Classroom guidance lessons can be tricky. You are not in each classroom frequently enough to develop consistent routines, every classroom has their own dynamic, and your lessons might be, well a bit boring. Check out tips from four Confident Counselors about how they spice up their classroom guidance lessons.
Get Them Moving
To spice up classroom guidance lessons, I try to find ways to get students out of their seats, let them move, and make interactive games out of our lesson topics.
Any time I see versatile supplies like cones or buckets on sale, I grab those to turn into counseling games. Using supplies like this, pretty much any question and answer activity can be turned into a relay!
We do a lot of centers as well. Centers help students practice cooperation skills while completing time-limited activities. I find that time-limited centers result in higher engagement and more on-task behaviors during skill practice time!
I get bored easily, especially doing the same lesson over and over again. To keep my sanity, I have to include a variety of elements to break up the lesson.
I almost always start off with a quick video clip on the topic of the day to hook the students. Next, I usually show a powerpoint (with sounds and clipart always) that often includes links to other short video clips between the text. I always include some sort of craft or mindful coloring element that students can do either individually or with a group following our discussion.
Flipbooks are one of my favorite crafts and can be sent home as a reminder of the lesson. It never hurts to splash in some spa music while they are working independently. I have found that this calms them and is an excellent way to keep everyone on task. The music also helps with classroom management because I use it as a reward for good behavior.
Behavior Cards & Silly Outfits
Towards the second half of the year, students can start to check out a bit and behaviors can start to get a bit harder to control. I like to spice up my lessons, as well as manage behaviors, with behavior cards. These cards help me to manage behaviors as well as motivate and compliment students who are meeting my expectations. I switch them out every month to help with student engagement.
I also like to spice up lessons by incorporating lots of hands on activities, youtube videos and music that ties into the skills I am teaching.
I am also known to wear silly outfits that match the story I am reading or a superhero cape to help catch and keep student’s attention.
Books & Treats
I love guidance lessons and have a lot of fun spicing them up with healthy treats and bibliotherapy. I bring snacks like veggie chips or fruit chews in a container and then let students take a treat if they raise their hand to answer a question or follow a class rule. This really makes them enjoy my visits and keeps them super-engaged during the guidance lesson.
I also try to always bring books with me related to the SEL or college/career topic that we are learning. As an intro or closing, I read a few pages or a chapter of the book aloud. They love it! This quarter, I am alternating between reading them passages from Letters to a Bullied Girl and Vicious. Even though I have big kids up to age 15, I also read to them from picture books such as the fabulous Salt in his Shoes; in fact, I have an entire stress management guidance lesson created around this fabulous growth mindset themed book about Michael Jordan, as written by his mother.
How do you make classroom guidance lessons interesting? Check out this post from CounselorChelsey: 5 Classroom Management Strategies for School Counselors.