Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Countdown to 2014..............

Happy New Year's Eve!!!! 

I hope everyone has a great start to 2014.  I will be enjoying time with family and friends and celebrating a "mostly" fantastic 2013. Life isn't perfect, but I have to say that I feel lucky to have a healthy and loving family, great friends and coworkers, a job I love and feel passionate about, and opportunities for growth and creativity (like this blog) that keep me excited about each new year.  Every year my husband and I write down our "goals/wishes" for the year, and this year will be no different.  I thought the article below was a good one for educators who are thinking about their own goals for 2014.  I'll be back to my normal blogging next week. Until then, enjoy and happy counseling!  ~ Angela


*Free image above from HDwallpapersinn.com

Sunday, December 22, 2013

"SMORE" Communication

Happy Holidays! This will be my last post of 2013 and what a great year it has been! Prior to break on Friday, I was able to wrap up several of my School Success groups and will begin Study Club groups later in January in preparation for the spring EOGs.  We finally got our EOG scores back from the county so I will be looking at that data to create the fourth and fifth grade groups.

In communicating with teachers and parents about my groups, I have started using a great E-tool from the website smore.com.  My co-counselor learned about it at the NCSCA Conference courtesy of Andrea Burston (JYJoyner Counselor Blog), and I love it! The website allows you to make great looking E-flyers that you can share via email or embed on a webpage. I have always sent electronic or print updates to teachers and parents two or three times during my groups so they know what skills we are working on and how they can connect the group to home.  See a previous example here.  However, SMORE makes it so much easier.

The website is free and once you have your initial template, you can simply duplicate your flyer and update the information as you go through your group.  Here is the first School Success Group update I sent to teachers and parents.

 Here is the second update I sent, and I even included my post survey evaluation for parents with an embedded link at the bottom of the flyer. 

The link takes them to a three question Google form, which helps identify any habits they have improved upon since the start of the group.  I outlined how to make Google forms in a previous post here if you need additional information.

I have been emailing the flyers because I requested email addresses on my initial group permission form, but you could also print them and send them home if you have parents without access to email or do not have their email addresses. 

Best wishes for a great holiday to you and your families.  I am looking forward to an exciting 2014 full of fun, creativity, and joy in each day!
Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

Monday, December 9, 2013

Head Elf

Leadership is a fascinating topic to me. I have had eight principals in my nine years of being a school counselor, and I love observing how different people manage and lead a school.  Whether I worked for a principal for four months or four years, I have gleaned something from each distinct personality.  It has truly given me a broad perspective of leadership styles.

I strive to be a leader as I carry out my school counseling functions and that includes encouraging leadership in those around me. I came across this Ted Talk video that speaks to the vision I have for leadership and the impact I can only hope to make each day among students, families,and staff.


As you guessed by my title, there is more to this story than the video clip above.  I've talked in previous posts about choosing to be a leader as it relates to school climate and a positive school environment for the staff at my school (remember the Easter egg hunt?!). After Thanksgiving break I decided we all needed to have a little fun as we dealt with MAP testing, MClass progress monitoring, exhaustion, and holiday stress before the winter break. So, my principal graciously agreed to adopt a new member into our school family and STAR was introduced to the staff.

Each day, STAR has a new message for staff members as they go about their daily activities. I also post a picture of where STAR was the day before in our daily staff email just in case teachers didn't get a chance to find her.  It has been a big hit so far, although there was some confusion on the first day when a teacher assistant thought you were supposed to turn STAR into the office for a prize if you found her. I quickly sent out an email reminding everyone not to touch her and referencing the Elf on the Shelf movie. Ha! As a side note, I only hide STAR in teacher areas so no children have been involved in this activity. It is solely for the staff.  What are you doing to spread holiday cheer?  Any good ideas for what STAR should  do next?!

