Ten Tips for Successful Small Group Counseling (or, Herding Cats and Loving It)
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
     While a lot of school counselors are intimidated by the idea of running small groups, I LOVE them. Group services are the most effective use of my time, and kids are always relieved and happy to find that other students have many of the same struggles. I fill most of the direct service slots on my schedule with small groups.      In my 25 years in a school setting, I’ve learned a lot about what works (and even more about what doesn’t). Here are my top ten tips for setting up and running your counseling groups. 1. Group students by issue. Twenty-five years ago, all my groups were sim ..read more
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Goal-Setting and The Lake of Dreams
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
If you've read my About Me page, you'll know it has been my life-long desire to write children's books. For almost 50 years I secretly wished for it and thought about it often, but I never took action. "I could never be a real author," I told myself. When I started teaching more growth mindset and goal-setting lessons, I realized how hypocritical that was.  So two years ago, I dipped a pinky toe in the Lake of Dreams and joined a local writers' networking group. That led to me wading in up to my waist and joining a critique group. Then I ducked my head under and started writing instead of o ..read more
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Where does the time go?
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
One would guess, looking at my blog, that I'm a real data nerd.  I'm really not, but I do see the value in tracking certain information in order to be more efficient and effective in my job. ​At the start of the school year I posted about my SMART goal to provide more parent outreach.  I mentioned in that post that I was also going to start using a time tracker. I know there are several commercially available trackers, but since I'm never happy unless I'm reinventing the wheel, I made my own. I'd never used spreadsheets in either Excel or Numbers.  The learning curve for Google Sheets ..read more
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SMART Goal: Parent outreach
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
It’s that time of year for SMART goals, so I’ve been reflecting on areas in which I need to improve.  While there are so many to choose from, I’ve decided that this year I’ll be focusing on improving my communication with parents.  It’s a big goal, so I’ve broken it down into some very actionable steps.  In fact, I can already check most of them off my to-do list!​ ​Step 1: Parents need to know who I am and why I’m here.  So I spent a ridiculous amount of time updating my School Counseling brochure and making a tri-board.  At Open House, instead of putting up a few signs pointing t ..read more
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8 Things Most 6-Year-Olds Could Teach Donald Trump
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
I’m having a bad dream.     “Loser!  Liar!”  References to parts of the male anatomy follow. Voices overlap, interrupt, mock and insult each other.  As in many dreams, I can’t quite place where I am.  At the elementary school where I work?  The language fits, but the voices are not children’s voices.  Soon the loudest, crudest, and most insistent voice overpowers the rest.  That kid needs recess support, I think.  The cat jumps on me and I’m awake. Ah. I’ve fallen asleep watching the Republican presidential debate.                                             ***** The top three Republican c ..read more
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Summer Social Superheroes, The Sequel
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
Last year, as you may recall, I had THE BEST time teaching in the Extended Year Program.  I was given a class of ten boys entering grades 3 and 4.  I was asked to run a "social skills" program, but beyond that was given almost total autonomy.  Since most of the boys were either highly anxious and/or on the spectrum, I wanted to incorporate a lot of Social Thinking and Zones of Regulation concepts.  I figured a superhero theme would be perfect. And it was.  The kids had a blast, I had a blast, and the parents loved it.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.  This summer I decided ..read more
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The Ups and Downs of "Inside Out"
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
     My daughter and I saw Inside Out yesterday (at the theater! less than a week after it was released!).  Did I love it? Yes!  Was it as cool as I thought it was going to be? Absolutely!  Will it become the new cornerstone of my counseling activities in the fall? Well... no. First the good news. I thought the movie was brilliant (and judging by the woman down front loudly laughing her head off at some of the more adult humor, I wasn’t the only one).  The visuals were amazing of course, and the story was engaging on multiple levels for adults and children. I laughed, I cried.  There w ..read more
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End of the Year Activity
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
So we're down to the final two weeks of this seemingly endless year (thanks for nothing, Old Man Winter) and to be perfectly honest, I'm running out of steam.  Regardless, kids still must be seen and activities still must be related to IEP goals. This week I came up with the admittedly unoriginal idea of having students write to their next year's teacher (even they don't know yet who that will be).  I have so many anxious and/or quirky kids who've worked hard to develop their own set of strategies, that I figure it will do everyone good.  I know the new teachers will definitely appreciate th ..read more
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Random Acts of Kindness Week 2015
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
Back in the day at my previous school, I used to facilitate a Random Acts of Kindness Week celebration.  I was feeling a bit nostalgic about it, so I asked the leadership team at my new school if we could try it out this year. With my past experience I assured them I could handle it.  No sweat. Spoiler alert: this doesn’t turn out as badly as you’re probably expecting.  Thanks to my ten-year-old notes, randomactsofkindness.org and Pinterest, I had a wealth of kindness activities to choose from.  I settled on one major on-going project for the week and two major one-day activities. I ..read more
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Courtesy Cafe
The School Counseling Files Blog
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3y ago
We've been having a problem at my school that's probably fairly common: students who are generally respectful in most areas of the building seem to believe they're entering a no-rules zone once they walk into the cafeteria. When students enter the lunchroom, suddenly they're yelling at peers, pushing others out of "their" seats, and/or dropping trash on the floor.  The poor lunch monitors can't maintain order because many students have the attitude "You're not my teacher, so I don't have to listen to you." So when we were brainstorming solutions at our NOS ("Nice Orderly School," not ..read more
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