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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Board Games ... Part 1

So I know board games are not the most creative thing in the world for me to blog about, but let's be honest kids love them so I use them at school frequently to teach different skills! So I thought I would do a mini-series of blog posts about some of my favorite board games that I use with students. I would just like to preface this with a side-note that as with everything I and you use in your office things need to be modified and adapted to fit your needs, nothing is perfect! I am not reviewing these board games in any particular order, instead I chose Blunders because I just played it on Friday afternoon at school!
Current version of the game

Blunders is a board game about manners and is based on the family the Blunder's, Billy, Brenda, Bobby and Becky Blunder to be specific! I assign each student a member of the Blunder family as their playing piece (there is a little booklet in the game that tells you some background on each of the 4 kids, as well as their age) and ask them to find start. As the students travel through the game board I pose them with questions from 3 different categories: Home, Dine and Play depending on the spot they land on. The questions are either multiple choice, scenario or charades. I sometimes give the multiple choice options to my students depending on whether or not I think they could answer the question on their own. I do tend to always share the multiple choice options afterwards though because there tends to always be one option that is very funny/off the wall that makes the students laugh!

The Dine cards sometimes use some of the Table Setting Cards (fork, spoon, knife, main course plate, glass, etc.) to help teach students proper manners for setting the table. Although, this is not something they need to do in school I think it is always helpful to expose students to it because let's be honest it is not something we always use on a regular basis these days. Don't worry they provide an example of a 'proper' table setting for you to refer to in case you forget some of the answers too!

I think the most helpful part of this game are the charade questions because the students need to act out the situations they are provided. Some of the ones that stand out in my mind are answering the door at home and greeting someone and answering the phone at home when/if mom or dad is not available (in the shower I think is the example on the card). Although these may seem very basic to you I find they are not and that is why these 2 stand out in my mind because students tend to struggle with some of these concepts! It is always most helpful and interesting when students need to act something out instead of verbally just telling you an answer!
This is an older version of the game board that I own and use. Purple spaces are Dine questions, Orange are Home questions and Green are Play questions. 

According to the Patch Products website the board game focuses on the following:

  • Table Manners
  • Host and Guest Skills
  • Confident Introductions
  • Respect and Kindness
  • Telephone Manners
  • School Etiquette
  • Electronic Etiquette (this is not in my version, but once again I have an older version of this game. I think this is a great addition though!)
  • Honesty and Responsibility

     One of the best parts about this game is the price!! It retails for $24.99 and I have even seen it as low as $19.99; but either way that is so much lower than many of the other games that I use in my office that are easily $50.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy National School Counselor Week!

I would like to take a moment to wish all of the school counselors a Happy National School Counselor Week! Up here in Massachusetts we actually have a snow day today (looks like another foot on top of the 2-3 feet we got last week!), but what is everyone else doing to celebrate National School Counseling Week at your schools? Is it a big event at your school or is it something that you just mention to your fellow school counselors?

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Self-Esteem Self Portaits
I tend to run a lot of girls groups or self-esteem groups throughout the school year. I generally try to gear the groups towards the girls interest, so if they are into art, drawing or coloring I always do my Self-Portrait activity. This lesson comes from the book Girls in Real Life Situations (G.I.R.L.S.) Grades K-5 that also comes with a CD for the printables.

During this activity I tell the girls we are going to make a self-portrait, but we are not actually going to draw ourselves. Instead, we are going to draw all the things that make us who we are such as your favorite things, your interests, your personality - everything that makes you YOU! This activity generally takes 2-3 group meetings. During the first group time I brainstorm with each girl individually, although the others generally help by sharing positive attributes about each other. Once the girls have a list of things they are gong to draw I get out the colored pencils, markers and crayons and let the girls go at it!

As you can see from mine, I drew the sports logos for my local sports teams because I am a huge sports fan. I also drew the beach down at the bottom because that is where I like to spend time reading during the summer.  I drew a paint palette because I like to paint, do arts and crafts and design. I also drew a school (well attempted to at least!) and an ear for being a good listener. I drew a smiling face because I love to laugh and interact with people, a person running and some shoes. I tell the girls that I would prefer if they use as little words as possible when creating their masterpiece. 

Once the girls are done I mount their Self-Portraits on construction paper and I have them present their drawing to the other group members. I like to have them explain the background or importance of each one of their symbols or drawings.

This activity also works for boys, but I find it is usually one of the girls favorites. I have done this lesson with girls in grades 3 through 6, however it will also work for students in other grade levels.
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Office for the 2014 - 2015 School Year!

That feeling you get when your room is finally finished and ready for the first day of school is priceless! After spending many days at school getting my room set-up and catching up with other teachers around the school doing the same I am ready for the first day of school on Tuesday!

I change up the color scheme in my office every year, it sort of gives me a fresh start each year! This year I used the Black, White & Bold border collection as my theme.  Below are some pictures from my office and a bit of information if you are looking for similar items. I would love to see pictures of your offices too! Please post them on my Facebook page so everyone can get lots of inspiration!

 View from the hallway

 My Where is the Counselor sign is available on my TpT store in many different colors and both chevron and polka dot options. The kids love changing the arrow when they come and go and it is also extremely helpful so others know where I am when I am not in my office (which is often!).


As You Walk in My Office

I bought a chevron rug to add some color when you walk and and made yellow and white polka dot curtains as well! I like to keep storage ottomans in front of my desk for extra seating and storage.

 Student Table Area

 The signs on the storage cabinet are free printables students can color from Doodle Art Alley. The confidentiality sign above the whiteboard is available on my TpT store in many different colors and designs.

 Student Supply Area

 I have all sorts of supplies and items to use with students. I put most things in labeled bins so items are easily found. Some of the essentials that I keep on the top shelf are: tissues, pencil sharpener, worry stones, Find It!, Get to Know You Jenga, Totika, Mind Jars, lunch bunch essentials (Purel, Lysol wipes, forks, spoons, knives and napkins), white paper and coloring sheets and my Popsicle Sentences and What's Bugging You Jars. I also have a lot of games and activities from Super Duper and ChildWork ChildPlay. And of course I have a large bin full of different thumb balls that use in lunch bunches and small groups.

Bulletin Boards

 These 2 bulletin boards are across from the student tables. My BE Bulletin board was inspired by a fellow school counselor last year. The other is full of FREE printables from one of my favorite non-counselor blogs - Technology Rocks. Seriously.

My Desk Area

An item that I have that is a little bit different is a Scentsy warmer, it uses wax cubes and a light-bulb and it provides some yummy scents throughout the school day. All those lunch bunches and different food items can get a little smelly after awhile and it helps to just make my office more inviting!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Where Is The Classroom door sign

I have created teacher versions of my 'Where is the Counselor' sign - so now they are 'Where is the Classroom' signs!! Just like school counselors teachers and their students are not always in their rooms either; sometimes they are at specials, in the cafeteria or outside learning. These classroom door signs enable teachers to let other teachers and students find their class throughout the building.
As always, if you need different locations on for your sign please just let me know ahead of time and I will create a sign for you to purchase and download from TpT.

Where is the classroom? sign

Today only TpT is having a Back to School sale, so if you enter the code BOOST at checkout you can save an additional 10%!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Counseling in Session

I created some 8.5" x 11" signs that say "Counseling In Session" that you can hang on your door to let students and staff know when you are not available. The signs are only $2.00 on my Teachers pay Teachers store. I suggest laminating it after printing so it lasts for many years.
I created them to go with many of the colors schemes already available on TpT, but as always if you need something specific for your office, just let me know and I will create something for you!

Enjoy your last few days of summer!! Pin It