Happy Counseling! ~ Angela (AKA Head Elf)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Organizing Quick Tips

A teacher at school gave me the nicest compliment today.   She said, "When I grow up, I want to be organized like you."  Obviously, this teacher's compliment was a little tongue-in-cheek, and most of the time I just brush comments like these to the side, but today I thought, "YES! I am making progress!"

I have really been trying to step up my game with staying organized during this busy time of the year.  I have continued some of my time-tested organization strategies:
  • Google calendar- I use it to keep track of EVERYTHING:  My classroom guidance schedule, school/parent meetings, small group times, etc. I especially like inputting my individual counseling appointments for specific time slots during the current week and then creating future meeting times for students so I don't forget follow up appointments in the weeks to come.
  • A ready made individual counseling sheet that jogs my memory to have students scale or give feedback about their feelings so I can chart growth.  The photo below shows the front side of the sheet where I document if a student made a happy, straight, or sad face for "School", "Home", or "Friends" on the playdoh sheet I use.  See my post about that here.
  • Bins that hold all my lesson materials so everything is together when I need to go to a specific grade level for classroom guidance.


And, I have implemented some new ideas:
  • A Google form for individual counseling so I can track my sessions with students by date, whether I need to follow up with them in the future, and by topic.  I still use the paper sheet for jotting down quick notes and documenting feeling faces during my student meetings, but I also fill out the form on my Google drive at the end of the day so I can track the information more easily.  It literally takes 2 minutes with the way I have it set up.  

When I go to "Summary of Responses" under the "Responses" menu, I can sort whatever field I choose.  I love sorting by the field - Follow Up "Yes" or Grade Level so I can quickly remind myself who I need to check in with.
  • Small Group folders- Perhaps it is because I am running so many groups right now or because I am getting busier in my life overall, but I have had a tough time keeping all my groups separate in my mind this year. I decided I needed a system and started organizing everything with folders.  I put the student booklets (or folders) that I create for each small group and keep them in a manila file folder.  On the interior left side, I put the students who are in each group, the time we meet, and the homeroom teacher. On the interior right side, I put a quick guide of topics we are covering throughout the group and the date we get to each one so I always know which group session we are on. It has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Also, I keep all of these handy file folders in a hanging pocket organizer next to my filing cabinet so they are easy to access.  Photos are below, BUT I blurred out the names of the students on the folders so pardon the way they look. :o)  

    Happy Counseling! ~  Angela

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm Groovy Poovey.....What's Your Hook?

Think back to your school days.  What was memorable? Did you have a spirited PE teacher who taught you how to juggle and ride the unicycle? (I did!)  Did you have a teacher who never wore the same outfit twice the whole year and had pictures of Elvis everywhere? (I did!) Did you have science teacher who did fun experiments and let you bring in exploding volcanoes? (yep, me again!)

The point is, sometimes we need a little excitement, quirkiness, or a "hook" to get our students' attention and help them "get" the objectives we are trying to teach.  Although it has been a LONG time since I had those aforementioned teachers, I still remember them and what they taught me because they got my attention, which is sometimes half the battle with our students.  As a school counselor, I am continually trying to engage my students and give them a prop, hand motion, or saying that will help them connect with what I am teaching and commit it to memory.

My first "hook" is my Groovy Poovey nickname. I use it because #1:  It helps students say my name correctly instead of calling me all kinds of crazy things and #2:  They never forget it and can always tell you the name of their school counselor.  Helpful, right?!!

Here is a sampling of some of my other "hooks" and when I use them.  What are yours?
 Enjoy and Happy Counseling! ~Angela

: Using a Hula Hoop to illustrate the Hula Hoop Space for my Kindergarten students in Good Touch/Bad Touch lessons.

RIGHT:  Modeling a career I would like as an E! fashion reporter on the red carpet for "Career Dress Up" Day during Red Ribbon Week.  We have better things to do than drugs! This event went along with my career lessons in the classroom.
LEFT:  My co-counselor and I starting our "Camp Counselor" introduction to the school counselor lessons at the beginning of the year.  Read more about that lesson here.

