A School Counselor Lunch Bunch Linky Party

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I was so excited to see this linky party on Tabitha’s blog, Scrapbook of a School Counselor.  Lunch bunch is one of my favorite things about my school counseling program.  You can check out my lunch bunch posts by clicking HERE.

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For me, lunch bunch is a time to connect with students in an informal setting.  It is an opportunity to focus on a variety of needs within my school’s population that I may not otherwise have the chance to address during my classroom counseling lessons.  It also allows me to get more small groups in during the school year that will not take away from instruction time.  I usually have between 4-6 students per lunch bunch.

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I usually find activities that do not involve writing or coloring.  This usually includes a book, discussion cards, or a discussion cube.  Some activities with laminated cards work well during lunch bunch also.  Some lunch bunches are just a time to get to know students.  During these types of groups, we mainly just chat and learn about some of the things we may have in common with each other.

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Over the past few years, I have created a schedule which includes each grade level (K-5) in my school.  On a good year, I’m usually able to see children from each grade level between 7-9 times which is up to 54 groups.  To do this, I create a schedule which allows me to see two grade levels per week.  I send the form found in this blog post to each grade level the week before their assigned date.  The teachers are able to select the students they feel need the topic OR they tell me a need within their grade level they would like addressed.

This year, I am having lunch bunch groups with all of the new first through fifth graders in our school.   This will probably take me until the end of September to accomplish, but I am enjoying meeting them all.  Once I’m able to get through those groups, I will begin to plan out the rest of the year.  I may tweak my Lunch Bunch program some this year and see how things go.

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I use my lunch bunch time as a way to reward good behavior as well.  In our school, students are expected to S.O.A.R.  S is for Show respect, O is for Order and Safety, A is for Awesome attitude, and R is for responsibility.  On occasion, I ask teachers to send their “SOARing” students for a mini celebration of sorts.  Their accomplishment is a big deal and I make sure they know it.  I usually invite an administrator to stop by and give pats on the back as well.

 

If you would like to participate, here are the instructions:
-Create a blog post titled “A School Counselor Lunch Bunch Linky Party”
-Place the Linky Party logo (above) in your post.
-Answer the questions (above). You are free to copy and past Tabitha’s headers as I did if you’d like.
-Submit your blog post link by visiting Tabitha’s blog post which is linked above . Be sure to link to the actual post, not your homepage.

 

Thanks, Tabitha, for creating a great linky party!  It’s so great to learn and get new ideas from each other!
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TpT Two-Day Back to School Sale

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Teachers pay Teachers is having it’s quarterly site wide sale today and tomorrow.  Use the code BTS13 to receive 10% off of your total purchase after the seller’s discount.  I have added an additional 20% off in my store on all products, for a total of 28% off any purchases made today and tomorrow.

The newest product in my store is for Red Ribbon Week. Be sure to check out “Being Drug Free is How We Roll!”

Red Ribbon Week Activity Pack- 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.

 


Self-Advocacy for School Counselors

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Self-Advocacy for School Counselors- savvyschoolcounselor.comI have thought a lot this summer about self-advocacy for school counselors.  I started outlining this post, and a few days later I received an email from a new school counselor who is really in a difficult situation with her new position.  She is assigned to SIX schools and isn’t feeling the love so far.  Unfortunately, my email response to her came back to me undelivered. So, I’m hoping she will see this post and contact me again.

I want to preface this post by saying, administrative support is key!  Regardless of the level of support, it is important for you to advocate for your program.  In the end, your administrator has the final say.  Even if you don’t feel supported, know that you’ve done all you can by advocating for yourself.  If you don’t, who will?

Avoid Discipline Issues

As school counselors, we pride ourselves in creating positive relationships with our students.  We work hard to build a good rapport and establish trust with the students we come in contact with each day.  This can be hindered if we are asked to handle disciplinary situations at our schools.  Assisting with disciplinary issues will confuse children about your role.  Instead of seeing you as their adult friend, they will not look forward to coming to your office.  Let your administrators and teachers know where you stand to help avoid being involved with discipline.  Also, be sure to let your students know they are never “in trouble” when they come to see you.  Let them know from the beginning during your introductory classroom counseling lessons.

Avoid the Therapy Trap

Although school counselors have degrees in counseling, we are unable to provide regular therapy to students.  If there is a student needing to be seen once a week for the whole school year, they need more than you can effectively give them.  This doesn’t mean you won’t have some students who come to see you for consecutive sessions.   Be sure to state up front how many sessions the student will have with you.  Last year, I purchased the loyalty cards sold on Vistaprint. I got the idea from THIS BLOG. They have five boxes along the bottom that can be punched or stamped.  This is a great visual for your students to know how many times they will get to visit with you.  Of course, all students won’t need to use the cards, but they are great to have for the ones needing more extensive counseling.

If an IEP or Behavior Plan has included you as an “intervention,”  be sure to speak up.  Yes, you want to work with the student, but being bound in writing by plans like these can be detrimental to your program.  Sometimes the writers of these plans need to be reminded that the student they are creating the plan for isn’t the only student you are working with.  They won’t always see your “big picture.”  Self-advocacy will help make the picture more clear.

