Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall-Themed Activities

Pumpkin Themed Counseling Activities:

Patch of Politeness Character Education Bulletin Board (Free)
I downloaded is my bulletin board:

Self Discipline and the Spookley Pumpkin (ASCA aligned lesson and activity) ($1.50)

Pumpkin Emotions! 24 pages ($3)

What does it mean to be present? Pumpkin (Free)  Use with What Does It Mean To Be Present?

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Fall Themed Counseling Activities
Fall Themed Teacher Appreciation Gift Tags (Thanks a Latte) (Free)

"I Be-Leaf" Positive Affirmations ($2)

Fall Social Emotional Activity Pack ($10)

Fall Social Emotional Activity Pack ($4)

Fall Feelings: Identifying Emotions ($3)

Fall Themed Social Scenario Flash Cards ($2)

October Conversation Questions for Social Skills and Writing ($1.75)

School Counselor's Fall COMBO Activity Pack- Savvy School Counselor ($24) ***I purchased this and it is well worth the money.  My favorite is the "something to crow about" activity.

Thanksgiving  Themed Counseling Activities:
Thanksgiving Following Directions (Free)

Turkey Perspective Taking (Free)

Expected Unexpected behaviors-Thanksgiving Dinner What are they thinking? (Free)

30 Days of Gratitude (Freebie)

Thanksgiving Pragmatics: Holiday Social Skills ($4.50)

Thanksgiving Themed Social and Emotional Activity Bundle ($7.50)

Feast of Good Manners: A Table Manners Card Game ($2.25)

Turkey Talk! Perspective Taking and Social Problem Solving/Expected Behaviors ($4)

Halloween Themed Counseling Activities:

School Counselor Halloween Activity Bundle ($10)

Trick or Treat: Think it or Say it? Filtering Thoughts ($3)

Halloween - make an emotion ($3.50)

Halloween Emotions Game ($3)

Halloween Party Social Story for Students with Autism (Free)

Halloween Themed Red Ribbon Week Posters and Activities ($5.50)

Social Skill Steps: Halloween Version ($3.50)

Say Boo to Bad Choices K-4th Grade Red Ribbon Week Activities ($7.00)

Don't Get Caught in the Web of Gossip Board Game ($3)

The Unexpected Adventures of Sid and Sis: Trick or Treat ($3)

The Horror of Not Managing Impulsivity SMARTboard lesson ($6)

Say "BOO" to Drugs! Red Ribbon Week Poster Project ($3.49)

Red Ribbon Week: "I Say Boo to Drugs!" ($1)

Say Boo to Drugs Color Sheet (Free)

Spook N Solve: a Problem Solving Pack ($6)

Fall Themed Books:
Frankie Stein Starts School (Respecting Differences)
Spookley the Square Pumpkin (self-acceptance)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Spookly The Square Pumpkin

Spookley the Square Pumpkin is an adorable story with a meaningful lesson about being different. Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a great book to read to Kindergarten or First Grade Students.  You can visit the Pacer Website to download free materials including a skit, comprehension activities, lesson ideas and more.  You can also visit this website to request materials.
You can purchase the following items on Amazon:
There is also a "sequal" to Spookley the Square Pumpkin:
Description from Amazon:  I don't have a family, "Spookly said with a mon.  "I'm the only square pumpkin that has ever grown."  Spookley the Square Pumpkin wishes he had a family and a place he belonged.  He feels sad and alone, until he discovers that no one family tree grows quite the same as another.

Counseling Connections:

Spookley the Square Pumpkin Song (If I was Round, If I fit in)

Spookley the Square Pumpkin Telling vs Tattling

Spaghetti in a hot dog...Having the Courage to Be Who You Are

Yesterdays post was about one of my favorite bullying books, The Juice Box Bully.  You can read that post HERE.  I mentioned that The Juice Box Bully is a follow up to Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun.  I use Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun to talk about problem solving with my second graders.  We put Kelso's choices on hot dog buns and discuss how Lucy could have used each choice to solve her problem with Ralph.  Here are our hot dogs:

This is a great book to use in individual/small group/classroom counseling lessons.  I have used it to talk about courage, self-esteem, problem solving, bullying, respect, diversity, kindness, friendship, conflict resolution, etc...  I also love that this book comes with a reader's guide full of lesson ideas.  I have connected Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun to several activities which are outlined below.
Description from Amazon:  How can Ralph be so mean?  Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out.  Lucy's defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help.  Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice.  This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.

Reader's Guide

Lesson Ideas and Comprehension Questions

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun Venn Diagram

Compare yourself to a friend activity

Recipe for Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

Diversity Lesson to go along with Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

A Lesson on Kindness

Unique...That's Me! Activity and Lesson

Monday, September 28, 2015

Juice Box Bully...Empowering Kids to Stand Up For Others

If you saw this post, you know that I use The Juice Box Bully to teach my third graders about bullying.  This is a great follow-up to the book Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, which I read to my second graders the year before.  I have several books about bullying but this one is different in that it talks about being a bystander and standing up for others.  You can purchase The Juice Box Bully HERE.