BELOW:  Dressed up as "Judge Poovey" for Fairness character trait lessons in the classroom.  Read more about that lesson here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Making a List and Checking it Twice

To say things are busy at my school right now is an understatement. It is hard for me to make it down the hallway without a student asking me when I am going to see them or a teacher relaying a concern about a child.  Sound familiar?! I am also running a lot of small groups simultaneously, and I'm trying to stay organized with so many balls in the air at one time......because that's what school counselors do!

The small groups that I am running are "School Success Groups", and I am using the Stephen Covey 7 Habits to organize our meetings (more on this topic in a later post).  However, I really want daily face time with these students to ensure they are meeting their goals for doing homework, being PROACTIVE and in charge of their behavior, and maintaining "Sunny Thoughts"  when frustration arises.  I can tell that morning meetings with these students get their days started off on the right tone.

So, I followed Santa's lead and have created a check-in sheet to use with my school success students as well as other students that can benefit from frequent check-ins.  I downloaded some free borders from the 3AM Teacher on TPT here.  I chose my favorite and then inserted a table with the headings of Student Name, Days of the Week, and Comments. I started out with 10 rows but could have definitely made 15 or 20, as evidenced by my writings in the margins...ha!

I pasted my sheet on cardstock and laminated it for repeated use.  I write the initials of the students I need to check in with each morning, give them a check mark if they stop in, and a star if they did their homework. I also write any comments about issues I need to remember. At the end of the week, I take a picture of the chart with my Ipad for documentation purposes, and I erase all of the stars and checks.  The lamination really keeps it flexible because as I end current groups or start working with different students, I will simply replace old initials with new ones and continue the cycle.

What I love best is that I feel like my 30 minutes of morning duty time is so much more productive and focused now. The majority of the students are coming each day, and they like it as much as I do!

Also, it's working!!!! A lot of the kids are doing homework more consistently now than they were a month ago, and  I truly believe the accountability piece of knowing I am going to ask them EVERY morning is making a difference.

How are you staying organized in this busy time leading up to the holidays? I would love to hear!
Happy Counseling! ~Angela

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Balloon, Balloon: Don't Let the Balloon Touch the Ground

I had to use that title for my post because it was one of my most favorite childhood games growing up, and I loved to play it with my sister. I find it completely fantastic that I have been able to incorporate it into my J-O-B. Here's part two of my Ordinary Objects Post - Balloons!

I use balloons in lots of ways at school, many of which I am sure you also use.  Here's a rundown of my favorite uses.

1.  Individual Counseling/Classroom Guidance with students focused on coping with anger, anxiety, or other unpleasant feelings. 

A balloon is extremely powerful in illustrating how feelings can build if you don't use strategies to calm down and release the "not so good" feelings in healthy ways.  I usually let students brainstorm the triggers that have upset them in the current situation or in the past. As they share the triggers with me, I inflate the balloon each time until it is about to pop.  We relate those pent up feelings to exploding in the classroom and making bad choices.  Then, as we discuss, draw, and practice strategies that could help students calm down, I release the air a little at a time until the balloon is completely empty.

 I have also used this idea in a classroom guidance lesson on anger management.  I incorporated the superhero Incredible Hulk and found this You Tube video.  Every time the Hulk growled, I inflated the balloon. Every time he turned back into Bruce Banner (the normal version of himself), I released some air.  It was a great "hook" to introduce the topic of controlling your anger.

2. Skill practice for appropriate social skills, self-regulation, and any other replacement behavior practice a student may need.

