Here's a quick summary of how I've started the 2014-2015 school year at my building:
Our staff decorated our building with a "Surfing into a New School Year" theme. Here's a sample bulletin board introducing our staff to students and parents.
Very similar to last year's office. Here are some pictures and a video of my space.
I used a LEGO theme to introduce/reintroduce myself to my students. The students loved it, especially because of The LEGO Movie. Check out additional beginning of the year lessons here. Make your custom LEGO icon here.
Other Ideas for Elementary School Counselors:
*Read the book with kindergarten-1st Grade students in a small group or classroom setting. Explain that babies learn important manners when they are younger, just like we are learning now. Then, brainstorm what "big kids" need to practice, writing their ideas on the board. Finally, students get to pick their favorite from the list and make their own book page. This way, the class has their own, age-appropriate version of Spoonful of Sweetness for their class library.
*In an individual, small group, or classroom setting, reflect with older students (5th-6th) about how they've changed since kindergarten. What is their classroom environment like now compared to then? Do they act differently? Reflect on the manners they see from various age groups at school and the role that the oldest students play. Use Spoonful of Sweetness as an extra resource to remember and discuss early childhood. Finally, have students create posters in small groups (or individually) that highlight the manners they feel are important for their age group and/or school as a whole.
Imagine walking into a room filled with teachers and administrators...it's like an interview. You sit there, hoping you have good answers to their questions and that you understand everything that's being discussed. It's stressful, to say the least. We have to remember that parents come to these meetings as beginners most of the time; they are not sure what to expect. Our job is to help prepare them before they come to the meeting so that there can be a productive, team approach.
As school counselors, we are often in charge of scheduling meetings with parents. How do you help explain the meeting process? Any tips for other school counselors?
This American Life is one of my favorite radio programs. The content is always thought-provoking, engaging, and sometimes even heart-breaking.
When I heard this episode, I knew I had to share it on my blog. As school counselors, we are handed extremely difficult situations and, with other school personnel, must help our students rise up out of their challenges and succeed. "Back to School" offers great information to help with this task. Check it out!
Click here to read the transcript.
Recently, I have been receiving a lot of questions from my readers regarding the start of the school year. Whether you are getting ready for your very first year as a school counselor or are just starting at a new building, it can feel overwhelming. Where do you begin? What should you focus on? Well, here are a few of my ideas:
Without positive relationships with your students, staff, and parents, you will not be able to accomplish much. School counselors are a resource for EVERYONE. Your school family must feel comfortable coming to you with their concerns and should look to you for support.
Organizing Counseling Materials
I have found it helpful to have a routine, especially with my individual and small group counseling sessions. Students know the expectations, but have some freedom to choose how they wish to express themselves. Here are a few of my favorite and most used materials:
Documenting can be one of the most stressful parts of the job, simply because we often must push it aside to handle more pressing concerns. Then, we may let it go until there is a huge pile of paperwork to manage.
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!