Implementing Your Program

I don’t know about you, but running my school counseling program is very important to me.  When I get caught up for days or weeks where I am unable to run my program because of other “school related assignments,” it bothers me to no end.  We can’t always avoid these, but we can still speak up.  The ASCA National Model was created to help with this, so be sure to create yours and make sure your administration has a copy.  We are accountable for following through with the closing the gap action plans we create each school year.

Along with your National Model, you’ll want to be sure to “market” your program.  You can read more about school counselor public relations HERE.  Showing pride in your school counseling program is also a great way to advocate for it.

Management Agreement

As I said before, support from your administration is key.  The management agreement is a part of your ASCA National Model plan.  This agreement is a great way to gain support from your principal.  It outlines all of your programs and services.  It details the percentage of time you will spend delivering your curriculum, planning for individual students, providing responsive services and lending system support.  All of this is done with hopes that you won’t end up doing all of the non-counseling duties we are so often stuck with.  It assists you with advocating for your program.

There are some school counselors who are able to truly do their jobs each day, and that is wonderful!  If you find yourself in a situation that goes against the grain of your school counseling program, speak up.  Doing so may help you get what’s needed to make your program effective.  If it doesn’t, you can feel good knowing you spoke up and advocated for yourself and your program.

To the school counselor who reached out:  I hope to hear back from you again so I can re-send my email to you. :)

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TpT “School Counselor” Blog Hop

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TPT School Counselor Blog HopI’m excited to join Heather today for the Teachers pay Teachers School Counselor Blog Hop.  Heather, author of The Helpful Counselor blog, came up with the idea for participants to create posts highlighting their favorite paid and free TpT resources.

The first resource I am highlighting is one of my FREE products.  Tattling Vs. Reporting is my most popular freebie.  I created it for school counselors and teachers to help their students understand the differences between the two words.  Doing this activity helps students learn that tattling is used to get a person into trouble, but reporting is used to get a person out of trouble.  To complete the activity, students cut out ten statements children could make to their teacher or another adult.  They decide which five are necessary to “report” to the teacher.  We report situations to an adult when someone is being hurt mentally or physically or if property is being damaged on purpose.  The remaining five statements are examples of tattling.  Tattling occurs when children tell an adult what another child is doing in hopes of getting him or her into trouble.  The statements are usually problems that could be ignored.  With kids being kids, I don’t see the need for the this type of lesson ever going away. :)

Tattling Blog Photo

The paid resource I chose to highlight is Good Character is Popping Up Everywhere.  This product has a popcorn theme and sells for $3.75.  It includes 8 character trait display cards and  a character trait paper folding activity similar to the one I wrote about in THIS POST. Each trait and a picture is printed on the outside of each flap.  Under the character flap, students write about what the trait means and give an example of how one would demonstrate the trait.  My Favorite Character Trait is another activity for students to write about their favorite trait, tell how they show the trait and draw a self-portrait. A word search and answer key is also included. There is a Brainstorm and Write sheet which can be used when teaching character traits or many other subjects.  Be sure to check out the preview link for this product on TpT to see what’s included.

My bulletin board display ties in well too!  Eight pieces of the popcorn have a character trait on them.  This board is located in the main hallway of my school.  Pictures of students showing good character can be added throughout the school year.

Popcorn CoverCharacter Board

 

 

 

 

 

You can check out some other favorites on the right side of this page. ———–>

Be sure to check out posts from the other School Counselor Blog Hop Participants:

Heather – The Helpful Counselor

Tabitha – Scrapbook of a School Counselor

Melanie – The Stylish School Counselor

Colleen - One Stop Counseling Shop

Thanks, Heather, for inviting me to participate!

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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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Savvy Guest Blogger: School Counselors Rock

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Hi fellow counselors!  I am the author of School Counselors Rock.  I have been a counselor for 14 years and was recently honored by being selected as Elementary School Counselor of the Year for my county.  Even after 14 years, I still love my job and I still get excited about new ideas and resources.  My passion is helping out new, beginning counselors!

I also love FREE resources (who doesn’t right?), and I love resources that my students get excited about.  This past year I used several free, fun resources in classroom guidance that every counselor should know about.  Happy Teaching!!
howardThe first absolutely fabulous site that every counselor should know about is wedolisten.org.  This site has TONS of free resources to go with the Howard B. Wigglebottom books.  You actually don’t even need the books because you can read them online.  The songs to go along with the books are really cute—the kids LOVE them.

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Another great free resource is the Grandma Rose’s Neighborhood videos on YouTube (1, 2 and 3).   These videos are really cute for 1st and 2nd grade and go along with the book “Simon’s Hook.”  While I love the message in the book, it can get a little wordy for our younger students.  These videos are a great, FREE way to teach the kids the strategies from the book.

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If you haven’t come across “Pete the Cat and his White Shoes,” you are missing out.  It is a great resource for teaching about the importance of a good attitude and positive self-talk.  Again you can find FREE resources on the Harper Collins site.  I always use the video on this site for reading the story.  It is much more fun than if I was reading!  Also, you should search for Pete the cat on YouTube.  There are some great videos on there—I love to use THIS video as a fun way to end my lesson.

Please drop by my blog and spend a few minutes getting some new ideas.  And feel free to share some ideas of your own.  Hope to see you soon!

BlogDaisies

Thanks so much, Lisbeth, for sharing these great free online resources.  I look forward to incorporating these into my school counseling program!

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.