Every day school counselors are dealing with potential bullying incidents, as well as behaviors that are misidentified as bullying. Check out how these Confident Counselors address bullying and our favorite resources.
“When a student is referred for bullying behavior, work with them to make a solution-focused goal and then check in with them weekly to see how they are doing with their goal. Help them build their skills so they don’t rely on bullying to get what they need.” – Rebecca at Counselor Up
I’d like to recommend a book that has changed the way I look at the issue of bullying and aggression at my school. Turn on the news, listen to discussions among parents and school staff, or think of how often kids say to you, “He’s bullying me!” It seems that we’re in the middle of a bullying epidemic, doesn’t it?
It may seem that way, but we’re not.
In her book Bully Nation, Susan Eva Porter totally dismantles the widely-accepted notion that kids are under siege from bullies 24/7. While she provides a number of good reasons why we have that impression, one is so obvious that I can’t believe it never occurred to me: the definition of bullying has expanded hugely in the last ten years or so.
Bullying used to be defined as some form of coercion—forcing someone, usually smaller, to do something they didn’t want to do—often via physical force. It was pretty clear, and most people could agree if something constituted bullying or not. But in the last decade behaviors that used to be considered just plain mean or even routine kid stuff are now being called bullying. Continue reading “Bully Nation”
16 Tips for Organizing and Running Small Group Counseling
Small group counseling can be a useful and effective intervention in a school counselor’s repertoire. But, woah can they be challenging to organize and run at first. With over 100 years of practice between all of us, we figured some of our tested tips would be mighty handy as you are beginning or considering your groups. Please contribute some of your tips in the comments below so we all walk more confidently into that room of five defiant third grade boys needing some support with impulse control.
Don’t be tempted to make large group sizes in order to allow more students in a group. Think about your space, the personalities and behaviors of the students in the group and the activities planned. – Counselor Up
Get in the habit of keeping to a schedule. Time can slip away, so be sure to budget your time wisely! Prioritize! — Counselor Traci R. Brown
Everything Has Its Place
Print, laminate, and organize all materials you think you will need during the first semester. When things get hectic, you’ll feel prepared knowing those materials are ready to go! — Keri, Counselor Keri
As much as I hate spending a summer day (or two) at school prepping, I always feel better starting the year with all of my new supplies & office in order. Permission slips and bulletin boards for new students groups are done before the kids start. Being organized allows me to be available for student issues those first few days — Gretchen, Speckled Moose Counseling
Create caseload list and “frequent fliers”. Organize it by grade/class and issue (e.g., emotional regulation, anxiety, study skills, social skills). This is your jumping off point for creating your first round of counseling groups — Laurie Mendoza,School Counseling Files
I have craft activities that go along with lessons, but it is a ton of prep work. I have found kids LOVE to help, especially 6th grade girls! Kids sign up to be on the The Helper Squad. They are eager to help and it makes them feel good doing a service for others. Some of my favorite times are being with these kids helping me prepare something fun to add to my lesson — Jodi, The School Counselor Is In
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.
Ultimate List of School Counselor Supplies. Definitely bookmark this one.
Toys & Games
Classical children’s games can be adapted easily for counseling. There are a ton of blog posts and TPT Products for just this purpose. For some beginning ideas, check out Carol Miller, The Middle School Counselor’s post about using games in school counseling, and Marissa over at Elementary School Counseling’s ideas about creating your own. It can be as simple as giving a strategy when you get an orange card in Candy Land™, use positive self-talk when you go down a chute in Chutes and Ladders™ or get skipped in Uno™.
Typical games like Operation™, Jenga™, or Pickup Sticks can be used to work on impulse control. Jenga is the ultimate chameleon counseling game. Perfect for an intro small group activity where students say something about themselves each time they pull out a block. Check out these great products on TPT to bring your Jenga game up a notch.
For Younger Students
It is important to consider that younger students need games with little or no reading and simple directions. Definitely pick up Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. For groups, also consider Zingo™, Don’t Break the Ice™ or Honey Bee Tree™. Younger groups love playing these games cooperatively and they are fast paced enough to keep them engaged.
Confident Counselors Connection has come on the scene. It is a monthly round up of resources, products, best practices, articles, comic relief, blog posts, giveaways, and ideas in action.
You know that so often in our schools, we are all alone in our jobs without a collaborative professional community. PD sessions are often not designed for us, the weekly email from the principal is meant for the teachers, and we are spending hours trying to figure out how to do our jobs better.
Once upon a time, there were some school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and other awesome school superheroes spending a lot of time by themselves making resources, giving advice to colleagues, consulting with school staff, and scouring the internet for the latest and greatest things to help our schools and students. Through the magic of the internet, we found ourselves reaching past our schools, and sharing this knowledge in our own online stores, on Facebook groups, and in Twitter chats. Soon we were answering questions, asking questions, and sharing with people all over the globe. One of us has even published a book (two books, actually)! We will get to our individual accolades as we get to know each other. Bragging isn’t something school counselors do.