I recently received my copy of a new book for introducing the school counselor. The book is called Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives by Erainna Winnett, and it is geared toward Kindergarten through 6th Grade.
The role of the school counselor is explained throughout the book as a new student, Raymond, meets and talks to his new counselor for the first time. The following description is found on the back of the book:
“Mrs. Joyce, the school counselor at Emerson Elementary, uses high-fives to connect with her students. When Raymond moves to town he’s not sure what to think of Mrs. Joyce. He enters her office nervous and full of questions, but it doesn’t take long for him to trust the caring counselor. By learning exactly what a school counselor does, Raymond finds he has nothing to fear and much to gain from friendly Mrs. Joyce.”
“Building relationships is one of the primary jobs of a school counselor. Whether it’s giving a high-five, a thumbs-up, a fist bump, a handshake or a hug, finding a way to connect with students is vital. “Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives” is a fun-loving story that explains the important role of the school counselor.”
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.
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I have thoroughly enjoyed presenting The Weird Series by Erin Frankel during my school counseling lessons with my fourth grade friends. I wrote previously about the book Weird! which tells the story from the perspective of a victim and Dare! which told the story from the perspective of a bystander. Last, but not least, is Tough! Of course, this book comes from the bully’s point of view. My students were hooked after the first book. They were all ears during the second lesson and were very excited to hear the last book of the series. The students have enjoyed discovering similarities between the books. Each had a signature symbol- from polka dots, to stars, and now hearts- which helped drive home a similar message: Know Yourself. Be Yourself. Sam is the main character in Tough! Readers get a peek into Sam’s world at the beginning of the book as the author reminds us of situations and comments she’s made to Luisa and Jayla from the previous two books. As Sam tells the story, we see her brother calling her names and taking her guitar away from her. It appears Sam has had her share of being picked on, and it turns out she stays “tough” in order to keep others from bothering her. Her teacher, Mr. C, reaches out to her, and she soon decides to accept his help. Just as we’ve hoped, Sam begins to listen to her heart and takes a turn for the better by the conclusion of the book. All three girls have a club at the end of each book. Sam has the Kindness Club. Her activities include a great reflection activity suggested to her by her teacher Mr. C called “Picture This.” This activity allows her to write her thoughts on paper in order to help her see how her actions affect those around her. After dividing a piece of paper into four equal sections, she labels the sections with four questions:
What did I do?
What did I hope to get by doing it?
What happened when I did it?
How can I get what I want without hurting others?
She then draws pictures to go along with each of the questions. Using this idea, I created an activity sheet called “Picture This” with four equal sections. Each section has a question at the top and space underneath for students to either draw and/or write their answers. During the lesson, the students can complete the sheet using Sam’s story OR they may refer to one of their own situations. It’s also a good idea to give a blank copy to the classroom teacher to use as he or she sees fit in the future. Click the picture below to print a copy of the activity sheet.
The Weird Series is one worth having on your counseling book shelf! Thanks to Roxanne, from Books That Heal Kids, for bringing this series to my attention on her blog last summer. Stick around! You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Be sure to let me know how your lessons go along with any new ideas you decide to add.
In a previous post, Weird!- A Bulling Victim’s Perspective, I wrote about one book from The Weird Series by Erin Frankel. The book Weird! is written from the perspective of the victim in a bullying situation. Today, I’ll be focusing on the second book in the series: Dare! This book is written from the bystander’s point of view. Like before, this school counseling lesson was used with my fourth grade friends.
One thing I really love about the series is the parallel story line. The main character, Jayla, is often seen standing nearby in the first book. In Dare!, we are given the opportunity to learn more about what Jayla was really thinking when she saw and heard Sam bullying Louisa. We even discover that Jayla was so scared that when Sam “dared” her to say or do mean things to Louisa- she would. She doesn’t like feeling used and thinks about some of the things she wants to say to Sam. Readers are reminded of different episodes in the first book, but this time they’re from Jayla’s perspective. She soon realizes that doing nothing is unfair to Louisa and to herself. She decides to make her own “dare” by standing up for Louisa even though she is scared. She prepared herself with responses to give just in case Sam lashed out at her for saying how she really felt.
When Louisa went back to being herself, she acted like she didn’t care if Sam called her weird. Jayla acted like she wasn’t scared along with some other bystanders. Like Louisa, she noticed that Sam began to leave her alone.
Like the first book, Dare! has notes from the main character after the story. Jayla has the Courage Club. Her activities include a discussion of feelings. Jayla felt bad when she just stood by and did nothing. For this activity, the students think of words other than “bad” to describe how they might feel in a bullying situation. There are a few sentences for students to complete with another word for bad. Jayla felt good when she finally stood up for Louisa. Students now think of words other than “good” to fill the blanks in a few sentences. There is also a brief reminder about the difference between telling and tattling. I used these activities for our discussion after reading the book.
The Courage Club also includes a discussion about being prepared to stick up for someone who is being bullied. I created this activity sheet to use with my fourth graders to close out the lesson. In order to be prepared, the students wrote statements they can make or actions they can take when they see or hear someone being bullied. The students were able to share their ideas with their classmates before we concluded the lesson.