We have all seen the icebreaker or conversation starter balls that you can buy through educational companies or on Amazon.com. They are a great resource and can really help you get to know a student or prompt them to start talking about important issues. I decided to create the "do-it-yourself" version and save $20 with a balloon.  I made the balloon pictured to the right for a student who was having a hard time staying in her space and keeping her hands to herself.  I had already done a lesson about your "Hula Hoop Space"  with the entire class so this balloon activity provided her with extra practice to reinforce the skills. I drew lines to divide up the balloon and then listed actions such as "Show Your Hula Hoop Space", "Practice a Good Touch", "Ask Someone to Move Over", and "Sit Criss Cross in your Hula Hoop Space" on the balloon. We would hit the balloon back and forth a few times and when I said STOP, she would practice whatever skill her hand was on.  The other advantage to the DIY version is you can have specific skill practice for a wide range of issues rather than one generic ball.

3.  Teamwork activities in classroom guidance or small group counseling.

I am currently running a "7 Habits of Highly Effective Students"  School Success Group.  Habit #4 is THINK WIN- WIN.  I am using balloons to practice the idea of teamwork and helping everyone around you be successful.  My plan is to take my group into the gym and give them the challenge of moving the balloon from one end of the gym to the other.  The group will earn one point for completing the task and additional points each time every member of the group touches the balloon.  Following the exercise, we will discuss how teammates helped each other get the balloon, how they communicated, and their feelings on whether they liked completing the activity as a team or would rather have completed it independently. 

You could also incorporate one or more balloons in a classroom guidance lesson on teamwork and pass multiple balloons around the room at a time.

How do you use balloons as a school counselor? Please share and.....Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ordinary Objects

Two ordinary objects have become permanent fixtures in my office lately:  Balloons and clothes baskets

I wanted to share a few quick ways you can use these inexpensive items, which 99% of us already have at our houses, in your counseling office.  My first post will focus on clothes baskets.

Clothes Baskets:
1.  Goal Setting:  I am doing a "7 Habits of Happy/Highly Effective Kids" small group right now, and I absolutely LOVED the goal setting lesson I did with my students using clothes baskets.  It was an idea I adapted from a Goal Setting presentation at last year's NCSCA Conference (wish I could remember the speaker's name to give credit! Email me if you recognize this activity).

I took my students into the gym during the PE teachers' lunch break.  I had them all stand on one side of the gym and gave them each a frog (you could use a stress ball, rubber ball, etc.).  In the first round, I had them cover their eyes and try to get the frog in their basket. I placed three baskets out for five students so they would have more space for their throwing.  We related this action to going through the school year without an idea or vision for where you are going.

During the second round, I took all three baskets and placed them on the opposite side of the gym, about 30 feet away from the students.  We related this basket "attempt" to choosing goals that are too hard.  In the third round, the baskets were placed right in front of their feet. The students immediately knew that this round showed the goal was too easy.  In the fourth round, the baskets were placed about 10 feet way to signify an appropriate, challenging goal. Most of the students made the basket by their second attempt, but a few took three or four tries. Finally, I held one of the baskets in the fifth round and "assisted" them by moving the basket as they made their toss. We related this round to teachers, parents, and school counselors who will support students in reaching their goals, which can make things easier. 


2. Icebreaker Time:  Kids LOVE to try and toss my frogs in the clothes basket when we meet for individual counseling, especially kids that have a hard time sitting still or feel uncomfortable with traditional "talking" at a table.  I find they open up and are much more relaxed if we start talking while playing the frog toss game.  Sometimes we will even take turns and switch once we have gotten a certain number of frogs in the basket.

At first, I was just putting the basket on the other side of my office so I could take shots with my students, but then I got the bright idea of hanging it on a hook that has randomly been on the back of my office door since I moved to my school.  I now call the game Hook Ball.  The new basket placement also frees up floor space in my pretty small office...truly a win-win! Check it out:

3.Skill Practice Motivation:  I met with a student last week who needed to work on prosocial skills (hands to self, talking nicely, working appropriately in centers).  I wanted to make our skill practice more fun, so we turned it into a game.  Each time she got two frogs in the basket, we would stop, model, and practice one of the skills we were working on.  After she practiced, she got to take more shots.  It definitely made our session more enjoyable, and we still talked about her classroom progress while she was playing.

