Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rudolph (Bullying, Diversity)

I found a lesson from WWW.PACER.ORG using Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and decided to use the lesson with one of my 3rd grade classes today.  I started out showing the students the YouTube clip of Rudolph being teased for being different from his peers.  We then used the discussion questions from the teaching guide and talked about differences and shining bright.  I also showed students the YouTube clip of the misfit toys and we talked about their feelings as well.  If you don't remember the misfit toys, they are the toys who were banished to a cold island because they were unique and didn't look like the other toys.  We then used the star template included in the Activity Guide and completed the sentence, My star shines bright because________________________.
Image result for rudolph the red nosed reindeer bullying


YouTube Link: Rudolph Gets Teased by the other reindeer

Friday, December 16, 2016

Being Wendy (Careers)

I recently ordered the book Being Wendy and have been using it to plan career lessons for my 1st grade classrooms.  Last year I used Career Critters but I felt like it would have been more suitable for my kindergarten students.  Being Wendy is great because you can tie in some lessons on self-acceptance and diversity as well.  
Image result for being wendy

Book Description:  Wendy lives in an odd town where everyone has to wear a box. These boxes are labeled with what each person does. The teacher wears a TEACHER box. The baker wears a BAKER box. Even the doctor wears a DOCTOR box! These boxes are worn for life and Wendy has to choose hers soon. How will she ever decide on just one box? She's interested in so many things! Wendy's moxie makes her break out of her box . . . And she sets the whole town on end when she does!

Ms. Sepp's Counselor Corner posted some great discussion questions as well as a craftivity to go along with the story.

The Corner On Character also shared some great ideas about "thinking outside the box".

If you want a lesson for older students (3-4) you could use this lesson: schoolcounseling.weebly


Being Wendy Prezi

Friday, December 9, 2016

Snowflake Bentley (Perseverance)

Snowflake Bentley is a biography about the life of Wilson Bentley, a self-taught scientist who photographed thousands of snowflakes and studied their uniqueness.  While other children built forts and pelted snowballs at roosting crows, Willie used an old microscope to look at flowers, raindrops, blades of grass, and snow.  Willie's parents bought him a camera that made it possible for him to photograph the snowflakes.  His first pictures were failures but mistake by mistake, snowflake by snowflake, Willie worked through every storm.  Even though Willie didn't give up, that winter ended and he still wasn't able to accomplish his goal.  He finally accomplished his goal the second winter, but he still faced obstacles.  Sometimes the snowflakes were broken and he had to wait hours before finding one that was just right.  If the shed was warm, the snow would melt.  If he twitched a muscle, the snowflake would break.  If he didn't work carefully and quickly the snowflakes would evaporate.  Willie's work was greatly respected near the end of his life.  He came to be known as the world's expert on snow and other scientists raised money to help him publish his book.   I have used this book to teach two different lessons.  The first lesson is on Diversity and the second is on Perseverance.  You can purchase the book HERE.
Product Details
I love this folded flap book by Buzzying with Ms. B. for teaching perseverance:

Snowflake Diversity on TPT by Morgan Warwick (includes a lesson and worksheet)

TPT Freebie: Snowflake Diversity (links to activities by subject)

Related Posts:

Friday, November 18, 2016

School Counseling with ClassDojo Big Ideas (Mindset, Perseverance, Empathy)

I've been using ClassDojo for about 9 months now and I think it is one of the best FREE resources that I have found.  You just create an account and you have access to some great teaching tools.  I had been using ClassDojo to teach students about Mindset and then they came out with the Perseverance series and most recently the Empathy series.  I use these short video clips ALL THE TIME and students LOVE them.  You can check it out HERE.
Growth Mindset (5 videos in the series plus 2 activities)

Perseverance Series (3 videos in the series plus a follow up activity)

Empathy Series (3 videos in the series plus a follow up activity)

