How We Invalidate Children’s Feelings Without Realizing It

Have you ever been really frustrated and been told to “just get over it?” Did that statement to “suck it up” really help you move past your frustration or just infuriate you even more? What about when you said you felt a particular way and someone pitied you, ignored you, refuted your feelings, or pepperedContinue reading “How We Invalidate Children’s Feelings Without Realizing It”

Study Skills Jeopardy Game for Students

Testing season is upon us, and I wanted to share a lesson on helping students learn skills that will help them feel calm and confident before and during a test.  I could easily go on a tangent about the validity and relevance of the tests our students take, but instead, I’ll just give you supportContinue reading “Study Skills Jeopardy Game for Students”

How Do You Help a Child Who Is Grieving?

Counseling grief is difficult because you can’t fix what’s wrong.  You can’t bring back the dead or break a parent out of jail,  bring a brother back from active military, or sober up a child’s mother and make her come back to the family.  Children have little control over their environment, and yet they haveContinue reading “How Do You Help a Child Who Is Grieving?”

I Wish All School Counselors Did This Too

I want parents to feel like we’re a team, a village, raising their children together.  I don’t want the first time I communicate with a parent to be because their kid is having trouble.  I know that a lot of counselors send out generic monthly newsletters, but I thought about what I would want fromContinue reading “I Wish All School Counselors Did This Too”

How to Sell the Love of Learning and Get Them to Buy

How many teachers complain that their students don’t want to be in school?  Most?  What if we could change the way students value learning?  Maria Montessori said that “The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”  I happen to agree with Maria.  I want to createContinue reading “How to Sell the Love of Learning and Get Them to Buy”

7 Things School Counselors Want You to Know About Their Work

Movements such as #CounselorsNotCops have garnered a lot of attention in recent months as the public becomes more aware of the role school counselors play in supporting students and preventing violence in schools. Below is a list of things that school counselors wish the public knew about their work. School counseling is not the sameContinue reading “7 Things School Counselors Want You to Know About Their Work”

Tired of fighting? Teach Kids How To Cooperate

I love that I have the opportunity to teach kids how to get along with one another.  What a gift!  This free lesson plan for cooperation can be adapted from 5th grade up through high school aged students and beyond.  I’ll keep this post short because the bulk of the information about the lesson isContinue reading “Tired of fighting? Teach Kids How To Cooperate”

How To Get Students to Stop Asking: ‘Is This for a Grade?’

“Test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is, but they don’t tell you where a student could end up.” –Carol Dweck Am I the only one who cringes when a student asks, “Is this for a grade?” I don’t think it’s not their fault. We have built a system where kidsContinue reading “How To Get Students to Stop Asking: ‘Is This for a Grade?’”

This Is Why We Teach Kids How To Dream

“Fear and lack of imagination choke your dreams so that you already know on the day that you’re born just where you’ll die and who it is that’ll bury you.” -Barack Obama I keep going back to the notion that we don’t know what we don’t know. I taught a lesson this week about perseveranceContinue reading “This Is Why We Teach Kids How To Dream”

Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Self-Control

Learning to regulate emotions can be challenging for many students, but it is a critical component of development and one that can be taught in fun and interesting ways. Below are a few techniques to help your students develop these critical skills. USE BOOKS AS EXAMPLES I love starting a lesson with a story and Clark the SharkContinue reading “Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Self-Control”

When Should a Parent Let Their Kid Quit?

Parents regularly seek out my advice on how to handle a truly complex and sometimes serious issue; when should they let their student quit? The American culture of “dig in” and “stick with it” can leave parents fighting an intense battle with their child about work ethic and commitment. What happens when the child hasContinue reading “When Should a Parent Let Their Kid Quit?”

What Are the Best Strategies to Keep You From Burning Out?

If you’re one of the helpers out there who constantly cares for others before caring for yourself, you know you have to stop or you will burn out.  Despite the fact that we have all been trained in the importance of self-care, we get caught up in the craziness of our work and forget (literallyContinue reading “What Are the Best Strategies to Keep You From Burning Out?”

Do Social and Emotional Programs Really Work?

