Friday, March 22, 2013

Connecting Bully-Prevention with Common Core Standards

I will be back to share some bullying lessons that I have created, but for today I wanted to share some great links.  These links will take you to bullying lessons that are already connected to the Common Core Standards. 

This first link alignes a toolkit of bully-prevention activities with the Common Core Standards.

This is an awesome resource!  The ABC's of Bullying Prevention shares 3 lessons for each grade level.  I was so excited to find this and wanted to share:

Think Twice Play Nice uses children's literature to take a stand against bullying.  They did a great job connecting their information to Common Core.  I will be ordering some new books for my classroom after reading this packet!

There are also some free samples of the Bully Free Program out there.  These are written for 2nd and 3rd grade:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Alexander's Bad Day

I use Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for individual, small-group and classroom counseling.  After all, everyone has bad days! 

Here are some links to lessons that I have used:


Why did Alexander have such a bad day?

Did anything good happen to him?

List the bad things that happened to Alexander:

What do you think was the worst thing that happened to Alexander on his bad day?

Could Alexander have done anything to make his day a little better?

What did Alexander’s mom say at the end of the story that made him feel better?

Why do you think Alexander wanted to go to Australia?

What are some things that have happened to you on the worst day you’ve ever had?

I have also used this:

I like to have students rewrite this story with a new title: Alexander and the wonderful, fabulous, very good day. (or something similar). Before we write the story, we brainstorm strategies for managing anger. In this new story, Alexander comes accross the same obstacles, this time using the strategies that we have talked about (for example, walking away, cooling off, talking it out).

Follow up: Have students share times that they used the conflict resolution/anger mangagment techniques.

ASCA Standards:  

PS:A1.5Identify and express feelings
PS:1.6 Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior
PS:1.8 Understand the need for self-control and how to practice it
PS:1.2 Understand consequences of decisions and choices
PS:B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems
PS:C1.10 Learn techniques for managing stress and conflict

Common Core (I used this lesson with 3rd graders):  

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace
  • Everyone has a talent!

    Another book that I just love is Jack's Talent:  You Can Buy It Here

    Description (from Amazon):  On the first day of school, Miss Lucinda asks the students to share their special talents. Francesca is a star soccer player, Matthew can catch huge fish with his grandpa, and Candace is an excellent artist. It seems that everyone has something to share. But Jack is worried. He doesn't have any talent at all . . . or so he thinks.  Acrylic paintings that pop with energy and charm make this story by veteran author and illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler the perfect boost for any child who questions his or her abilities.

    Counseling activities:  Use your name to create an acrostic poem showcasing your talents. 

    Draw a picture of your special talent and write about it.  If you use this activity for a classroom lesson, put the pages together to make a class book.

    I have students write their talent and illustrate a picture on here: 

    Connection to Careers:  Make a list of possible careers that go along iwth the talents mentioned in the book.


    ASCA Standard:  A1.1  Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person


    Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

    One of my favorite counseling books is, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow.  It can be used for so many different topics:  bullying, self-esteem, confidence, conflict resolution, overcoming obstacles, respecting differences, etc...

    Molly Lou Melon is the shortest girl in the first grade.  She has buckteeth and several other traits that make her different.  Her grandma told her, “Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you". Taking her grandmother’s advice, Molly Lou doesn't worry about being different at her new school.  She deals with the school bully by showing him that her faults are actually talents.

