Curriculum Mapping for School Counselors: A New Vision

Thursday, November 30, 2017
When I first started as a school counselor, I had no experience teaching. Zero. I didn't even have internship experience because most of my internships had been in school-based therapy positions and one I did while actually employed in my first position. Delivering classroom lessons was TERRIFYING and overwhelming. I saw so much value in it - the prevention/developmental side of the job was what lead me to make the switch from therapist to school counselor - but I wasn't comfortable with it...yet. Now? It's a major passion of mine. I've had the privilege of presenting on this twice now at a local conference. This post is the first of a series based off of my presentation - Effective and Engaging Curriculum Mapping and Lesson Planning (No More Worksheets!)

My first school counseling position was at a school that didn't have much of an existing program, which meant there was no curriculum map and no lesson plans. I was starting from scratch. Awesome opportunity and major undertaking. There was a needs assessment done right before I got there (I started a couple months into the year) but the results were all over the map. When it came time to make a core curriculum plan for the year, I essentially did a combination of "this is important" paired with "google says I should be doing this." Needless to say, my first year was a hodge podge of lessons. Not awful, not great.

Choices and Consequences Lesson

Sunday, November 26, 2017
One of the topics my 4th grade teachers wanted me to cover, per their needs assessment results, was responsibility. I've got to admit "Sorry I asked" and "Ugh, boring" were both thoughts that ran through my mind. I put that aside though, and forged ahead in trying to plan engaging lessons for their second quarter unit, starting off with Choices and Consequences.

Shout out here to Kid President who had the most perfect video to use as a hook: "Making Tough Choices."

6 Ways Becoming a Mom Changed Me As a School Counselor

Sunday, November 19, 2017
It's an interesting thing, working full time with kids but not having any of your own. Giving parenting advice but not being a parent yourself. Being somewhat of a kid 'expert' but (in theory) leaving your responsibility for the kids at the school doors. Before becoming a mom, I had moments where I hoped parenting would give me more credibility with my students' parents. There were also moments of worry that I'd be less enthusiastic as a counselor once I had my own littles and got my 'kid fix' at home. Through all my speculation about 'when I'm a parent' though, I never really thought becoming one would change anything about my work as a school counselor.

Maybe it was my own defensiveness about it all; I didn't want to think that I couldn't be as wonderful in my work as someone who did have their own kids. In the back of my mind though was this blog post from six years ago that a school psych wrote on the topic that reminded me things might truly change.

Teaching Kelso's Choices - This Year's Lesson Plans

Thursday, September 21, 2017
This post contains affiliate links.

Last fall, I published a post that discussed all the different ways we've taught and reviewed Kelso's Choices over the years at our school. We stuck with some of the original plan but I mixed it up some with my 'big kids'.

school counseling lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's Choices

3rd Grade

After whipping out the plush frog and getting them excited for the return of Kelso, we talked about why we learn about Kelso's Choices EVERY. YEAR. Some buttercup always points out "because we forget them sometimes". Then we watched both video clips again (links and stopping points/discussion questions in the link above). I swapped the order of the videos this time because I wanted us to end on the scenarios where characters used "Ignore".

BE a Leader - Lesson Plan

Saturday, September 16, 2017
This post contains affiliate links.

Back in the spring, I did a lesson with my 4th graders about choosing what reputation they wanted to leave behind at elementary school and start middle school with. I loved it, and started thinking that maybe this same idea could be used at the start of the year too.

School counseling lesson plan Be a Leader
We ask a lot of our 4th graders. We assume that once they start the year, they are ready to become the role models and leaders that we expect them to be - yet we don't always take the time to make sure they know what this means for them as individuals. Enter: "BE a Leader" lesson.
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