Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Promoting Academic Success with 4th & 5th Graders

4th grade

To convey the importance of listening and how it contributes to academic success, students played the Listening Game. Students were given cards with information on them that they could not share with their classmates. They were then given three directions: read the directions carefully and accurately, pay attention to what everyone else in the room does, and be confident in your ability to do what is asked. The first time students sat confused, not knowing what to do, and if they did get started with their task, several students would start doing what their card asked and make errors. I then allowed students to ask me up to 4 questions, this allowed them to have a better understanding of the task and what was required of them. Again, most classes made errors and were unsuccessful in completing the task. For the third try, I allowed to students to share with their table mates what their card said to keep them accountable to each other and to help each other out. After this attempt, it was almost certain that they were able to successfully complete the task and they then requested to do it again because of how much fun they were having.

At the end of the activity, I asked students if they were all capable of doing what was asked of them (YES!). I then reminded them that through the combination of: reading the directions carefully, understanding what was asked of them, being confident in their own abilities, asking questions for clarification, and relying on each other as support they were able to do the task successfully. I then said, how many of us have made mistakes or gotten a question or two wrong on an assignment because of careless errors (almost all raised their hands). I then told them that this activity was to remind them of all the important things they need to do to be successful with different activities they complete.

5th grade

To begin the activity, I asked "What does stress had to do with academic success?" students then shared if you are stressed they you aren't going to do a good job on your assignments. I then asked "Is it ok to be stressed?" the answer was yes and it's what you do about it that matters most! I then shared that we all experience stress from time to time and the better able we are at coping and handling it now, the better we will be able to handle it in the future. I then distributed copies of The Stress Cycle for them to complete while we read a packet I created that included pages from Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves where students learned: stresses job description, causes of stress, gauging their own stress level, how a little bit of stress can be helpful/motivating, what to do when feeling stressed, and daily ways to keep stress at bay. Students were able to see that it's ok to feel stressed but when their body tells them they are getting stressed/symptoms of stress (sweaty palms, heart racing, headache, feeling hot, tight muscles, etc.) they need to do something to help them calm down and use positive coping strategies to work through it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

3rd grade Learning Styles

I recently completed a 3rd grade classroom guidance lesson where we discussed and identified learning styles. We first discussed the connection between learning styles and academic success. I asked the students, "Do you ever spend time studying and for whatever reason feel like the information sometimes just doesn't stick? If so then maybe you aren't using your learning style to help you remember the information." The students watched a Streamline video clip called, Everyone Learns in a Different Way. We identified the three main learning styles, what they mean, and examples from each. We then played a game from the Small Group Counseling for Children (grades 2-5) book where students heard questions and selected one of the three answers that was most like them: the eye card (visual learner), ear card (auditory learner), or hand card (kinesthetic learner). At the end of the activity whichever card they had the most of was their identified learning style. Students then completed an activity sheet I made for them where they circled their learning style and two or three strategies they would use the next time they were trying to learn/remember new information.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Career Day 2012

Friday was Career Day from 8-11 where we had over 45 presenters share their career with CD-5th grade students. Each presenter was assigned to a classroom and classes did five rotations of twenty minute presentations with ten minute breaks/transition time between each. After the 5th presentation students went outside for the 'vehicle loop' where they got to see different vehicles the presenters brought, including: a fire truck, electric company bucket truck, hot rod car, police car, undercover car, etc. All presenters wore their work uniform and shared visuals, tools, and did hands-on activities that were developmentally and age appropriate. A lot of the presenters were parents of students at the school but many were also community members that agreed to come and share information with students about their job; including, a local meteorologist and the minor league baseball team. In the afternoon students wrote thank you cards and completed other career activities that were provided for them. It's a wonderful day that the students look forward to each year that allows them to see the connection between school and the world of work. Career day is one of the main events coordinated by the school counselors each year that exposes and educates students on different jobs.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