    I found several great lesson plans online that I will share:
    Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon- lessons FREEBIE

    Free Worksheet

    alongside:  side by side
    boa constrictor:  a snake covered with spots
    proudly:  having or displaying excessive self-esteem or being proud of yourself
    foolish:  lacking good sense or judgement (silly)
    glee:  high spirited/joy
    revealed:  to make known or to show something
    bully:  A person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
    unique:  Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else
    flaw:  An imperfection
    strength:  being strong
    fumble:  to drop something
    glee:  happiness


    Before Reading:

    • Looking at the cover, what do you notice about Molly Lou?
    • What do you think this story is about?
    • What do you think "Stand Tall" means?
    • Have you ever had a time when someone was not nice to you?
    • Have you ever been called names because people thought you were different?
    • How did that make you feel?
    • How did you solve the problem? (we talk about using Kelso's Choices here)

    While Reading/After Reading:

    • What made Molly Lou different from her classmates? (use pictures in story for reference)
    • What advice did Molly Lou's grandmother give her?
    • What did Molly Lou do when Ronald picked on her?
    • How did Molly Lou feel about herself?  How do you know?
    • How did Molly Lou “stand tall”?
    Follow-up Activities:

    • Common Core encourages cooperative learning. Pair students and have them interview each other in order to find unique facts about one another.
    Common Core Connection:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy RL.1.3  Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

    CCSA.ELA-Literacty.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas

    ASCA Standards:

    A1.1  Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person
    A2.3 Recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences
    A2.6 Use effective communication skills
    B1.3 Identify alternative solutions to a problem
    B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems
    B1.6 Know how to apply conflict resolution skills

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

    Connecting Common Core

    What is Common Core?
    The Common Core State Standards outline what ALL students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.  The standards are designed to outline the knowledge and skills that students need in order to be college and career ready.  You can access more information on the CCSS at

    Why is Common Core important for School Counselors?
    Common core specifically states that the standards are to be addressed in all content areas.  Also, the main goal of common core is "college and career readiness".  The standards do not define the intervention or the methods necessary to get there, however, there are many aspects of college and career readiness that apply to school counseling. 

    How do I connect Common Core and School Counseling?
    I have found that I can easily incorporate the Common Core standards in my classroom guidance lessons, especially in the areas of speaking and listening, writing and reading.  Our district required that each teacher submit information showing how Common Core will be used in their classroom.  This is what I have come up with so far:

    This first chart shows the ASCA standards paired with Common Core Competencies:
    ASCA Standards
    Common Core (Skills/Competencies)
    Standard A:  Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge and skills that contribute o effective learning in school and across the life span.
    o   Students will explore the information and arguments from various points of view to think critically and creatively and to solve problems.
    Standard B:  Students will complete school with the academic preparation essential to choose from a wide range of substantial post secondary options, including college.
    o   Students will learn how to apply the academic, critical, practical, technical, and employability skills needed for success in higher education and the work place and to manage their lives.
    Standard C:  Students will understand the relationship of academics to the world of work and to life at home and in the community.
    o   Students will actively explore the world of ideas.
    o   Students will demonstrate the effort and persistence needed to be successful in school, work and life.
    Standard A:  Students will acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions.
    o   Students will embrace career as a part of their future; acquire employable skills; demonstrate positive attitudes toward work; demonstrate attitudes and habits that are valued in the workplace; explore a range of careers; explore post secondary educational opportunities; manage data and use problem-solving and analytical skills to make reasoned decision.
    Standard B:  Students will employ strategies to achieve future career success and satisfaction.
    Standard C:  Students will understand the relationship between personal qualities, education and training and the world of work.
    Standard A:  Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.
    o   Students will work and learn independently and collaboratively as part of a team.
    o   Students will gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures.
    o   Students will demonstrate a sense of ethics and take responsibilities for their actions. 
    o   Students are active, constructive embers of the larger community.
    o   Students will develop and maintain behaviors that promote lifelong health.
    o   Students will understand the implications of living in a finite world.
    o   Students will understand the role of systems throughout our society.
    o   Students will understand the dynamic nature of society and the universality of change.

    Here is a list of ASCA Standards that can be connected to Common Core:

    A:A2.3 Use communications skills to know when and how to ask for help when needed

    A:A3.2 Demonstrate the ability to work independently, as well as the ability to work cooperatively with other students.

