20. (These words are in bold on the PDF document.)  First, place those twenty cards on different desks and/or tables throughout the room.  Next, divide the remaining cards in the deck among small groups of 2-4 students  until they are all given away. Then, each group will decide which desk or table each of their words best fit.  For example-  Your group goes to the first table or desk and you see the word “unfriendly.”  Your group has the following words: lazy, thankful, clever, harsh, scared, silly, impolite, and active.  Your groups decides that an unfriendly person can be “harsh” or “impolite.”  Your group leaves those two cards on that desk and move on the the next desk and vocabulary word.  After the students have categorized their cards, you can use a couple of the vocabulary sets for discussion.  During this time, you will get an idea of which vocabulary words the students really need to learn more about.  This will help you with the next activity.
  • Vocabulary Building-  Use the cards to help build student vocabulary during your guidance lessons.  Each time you visit a class for guidance, bring 2-3 word cards to share and discuss with your students.  Even as school counselors, we can assist teachers with increasing the vocabulary knowledge of students   As a former classroom teacher and as a parent, I’ve learned that many times not understanding the vocabulary causes a student to choose an incorrect answer.  These words often describe the main character’s feelings or traits they have displayed throughout the passage.  Therefore, adding a few vocabulary words to your guidance lessons can’t hurt, right?  In order to build vocabulary, we have to infuse it in all subject areas.  That includes guidance!
  • Role Playing-  This would be great to do near the end of the school year after you’ve infused these vocabulary words into your guidance lessons.  Divide students into groups of three or four.  Give each student a card.  Have the group create a short skit where each student acts out the trait or feeling on the card during the performance.  The remaining students will try to guess which trait or feeling words the group used.  In this case, it would be great to have a word bank for students to refer to.  

Use activities such as these to really play an active part in the vocabulary enrichment of the students at your school.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates. I would really love to hear some other ideas on how to use this deck of character cards as well as additional words you would include.  Tell me what you think!  Leave a comment below.


A Very Respectful Foldable

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I have continued to spend time thinking about how to use foldables in my school counseling program.  I teach students about a different character trait each month during classroom guidance at my school.  My latest idea is this four flapped foldable where students can list or illustrate the different ways they show respect.

Whenever I discuss the character trait respect with my students, I always make sure they understand that it can be shown in many different ways.  Many times, the focus is on how to show respect to others by saying that respect is “treating others the way you want them to treat you.”  To extend this, we discuss how to show respect at school and at home.  We also include showing respect to the Earth.  So when I came across this foldable style, I thought it would work well to teach respect.  It can be adapted to fit the needs of lower or upper elementary students.

First, I folded the paper the long way leaving a small section for writing on the side.

 

 

 

 

Next, I folded the paper in half.

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, you can fold it in half again to make the four sections.  Because I used card stock for my sample foldable, I folded each side to the center.

 

 

 

 

Once it is opened, you can cut across the folds on the shorter side to make the four flaps.

 

 

 

 

Across the bottom, I will have the students write “This is how I show respect!”  On the flaps, they will write “To Others,” “At School,” “At Home,” and “To the Earth.”  The students will also be able to draw a simple illustration on the front side of the flap.

Under each flap, younger students can draw a picture showing how they will show respect.  Older students can list a variety of ways to show the trait in each area.  You could also have students write an idea under the flap and then illustrate the idea at the top (behind the flap).

 

 

 

 

You could use this foldable for other traits too.

  • Responsibility- How I show it at school, home, with my things,  and with other’s property
  • Courage- Illustrate or write about four examples of times you showed courage.
If you can think of other ideas, please leave a comment.  I’d love to hear more suggestions!

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates. Also, be sure to enter the Character Readers and CD Giveaway which ends at 11:59 P.M. EST on Friday, June 15.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!

 

 


Character Readers and CD Giveaway!

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In a previous post titled Pass the Mic: Singing About Good Character, I wrote about how I really enjoy singing songs about character traits with my Kindergarten friends.  I mentioned that the readers can be purchased separately but that they also come in sets of six.  This giveaway is for one set of six character readers which will include one CD.  The CD has three versions of each song. There is the regular singing version, an instrumental version, and a read aloud version.  All six songs in this set align with the traits I teach in my school counseling program.

This great resource will include a CD and one of each of the following books:

Dare to Have Courage- Courage

Would It Be Right?- Good Judgment

Telling the Truth- Integrity

Never Give Up- Perseverance

Following the Rules- Respect

Think Before You Act- Self-Discipline

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 CD and readers sent.  I will order and have it delivered directly from Creative Teaching Press.  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, tweeting about the giveaway, or pinning this giveaway on Pinterest.  One entry is given for following Savvy School Counselor on Twitter and one for liking this post on Facebook.  Tweeting about the contest can earn two new entires everyday, so be sure to come back for additional entries!

Be sure to enter to win before 11:59 P.M. EST on Friday, June 15th. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Thanks for participating!

Congratulations to Giveaway Winner Nola W.!
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They All Scream for Ice Cream!

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I incorporate character traits into each of my classroom guidance lessons.  I’ve mentioned before that my school district focuses on eight specific character traits.  I discuss a different trait each time I visit classes.  Each trait is assigned to a particular month.  So, when I visit, I bring a “scoop of ice cream” with the character trait on it.  I begin all of my guidance lessons by discussing the character trait with the class.  During our discussion, students are able to make connections and share examples of how they show the character trait in their everyday lives.

After sharing the character trait, we talk about my behavior expectations during the guidance lesson.  I remind the class that they are working to earn a new scoop for their ice cream cones.  I give each class a cone to display in their classroom for the school year.  By the end of the year, they have an eight scoop high ice cream cone.  Many teachers display the ice cream cones on the outside of their doors.  Others have special spots in their classrooms to display the cones. If students become too talkative during a lesson, many times I only need to remind them that they are working toward earning a new scoop for their cone.  It’s just a small incentive to keep students on task throughout the lesson and to give them something to show for doing their best.

I also have an extra large ice cream cone to display outside my office door that grows each month as well.  I’ve used it for so many years that it’s a little faded, so I’ll need to make a new one soon.

Do you have a behavior incentive you’ve incorporated in your school counseling program?

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!

 


Crafty Character Trait Collage

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 I love scrapbooking even though I rarely have time to do it!  When I saw this cool idea on Pinterest a while back, my brain started racing.  How could I use this in my school counseling office?  It wasn’t long before the character traits came to my mind.  I already had the frame sitting in my craft room.  I bought it two years ago and had never put a single picture in it.

Today, I have had a blast cutting paper and using some of my favorite sticker purchases to make this character trait collage to hang in my office.  It was not difficult at all.  Here’s how I did it:

I looked through my tub of scrapbooking paper and found a mini kid’s slab of 6×6 papers.  There were lots of fun patterns to choose from.  Because I was going to add stickers of children on them, I didn’t want the paper choices to be too busy.

After choosing eight patterns, I used my paper cutter and cut each one down to 4×6 which is the size of the frames on the collage.  I ended up having to cut another tiny sliver less to get them to fit in though.

 

 

 

 

I used my favorite letters, which I can’t seem to find ANYWHERE anymore, to make the character traits on each.  Four of the pictures are vertical and the other four are horizontal.  I added New Kids Stickers by  “me and my BIG ideas” which I have had for so long and never used.

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, I put them in the frames, and I was very pleased with the results.  I really like that I can display the frame horizontally or vertically.  I’m not sure which one I like best.  Which way do you like it?

You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!