Be sure to check out the resources page for posters, coloring pages, etc....  This may be more useful for classroom teachers but there are a few things that I have printed off:)

School Counseling with ClassDojo Big Ideas (Mindset, Perseverance, Empathy)

I've been using ClassDojo for about 9 months now and I think it is one of the best FREE resources that I have found.  You just create an account and you have access to some great teaching tools.  I had been using ClassDojo to teach students about Mindset and then they came out with the Perseverance series and most recently the Empathy series.  I use these short video clips ALL THE TIME and students LOVE them.  You can check it out HERE.
Growth Mindset (5 videos in the series plus 2 activities)

Perseverance Series (3 videos in the series plus a follow up activity)

Empathy Series (3 videos in the series plus a follow up activity)

Be sure to check out the resources page for posters, coloring pages, etc....  This may be more useful for classroom teachers but there are a few things that I have printed off:)

Power Cards

I recently attended a really great workshop on Autism.  I came back to work with a lot of really great ideas and began implementing them right away.  The one strategy that has been really effective has been the Power Card Strategy.  Since children with Autism tend to have areas of high interest, this strategy can be very powerful.  A Power Card includes a short script of the student's interest combined with the issue at hand.  The Power Card should also include a picture and a solution to the problem broken into 3-5 steps.  The card is then laminated and the student can tape it to their desk or carry it around with them.  I have already created two Power Cards and they have been very successful thus far.  Here are the cards that I created:

Anthony Rizzo is a baseball player for the Chicago cubs.  
Sometimes Rizzo gets frustrated.  If Rizzo loses his cool 
the umpire will throw him out of the game. 
  Rizzo must keep his cool for the entire game.  
You must keep your cool for the entire school day.  
When Rizzo gets frustrated he:

1.       Takes a deep breath
2.       Says “it’s okay”
3.       Keeps working hard

You can be like Rizzo!

Metagross’s main ability is his intelligence.  He has four brains 
so he is capable of difficult math calculations and
 he is smarter than a super computer.  Metagross needs to work hard 
and use his brains so that he can analyze his opponents 
during battle.  If Metagross doesn’t do his best work 
and use his intelligence, he will not defeat his opponent.  
When Metagross doesn’t feel like doing his best work, he does the following:

1.      Think, I am smart enough to beat my opponent (assignment).
2.      Think, I will feel victoious when I defeat the opponent (assignment).
3.      Think, once I beat all of my opponents (assignments), I can earn free time.
You can be like Metagross!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Trustworthiness: Sarah's Little Ghosts

One story that I use to teach lessons about lying is Sarah's Little Ghosts.  
Product Details
Description from Amazon:  When Sarah breaks her mother's favorite necklace,  she lies to cover it up.  but the lie isn't the only thing that comes out of her mouth.  A little ghost pops out, too!  and for every new lie Sarah tells, another ghost appears.  There seems to be only one way to get rid of them, but which is scarier:  living in your own haunted house, or telling the truth?

The ghosts in this story represent Sarah's conscience.  The ghosts say the words that Sarah should be saying instead of the lies that she tells-"I broke your necklace"!  The ghosts are a great representation of the guilt that a child feels when lying.

Social Story about telling the truth

Conscience Powerpoint

Positive Post-it Day

My 5th grade students just finished celebrating Positive Post-it Day.  If you haven't heard of Positive Post-it Day you can read about the student who created it HERE.  You can also watch the YouTube video HERE.  I plan to have a school-wide postive post-it day next year but started with the fifth graders this year.  

Positive Post-it Day can be done with any grade level.  The Kindergarten Smorgasboard shared here lesson HERE.

Image result for post it notes locker

My Lesson:
1.  Give each student a class roster (or write each student's name on the board).
2. Give each student a pack of post-it notes.
3.  Have students write a positive message on each note.  I asked students to write messages that would be meaningful to each specific student so we did include names in the messages.
4.  Allow students to place post it notes on lockers.
5.  Give students time to return to their own locker to read the messages their classmates wrote to them.
6.  Students leave their post-it notes on their lockers until the end of the school day when they can remove them and take them home with them.