Click the picture below to print a copy of the activity sheet.
Louisa had her polka dots which represented being who you are- Never lose your polka dots. In Dare!, Jayla has stars. The author reminds students- “…your brightest star shines from within.” Hmmm, I see hearts on Sam’s shirt at the end of this book… Tune in later for a post about the book Tough! to learn more!
Stick around! You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates! As always, I’d love to hear from you. I am really loving this series, and I hope you will too!
My major focus in my school counseling program this school year has been on bullying. I have had extensive conversations with my fourth and fifth grade friends especially.
This month, I’m using the book Weird! from the Weird Series with my fourth graders. This series is written by Erin Frankel. Weird! is one of three books in the series which focuses on the victim’s perspective. The other books, Dare! and Tough! focus on the bystander’s and bully’s viewpoints respectively. Each book includes notes from the main character along with activities and reflection questions.
Weird! is about a girl named Luisa. Sam, from the Tough! book, says everything Luisa does is “weird.” Luisa goes on to give several examples of the things Sam considers “weird.” This affects her so much, she begins to change and stops being herself. She stops telling funny jokes and decides to stop wearing her favorite polka dot boots. If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll notice Jayla from the Dare! book. She doesn’t like how Sam treats Luisa. Soon, Luisa decides she must change her way of thinking. She went back to being herself no matter what Sam said about her, and she acted like she didn’t care. She soon noticed that Sam began to leave her alone.
I decided to use the activity “Recycle Your Thoughts” from Luisa’s Confidence Club at the end of the book. Students cut out eight circles, or polka dots. I pre-cut several colorful circles from construction paper and made plain, white dots on regular paper. On four of the dots, students may write some of Luisa’s negative thoughts or some of their own. I made the white dots for this purpose. On the other four colorful dots, the students change their negative thoughts into positive ones. They may also decorate them.
I like that this activity has the students crinkle up the negative dots and symbolically toss them into the recycling bin. They may then keep their positive dots to decorate a notebook or to hang on the wall in their bedrooms. They can also tape these dots to their bathroom mirror where they can read these positive affirmations each day.
Stick around! You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates. As always, I’d love to hear from you! Have you used the Weird Series in your school counseling program? What activities for this book have you used with your students?
One of my favorite small groups I conduct in my school counseling program is “Surviving and Thriving in the Girl World.” This small group is taken from Diane Senn’s Bullying in the Girl’s World. If you don’t already have this book in your collection, it is one I would highly recommend to you. This small group unit is only a piece of what is included in this wonderful resource.
I first used this resource last year in a proactive effort with a small group of 4th grade girls. I thoroughly enjoyed the lessons. The format is such that you can give the student survey and create your group lessons around the most immediate needs. I personally enjoy conducting all ten of the small group sessions and have had a wonderful time participating in the discussion with my students. The group includes opportunities for role play as well as self-reflection.
This year, I decided to invite fifth grade girls to the group. We have met three times so far, and I am enjoying this group just as much as I did last year. This year I made folders for the girls to keep their handouts in. There are several handouts which I feel are very important for them to be able to refer back to once our group has concluded.
There is a cube to make for the group sessions that is used to facilitate closing discussions. The cube says “Target? Then Handle it.” and “Guilty? Then change.” Several of the handouts include suggestions for the girls to use if they are guilty of certain behaviors such as teasing, exclusion, and gossiping. They also include suggestions for what to do if the girls are the target of such behaviors as well. The cube is used to allow the girls to take turns facilitating the closing discussion. During this time, they also make additional suggestions that can be added to the sheet.
Each of the lessons has a specific and worthwhile message and purpose. Here is a snapshot of two of the group activities.
During the second group session, we discussed what it means to be popular. It’s always interesting to hear the negative connotations that are associated with popularity. We spent time discussing the many ways one can be popular and that a popular person isn’t always someone who is mean. Here is a quote given in the book used to spark our conversation:
After our discussion, I put a large piece of paper on the table along with markers and asked the girls to write “admirable qualities” they would like to be known for having. A person possessing these qualities can be considered “popular” also.
Another session I enjoy is the lesson about reputations. This is the sixth lesson of the unit. At this time, we talk about the word reputation and discuss the ramifications of having a bad one. The girls are able to self-reflect during the mirror activity. Each girl receives a mirror copied onto card stock and cut out for her ahead of time. I then share the quote “Mirror, Mirror in my hand. What is my reputation? Where do I stand?” We take time to discuss the quote and the girls are able to share as they feel comfortable about any feelings they have regarding their own reputations. Afterwards, each girl will write the positive things about her reputation inside of the mirror as well as words she would like others to use when describing her reputation.
As I said before, I REALLY love this resource and this small group is only one section of this great book. It includes school-wide suggestions, classroom lessons, and ideas to use with individual students. I can’t say enough about it! I always say, you can’t go wrong with Diane Senn’s resources.
Stick around! You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Have you used Bullying in the Girl’s World in your school counseling program?