A Lesson About Kindness

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Rosie's Roses- An adorable book to use while teaching kindness!- SavvySchoolCounselor.comToday, I’d like to share a book I’ve used when teaching kindness.  Rosie’s Roses, by Pamela Duncan Edwards, is an adorable book about Rosie the Raccoon.  Rosie has four roses for her Aunt Ruth’s birthday present.  While on the way to deliver them to her Aunt, she discovers she is missing a rose – not once but three times.  When she realizes her roses are being used by Mr. Rat, Mr. Rabbit, and Mrs. Robin, she’s not so happy at first.  However, Rosie goes on to show kindness to each of the animals after she learns why they needed the roses.  With one rose left for Aunt Ruth, Rosie goes on to show her greatest act of kindness with her fourth and final rose.

During the last TpT sale, I purchased a cute unit about Kindness from a seller who teaches first grade.  There are several pieces to pull from it, but I used just a couple of them for this lesson.  After reading the story and talking about the ways Rosie showed kindness, I used an activity where the students read different sentences aloud to the class and decided whether the act was kind or not kind.  The unit included the “kind” and “not kind” signs which I copied onto card stock, laminated, and taped inside two small buckets. There are 12 cards with sentences to use for this activity.   Student volunteers came to the front, read the card aloud to the class, and decided which bucket their cards should be placed in.  This allowed us to continue to discuss examples of kindness.  Four of the cards gave examples of not being kind.  Most of my first graders love to volunteer and participate, so this lesson has been a hit with them.

A lesson about kindness! -  Purchased from A Year of Many Firsts

After the lesson, I left the students with a writing activity which also came from the unit.  They were asked to write about and illustrate a time they were kind.  I visited one of the classes the following day to find their writing hanging from a display cord, so I took some pictures to share.

A lesson about kindness! -  Purchased from A Year of Many FirstsA lesson about kindness! -  Purchased from A Year of Many Firsts A lesson about kindness! -  Purchased from A Year of Many Firsts

 

 

 

 

 

It’s nice to find activities like these to help complete a school counseling lesson.  I really enjoyed doing this with my students.

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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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Leo the Lightening Bug-Perseverance

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Leo the Lightening Bug- A great book about perseverance!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.

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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.

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.  Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for the Social Skill Builder iPad App!  It ends Friday night at 11:59 PM, and three will win!

 


Character Trait Paper Folding

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Courage Paper Folding- Freebie

I recently began creating more character trait paper folding activities to use with my students.  I first shared one in this blog post about respect.  Since then, I’ve tried to find a simple way for my blog readers to make these activities with their students too.  This courage activity simply needs to be copied onto your preferred paper (front to back) and given to your students to cut and create.

Where to Cut

 

Once they fold the paper in half and cut the two lines on the inside, they are ready to illustrate and write about how they show courage.

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To copy front to back, I fed my sheets into the copier’s feeder one on top of the other this way:

Character Paper Folding 001I won’t promise that it will work for your particular copier, but I do believe with 95% certainty it will copy correctly.

To print your own copies for this activity, simply click the pictures below.

Courage Paper Folding- Freebie

Courage Paper Folding- Freebie

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have created a character pack for my Teachers Pay Teachers store which includes Courage, Kindness, Respect, and Responsibility.  All four sell for $2.50.  I will be adding more character packs soon.  I’d love for you to visit if you’re interested, but I am happy to give away the courage freebie here.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates!  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  How would you use this activity?

4/8/13 ETA:  Two new character packs have been added to my store.  More Character Trait Paper Folding Activities includes Self-Discipline, Integrity, Perseverance, and Good Judgement for $2.50.  The Character Trait Paper Folding COMBO PACK includes all eight for $4.00.


Kindergarten: Feelings and Responsibility

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One thing I really look forward to each year in my school counseling program is my very first visit with my new Kindergarten friends.  After seeing grades 1-5 over the last three weeks, it’s finally time to share my first lesson with Kindergarten.  I usually schedule them last intentionally.  I do this as to not disrupt the teachers’ firsts days with them.  They have so many new things to learn including classroom procedures.  Usually by the time I visit, they are ready to sit on the carpet crisscross applesauce with hands in their fish bowls and listening ears.

I had the opportunity to assist with the Kindergarten assessments, so I worked with most of them one-to-one during their staggered entry days.  So, many of them are already waving and saying hello when they see me.