I had a lot of positive feedback after this lesson.  Some of the students were really surprised by their classmates comments:)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Energy Bus for Kids-A Story About Staying Positive And Overcoming Challenges

We are coming back from a 4 day weekend and I'm hearing a lot of grumbling today!  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to introduce The Energy Bus for Kids to some of my students!  The Energy Bus for Kids is a great story for changing a negative attitude.  A great perk of using this book is that there are plenty of free resources that go along with it.  I have downloaded the posters, journal and teaching guide and am so impressed with free materials (links below).  

Product Details
The Energy Bus for Kids:  The book teaches students how to overcome negativity, bullies and everyday challenges.  The story is about a boy, George, who is having a bad day until his bus driver, Joy, helps him to understand that he has the power to choose his attitude.  George learns to fuel his ride with positive energy and finds that he has the strength to overcome challenges that come  his way.  He also learns that he can pass this positive energy on to others.  I love this story but I will warn you that it is a bit lengthy for little ones.  The message is great for any age but I would definitely break it down into several lessons.  The bullying section of the book is a lesson in itself!  

Some of my favorite themes from this book are:
"If you have a vision, then you also have the power to make it happen."
"If you fuel up with positive energy, you will have the power to overcome challenges and achieve your goals."
"Make sure you keep filling your tank with positive energy."
"When you show kindness to others you attract kindness like a magnet."

Go to the book's website, http://www.energybuskids.com/, to download free posters, a free teaching guide and an Energy Bus Journal!

Free Teaching Guide-Lesson Plans and Activities

Guidance Curriculum:  Ideas for 9 lessons using this book! (shared by Leslie Avery and Leslie Johnson)

Energy Bus-One Word

Energy Bus Discussion Guide-This is for the adult version of the book but I thought it was worth sharing as some of the questions would be great for Junior High/High School students. (The adult version of The Energy Bus can be purchased HERE)

Interactive Bulletin Board Idea shared by Whats "App"ening Wesleyan?

Door Decorating Idea shared by Happy School Counselor

Purchase The Energy Bus for Kids HERE.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mindfulness Monday (Moody Cow)

Moody Cow Mediates by Kerry Les MacLean is a great book that I have been using with students from Pre-K through 5th grade.  Peter the cow, is having a bad day.  He missed the bus, crashes his bike and scrapes his knee.  He is so angry that he picks up a baseball and throws it through the window.  His grandfather uses a jar of glitter as a representation of Peter's anger and teaches Peter to settle his angry thoughts.  Grandfather uses a gong to start and end the meditation.  For school purposes I chose to change the word "mediation" to "mindfulness".  It works just as well and students are already familiar with mindfulness.  You can purchase Moody Cow Meditates HERE.


Gong sound effect on YouTube.

Lesson Plan (connects thoughts to feelings):  Moody Cow Mediates Lesson

Cow Feelings

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Elmer the Elephant

The school year is in full swing and I am excited to share some more fun lessons that I have been using. I started the year reading Elmer to all of my k-2 students.  This book was a big hit!
Product Details

Elmer is a cute story about an elephant who feels badly about his appearance.  He is the only elephant who isn't gray and he feels like the other elephants are laughing at him.  Elmer goes through great lengths to change his appearance but ends up discovering that his uniqueness is a good thing. Elmer's friends decide to celebrate Elmer's uniqueness with an Elmer's Day parade.