Description from Amazon: Have you ever seen a bully in action and done nothing about it?  The kids at Pete'es new school get involved, instead of being bystanders.  When Pete begins to behave badly, his classmates teach him about "The Promise".  Will Pete decide to shed his bullying habits and make "The Promise"?

FREE Reader's Guide

Juice Box Bully book follow-up activity

FREE!!_-The Juice Box Bully

Beginning of the year Craftivity: The Juice box Bully

Difference Between Reporting and Tattling Using Juice Box Bully

You Tube Video...Stand up to stop bullying

anti-bullying activities

Lesson Idea


Related Post:
Friday Freebies:  Bullying

Must-Have Counseling Books

Classroom Lessons

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Perspective Taking and Empathy

What does perspective taking mean? If we put ourselves in someone else's shoes, do we really feel what that person feels? If we can feel what this person is feeling, will we have more empathy toward that person?   Research shows that teaching empathy can reduce bullying, exclusion and teasing.  You can read more about the positive effects of empathy HERE. The following books and activities all help students to understand the importance of perspective taking and empathy.  I have all three of the books listed and use them to teach kindergarten through fifth grade the importance of "standing in someone else's shoes".

Stand in My Shoes:  Description from Amazon-When Emily asks her big sister what the word empathy means, Emily has no idea the answer will change how she looks at people.  But does it really matter to others if Emily notices how they're feeling?  Stand in My Shoes shows kids how easy it is to develop empathy toward others around them.

Those Shoes:  All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing.  Though Jeremy's grandma says they don't have room for "want", just "need," when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small.  But sore feel aren't much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has-warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend-are worth more than the things he wants.  FREE Lesson to go along with Those Shoes HERE.
How Do I Stand in Your Shoes?  Description from Amazon:  Miranda Peabody had no patience for the other students in class and just didn't understand why they couldn't be as smart and talented as she was.  Her teacher, Mrs. Klemp, suggested that she try to understand people by "standing in their shoes."  After much searching, she learns the true meaning of "standing in someone else's shoes" and having empathy for others.

I also have this workbook and use it quit a bit:

Description from Amazon:  Helping children develop greater empathy-related awareness skills can help prevent negative social behaviors such as bullying, meanness, and alienation.  Empathy is a fundamental social emotion because it brings a sense of emotional connection to others.  It is this awareness that is not only basic to all healthy relationships; it is the root of pro-social behavior, altruism, kindness and peace.  Empathy has cognitive, effective and behavioral components that can be learned and improved upon by children.  The lessons and activities in this book are designed to:  teach students the value of empathy; assist students in recognizing their own and other's feelings; help students put themselves in "someone else's shoes", and instruct students how to exhibit understanding and acceptance.  Each topic-related lesson includes five inviting worksheets that can be reproduced and used repeatedly with elementary school-aged students.

Counseling Connections that can be used to teach Empathy and Perspective Taking:
***most of these are FREE!

Perspective Taking

Slam Dunk Perspective Taking

In Your Shoes Social Skills Game

Social Skills Lesson: Birthday Party

Different Perspectives and Showing Empahty

Video: If your shoes could speak, what would they say about you?

Guide to Empathy and Bullying

Empathy Activities

How Do I Stand in Your Shoes?

Sesame Street Video: Empathy

Empathy in a Shoe Box

In Someone Elses Shoes...Empathy Activity

Walk a Mile in These Shoes Cooperation Game

Choose the Right Gift: A Freebie for Perspective Taking Skills

How to Stand in Your Shoes (Go Fish! Game and Worksheets)

A Day in Mom's Shoes (Mother's Day)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Expected and Unexpected Behaviors

Today I am connecting to resources that can be used to teach expected and unexpected behaviors.  If you don't already use Michelle Garcia Winner's vocabulary in your counseling program, I encourage you to check it out.  I have been to several workshops and have purchased many of her books.  I find her terminology to be extremely helpful in explaining social skills.  This is my favorite book of hers: You are a Social Detective.

EXPECTED BEHAVIORS -Understanding that a range of hidden rules exist in every situation and people are responsible for figuring out what those rules are and then following them. By doing so, we keep other people thinking good thoughts about us. Doing what is expected is different based on where we are and who we are with.

UNEXPECTED BEHAVIORS-Failing to follow the set of rules, hidden or stated, in the environment. People who don’t follow the rules are doing what is ‘unexpected’ and people may have “uncomfortable” or ‘weird’ thoughts about them.