K-2 Career Lesson

In preparation for Career Day (which was yesterday, went fabulously, and I'll blog more about soon), my wonderful and dynamic co-counselor Cassandra did a rotation of classroom lessons with the kinder-2nd graders on career awareness. To do this in a developmentally appropriate, introductory, and fun way- she read the story The Berenstain Bears on the Job and talked with students about key words/concepts, including: job, career, what their job is (going to school), and tools used for different jobs. To introduce students (and enhance career awareness/exposure- what elementary school is all about) to different jobs, she then played the game Guess What I Am. First she modeled how to play by holding a card up to her face and having students share words/clues about the job to have her guess what the job was. For example, if she held up the card that showed she was a teacher, hints might be: students, pencil, classroom, math, etc. After students understood how to play she called up students one at a time to hold the cards up and have peers give hints for them to guess what they were. Students loved this interactive activity where they had the chance to learn and discuss different jobs. At the end of the activity, students received a copy of an activity sheet called 'When I Grow Up' from the Jumbo Book of Preschool Activities where they got to identify different jobs and draw a picture of what they would like to be when they grow up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Health/Wellness with Juice Plus+

Over the years, the one motto I've tried to remember and actively live by as a counselor is, "You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself first." In this profession (along with anything else), it's very easy to get burned out. When trying to manage/juggle multiple things it can be VERY difficult to: take time for yourself, relax, enjoy the moment, exercise, and of course eat health. For me, the past few years have been quite chaotic, so what's one way I've tried to follow the motto? by taking Juice Plus+! I'm not one to endorse or 'advertise' anything and I'm certainly not a sales person- but when you find something that's heavily research supported, great for your health, and works well for you, you can't help but want to share it with everyone!

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Do you get the daily recommended 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables?

Do you eat a VARIETY of fruits and vegetables?

Can you get a variety of 7-13 servings of organic fruits and vegetables for under $1.50 a day?

Chances are you answered NO to at least one of these questions and Juice Plus+ is the answer! Some of the published clinical research on Juice Plus+ has already found that:

Juice Plus+ delivers key antioxidants and other phytonutrients that are absorbed by the body
reduces oxidative stress
reduces key biomarkers of systemic inflammation
supports a healthy immune system
helps protect DNA
supports cardiovascular wellness
supports healthy skin

Clinical research currently underway includes:

Pregnancy health
Nutritional status and various markers of cell health
Nutritional status and quality of life
Periodontal (gum) health
Healthy healing from wisdom tooth extraction
Markers of oxidation in healthy adults

The bottom line is "After looking at all the research done on Juice Plus+, there is nothing else available any place in the world, with or without a prescription, that has been shown to do all these things in the human body." - Richard DuBois MD

Let me know if you're interested in signing up for the Juice Plus+ Effect Program where you can receive $50 worth of free product. You can also have your child participate in the Children's Health Study where they receive 3 years of the product for FREE!!!

For more information, click here or visit http://drisom4juiceplus.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Classroom Mgmt./Teacher Support

Collaboration with teachers is such a vital part of what a school counselor does. One way I like to collaborate is by being in the classroom (beyond classroom guidance lessons) and doing activities that support the teacher and the students. Having classroom meetings is one effective way to build collaboration with the teacher, students, and develop classroom structure. Classroom meetings can be beneficial in teaching students how to work better together (conflict resolution) and develop unity/a positive working relationship. Before winter break, I had the opportunity to facilitate classroom meetings (10 total) for 30 minutes each morning in an upper elementary classroom that was having some difficulty with behavior and following directions. During these morning meetings we did activities on conflict resolution, compliments (the different types, giving/receiving), listening skills, and behavior/consequences. It was so nice to work closely with the teacher, develop a stronger working relationship with the students, and see how they (students and teacher) enhanced their relationship with each other. How do you provide support to teachers that are new or are in need of behavioral/climate assistance?

Check out some of the classroom management resources I use in my store under 'teacher resources!'