Monday, February 22, 2016

Coping frisbee small group lesson

One of the many reasons I love small groups is that each one has their own little personality; some groups are timid, others I cannot get to stop talking, some are sweet, while others are more headstrong. One group that I recently worked with was very competitive. They loved all things sports, and wanted to win at every game they played.

I did a lesson on coping skills to calm our bodies down. I knew this group needed it (who doesn't!), and wanted to get the point across, but still keep them interested. I have seen many lessons using paper plates (cheap, or free if they are in the cafeteria:)) and drawing faces on them.  This group wanted nothing to do with art, or drawing so I knew that lesson would not work.

Instead, I used the paper plates as frisbees! We talked about playing sports and how frustrated/upset we can feel when we lose, or when the ref calls us on a play. They could easily point out dozens of times they were mad over sports. We then talked about what WE can do (not mom/dad/coach) to calm ourselves down in order to get back to the game.


1. Discuss what coping skills are/are not.
2. Have students give their own ideas of tools they use to calm down.
3. Play BINGO  using coping skills- I made mine here: (.
4. After BINGO, have students generate THEIR best 8 strategies that they would want to use when they need to calm down.
5. Each child gets a paper plate- they divide the plate into 8 sections and write down their strategies.
6. Discuss- look for similarities and differences
7. PLAY Frisbee and have them run around- our students need to get out and play every once in a while!

This is all done in about 35 minutes, during their lunch time.

I read a great article on why play is so important, and for this group- it is imperative that they get out and run a little. I end the lunch on a high note for them, and ask them to use their strategies this week and let me know how it goes!

Hope this helps!

Running from Frisbee to Frisbee,

Your FL Chick!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Scheduling small groups

I guess it is a good thing that I have been (happily) running around so much at work, that I have neglected my blog baby! Life has been anything but calm these days, but I can't say I would wish for anything else. 

If I had a penny for every time I heard a teacher or administration say there isn't enough time, I would be a billionaire. We all know the importance of the counselor role and of social emotional learning, but sometimes it feels like there is just not enough time for small groups!

Personally, I don't feel appropriate pulling children from academic time. Most of the children that we are helping need to be in the classroom as much as possible. Before school and afterschool are times when we meet with teachers, which leaves very little wiggle room to run effective small groups. 

So when do we run these and how can they be effective?

The answer: LUNCH! 

Every day I run small groups between 11-1pm-our lunches are divided by grades (K,1/2,3/ 4,5,6).

I have part of my lunch before 11 o'clock and the rest of my lunch after 1 o'clock. This gives me some fuel to make it through without passing out, or getting "hangry". For the first lunch Bunch of the day I usually get the kids 5 to 7 minutes early so they can be the first in the lunch line and we can get them situated ASAP. Please see below for my schedule, hopefully this will help to give you some brainstorming ideas on when to have your groups!

  • Monday: 11:05-11:40, 11:40-12:10, 12:10-12:40-I "eat" lunch with the fourth fifth and sixth grade teachers. This works for two reasons: 1. I get to socialize with them, 2. I hear what is happening in their classrooms which helps me to help our kids:).
  • Tuesday: 11:05-11:40, 11:40-12:10, 12:10-12:40(teachers)
  • Wenesday:11:05-11:40, 11:40-12:10, 12:10-12:40(teachers)
  • Thursday 11:05-11:40-teachers And/or admin lunch 11:40-12:10, 12:10-12:40 small group with 4th. 
  • Friday- lunch with individual students who cannot be pulled out of academics, but need a mire substantial time with the counselor 

This is my schedule for six weeks then I will pull another group of students. I don't have more than two small groups per day because I think it is very important to spend time with the teachers each day. 

Hopefully this will get your mind moving on ways to maneuver around the lack of time in our work days!

"Time" to get moving (corny, I know),

Your Floridian Chick