Teaching Social Skills

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Social SuccessI recently acquired a wonderful new resource from Youthlight, Inc. that’s already a “go to” for my school counseling program.  It’s called First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn and is for grades K-6.  Whenever new school counselors ask me what resources I recommend, I always suggest resources by Diane Senn.  I believe I have at least 90% of the resources she has produced.  This latest book does not disappoint!  We’ve just completed our fourth week of school, and I am already excited about using this book in my program.

I often hear from my administration and staff about students needing improvement with social skills.  There are so many different skills that fall under the “Social Skills” umbrella.  Counseling sessions and groups really need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of the student(s).  First Steps to Social Success is a great way to determine exactly what the student needs.

I am already using it with a couple of my individual sessions this year.  It comes with a CD which includes printable handouts and interactive review lessons.  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I previewed the interactive lessons.  I already have and use both volumes of Smart Guidance Multi-Topic Lessons, which are interactive Smart Board lessons, and the children really enjoy them.  The interactive lessons on this First Steps to Social Success CD are excellent ways to reinforce each topic and are sure to make your lessons fun, creative and grab the attention of your students.  This resource may be used with individuals, groups or classes.

First Steps to Social Success includes a Pre/Post Social Skills Assessment which addresses each of the topics included in the book.  The same assessment may be used for school personnel, parents or as a self-assessment for your older students.  The person completing the assessment ranks each skill as either a mastered skill, an emerging skill or a deficit skill.  As with any good pre-assessment, it helps you determine exactly how to approach each individual case.  If you find that several students are emerging or deficit in similar areas, a small group may be formed.

The following topics are included in this resource:

Section 1:  Knowing Myself First – This section is said to be a prerequisite of social skills that reviews skills that are necessary to master before interaction with others.  In these six lessons, students focus on appreciating and valuing themselves, understanding they have control over their thinking and actions and respecting and appreciating the differences in others.

Knowing Myself First - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

Section 2:  Initiating With Friends – The five lessons in this section help students learn to successfully initiate and connect with others to build new relationships.  Lessons focus on body language and facial expressions, finding common interests, starting conversations and personal space.

Initiating With Others - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

Section 3:  Learning Conversation Skills – This section has seven lessons that help students learn to maintain a conversation.  They learn that conversations should be shared, practice “listening” body signals and words, learn friendly voice tone and how to stay on topic.

Learning Conversation Skills - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

Section 4:  Reading Social Cues – The last seven lessons center around reading others’ social cues.  Therefore, the lessons focus on feelings, correctly identifying feelings, observing and processing others’ body language and responding to other people and their feelings.

Reading Social Cues - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

The written and hands-on activities throughout the book are both relevant and well thought through.  Along with the interactive review lessons on the CD are graphic cue cards.  There are 25 social skills lessons in all.  There is also a student assignment form and parent/teacher reinforcement form that can be used to help students continue to practice the skills outside of the individual sessions or groups.

I truly believe I am just scratching the surface with what I can do with this resource.  If you can’t get this resource now, I encourage you to put it on your school counselor wish list.

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One Day Sale

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Aug15 - Sale2

A one day site-wide TpT sale  will begin at midnight tonight:  August 19th.   For one day, you can save 28% on all items in my store and most other stores on TpT.  All you need to do is use the Promo Code:  MORE15 for the complete discount.

Just click the photo above to visit my 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.


Back to School Staff Gift

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Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School CounselorDo any of you school counselors like to get in touch with your crafty side?  I do!  I spent the beginning of the summer preparing bottle cap magnets as Fish Extender gifts for friends on the Disney Cruise I was taking.  During that time, I had an idea to use my school’s mascot image (created by the husband of one of my co-workers – Tony Nichols) to create these cute welcome back gifts for the staff at my school.  I really wanted to have this idea published before I set sail a couple of weeks ago, but time got away from me.  If it’s too late for you to make these now, you could always make them for National School Counselor week.

So, I want to tell you the materials I used and the steps I took to make them.

When I first researched how to make them, most sites suggested using resin.  When I visited Michael’s the first time and inquired about the resin, the sales person suggested I use another product that really made the whole process A LOT easier for me than I first expected.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Materials Needed:

bottle caps (I ordered my bottle caps from BottleCapCo.com in my school’s colors)

1 inch images (Printed on cardstock)

1 inch circle punch

Mod Podge  Dimensional Magic (Clear)

Mod Podge Glue and Sealer (Gloss)

Small paint brush

3×5 Plastic Baggies

Magnets (I used Tacky Magnetic Adhesive Dots)

First, you need to decide on the image you want to use and make it small enough to fit inside of a one inch circle.  I used two of our schools mascot images and copied about twenty-five of each on one page.  I cut them out in strips of five and used a one inch circle punch to make all of the inserts for my bottle caps.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School CounselorBack to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I used the Mod Podge Glue and Sealer.  I used my paint brush to put some inside of the bottle cap first.  I glued one picture inside the bottle cap.  I used more Mod Podge to seal the picture into the bottle cap using the paint brush.  It’s a good idea to let them sit for awhile to dry.  Overnight is a good amount of time to make sure everything is sealed.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Once the bottle caps are dry, squeeze in the Dimensional Magic.  I use enough to completely cover the picture.  You do not need to fill the entire bottle cap.  Once this step is done, they will need to sit for at least 24 hours to make sure they are completely dry and ready.  You’ll know when they are ready because they will be nice and clear instead of cloudy.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

Once the Mod Podge is completely dry on the inside of the bottle cap, attach an adhesive magnet dot to the back of the magnet and it is finished!