Do you have any other uses for clothes baskets? I would love to hear!  
Happy Counseling ~ Angela

Friday, November 8, 2013

I HEART School Counselors!

Wow....what a great NCSCA conference! Thanks to those who came to hear my session- "Beyond Career Day."  I was able to talk to many of you after my talk and throughout the rest of the conference, and I really enjoyed meeting new friends and reconnecting with my old ones.

The stellar, Andrea Burston, from JYJoynerCounselor
blog (above) and enjoying time with fantastic counselor friends I have worked with throughout my career (below).

Also, I am linking some of the handouts from my presentation for those who attended and would like to download them OR for other readers who could use some career resources.

Bobblehead Kids - Kindergarten
A Hat for Ivan - First Grade
Family Career Tree - Second Grade
QR Scanvenger Example- Fifth Grade

  Enjoy and Happy Counseling!  ~ Angela

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Conference, Technology, and Grants---Oh My!

I have been busy getting ready for my presentation at the NC School Counselor Association's annual conference this coming week. It is a fantastic professional development opportunity, and I am so excited to see colleagues and learn from all the brilliant school counselors out there.  I will be presenting a session entitled "Beyond Career Day", as well as co-presenting with Linda Brannan, the Student Support Services Consultant, for the NC Department of Public Instruction.  I am sharing some of my work on the Guidance Essential Standards.  Here is a link to the NCSCA website if you are interested in any other info about the conference.  If you are also attending, stop by and see me!!!

After the conference, I will be back to posting more regularly because I can't wait to share all the career and college awareness activities I have been doing in October at my school.  I deemed it "Career-College Month" and have been having organizing and presenting schoolwide, grade level, and classroom activities to get my students excited about post high school educational opportunities and future careers.

Also, I am tremendously excited to post that I received a Bright Ideas Grant last week....yay!  If you remember, applying for grants was one of my goals over the summer (See Double Take: What Are You Going to be Next Year? ), and I was awarded $900 from the South River Electric Membership Corporation.

I am going to use the money to buy Ipads for my Technology Club, which involves about 60 fourth graders (we split into three different groups throughout the year).  We meet every Tuesday after school to work on technology projects that incorporate character education, anti-bullying strategies, leadership ideas, and anything else my students can think up!  Please check out our blog - Cleveland Tech Stars  and leave a comment. The kids would love it!!!!

Happy Counseling!   ~Angela

Friday, October 25, 2013

Positive Thinking Bulletin Board

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a Perseverance lesson I presented to my fifth graders.  We worked on using positive thoughts or "Recycled Thoughts" as we call them in order to overcome obstacles that may come up during the school year:  difficult tests, new objectives, friendship situations, changing classes, etc.

My students brainstormed creative head images to show what they would be thinking this year to reach their goals. I wanted to share them with the student body so I created a bulletin board for all to enjoy.  I continued the bobblehead theme that my co-counselor and I started at the beginning of the year; the students are really getting a kick out of it! You'll also notice that I included some of the objectives that were covered in this particular lesson. I'm making a concerted effort to post my objectives more often so students, staff, and families can connect my lessons to the Guidance Essential Standards and ASCA National Model objectives. This lesson included more of the ASCA objectives, but I usually list a combination of the two.

Happy Counseling!  ~Angela

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Visibility: Part II

Do your staff members know what you do at school? Are they aware of the value you bring to students, parents, other staff members, administration, and the community as a whole?  Advocacy is an important word that school counselors use when we are talking about students.  We want to advocate for students who may not be having their voices heard so they can be successful at school.  However, we also need to advocate for ourselves as professional school counselors. 

