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?