School Climate is at the heart of everything we do as school counselors. When discussing school climate with a colleague, she suggested Stan Davis’s book Schools Where Everyone Belongs. Besides the fundamentals of discipline (clear rules enforced consistently) and addressing bullying, Davis does a fantastic job in reminding us that the attitudes of staff have a profound impact on the students.
He stated that the subtle way teachers interact with students affects the way other students view and treat them. “When we show by our actions that we value every student, we encourage our students to do the same” (Davis, p.44). The book is full of useful strategies for bullying, discipline, and communication with students and families.
My biggest take away changed the way I talk to my students and my own children. Davis suggested calm, descriptive feedback statements that do not include judgement or our feelings are most likely to help youth focus on their own actions and the results of those actions. The book has specific examples for feedback and praise. Great quick read.
This is a simple group about emotions and coping skills. I used it with the primary grades. It was a great way to help students who need a little extra support with emotional regulation. I focused each week on one emotion and a coping skill to go with it. I define the term Coping Skill as any tip, trick, or tool that you use to safely help you calm down that doesn't hurt you, others, or property.
What is Feelings with Friends
Introduce yourself to the class. Use the School Counselor Toolbox to facilitate a conversation about what a counselor does. Let students take turns coming up and picking an item and share why they think I might have it in my toolbox. (remind students that not everyone will get a turn)
* I have also supplemented this lesson by starting with the story Mrs Joyce Gives the Best High Fives: Introducing the School Counselor by Erainna Winnett
This lesson helps students to understand the role of a school counselor and learn the numerous ways I am here to support them. The drawings pull my heart strings as I see what parts of my job they like best.
meet the counselor (grades 3-5)
Healing the Heart from Savvy School Counselor
Ask students if they know and remember what a school counselor does. If they understand the role of the school counselor, move on to the activity. If not, discuss K-2 lesson.
This activity will prompt students to think about common problems they may face and determine the size of the problem. By determining the size of a problem, students will also learn how quickly they should seek help from the school counselor (or a trusted adult for those critical situations).
Healing the Heart revised activity - Print out the Large, Medium, Small, and Critical Problem Hearts on full size sheets of paper. Print out band-aids and attach descriptions on the bottom side, laminate materials for longevity.
At the beginning of the lesson, read each of descriptions for the four different sizes of problems. Hang up hearts on a visible surface. Pass out band-aids to the students (working in groups of two or more) have them complete the worksheet. (I had groups of two students and they each got two bandaids). Once WS is completed, students will put their band-aid under the correct heart on the board. Discuss example and why it is under that category. Discuss with students about when to see me and how to see me.
This lesson helps students to understand the size of a problem (some serious critical thinking happening) and then use that knowledge to know how soon they should see the school counselor (making informed decisions). I also use this time to remind students about what my school's procedures are for coming to see me.
4 Heart Design
I designed this image late one night when my depression was keeping me awake. I first drew a heart and added a teardrop falling from the inner point of the heart. To me, this symbolized the hidden tears of depression that I keep on the inside of my heart. Then I decided to compile four hearts as it is my four daughters that keep me going. Next I added the semicolon to represent my depression and raise awareness for mental health (Project Semicolon). This is my original design.
Hi, I'm Christi; a School Counselor in Ohio. Please see the About page for more details.