Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let Me Introduce Myself

As I approach the start of a new school year I am reminded of the importance of introducing my role as the school counselor to staff, parents, and students.  For staff I simply take a few minutes from our first staff meeting of the school year to remind them about guidance procedures, review mandated reporting expectations and procedures, and also to share any new and exciting projects I plan to try during the year.  For parents I send home a brochure describing my role, guidance procedures, and how to contact me as well as monthly newsletters with reminders.  For students I take on this task during our first guidance lesson during the month of August.  I visit each and every classroom ASAP to introduce myself, discuss classroom guidance expectations, and review the concept of bucket filling. 

If you are like me you may have scoured the internet for fun and fresh ideas in how to introduce the somewhat complex role of the school counselor to students to create engaging lessons.  One concept I came across time and again is "the bag of tricks" in varying styles including the beach bum tote, hair stylist tool bag, first aid kit, a bag of hats, etc.  You bring your chosen "bag of tricks" to the classroom and pull out items one by one and relate them to your role.  For example, "The school counselor is like a beach towel as we are their to dry your tears and help you learn ways to feel better" or "The school counselor is like hair spray as we can help you learn to control your feelings when you become very angry so you can handle them in OK ways." 

While I love the idea of this, I dislike storing multiple bags of tricks and finding the items to fill them up.  Also I have made it my goal to make use of the wonderful technology my school has to offer:  ActivInspire on the Promethean Board.  So I combined the old bag of tricks idea and the Promethean technology to come up with some fresh lessons for my students.  I do not repeat lessons in different grades so each grade has their own counselor role introduction.  I'd like to share two of them with you today that may help get your technological creative juices flowing on how to use "old school" ideas with today's technology.

For third grade I incorporated a beach bum reference in my lesson.  I used free clipart from to create my beach tote and items.  I "locked" the tote on the page and "hid" my beach items behind it.  I call on students to "drag" items out of the bag and we discuss each one by one.  The students have a blast guessing what the items are used for and they often come up with better analogies than me.  Here is a screen shot of the page with the items and the tote:
For fourth grade I incorporated a hair stylist reference in my lesson.  Using the same concept and methods as the beach bum lessons I created my lesson with a hair stylist's tool bag and tools.  Here is a screen shot of the page with the tools and the tote:

I am still learning how to use all the features in ActivInspire so I can make my lessons more interactive and engaging.  I would love to hear from you if you utilize Promethean Board technology in your classroom guidance lessons.  Like most school counselors, I am always on the hunt for fresh ideas.  Please leave a comment to share you ideas.