To give you an idea, here are the groups that I typically ran:
- Fall Groups
- Winter Groups
- Spring Groups:
I am so excited to be over on Confident Counselors talking about how I make groups work. I even included a list of all the groups I run and how I organize my time.
To give you an idea, here are the groups that I typically ran:
Best laid plans, right? Sometimes being a school counselor feels like 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Your brain is full of ideas and ways that you can support your students but the many demands on your time, extra duties, and never ending fires to put out can leave you feeling like you're not even sure where you spent your energy. What if I told you that there exists something that can help with that? Something you've heard of before but may have dismissed as "too much?" I believe that the ASCA National Model is the real problem solver for school counselors. That's why I'm so excited to speak at NCSCA's Summer Academy about taking a realistic approach to the National Model.
Here's some of the problems we will be solving:
Sound familiar?!?! Can I get a high five?
To the Rescue!
Guess what? Instead of these being these being the reasons your can't do the ASCA National Model - these are the problems that you can solve with the model. I know! This is some good stuff. So here are the goods: My presentation AND the super,amazing, awesome handouts I created to support your work. And guess what? We never even say the word template.
So what's your plan for problem solving? I gotta say, I think this is gonna be your year :)
Picture me doing the happy dance over here. I am so excited to share my Counselor Planner with you! Make sure to read to the end of the post for a free download!
Note: This product (and post) have been updated for the 2017-18 school year. The pages are the same but reflect the new dates!
Plan out your year long program goals on one page at the front of your planner to keep you accountable all year long!
Include your curriculum plan in your planner so that you know which lessons are coming next. There are 6 pages for a total of 66 lessons. There is plenty of room to write notes if you write on the small side. I included a few reminders in my plan. Interested in any of these lessons? Check out my K-2 Curriculum Plan and 3-5 Curriculum Plan.
I like to run a lot of groups. That's great but sometimes I get confused on who meets when and what class the kids are in. I used to make boxes like these using markers on white paper. For the planner, I've classed it up a bit and given you a spot to write who, what, where, when for all your groups!
Here comes the calendar! Each week includes a two page spread. The appointment page is on the left and the to-do list page on the right. All pages are dated by week and include a weekend box at the bottom.
Depending on the meeting, I like notes pages with lines or blank so I can sketch it out. I've included both types of pages!
The individual counseling log is super easy to keep up with. Just write the student's name, their teacher and grade, and the initial time you saw them. After that, simply place a tally next to their name so that you can track your total sessions. Saves paper and the time consuming counting.
The entire planner has lots of doodling and art areas including mandala coloring pages with quotes. Helps when you're sitting in those super long staff meetings!
I've also included the color "codable" year at a glance calendar. Color the circles to correspond to workdays, vacations, early releases, etc. Click on the photo below to download the freebie!
Go ahead and purchase the planner today so that you can start off the year organized!
Do you teach a lot of classes? In my area, more and more elementary counselors are asked to increase the number of lessons that they teach in order to find coverage for planning time. While I love teaching classroom lessons, there are many reasons why being locked into a rotation is less than ideal. In reality, it happens. How can you create meaningful activities for students without taking time away from your other services for planning?
One of my colleagues, Jaime Bierwagen, created an awesome video sharing how she used centers in her counseling lessons so she could stop planning and start playing. I loved it so much, I asked her if I could share it here with you!
If you aren't able to watch the video right now, let me recap some of the major points:
When creating stations, think about skills or strategies of social emotional learning that kids might need. What activities might allow students to practice these skills? Some ideas: Problem solving station can have puzzles and combination locks. Mindful coloring or journaling station can have drawing, coloring, and journaling activities. Social skill play incorporates board games and counseling games like feelings go fish. Creation station allows students to create something from their imagination and problem solve when their plan doesn't always work out.
When it fits well, you can create a mini-lesson station that incorporates the skills taught in the mini lesson. I could imagine reading a book about integrity and having the character ed booklet, integrity flowers, or character ed DIY posters as stations. This integrity series could last several weeks as kids get to experience many ways to understand integrity.
Check out the video to get some more ideas about planning mini-lessons! Jaime includes some great ideas for free ways to read books and incorporate technology into your lessons.
So what about you? How many lessons do you teach? Do you use centers or learning stations? I would love to hear about what works (and doesn't work) for you! Get ready to be Productive. Organized. Effective.
One of the hardest things about a job as a school counselor is juggling many different types of duties at once. I get a lot of questions about how to set up an elementary school counselor's schedule. I believe that it is really important to set a schedule early in the year so that you don't get pulled into too many things and realize it's January before you've started any groups. Sound familiar? Of course, crises and unexpected visitors of the grown up and kid kind are part of the job too. So how do you do it?
Here's how I coordinate my schedule:
1. Set a yearlong calendar with the number of classroom lessons to teach in each grade level and a plan for topics to cover.
2. Create a weekly plan with groups to run, planned meetings, and other scheduled items.
3. Allow teachers to sign up for classroom lessons in a google doc . Because you've already scheduled your groups and put those in the google doc, you won't get double booked or realize that the one time a kid is available for a group, you have a class.
4. When your schedule is done, it will look something like this. You can fill in your individual counseling, parent meetings, teacher consults and all those other things you do in the empty slots.
This has worked pretty well for me over the years. I like to be organized and know ahead of time what I am doing. The problem I fall into is having too many things scheduled. If your schedule is too full, you can't fit in enough responsive services to meet the needs in your school.
How does scheduling work for you? I am lucky enough to not be on the specialist rotation at my school. If I were, I could likely do the same scheduling routine but it would be much harder to fit everything in. Good luck in the new school year!
To read more: Calendars for Productivity and 5 Steps to a Yearlong Counseling Program.
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This post was updated May 26th, 2017.
Welcome to my blog where I talk about all things school counselor and encourage others to Counselor Up!