I have thirty minutes to complete this lesson. The first part of my lesson includes my “A Counselor is…” cards I wrote about in a previous post.  These cards are great for explaining what a school counselor does.  As mentioned in my other post, the students learn that a counselor is a friend, a helper, a listener, a problem solver, and a secret keeper.  I make sure to stress that I can keep any secret as long is no one is being hurt.

Next, I introduce my Jellybean Friend Eugene, the emotional blue jellybean from Jellybean Jamboree.  This leads us to a discussion about feelings.  You can read more about Eugene and the other jellybeans here.  I read The Feelings Book by Todd Parr to Eugene and the class.  It is a great book which showcases many different feelings including some silly ones like “Sometimes I feel like eating pizza for breakfast” or “Sometimes I feel like kissing a sea lion.”  This year, I also have Todd Parr’s “Feeling Flashcards” which I am so excited about using.  For the purpose of this lesson, I will share the flashcards for happy, sad, angry, and scared as I discuss the different feelings Eugene has experienced.  I’ve decided to use the majority of the cards during Lunch Bunch and other small groups.  I will also use some cards here and there throughout the school year during future lessons.

Finally, I talk about all of the BIG words they’ll be learning about throughout the school year called character traits.  I share the first trait, responsibility, which is on their very first scoop of ice cream.  I mentioned my ice cream cone and scoops incentive  in the post They All Scream for Ice Cream.  I make a big deal about how big the word is, and we count the 14 letters.  (Then I make a big deal about how they can count to 14!)  I explain what it means to be responsible by sharing the book You Can Count On Me.  This is one of the character songs I sing with my kindergarten friends throughout the school year.  The words in the book are the words to the song.  After sharing it and having them repeat the chorus, we sing along with the CD and give ourselves a “round of applause” by clapping around in a circle.  If time allows, we will usually sing it two times.

To close, I review all the things we talked about during our lesson and add their very first ice cream scoop to their cone.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  What special activities do you use with your Kindergarten students during your first visit?


School Counseling Office Updates

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Getting my school counseling office situated has been a slow work in progress.  However, I did want to share just a few photos.

 

First, I have been SO excited to put up this awesome display created by Susan Fuller at Entirely Elementary School Counseling!  I can’t tell you how thankful I am to her for generously sharing all of the words she created along with the quotes.  I printed the words onto colored card stock, had them framed with black construction paper (since they were going on a white wall), and had them laminated.  I love how it turned out!  Thanks, Susan!

 

In this next photo, you can see the entire area outside one of my office doors.  I’ve been putting out the “Take What You Need, Take a Smile, and Today I will be…” pull-tab posters and have had to replace several already.  I even saw that a student teacher had taken some “strength” and taped it to her shirt. :) I’ve also put a couple in the staff lounge and they are being used as well.  I was inspired by Pam Dyson from St. Louis Center for Play Therapy Training to make these great signs.

Inside my office, I still have several piles I’m working through, so I only took a picture of one side of the room.  You can see my desk and two extra chairs for guests behind the desk.  When I have individual sessions, I like being able to turn around and talk with students without a desk or table between us.  On the walls I have my “You Are RESPONSIBLE For You!” sign which I’ve had since I was in the classroom.  I also have several character posters scattered throughout the room as well.  There is a table for six on the other side of the room along with a small portable dry erase board, a mail sorter, and a larger television.

I also put up this bulletin board in the main hallway.  It will soon be the home of 5×7 group shots of students nominated by their teachers for showing the different character traits.  The month of September is when we recognize students showing responsibility.  I will display a group shot of each grade level. (six pictures total)  This board was inspired by this pin on Pinterest.  Each large piece of popcorn has a character trait on it.  I found the real popcorn images on Google, enlarged them, and printed them onto card stock.  To make the popcorn box, I projected the picture onto poster board, traced it with pencil, re-traced it with a Sharpie, and colored it in with a red Crayola marker.

Now that our teachers have finished their beginning of the year assessments, I am ready to begin getting into classrooms.  I am very excited to start meeting with students next week!  I’ll be seeing third and fifth grades.  The lessons I’m using have been shared previously on my blog.  For third grade, I’ll be using the First Aid Kit along with Annie’s Plan to talk about creating a plan for student success.  For fifth grade, I’ll do a quick getting to know you activity using my “Who Are You?” thumball.  Students toss the ball and share an answer for what is under their thumbs.  Next, we will be playing the Meet the Counselor basketball game.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you!  Is your office ready and just like you want it, or are you like me and still slowly bringing it all together?