We at Confident Counselors are a thrifty bunch and love nothing better than to find new counseling activities that incorporate items we already have on hand. Last time I wrote about 5 Ways to Use Toilet Paper Tubes; this time I’m going to share ideas for using something you almost definitely have in your desk drawer: index cards.
Set up a Worry Board in your office. Students write their biggest worry or problem of the week on an index card, write their name or initials on the other side, then hang it (worry side down for privacy) on the board. The bigger the worry, the higher they should place the card. Then next week, they check their worry to see if they still have it and, if so, whether it’s gotten bigger or smaller. You can read more here: http://www.schoolcounselingfiles.com/worry-board.html.
Make a micro-book. What kid doesn’t love tiny books? Deana at Primary Punch has her students make books about non-fiction topics, but you could use this idea for all kinds of counseling-related topics: My Family, Three Wishes, or My Zones of Regulation.
Growth Mindest Magic
Use this “magic” trick to demonstrate creative problem-solving or growth mindset. Challenge students to find a way to cut an index card so that it can fit over their heads (or even their bodies, if they’re little kids!) while keeping it in one piece. Watch this video to learn the secret method.
Give kids power cards. If you’ve used social stories before, get ready to love power cards. Power cards are portable visual reminders about concepts or strategies you want kids to remember once they leave your office. They can travel from class to class with the student, and they allow other staff to provide cues simply by pointing to the cards instead of talking at the child. Find a theme that resonates with him or her and you’re golden. For example, my first attempt at making power cards was these Worry Ninja Power Cards, which I’m still using with my anxious kids four years later.
Keep a smile file. We all have those days when we wonder why on earth we ever thought we could do this job or can’t remember why we even wanted to. On those days, wouldn’t it be nice to flip through your box of sweet, funny, or otherwise uplifting school counseling memories? When something happens during the course of a day that makes you laugh or love your students or your job, jot it down on an index card and put it in a box. The Helpful Counselor has a super blog post about it.
Do You Use Index Cards in Your Counseling Activities?
Laurie Mendoza, MA, CAGS has been a certified elementary school counselor in Massachusetts since 1999. Prior to that she was a children’s outpatient clinician for 7 years.