I have connected you to several free materials as well as materials that you can purchase for  under $5.00.  I did not create these resources but have used most of them myself:

Free Materials:

PowerPoint for students: Explaining Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors

Expected vs. Unexpected Behavior Sorting

The Unexpected Pirate

Code of Conduct, Expected Behaviors, School Rules

FREE Expected Behavior in the Classroom, Lunch, Recess Cut and Paste

Hallway Expectations Poster

Chevron Themed Marshmallow Toes Hallway Expectation Poster (read below this product for activity ideas)

School Behavior Expectations/Rules Posters

Cafeteria Expectations Craftivity

Expected & Unexpected Behaviors for Trick or Treating Freebie

Field Trip Behaviors: Expected or Unexpected?

Expected Behavior at the Playground for Students with Autism

Game for teaching expected and unexpected behaviors (soccer)

Expected and Unexpected Behaviors Data Collection Sheet

Expected and Unexpected Behaviors-Holiday Dinner (Thanksgiving)

Videos on YouTube

Video on YouTube

For Purchase (under $5.00)
Social Thinking: Expected and Unexpected Behaviors at School

Marshmallow Toes Craftivity Pack

In the Cafeteria Craftivity Pack

Expected & Unexpected Behavior Worksheets

Expected and Unexpected Behaviors at School

Expected and Unexpected Behaviors for Using Technology

Funny Bunnies: Expected and Unexpected Scenario Packet

Reindeer Games: Expected and Unexpected Sort Activity

Scenes From School: Identifying Expected and Unexpected Behaviors

Touchdown to Expected Behavior

Recess Rules Craftivity

Sunday, September 20, 2015


When a family member is terminally ill or dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings.  As school counselors, we are responsible for helping students through this difficult process. When I began my job as a school counselor, I was told that the counselor before me "didn't do death" as he wasn't comfortable talking to students about this topic.  I agree that it is an uncomfortable topic but I think it is important for students to have a go-to-person in the school to help them through the process.  The resources below encourage children to understand and deal with the feelings that they may be experiencing: 

Free on TPT:

Grief Small Group Ideas

Stages of Grief Activity Guide

Grief Activity: Helping Students Cope with Grief

Ten Tips for Supporting a Grieving Student

Child Bereavement Lesson Plans

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Bug and a Wish (conflict resolution and problem solving)

I use A Bug and a Wish to teach elementary students to problem solve using I-Statements.  The I-Statements are replaced by saying "It BUGS me when you tease me, and I WISH you would stop.

Description from Amazon:  When Tyler is teased by the other boys, his good friend, Danae, encourages him to give the boys A Bug and a Wish.  When Tyler finds a ladybug and a dandelion seed, he is convinced that this is what Danae means.  As his friends help him to learn the true meaning of her advice, Tyler soon discovers the solution to his problem.

Counseling Connections for A Bug and a Wish

Activity to go along with A Bug and a Wish

A bug and a wish conflict resolution cards

Friendship Bugs by creative elementary school counselor

A bug and a wish classroom poster

It bugs me when...(craft idea) +when something is bugging me I can say...

A bug and a wish cut-out

What do I do that bugs others?

Lesson Plan

Lesson Idea

A Bug and a Wish...Dealing with Tattling

TPT: Citizen Pack with A Bug and a Wish

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ish... (confidence)

I recently did a blog post about The Dot.  I was blown away by all of the great teaching ideas that are out there for The Dot.  I have had the companion story, Ish for about a year and started searching for lessons to go along with the story.  I didn't find nearly as many, however, I am sharing what I did find because I like the book so much.

Ish, by Peter Reynolds, is a companion story to The Dot.  Ish follows the little boy inspired by Vashti in The Dot.  The stories are different in that Vashti didn't believe that she could draw while Ramon, the character in Ish, loves to draw.  In fact, he draws everywhere he goes until his older brother laughs at his artwork.  Ramon loses confidence and is about to quit drawing when his little sister shows him that she has kept all of his crumpled up drawings.  Roman's sister shows him that art doesn't have to be perfect and that his drawings can be "vase-ish".  Ish shows students that imperfection can be a beautiful thing.

So many students are used to hearing "you're not good enough".  This is a beautiful message about feeling important and valued.  It is a must-have for every school counselor!  You can purchase Ish HERE (and it's under $10)

Description from Amazon:  A creative spirit leans that thinking "ish-ly" is far more wonderful that "getting it right" in this gentle new fable from the creator of the award-winning picture book THE DOT.
Ramon loved to draw.  Anytime.  Anything.  Anywhere.
Drawing is what Ramon does.  It's what makes him happy.  But in one split second, all that changes.  A single reckless remark by Ramon's older brother, Leon, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles.  Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently.  She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just "right".  Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.