Our job is often measured in changes that may go unnoticed by others during the fast-paced, high stress weeks of school (surely that's not just my school ;o)  ); the child who can finally walk down the hallway to class instead of crying and fighting to stay in the car every morning because they know you will be there to help them, the student who doesn't mind taking Accelerated Math tests anymore because you worked with her on positive thoughts and anxiety, and the student who went from four negative reports home a week to zero because you worked on and kept practicing specific behaviors for the classroom.  These are all great improvements, but we have to do more.  Here are some examples:

1.  Morning Show/Newsletter/Website/Parent Letters: I am certain that most  school counselors have websites and may send home updates about what they are doing at school.  If not, it is a great way to inform parents of the lessons, programs, groups, etc. that you are offering at school. I used to have a Weebly website, which I loved, until I moved to a new county that didn't allow it. Now, I just use the template that is required and don't get to have as many of the bells and whistles on my site. However, I am lucky to be included in the "Specialist" (music, PE, art,  etc.) quarterly newsletter that is sent home to all students. I write up my articles about what I am doing and make sure to include my website link so parents can access additional information.

 Also, I LOVE going on the Morning Show at our school to talk about events that are going on.  My media specialist is great about fitting me in whenever I want.  I even made this GoAnimate cartoon to share during the Morning  Show at the beginning of the year, although I am still waiting for the correct cord to make it technically possible to show it to ALL students (some have seen it in groups with me).   Check it out:
School Counselor Intro by apoovey on GoAnimate

2. Staff Meetings:  Each year I request to be put on the agenda at an opening staff meeting so I can share my plans for the year.  I include any new information that has been passed down from the county  level, an overview of my annual plan for the year, and my specific action plans based on data.  I use PREZI because it is perfect for my goal of just focusing on the "big picture" information while I verbally share the details, and it is much more engaging to watch.  Here are some examples of information I include.

I love the ASCA National Model so I want my staff to have at least heard of this framework. I also reintroduced the Guidance Essential Standards to them this year after mentioning it at another staff meeting last year.

Here are my action plans for the year written in a very general way.  I focus on one specific plan for each of the ASCA domains (academic, personal/social, and career), and then I always include a plan addressing attendance. If kids aren't at school, how can they be successful?!

The annual plan information gives an overview of how I will be interacting with them during the year:  classroom guidance, small groups, schoolwide programs, and monthly activities that will involve them.

3.  School Advisory Council:  I haven't always had a school advisory council, but I think it is a good way to get feedback and publicize your program. The people included are my fantastic co-counselor,  a 3-5 teacher who is also a parent, an administrator who is also a parent, a specialist, and a K-2 teacher. I am also on the School Improvement Team, which allows me to share a lot of information about what I am doing, but I like that the advisory council's sole focus is the school counseling program.

Whatever strategies you use, make sure to let people know that your job as a school counselor is essential to the students, staff, and families you work with each day.   Happy Counseling!  ~Angela

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Body Basics: Setting the Tone

I love seeing how educators start their lessons.  Each school counselor, teacher, specialist, etc. has his or her own unique way of setting the tone for a lesson and getting kids hooked right from the start.  I wanted to share the way that I have started my lessons for the past nine years. My students all know Mrs. Groovy Poovey's "Body Basics" and it sure helps with classroom management when students K-5 consistently know my expectations during each lesson.  My son helped me act it out, and he knows it well since he is also a student at my school.

What I didn't show is that I will say "Body Basics" during a lesson if students get wiggly or too loud and need to be reminded of how they should be listening and working. If students do a GREAT job, and I don't have to say "Body Basics" during the lesson, we do a "Silent Cheer" at the end to celebrate. It is really silly, but my K-2 students love it. My third and fourth graders do a "Silent Raise the Roof".  I typically don't use it with fifth graders unless I am just giving them a general reminder to remember body basics. So, there you have it!  Happy Counseling!  Angela

Monday, October 7, 2013

Candy: Works Every Time!

Here is a summary of the Perseverance I presented to my older kiddos!

