Friday, March 30, 2012

4th & 5th grade musical TeSt PrEp!

I had the opportunity to collaborate with my friend and colleague Jenny, the music teacher at my school, to rewrite some popular songs (making them about testing), record her singing them, and both of us cover them during classroom guidance/music. The 4th grade song was the Lazy Song originally by Bruno Mars and 5th grade sang Test Time Baby , originally Ice Ice Baby from Vanilla Ice. :) Music is a great way to help students remember key points of testing (and other important concepts) in a fun and catchy way! I so enjoyed collaborating with the music teacher and look forward to doing it again in the future.

During classroom guidance, 4th graders also did a skit about test taking from Skits, Raps, & Poems for the School Counselor. 5th grade completed the activity Keys to Success from Puzzle Pieces: Classroom Guidance Connection K-5 where emphasis was placed on following directions, concentrating, and thinking before making a selection. Even though covering testing strategies isn't the most exhilarating topic, by introducing material in a fun and engaging way, students (and the counselor) wont shudder when the words 'Today we're going to talk about test taking strageties' come up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Test StReSs First Aid w/ 3rd grade!

With testing season upon us, and the 3rd graders experiencing state testing for the first time, I introduced them to my 'Test Stress First Aid Kit' created using Puzzle Pieces: Classroom Guidance Connection K-5. In this activity, students identified different items within the first aid kit that they can use to help them be successful at taking tests; items included: a picture of an island (positive thoughts/happy memories), a pair of glasses (have all your tools with you, look at the teacher/follow along/don't move ahead), a stethoscope (listen to the teacher/directions), pencils (be prepared, use number 2 pencils that are provided), alarm clock (get to school on time, take your time), plastic food items (eat a healthy breakfast), ice pack (chill out, keep your cool), a pillow (get a good nights sleep), a stress ball (don't stress/relaxation techniques), and a picture of a brain (think about the answers, process of elimination). Using visuals is a great way to keep students engaged and to use various learning styles to help them remember what we discussed. At the end of the lesson we sang "Don't Worry Be Happy" with the words rearranged about testing. The words were obtained from the ASCA listserve and the music was provided by my counseling friend, Deanna that collaborated with a teacher to sing/record the music.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

K-2 Friendship

K-2 students have just completed a guidance rotation on friendship. First they discussed what it means to be a friend and how they are friendly to others. They then read a story about friendship (below are the books read to each grade level) and as a reflection discussed and participated in the activity, Words that Help or Hurt Friendships from the Creative Small Groups for Grades K-5 activity book.

Books on Friendship:

K- How to be a Friend

2nd grade- Enemy Pie

Enemy Pie is also available online with graphics at!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

4th & 5th grade Friendship

4th graders learned the do's and don'ts regarding apologies and how to give a sincere apology from the book Sorry by Trudy Ludwig. In this activity, students discussed the importance of apologies, how to give and receive one, and how actions speak louder than words-showing someone your sorry rather than just saying it. Discussion questions and extension activities were used from the book, That's My Story Too! In this activity students also had the opportunity to share their likes with classmates to build relationships. They also identified qualities they look for in a friend and qualities they possess that make them a good friend.

5th grades participated in a discussion on friendship/peer relationships and did a skit from the book, Skits, Raps, and Poems For the School Counselor. In this activity, students discussed the difficulty in getting along with others, what kinds of problems they have with friends, and the different ways they attempt to resolve their conflicts. In the skit, extreme behaviors/personalities are presented that are sometimes present in friendship issues: aggression, tattling, jealousy/control, talkative, and low self-esteem/confidence. As a reflection, students had the opportunity to share how they would handle different situations where friends (or themselves) felt or displayed these adverse behaviors.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

3rd grade recipe for friends

A great book to read with 3rd graders on friendship is What's the Recipe for Friends? by Greg Williamson. Just like a recipe for a cake or pie needs the right ingredients to taste good, a friendship needs the right ingredients too. After sharing ingredients that make a cake (flour, sugar, butter, etc.) students were asked what ingredients are needed in a friendship (politeness, kindness, sharing, etc.). There are ingredients that can be added to much or that shouldn't be added at all that can spoil a recipe. Students had the opportunity to discuss ingredients/components that would make a cake and a friendship spoiled and/or ruined. After reading the story, students created their own recipe from the book Spectacular Guidance Activities for Kids. Students were able to identify many qualities that are needed for a friendship to be successful and were able to see that we all focus on different components/qualities in our friendships, and that's ok too! It's also important to emphasis to students that we can't expect from others, what we're not willing to give ourselves. It's a great reflective piece to have students think about what they can do to enhance their friendships.

Friday, March 2, 2012

4th & 5th grade Career Awareness

4th grade

To enhance awareness of different occupations while identifying individual skills, interests, and abilities, 4th graders completed a career scavenger hunt from the book Making the Link: Helping Children Link School Habits with the World of Work (grades 2-5), where they asked questions of peers i.e. Does someone in your family work in a career that works with cars? Do you think good behavior is important in a career? Can you think of three careers you might want to have when you grow up? After allowing time to interview peers, we went through each item and students shared their interests. This activity was a great way for students to positively interact with each other while exploring careers and making the connection between school and the world of work.

5th grade

In 5th grade, I used my National Board lesson to present to students key terms; including, job, job description, career path, and career cluster. After learning about these key terms, students completed a group activity where they read a career path, identified the different jobs that individual had, what all those jobs had in common, and the career cluster of that job. Students then applied this knowledge to themselves by identifying the things they are doing now to help prepare for a future job (getting to school on time, wearing appropriate clothing, doing their personal best, working well with others, etc.) and what their interests are to determine what careers they might like to have based on interests, skills, and abilities. Exploring career clusters is a great way to introduce terms and language that will be used in middle school, where they will spend more time on interest inventories, participating in a career class/exploratory, and later participation in Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) conferences to determine course of study based on future interests and goals.