A Guide for Classrooms Using The Dot and Ish

TPT: Ish comprehension questions (free)

TPT: Free Book Activity and Lesson-ish

TPT: Free Activity Sheet Using Ish

TPT: Response Activity

TPT: Ish worksheet (Free)

An Art-ish Activity

TPT: Drawing something -ish worksheet (free)

TPT: Activity Sheet for "-ish" (Free)

The Dot Blog Post

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Dot (Self-Esteem)

Tuesday, September 15 is International Dot Day. The Dot is a great book for school counselors to have on hand and there are endless lessons/activities/ideas on the internet to go along with this book. To to to sign up and download the free Educator's Handbook.  Make sure you take some time to browse the website.  There are some great ideas!

The Dot is about Vashti, a student who is reluctant to complete a task.  Vashti is encouraged by her teacher to take a risk and to believe in her abilities.

Description from Amazon:  With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark-and follow where it takes us.
Her teacher smiled.  "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."
Art class is over but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper.  The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself.  But Vashti can't draw-she's no artist.  To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says.
That one little dot marks the jouney of Vashti's journey of surprise and self-discover.  That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds's delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.

You can purchase The Dot HERE.

Connections:  I encourage you to check out each one of these:)

Also check out:

Friday, September 11, 2015

A day in the life of...

Here is a typical day for me:

7:55:  Arrive at the school (before this I get two kids dropped off at school and daycare and start my 35 minute commute to work)

8:00-8:20-Supervision (This is my week to do morning supervision)

8:30-9:  Individual Counseling (1st Grade Girl):  Topic-Feelings Influence Behavior (from this book)

9-9:15-Individual Counseling (5th Grade Boy):  Topic-Identifying Stressors (Lesson Here)

9:15-9:30-Check-in with Kindergarten student-doing well

9:30-10:  Classroom Lesson (Third Grade)  Topic:  Staying on Task

I started the lesson with this quiz:  Sneaky Following Directions Quiz
I found this cute rocket to go along with my lesson:  Rocket-Ship-Whole-Body Listening
Our discussion focused on skills for learning, whole body listening and ignoring distractions.  I use this lesson and Ned's head to talk about distractions.
10-10:30:  Individual Counseling (6th Grade Boy):  Topic-Self Management
We have been working on this packet and today the student picked the areas that he needs to work on. He chose being off task, honesty, blurting, playing around during a lesson and learning to ignore others who are making poor choices.  You can get the packet HERE (free).

10:30-11:  Individual Counseling (8th Grade Boy):  Topic-Grades

This is how I document counseling sessions (this is for a younger student)

11-11:30:  Individual Counseling (2nd Grade Boy):  Focusing Attention-Brain in the  Group
Previous Lesson:  Made a playdough body and talked about how we use each part of the body to help us to listen.  
Today's Lesson:  I took a picture of the student and he colored the brain and each label and attached them to the poster.  We talked about keeping our brain in the group.  I covered his face for confidentiality reasons.
I purchased this lesson HERE

11:30-12:  Group Counseling (1st Grade Boys):  Topic-Self-Control  (David Goes to School)
Last Weeks Lesson-I met with these boys last week and we worked on rules and consequences.  I got this lesson on TPT for FREE!  You can find it HERE.
Today's Lesson-I read David Goes to School and we talked about the rules that David broke and possible consequences.  We also talked about what David could have done instead.  Each student then created their own David.  You can find the David activity HERE and the book HERE.
Follow-Up Lesson-Each student will write four rules that they need to work on.

12-12:40:  Lunch

12:40-1:  Planning Period-I spent this time organizing my room.  I ordered two 10-shelf organizational units so I put those together and then organized some paperwork.

1-1:30:  Classroom Lesson (Second Grade)  Topic:  Second Step Skills for Learning

1:30-2:  Classroom Lesson (Second Grade)  Topic:  Second Step Skills for Learning

2-2:30:  Crisis-Assisting with earlier mentioned Kindergarten student.  Said student came in from P.E. and plopped herself down on the floor.  She refused to move and hit, kicked, screamed when anybody tried to assist her in walking down the hallway.  I calmed her down, walked her to her classroom and sat with her for about 10 minutes.

2:30-3:  Group Counseling (Junior High Girls) Topic:  Choices affect others
We read the book If Everybody Did....  Each student then picked one of the behaviors that they have been having problems with and they drew a picture to show what would happen If Everybody Did...  I only have one picture to show.  This student wrote "Never did my homework".  The other students wrote "blurting out in class" and "throwing a fit when angry".

3-3:20:  Individual Counseling (5th Grade Girl) Topic:  Work Completion
I have each student set a goal and I check in to see how many missing assignments they had the previous week and reward them if they have reached their goal.  You can purchase a similar setup on TPT  HERE.

3:20-3:40:  Parent contact through email

3:40-HOME:)  I have a 35 minute commute so by the time I drive home and pick my kids up it is usually between 4:15 and 4:30.  Our nights are filled with soccer, tumbling, homework, dinner, baths, bedtime stories, etc...