All Posts By

Counselor Keri

5 Ways to Repurpose your Gratitude Tree for School Counseling

If you’re like me, you saw the gratitude tree in the Target dollar spot and grabbed it for a fun fall activity! But now that fall is over, are you wondering what to do with that gratitude tree for the rest of the year? I was too! To stretch out the lifetime of your tree (and save some room in your closet!), check out these 5 ways to repurpose your gratitude tree for your school counseling office!

Are you wondering what to do with your gratitude tree now that fall is over? Check out these 5 ways to repurpose your gratitude tree for school counseling!

Affirmation Tree

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Listening with my Heart: Book Review and Positive Self Talk Activity

Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Gabi Garcia, author of Listening to My Body, just published another book that is a great addition to any counselor’s shelf! I recently had the opportunity to do a book review of her newest title. It is truly a wonderful book for exploring self-compassion and positive self talk with elementary school students!


Book Review

Listening with my Heart is a heart-warming story about Esperanza, a girl who is great at showing kindness to others but sometimes isn’t so kind to herself. She is quick to take in a lonely cat and befriend a new student, but she has critical self talk for herself when she misses a big goal or makes a mistake at school. Esperanza learns that it while it’s important to be kind to others, it’s equally important to be kind to herself!


The author expertly manages to describe physiological experiences associated with emotions and provide concrete ways to show kindness to others while maintaining a focus on self-compassion. The examples she uses of experiences in sports, academics, and theater are relatable to a multitude of students.


This is a great text to use with students who demonstrate perfectionist behaviors and negative self talk. If you have students who need to learn to cut themselves some slack and understand that mistakes are a normal part of life, this text will be a great addition to your counseling bookshelf!


Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Positive Self Talk Activity

Gabi Garcia includes several activities to do with your students after reading Listening with my Heart, and you’ll find one additional activity below.


To give students a chance to explore positive self talk, download this free activity. Students create pockets with a happy heart and a sad heart. Then, students practice listening with their hearts. They will read statements and pay attention to how their hearts feel as they read the words. Their hearts will help them to decide if the statement is something that would be kind to say to a friend or not kind and sort the statements into the appropriate pockets. Explain that statements that aren’t kind enough to say to a friend are not kind enough to say to ourselves! Like Garcia’s book teaches: we should treat ourselves like friends!


From this activity, students can begin to identify negative self talk patterns they currently have. The positive self talk statements included will help students begin to combat the negative pattern. Blank rectangles are also included for students to create their own positive self talk statements as they begin to treat themselves like friends!


Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Discussion Questions

  • Review the statements that are too unkind to say to a friend. How many of these statements have you said to yourself?
  • What feelings do you have when you say these things to yourself?
  • How can viewing yourself as a friend change the way you talk to and about yourself?
  • What is one way you will show yourself compassion today?
  • Name 3 reasons you deserve self-compassion.

You can grab Gabi Garcia’s book, Listening with my Heart, on Amazon. For more great titles for your counseling bookshelf, check out these Confident Counselors’ favorite titles!

Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk



Bibliotherapy, Book Suggestions

Tales, Fibs, and Lies: Handling Lying Behavior

school counseling interventions for working with students who lie

Tall tales, little fibs, or flat out lies: how do you work with students who stretch the truth? While some adults might be inclined to tackle lying head on with confrontation, confident counselors know these situations may require more delicate footing. Let’s take a look at a few things to consider when faced with lying behavior.

How do you work with students who lie? Read more to find school counseling interventions for handling lying behavior.

Determine the Function of the Lie

Perhaps most important when working with students who lie is determining the function of the lie. Is your student lying to avoid punishment or is he lying to gain approval of adults or peers? Like all behavior, understanding the function of the lie will help us to forge the path ahead in working with the student.

Ask yourself, what happened before the lie? What was going on in the classroom or in the social context? Conduct a functional behavior analysis to gain insight into the context of the student’s behavior. Read More »

Behavior, Individual Counseling

5 Ways to Use Play Doh in School Counseling

School Counseling Activities: 5 ways to use Play Doh in school counseling: feelings identification, family changes, anger release, mandalas, and more


Students light up the moment Play Doh appears in any school setting, and school counseling is no exception. Play Doh is not only a great sensory tool that puts students at ease when discussion potentially difficult topics, but it is the perfect creative outlet to engage students in individual and small group counseling to explore feelings, family changes, and more! Read below to explore 5 ways you can use Play Doh in school counseling. Read More »


8 Steps to Build Student-Led School-Community Engagement

Student-Led School-Community Engagement

Career education is an integral aspect of the school counseling program, but educating students on community helpers and their own career interests is just the beginning. Students have the capacity to be contributing community members right now, no matter their grade level. School counselors can walk alongside them as they discover ways they can engage in and contribute to the community. Building school-community engagement not only gives students a window to career options available to them but also leads to positive school outcomes. Schools that link classroom activities to community projects also see dividends in improved school behaviors, reduced suspension rates, improved academic achievement, higher graduation rates, and improved ability to work effectively in a team


Community engagement can be a school-wide or grade level initiative integrated into the classroom guidance program or tackled on a smaller scale through a service club. This type of project affords counselors the opportunity to create an environment where students have a sense of belonging in the school environment, help students understand the importance of short- and long-term goal setting, take ownership of the project through self-motivation and self-direction, practice working cooperatively in a group, form relationships with adults who support success, and explore character traits such as conservationism, loyalty, leadership, and more. Read More »

Back to School, School Culture

9 Books to Help Military Children

9 Books to Help Military Children

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

April is Month of the Military Child, a time to celebrate and acknowledge the resiliency children of military service members demonstrate as well as the unique challenges they face and overcome. Over 1.82 million children have at least one parent in the military.  These children face a unique set of challenges, from deployments and homecomings to moving across the country or world. The Military Child Education Coalition estimates that military children move 6-9 times during their K-12 education, facing multiple deployments during that time. Oftentimes, these children and their families are geographically separated from extended family members and therefore rely on the supports provided both by the military community and the education system where they are enrolled.  

In this post, I’ll highlight 3 unique challenges military children face and 9 books to use in counseling to invite discussion.  Read More »

Bibliotherapy, Military

5 Ways to Use Coffee Filters in School Counseling

Coffee Filters in School Counseling

I am constantly on the hunt for affordable craft supplies to use in counseling lessons and small groups. I troll the dollar aisles of all my favorite stores squirreling away supplies for the perfect lesson. After a visit to a Pre-K classroom decorated with beautiful, unique coffee filter snowflakes, I expanded my craft supply search to the kitchen aisle! Coffee filters are the perfect, affordable supply to jazz up your counseling lessons. Here are 5 ways that I use these dual-purpose gems:

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Craftivities, Group Counseling