Counseling Craftivities

Confident Conversations

Setting Goals for All Students Using Scaffolding

It is essential at the high school level to go beyon a one size fits all model for goal setting and differentiate and scaffold so all students have an opportunity to set goals that work for them.

The start of the new year is the ideal time to reflect and begin setting goals for the remainder of the school year. These can be goals for professional growth, counseling or advisory groups, individual counseling treatment plans, or suggestions you have received from your principal, teachers, or colleagues.


For years, I have worked in a variety of settings developing curricula, facilitating counseling and advisory, as well as, facilitating push-ins to classrooms for life-skills. I have frequently been asked if I can create a 30-minute lesson that teaches every student to set goals in an effort to pass their classes and graduate?


After I have a good laugh in my head and hold myself back from commenting that the lesson will include a magic wand, I explain that we can create the lesson, but in order to effectively facilitate a session on goal setting it will take more time than 30 minutes to ensure all the students grasp the necessary steps toward achieving their goals.


The objective is to have our students master the skills and understandings required for developing and achieving their goals. Over my career, I have developed a scaffolded method that allows teens and young adults to begin to understand and implement the skills that they need to be able to accomplish their goals. Read More »

Group Counseling, Setting Goals

Responding to Escalating Behavior with a Coordinated Team Response

Problem behavior in the classroom can cause rippling disruptions, lost instructional time, and stress for students and staff. School counselors and psychologists are responsible for managing these situations. Do it more effectively with coordinate team response plans.

Every year, you have at least one student who shows escalating behavior. Your trusty list of de-escalation strategies is ineffective at stopping this disruptive behavior. The reason good strategies, like providing choice or consistently implementing consequences, don’t work 100% of the time is because they are being used regardless of the context of the situation. Providing a choice when a student is at peak escalation may work or it may get something thrown at you.


So the escalating behaviors continue, staff are frustrated that nothing is working, your well-crafted schedule is a joke, the classroom feels tense, and the student at the center of it all is in crisis. Read More »


Weird! Book Series: Three Stories, Three Points of View

Weird! Book Series is a great way to address bullying in elementary schools.


A counselor friend of mine recommended the Weird! book series by Erin Frankel to me and I am so glad she did. I could go on and on and on about this series but the testimony really comes from my students.


Each month I do a book giveaway for great behavior. After reading aloud the second book in the series, one of my boys asked me if I could please buy the books for the next giveaway. Even though he only has a one in nine hundred chance of winning, he was so into them that the odds didn’t matter! And he’s not the only one. Even my most hesitant and challenging students are totally into these books.


Why? I have my theories.

First, the illustrations by Paula Heaphy are youthful yet mature.

Second, the topic is totally relevant to every student.

Third, they are so well written. Author Erin Frankel, who is also an educator, makes these books so relatable. 

Lastly, the series makes you want more. The books are easy to read, catchy, and intriguing. Like a great movie, you can’t wait for the sequel and feel sadness when the trilogy ends.

Read More »

Book Suggestions

Conversations: How do you use goal setting in counseling?

Set goals at any level in counseling with direct materials and step by step approach.

It is important that students make social-emotional progress and our lessons and counseling sessions are supposed to help them get there. Without clear goals, it can be difficult to tell if that is happening. Brandy and Rebecca use student-friendly materials and approach goal setting in a direct manner. The new year is a great time to reset the clock and incorporate goal setting at any age level. Read More »

Monthly CCC Tips, Setting Goals

Conversations: What is the best gift you ever received from a student?

My guess is that it isn’t one from the Yankee Candle collection in your garage. Often, the best gifts from students are ones you can’t hold. <3

The Middle School CounselorThe best gift I’ve ever received from a student was actually from the grandmother of my student after he graduated from college. It was a phone call telling me that this student’s artwork was published in a book, and she had to let me know. They never thought he was ever going to graduate high school, let alone college, and no one had ever told him his art was good. They credit his success on my talks with him. Really, it was his success. I’m just proud they shared it with me.  

– Carol Miller – The Middle School Counselor

CounselorChelseyThe best give I have ever received from a student came from a 12 year old boy I had been working with. We were working on anger and conflict resolution, specifically in relation to getting along with his brother. After some ups and downs, we started to see a lot of positive change – in the student’s behavior, as well as in his relationship with his brother. He then brought me cookies, with the SWEETEST note. Parts of it said that he didn’t know how mature and responsible he would be without my help and that he loves that he can play with his brother and not fight. It was such a sweet, tangible example of the difference that we can make in the lives of our students and their families! 

– CounselorChelsey


confident counselors conversations: what is the best gift you ever received from a student?

Monthly CCC Tips

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

What is your go to Self Care Activity?

You know you should be incorporating self-care. You know you can’t pour from an empty cup. Sometimes it just takes hearing from others who get it. So Confident Counselors, what is your go to self care activity?

Counselor KeriMy two favorite self care activities are baking and napping. I love to bake for a couple of reasons. I am a hands-on person, so using my hands to make something is really gratifying for me. I also love that I can make a large batch of something that I can then share with a neighbor or coworker to build relationships. Read More »

Monthly CCC Tips

School Counseling Professional Goals for 2018

Meet your school counseling professional goals by considering workshops, specialist training, national board certification, or clinical licensure.

Get Ready for 2018!  Maybe some of you wish 2017 could last a little bit longer and others are thankful that 2018 is almost here. Either way, the pressures of starting something new has hit, so let me ask you – what are your school counseling professional goals for 2018?


Professional Goals for a New Year

I do not want to pressure you nor do I want to add any stress to your life. So if your goal this year is to sit and drink margaritas on a beach, go for it. However, if you are not as fortunate and fall victim to the constant question when you head back to work: “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”, the pressure to choose something is real. If you have no idea what your school counseling professional goal is going to be, let me help. Read More »

Professional Development, Setting Goals

Ready, Set, Second Semester: Make a Plan

It’s time to get ready for 2nd semester! Wait, you say, the 1st semester isn’t even over yet?! Exactly! In order to hit the ground running after winter break, it’s time to crunch some data and create a plan for your 2nd semester so that you are supporting the right students in the right way. Planning school counseling services does not have to be a daunting task. Prioritizing using your data will make it more straightforward.


Where to Start

If it’s one of those years and you didn’t make a plan or your plan is so far off track you need to start from scratch, I got ya. Here are some places to start to determine which students to prioritize: Read More »

Setting Goals

5 Fun and Easy School Counseling Activities Using String

5 Ways to Use String in School Counseling And Other Counseling Craftivities

Creating hands-on counseling lessons can be easy and inexpensive. You can often find inspiration by looking through your junk drawers or craft boxes! String is one craft supply that many people have sitting around and it can easily be incorporated into hands-on lessons for school counseling. String is a great tactile tool that is inexpensive and comes in many colors, textures, and types. Check out 5 school counseling activities using string.

5 School Counseling Activities Using String

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