You can purchase Elmer HERE.  There are a ton of follow up books to Elmer and I just ordered Elmer's Special Day as a follow up story.
Product Details

How I used this book:  I read Elmer to students.  I asked students the following questions:  Did Elmer like himself in the beginning of story?  Why or Why not?  Did the other elephants like Elmer?  Why or Why not?  Why did Elmer want to look like the other elephants? Did Elmer like himself better once he looked like the other elephants?  Did the other elephants like Elmer better?  I then had each student share a few things that make him or her unique.  Each student was given an elephant (I printed from google images) to decorate in their own unique way.  I gave them the option of using dot markers, regular markers or scraps of paper. I then displayed the elephants on a bulletin board.  Here is my board halfway completed:
(I found this bulletin board idea on Pinterest and couldn't find the original source.  If you know who credit belongs to please let me know.)

Lesson Connections:
Celebrating Diversity with Elmer
Elmer Lesson Pack (With outlines of Elmer)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Impulse control

As the school year comes to an end I find that students become more impulsive so I included this book in my recent Amazon order.  I am always looking to enhance my counseling library and this looks like a great addition.  

Description from Amazon:  This hilarious book for grades k-6 teaches children about learning to control their impulses.  Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention.  His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe.  But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, force the adults in Braden's life to teach him about impulse control.  There are 4 downloadable activities that you can purchase for $5.00 that go along with this book but I have not purchased them yet so I can't give any feedback.  You can download them HERE.  You can purchase the book HERE.

Impulse Control Connections (These are resources that are currently FREE on TPT)

FREEBIE Impulse Control Activity

Impulse Control Game

Under Control Activity - Stop and Think (impulse control game)

Related Posts
It's Hard to be a VERB!
Executive Functioning

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Executive Functioning (new books and freebies)

I just placed an order for some new books and I am very excited about them!  Julia Cook is one of my favorite authors and I was very happy to see that her newest books are about executive functioning.   I also love that the characters are the same in both books.  I currently use the R.J. series and my students love hearing multiple stories about the same character.  This time around we meet some new characters:  Cletus and Bocephus-cousins who are will teach us a thing or two about organizing, planning ahead and prioritizing.   It sounds like Julia may be adding more books to this series as well:)  I have also provided connections to executive functioning freebies on TPT.

The first book on executive functioning is I Can't Find My Whatchamacalit!!.  

Description from Amazon:  Cletus and Bocephus are cousins, yet they are nothing alike.  Extremely creative Cletus, can't find anything in his room.  He is constantly losing things and is very disorganized and messy.  Bocephus, on the other hand, is the most organized, uptight person on the planet.  If Bocephus ever misplaces anything...he totally freaks out!  After Cletus's mom refuses to let him play with Bocephus until his room is cleaned, Bocephus steps in to help out his disorganized cousin.  "Cletus..Ther's a home for everything.  Every watchamacallit has its spot.  Lets sort through your stuff and put it where it goes.  I'm organized...Cletus you're not!"  This story book is the first in the Executive funcioning book series.  It highlights the importance of being organized in a creative, applicable way.  It also spotlights unique differences and strengths that live in all of us.  This book will teach children to understand, develop, and apply organization and vital executive functioning skills.  

Product Details
Description from Amazon:  Cletus and Bocephus are Back!  While working on their science fair project on meal worms, they learn to appreciate and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses.  Creativity needs structure and structure needs creativity...and Cletus and Bosephus BOTH need to know hot to plan and prioritize!  "You learn from mistakes and use what you learn, so you don't make those mistakes again.  Every time you play a video game, you plan and prioritize to WIN!"  Planning and prioritizing are two of the most difficult executive functioning skills for people to master.  Planning effectively is the thinking skills that helps an individual develop strategies to accomplish goals.  It allows a person to think about completing a task before it is started.  Life is all about making choices.  Prioritizing effectively helps a person make the best choices possible.  This book will help teach children to determine the necessary steps, in order, towards fulfilling a goal which is a vital executive functioning skill.  Children who possess effective prioritizing skills can learn to manage not only daily responsibilities, but also how to prepare for future success.

