School Counseling Group: Attendance Matters

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Attendance Group - Savvy School CounselorIn my school counseling program, I have enjoyed doing attendance small group sessions.  My students have really enjoyed the activities and seem to get the big picture of why regular school attendance is so important.

The small group meets six times.  Each year, I use attendance data to form the group and include it as part of my ASCA National Model Plan for the school year.  For the past two years, I’ve worked with third graders.  The selected students usually have 15+ absences from the previous school year.

During our first session, the students brainstorm reasons why school attendance matters.  This year, I had them brainstorm on their own sheets first.  I used discussion cards to help students who couldn’t think of enough ideas for their sheets.  While we discussed the different ideas, they were free to add them to their own lists.  We concluded by filling in the bubble chart together.

Session one- School Attendance Matters Group - Savvy School Counselor

For the second session, the students made a foldable.  Inside, they wrote about Responsible Routines. After assembling the foldable with the labels, they wrote under each flap giving responsible routines for the morning, after school and at night.  This includes routines such as waking up on time to get to school, having everything ready for the next day the night before and going to bed at a decent hour.

Responsible Routines Foldable - Attendance Matters - Savvy School Counselor

When we met for the third session, the students watched two videos about the importance of school attendance.   One video is an attendance rap and the other shows the staff at a school, along with students, talking about different reasons why it’s important to attend school regularly.  While watching, they write points from the videos that stand out to them. Afterwards, the group members share their notes. Next, we begin making  a fortune teller using information shared by the group along with the brainstorming sheets from the first session.



Our fourth session involves finishing the fortune tellers and completing the  “Set the Scene” activity.  “Set the Scene” allows us to discuss the path from good attendance in school to a career.  The students cut out, sequence and glue six strips in order and illustrate each on the filmstrip sheet.

Attendance Fortune Teller- Savvy School Counselor

Attendance Fortune Teller - Savvy School Counselor

"Set the Scene" - School Attendance Matters - Savvy School Counselor

During the fifth session, we play an attendance board game.  This game  includes questions about the information from the first four sessions. If there are any activities that students need to finish from previous meetings, time is allowed during this session.

When we meet for our final session, we play Roll and Respond.  Students roll a die and respond to sentence starters about attendance. Before leaving, they complete an exit ticket which reflects what they’ve learned during the small group.  They take all of their completed activities with them to share with their teachers and families.  

After we have completed the small group, I continue to keep up with the attendance patterns of each of the students when I meet monthly with the attendance committee at my school.  I will also meet again with the students to review what was learned in our small group.  Individual sessions are held with students who continue to have attendance concerns.  The good news:  This year’s attendance data for the group is looking good and is much better than what they ended the school year with last year!

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  You can find the School Attendance Matters Unit in my TpT Store.  You may also like Good Attendance ROCKS!  Follow my store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.

10 thoughts on “School Counseling Group: Attendance Matters

  1. Thanks for sharing the attendance group! I am wondering if you use a pre/post test with this group and if so what that looks like? Thank you!

    • Hi, Erica. I have not used a pre/post test with this group only because I use their previous and current attendance records for my data. The exit ticket is like a post test, however, as it asks about things learned throughout the small group.

    • I do send letters home informing the parents about the group. I’ve required permission and I’ve also just told them to let me know if they didn’t want their student to participate.

      • These are some awesome activities and I really want to start an attendance group, but I have a question regarding the parent permission. How do you word this tactfully? I’m afraid of sounding insulting the parents, because most of our attendance issues are not the children’s fault. :/

        • Hi, Lisa! I always refer to data when I start my attendance groups. Parents always have the option of not allowing their children to participate, but I have not had that happen yet. The unit I use in my blog post comes with a parent letter.

  2. I have purchased your attendance pack, and as sad as it sounds, I have never made one of those fortune tellers that kids make. Do you have directions on how to make one?

  3. I am a school counseling student just searching for ideas to have when I am actually licensed. This sounds like a great group. I was not sure how to develop an attendance group in the school I am currently interning in, but this sounds perfect!

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