Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Toolbox Tuesday: Resources for Coping with a Serious Illness

Things have been so busy, but I've decided to start a consistent posting here on the blog entitled: Toolbox Tuesday!

I will use these weekly posts to share both old & new items that are part of my School Counseling toolbox.

For my first Toolbox Tuesday I decided to share two books that, unfortunately, I look to quite often. Being in three buildings, I work with a number of students who have a friend or loved one that is currently battling cancer or other serious illness. This is a situation that is viewed/approached many different ways depending on the family. When students first bring up this topic, I like to speak with parents and/or guardians to identify the language/descriptions they are using with the child at home. Afterwards, I like to use pages from the following two resources to help students 1) Identify feelings associated with the illness 2) Talk about the changes that are occurring through drawings and writing  3) Share concerns about hospitals, doctors, etc. Both books use language that is concrete for younger students. The "Life Isn't Always a Day at the Beach" book also has a cute penguin friend on each page. Many students enjoy this consistency throughout the workbook.

While I understand that workbooks aren't effective for all students, I have found these two to be very helpful in my discussions with students. In fact, I am working through the "Life Isn't Always..." book with a younger student, and the Intermediate School Counselor is completing the same workbook pages with the older sibling. This has helped the family become more comfortable about talking through the changes they are going through.

Find this book on Amazon here.

By: Pam Ganz & Tobi Scofield. Find it on Amazon here.

I would love to hear more about similar resources that you use with individual students and/or groups! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Good Friday at Good Will! #thriftyschoolcounselor

I thoroughly enjoyed this much needed three day break! The weather was beautiful and it was wonderful to spend time with family and friends. On Friday, I visited some local thrift stores (we are lucky to have some great ones in our area) to look for "hidden treasures". When I visit these stores, my eyes are peeled for items to use within my school counseling program. After all, it's not like we're given lots of extra cash to buy new tools! With the exception of earlier this year...view my post on resources found at Wal*Mart. I was so pleased with my finds that it truly was Good Friday! 

Play-Doh is one of my go-to tools in my counseling offices. Many of my students choose to manipulate it while we talk together. *I am continuously amazed at how much students will share while their hands are occupied!* Lately, many of my students have been bugging me to get some cookie
cutters or other Play-Doh tools to use in their creations. Originally, I had planned to check out summer yard sales for these. Little did I know that I'd come across the mother load!

Pictured above is the tub I came across and some of the contents! Included are boy and girl shaped cut-outs, some number stamps, rolling tools, etc.! It also included 6 containers of fresh, un-used Play-Doh! I paid....$1.97!! A similar version retails at $25.00.

Savings of $23.03!

At another local thrift store I came across a gently used Chutes & Ladders game. After securing this one, I have one at each of my three buildings. It's so nice to not have to lug all of my materials home everyday! I use Chutes & Ladders a lot to discuss good and bad choices. The images on the board are great for this. An added plus is that it gives younger students practice in counting to 100! This cost me a whopping...$1.99. This same version retails at Wal* Mart for $12.28.

 Savings of $10.29! 

I am so excited to utilize my new counseling tools with my students, and I know they will be just as excited! Be sure to check out your local thrift stores, yard sales, etc. for great school counseling tools at little cost!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our 3 Words

I was intrigued by a lesson shared on JYJ Counselor Blog entitled: "Your 3 Words". You can read her post on the lesson here. This was originally modified from the "Your 3 Words" effort on Good Morning America where people were allotted three words to make a lasting impression. I thought that this would be a great lesson to really get my third graders thinking!

GMA did the 3-Word Project for several years, so there are lots of great YouTube clips out there! Here's one of the ones I shared with my students:

After convincing students that they, too, could make an impression with just 3 words, they got to work. Some even did multiple!

What 3 words would you choose? :)