Executive Functioning Connections:
These connections are all free materials that I have found on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Executive Functioning Organizational Level Chart
Executive Functioning FREEBIE

Executive Function Web - Target = Activity

Executive Functioning Student Task Analysis
Executive Functioning: Assignment Planner (Google Slides)

Helping Students that Struggle with Executive Functioning

What's In My Backpack?
End of the Day Checklist - Free


Monday, April 18, 2016

Mindfulness Monday (Color Breathing)

It's Mindfulness Monday!  If you haven't checked out my other mindfulness posts be sure to click on the links at the end of this post.  Today's post focuses on mindfulness and colors.  I am making connections to a book, a breathing exercise, yoga poses and coloring sheets.  
A Color of His Own
The Books:
I like to read A Color of His Own before I teach Color Breathing.  A Color of His Own is a cute book and can be used to teach lessons on self-acceptance and friendship as well.  The main character in A Color of His Own, a chameleon, is feeling sad and lonely because he doesn't have a color of his own. He attempts to be like the other animals and stay one color but he keeps changing colors. There are some great art activities to go along with this book. Check out these watercolors from Deep Space Sparkle:
You could also use the book The Mixed Up Chameleon.  This story has a similar story-line with the chameleon wishing he were like the other animals at the zoo.  He ends up discovering that being yourself is the best way to be.

The Breathing Exercise:
Color breathing is a form of visualization, in which you imagine yourself inhaling and exhaling colors.  Color breathing is a simple stress relieving activity and it's easy to teach. You can find a Color Breathing exercise HERE or a Color Breathing script HERE.

The Yoga Poses:
Get some ideas for yoga poses to go along with the first book at amazingkidsllc.com.
For $5.00 you can buy a yoga lesson plan off of TPT to go along with the second book.

The Coloring Sheets:
Chameleon Mandala Coloring Pages by Red Ted Art
Image result for chameleon coloring page red ted art

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A lesson on Diversity (The Crayon Box that Talked)

My third graders are finishing up their "crayon lessons".  We started with The Day the Crayons Quit and then did a lesson on Making Friends is an Art! and we are now using The Crayon Box that Talked to talk about cooperation, teamwork, diversity, getting along and acceptance.    There are many different options for using The Crayon Box that Talked.  You can purchase The Crayon Box that Talked from Amazon, you can view the YouTube video of the story HERE, a Vimeo version here or you can print a copy of the poem version HERE.

Lesson:  I started my unit on cooperation by reading The Crayon Box that Talked.  We then had a group discussion on working as a team and being unique.  We talked about the feelings of the crayons in our first story, The Day the Crayons Quit and we also talked about Brown from Making Friends is an Art and students had a really great discussion on what it would be like if we removed brown from our boxes of crayons, markers or colored pencils for the remainder of the school year.  The main idea of our conversation being that all students are unique and have something special to contribute to the class.  I then gave each student a piece of paper and told them that they were to draw the most beautiful picture that they could...using only ONE crayon.  We ended up with pictures like this:

Once everyone had completed their pictures we had another discussion.  Students talked about the challenges they faced trying to make something beautiful with only one crayon. Students eventually came up with the thought that school wouldn't be as fun if they didn't have classmates with their own unique qualities.  

The next step was to create a class picture.  I used puzzle pieces that I found free on TPT.  You can find those HERE. Each student received a puzzle piece and they were instructed to write their name in the middle of their piece and to decorate it using all of the colors.  Finally, I took all of the pieces and put them together to make a class picture with the heading "We all Fit Together".  I haven't had time to hang the completed puzzle yet but I found some examples on some other blogs:
Playing in Prep shared this classroom puzzle:

I found this one on Miss Beadles Class Blog:

More Connections:
The Crayon Box that Talked
The Crayon Box That Talked Writing Papers

The Crayon Box That Talked Writing Activity

The Crayon Box that Talked

Related Lesson:
Making Friends is an Art! (making and keeping friends)
The Day the Crayon's Quit (Empathy)

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