| || |
I've received a lot of emails from my readers, asking me to describe how I spend my time and why I love my job.
Instead of writing a long post about this topic, I decided to make a VERY LONG (nearly 30 minute) podcast, which you'll find on the left.
In this video, I explain how I organize my schedule. I also reveal the pros and cons of the school counseling profession, as I see them. If you're able to watch the whole video, you'll hear about one of my recent success stories that may help you in your own school counseling journey.
Do you have students who are chronically negative? Typically, these children have trouble making and keeping friends, often feeling rejected by their peers and the world at large. This is a "chicken or the egg" situation: Which came first, the rejection or the negativity?
I think it's important to empathize with students who feel excluded, but we still must address what students CAN control. While they cannot control their environment, they can certainly control how they respond to it. We, of course, must be mindful of mental health diagnoses and trauma that may contribute to a student's negativity. Therefore, some of my ideas may not apply to those specific situations.
Children (and, let's face it, many adults) often have little patience for negativity. When students' interventions, such as asking him/her to play or trying to rationalize why something "isn't so bad," do not work, it's easier for them to give up and blame the negative peer for not trying hard enough.
So, what do you do? I always give my students the first few minutes of a session to vent. Then, we move on to the positives so that I don't feed into the negativity and make it worse. For kiddos who struggle with identifying happy thoughts, I create a sticker chart to track all of the positives they can share with me. Each session, they have to name 3 good things in their life. Then, if they are able to complete the task, they add a sticker to the chart. We set a goal for the number of stickers we want to earn and once they reach their goal, they get to pick a prize from my prize box.
I use this short film with my small groups to help build positive relationships. After viewing the video, we discuss how the sheep felt and how the jackalope was a good friend. Then, I give each student a workpage (above). I write a group member's name on each student's paper, then explain that they must write and/or draw something nice about that person. In this way, they are acting like the jackalope, helping their group friends feel good about themselves.
Once everyone has finished their work, we share our words and/or pictures one at a time. Then, I ask for the receiver to say how they feel after hearing the positive feedback - I record their response at the bottom of the paper. I make copies of the projects for my own documentation, but let the students keep their originals, which serve as a reminder of how valued they are.
The video is also great with individual students who may focus on the negative aspects of their life. The jackalope shows the sheep that bad things happen and sometimes, you just need to keep moving forward until you feel better again; you can't let every little thing get you down.
Do you ever get bored of the same old board games? Well, try changing the rules of other games to meet your specific school counseling needs. Typically, it's just a matter of changing the questions.
I have received a lot of questions regarding what new school counselors need for their offices. Here are my Top 10 supplies for elementary school counselors, which expands upon this list that I made in July. I'm sure I missed some of your favorites, but like I always say, every building is different.
2. Portable Sandtray
1. School Puppet
I have received a lot of emails regarding documentation and school counseling planners. Renee Stack, one of my district's elementary school counselors, sent out a bunch of great forms that could definitely meet your needs.
Here's what I use...
More about how I document...
My name is Marissa Rex and I am a 1st Grade teacher and an elementary school counselor from Ohio. I hope you enjoy my site!