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

I made cards that would fit inside of the baggies.  The card has the name of our school at the top.  On the bottom it says, “This bottle cap magnet was made especially for you by (your name) – school counselor.  Here’s to a GREAT school year!” I used a small piece of tape to attach the magnet to the card.  Now they are ready for me to place in the boxes of my staff members for our first workday.  I really hope they like them!

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

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.


FB Fan Freebie – Lunch Bunch Tags

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Facebook Fan Freebie - Lunch Bunch Tags - Inspired by Ms. Sepp's Counselor CornerI’m excited to begin using these cute lunch bunch lanyards for my school counseling lunch bunch groups.  I found the idea from Ms. Sepp’s Counselor Corner.  I purchased the black lanyards and plastic name tag holders from Office Depot/Office Max. To make one, I used two of the same color tags and placed them in the tag holder back to back so the picture is showing either way. Next, I attached the lanyard. That’s all! I will place these in teachers boxes the morning of Lunch Bunch (or afternoon before) and students will wear them to the cafeteria. I will collect them once they are in my office to be reused for future groups.  The tags I used are free on my Facebook Fan Page

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.


Back to School Sale!!

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BTS Sale2

I’m excited to announce the next site-wide TpT sale happening at midnight tonight:  August 3rd.  The sale will run through Tuesday, August 4th.  During those two days, you can save 28% on all items in my store and most other stores on TpT.  All you need to do is use the Promo Code:  BTS15 for the complete discount.  I will be continuing the sale in my store through Wednesday, August 5th.  Please Note:  The promo code will no longer work on August 5th.  You will receive a 20% discount only on Wednesday.

Just click the photo above to visit my 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.  Coming soon:  A craft idea to welcome your staff members back to school!


School Counseling App: Decide Now!

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Decide Now! App - Savvy School CounselorI recently purchased an iPad app that will be a great addition to my school counseling program.  It’s called Decide Now! by Catforce Studio.

The app comes with several preset wheels like:  Where to eat?  Where to travel? and Weekend activities.  When I first purchased it, I immediately started thinking of several ways to use it in my program.  I want to share those ideas with you in this post.

When you prepare to create your wheels, you will touch the settings icon on the bottom right side of the screen.  A box will open and you will touch the + sign to add a new wheel.  Next, you will give your wheel a name.  You can also choose a color scheme for your wheel.  You will see a green circle with a + sign inside for adding each of the labels for your wheel.  It’s pretty simple!

How To Create a Wheel

One of the main ways educators use the app is for choosing a student to call on randomly.  School counselors can use it the same way for classes and/or small groups.  Because there is an unlimited amount of wheels you can make, you could also make one for each of your classes as well if that’s your preference.  But, what other ways can school counselors use this app?

  • Anger Management Strategies:  Use the spinner to discuss the different strategies during small groups or with individual students.
  • Character Education:  Add different character traits to the spinner.  One way you could use it would be to review student’s understanding of the different traits.  Spin the wheel and the student(s) tell what the trait means or how they or someone can use the trait.
  • Bullying:  When discussing different scenarios, students can spin the wheel and give their take from the perspective of the bully, victim or bystander.  How can the bully make a change?  What can the bystander do to make the best choice?  What can the victim do in this specific situation?
  • Careers:  As students are learning about the different career clusters, you can use Decide Me! to assess how much they have learned.  Add different professions to the wheel and have the students decide which cluster the job belongs to.
  • Learning Styles:  This would be great to use in academic groups when discussing the different ways people learn.
  • Feelings Charades:  Add several feelings to the wheel and use the spinner to play feelings charades.

Here are a couple of screen shots of my wheels.

Decide Now! App - Careers - Savvy School Counselor

Decide Now! App - Anger Management - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Decide Now! wheel could also be used for choosing prizes for games.  If you are playing Bingo with a group or class, and you have a selection of prizes, students could spin the wheel to reveal the prize they’ve won.  Additionally, you could add brain breaks to the wheel and use the spinner to choose one when the kids need a mental break during a lesson.

The regular app is just $0.99 and well worth it.  There is a lite version, but it does not include the ability to create your own wheels.

If you would like a chance to win the app for your iPad, please take a moment to enter my giveaway below.  Five will win!!  Unfortunately, I can only gift this app to entrants who use US iTunes.  I have contacted the Catforce Studio about donating codes for a giveaway, but I have not heard back from them yet.  If and when I do, and if I receive any codes, I’ll have another giveaway on my Facebook page.

This giveaway will end on Monday, June 8 at 11:59PM (EST).  I will email the winners on Tuesday, June 9.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d love to hear some of your ideas for using Decide Now!  If you have an idea, please leave a comment.

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.