Fourth and Fifth Grades

We started with the same pre-test survey in fourth and fifth grades that I had used in the lower grades, although we added another answer choice to match the older students' higher developmental level.  Then, the fun began!  I chose four students to sample Warheads in front of the class.  They all tasted them at the same time, and I immediately  got one word from each student that described how it tasted.  It was pretty entertaining to see the looks of disgust on their faces and hear "terrible", "sour", "awful" as their adjectives.  Then, I asked them for another word after approximately two minutes.  They shared words like "delicious", "scrumptious", and "good".  We brought this icebreaker back to Perseverance and continuing to try even if something is "terrible" initially.

Then, I introduced the choices we can make with our thoughts when faced with a difficult situation.  I acted out a "trashy" thought and a "recycled thought" (my version of positive thoughts).  The students got a chance to check their understanding of these thoughts with the Kooshball game on our Smartboard (on TPT here).  This game always brings out a lot of student volunteers!  Each time they threw the kooshball (softly) at the Smartboard, a new thought would pop up and the students would decide if it was "trashy" or "recycled". Our final work product to encourage application of their learning was a "What's in Your Head?" sheet that I adapted from Pinterest.  Students drew images of their Smart Goals for the year (see post here) and then surrounded them with recycled thoughts they would use to encourage Perseverance.  They did a really great job, and I am going to use them on a bulletin board, which I will share with you in the next couple of weeks.   
Happy Counseling! Angela

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Perseverance: Keep On Keeping On!

I switched around my monthly character traits this year to match my school counseling annual calendar and complement the units I had planned for each month.  Perseverance ended up being my first character trait as I talked about goal setting for the year. I am in the specialist rotation for Kindergarten so I handle their lessons a little differently, but I created Perseverance lessons for 1st/2nd, 3rd, and 4th/5th grades.

My general classroom guidance framework for character trait lessons is:
  •  Introduce the Objective of the Lesson
  • Collection of Pre-test Data 
  • Icebreaker/Hook
  • Video or Book to model the character trait
  • Comprehension check with my students
  • Application of knowledge in an activity
The collection of data has been a work in progress over the last several years as I have focused on simplifying and streamlining my process. I used to collect WAY TOO MUCH DATA and then would never do anything with it because it was too overwhelming and took too much time to analyze.

Now, I typically use a quick multiple choice question as a pre/post test. I ask  students to vote on the definition they think fits best with the character trait word.  Younger students have three multiple choice answers and older students have four multiple choice answers.  You'll see the Perseverance example I used with first and second graders. I add variety by having the students do different activities to share their answers.  Depending on the grade level, students will stand up for the answer they think is correct, go to the corner of the room that matches the letter they are choosing, place sticky notes next to the answer they like best, or simply put their heads down and raise their hands for their choice. After our lesson, I repeat the activity and note the change in numbers.  It is a fast, effective way to document data for each of my classroom guidance lessons.

Here's a brief summary of a couple of my Perseverance lessons:

First and Second Grades 

I read Winners Never Quit by Mia Hamm. 
Then, I introduced a kinesthetic activity to get the students moving.  I brought my glitter soccer ball (a big hit with the kids!) and we formed a large circle. I started by asking the students what skills may be hard to learn in first and second grades. We rolled the ball among us as students brainstormed.   Then, I asked students what they wanted to be great at by the end of the year using the same process.  After brainstorming, the students worked on creating a "Reaching My Goal" booklet.  They drew illustrations for the pre-written pages (will add picture soon).

Third Grade

After getting pre-test data in third grade, my co-counselor began with a rhythm activity. She started out with a simple clapping rhythm that the kids mimicked.  Then, she added complexity to the rhythm with new patterns.  (I was able to get an action shot for you!)  By the end, it was almost impossible for the students to follow along.  She related the increased difficulty to Perseverance in third grade.  We showed this video from Greatschools.org.  It used the  word "Persistence" instead of Perseverance, but we explained the similarities.  The kids loved and understood the drumming analogy since we had just completed our rhythm activity.  Finally, the students brainstormed skills that could be difficult in third grade, and they completed a Goal Setting sheet (see below).
I loved teaching these lessons, and will share my 4th/5th grade lessons next.  Happy Counseling! ~ Angela
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