If you’ve been in the school counseling field for any length of time, you know the importance of social and emotional development. You understand that a kid who is flipping a desk cannot possibility learn math in that moment and those executive functioning skills must be taught first. But how can only one person, theContinue reading “Do Social and Emotional Programs Really Work?”

I Used Mindfulness in a Classroom Lesson and This is How It Went

I have been practicing mindfulness for a little over two years now and have discovered that through this daily practice, I’ve trained my brain to be more in tune with the world and have learned to focus my attention better throughout the day.  I’ve realized that I’m more resilient and able to bounce back fromContinue reading “I Used Mindfulness in a Classroom Lesson and This is How It Went”

Worried About Your Kids Online? This Can Help

I was recently asked to speak to parents about online safety for kids and after reading the first safety article in my research, I felt compelled to crawl into the fetal position; the internet can be a scary place for kids. Let’s get the scary stuff out of the way first: online predators, identity thieves,Continue reading “Worried About Your Kids Online? This Can Help”

Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Free Lesson Plans

I firmly believe in the notion of working smarter, not harder, which is why I was so excited when I stumbled across The NED Show a character education program that provides a number of FREE lesson plans that you can print right from your computer.  The list of lesson topics includes many of the sameContinue reading “Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Free Lesson Plans”

When You Feel Paralyzed by Fear

You’ll hear time and again from successful people that if they’d comprehended how truly unprepared they were for the journeys they were attempting, the fear would’ve paralyzed them and they’d have never been brave enough to begin. “I did have one element necessary to all early creativity; naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you fromContinue reading “When You Feel Paralyzed by Fear”

More Than Acceptance, Embracing Weaknesses

Instead of eliminating our shortcomings or perceived deficits, how do we instead use our “weaknesses” to our advantage?  The College Foundation of North Carolina created a short career interest survey to help elementary aged students find their area of interest broken down into six easy to understand categories.   My brain went into overdrive whenContinue reading “More Than Acceptance, Embracing Weaknesses”

Erin’s Law: A Personal Body Safety Lesson

We teach kids the importance of wearing seatbelts, helmets, and the consequences of hot objects, but until recently we hadn’t taught kids how to protect themselves against sexual abuse.  According to Rainn, in a school of 1,000 students, 98  (1:6 girls and 1:33 boys) will likely be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Fortunately, my home state,Continue reading “Erin’s Law: A Personal Body Safety Lesson”

Are You Busy Or Just Unfocused? How to Regain Control

This saucy, (but accurate) quote from Tim Ferriss keeps bouncing around in my head as I sit here working to prioritize my goals for the next few months, “Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.  Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important butContinue reading “Are You Busy Or Just Unfocused? How to Regain Control”

The Power of Yet: A Free School Counseling Lesson

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”  -Albert Einstein Teaching growth mindset to students is fundamental to ensure their educational success.  Students must understand that in order to reach our goals, we must step out of our comfort zone and try tasks that are just beyond our abilityContinue reading “The Power of Yet: A Free School Counseling Lesson”

Calm Down Corners & Break Cards: What You Need to Know

Do our students need a break just as much as we do? You can bet on it. Students need the ability to remove themselves from difficult or negative situations.  As adults, we might take a walk or feign some excuse to get out of a bad situation, but in the traditional model of education, aContinue reading “Calm Down Corners & Break Cards: What You Need to Know”

Wondering If What You do Matters? This Pep Talk Is For You

THE PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD SEEM BIG…REALLY BIG If we consider all that’s wrong with the world and all the work we have to do to get our students where they need to be in order to become functional members of society, we will become overwhelmed at the gargantuan task before us. There are momentsContinue reading “Wondering If What You do Matters? This Pep Talk Is For You”

This Trick Can Help You Reach All of Your Students Every Single Day

If your goal is to impact an entire school, which it is, then you need to use layers of support and connection.  On a good day, a school counselor might be able to individually meet with 15 to 20 kids, but in a school of 800 students, that would be leaving 780 kids without accessContinue reading “This Trick Can Help You Reach All of Your Students Every Single Day”