    A:B1.1 Demonstrate the motivation to achieve individual potential

    A:B1.2 Learn and apply critical-thinking skills

    A:B 1.3 Seek information and support from faculty, staff, family and peers

    A:B1.5 Organize and apply academic information from a variety of sources

    A:B1.7 Become a self-directed and independent learner

    A:B2.2 Use assessment results in educational planning (ELA & Math CCSS)

    A:B2.5 Use problem-solving and decision making skills to assess progress toward educational goals

    A:B2.7 Identify post-secondary options consistent with interests, achievement, aptitude and abilities

    A:C1.3 Understand the relationship between learning and work

    A:C1.6 Understand how school success and academic achievement enhance future career and vocational opportunities

    C:A1.1 Develop skills to locate, evaluate and interpret career information

    C:A1.2 Learn about the variety of traditional and nontraditional occupations

    C:A1.4 Learn how to interact and work cooperatively in teams

    C:A2.1 Acquire employability skills such as working on a team, problem-solving and organizational skills

    C:A2.2 Apply job-readiness skills to seek employment opportunities

    C:B1.5 Use research and information resources to obtain career information

    C:C1.1 Understand the relationship between educational achievement and career success

    C:C2.3 Learn to work cooperatively with others as a team member

    PS:A1.5 Identify and express feelings

    PS:A1.9 Demonstrate cooperative behavior in groups

    PS:A2.1 Recognize that everyone has rights and responsibilities

    PS:A2.2 Respect alternative points of view

    PS:A2.3 Recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences

    PS:A2.4 Recognize, accept and appreciate ethnic and cultural diversity

    PS:A2.6 Use effective communications skills

    PS:A2.7 Know that communication involves speaking, listening and nonverbal behavior

    Finally, these are the Common Core standards that I will be addressing in my classroom guidance lessons:  
    Reading Standards: [RL.x.1-10]& [RI.x.1-10]
    Key Advances and Fluency Considerations Per Grade Level:
    K-2 RL1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
    3-5 RL 1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly.
    K-2 RL1 
    3-5 RL 2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text.
    K-2 RL 3  Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
    3-5 RL 3  Describe characters and how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
    K-2 RI 1  Ask and answer questions about key details in a text
    3-5 RI 1Refer to details and examples in text.
    K-2 RI 2  Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text
    3-5 RI 2 Determine the main idea of a text and how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
    3-5 RI 4  Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to grade topic
    3-5 RI 7  Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively and explain how the info contributes.
    3-5 RI 9  Integrate information from 2 texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
    K-2 RI10 Read age appropriate informational texts.
    3-5 RI10 Read age-appropriate informational texts.

    Writing Standards: [W.x.1-10]
    Key Advances and Fluency Considerations Per Grade Level:
    [Review PARCC Progression Chart & CCSS]
    K-2 W1  Write opinion pieces, supplying supports for that opinion.
    3-5 W1  Write opinion pieces on topics, supporting a point of view.
    3-5 W4  Write clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    Speaking & Listening: [SL.x.1-6]
    Key Advances and Fluency Considerations Per Grade Level:
    [Review PARCC Progression Chart & CCSS]
    K-2 SL1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners.
    3-5 SL1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, groups, teacher led).
    K-2 SL2 Ask and answer questions about details presented orally or through other media.
    3-5 SL2 Determine the main idea, paraphrase information, or summarize text read aloud or presented in diverse media.
    K-2 SL3 Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, increase understanding, or gain additional information.
    3-5 SL3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, identify reasons and evidence a speaker provides, summarize the points a speaker makes.
    3-5 SL 4  Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts...
    3-5  SL 5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
    College and career ready:  Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on other’s ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 

    I will give some examples of lessons in future posts!

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Counseling Connections

    This is my sixth year working as an elementary school counselor.  I am the counselor for an elementary school of 500 Pre-K through 8th grade students.  I facilitate classroom guidance lessons, small-group counseling sessions, and individual counseling sessions.  I am always looking for ways to connect school counseling to other aspects of education.  Lately, I have been spending a lot of time finding ways to link school counseling to the Common Core.  I need a way to organize my lessons and have decided to try blogging as a way to do that.