Monday, May 1, 2017

Enemy Pie is delicious!

I use the book Enemy Pie several times throughout the school year, but about once a year, I use the worksheets provided on this blog to turn the book into several weekly lessons.  It's such a cute story and friendship problems are something all kids can related to in some capacity.

A few years ago, I made actual enemy pie with some of my social skills summer campers.  Okay okay, it wasn't actually enemy pie from the book, it was primarily chocolate, but it was delicious!

I did it recently again with a girls group I have to celebrate the end of our friendship unit and it was so much fun!

We started off crushing up some delicious Oreos,

We put some "mud" (aka Chocolate pudding), in our cups...

And topped them with with "dirt" (the Oreos) and worms (gummy ones!!).  I've also used rock candies in previous years.

Before we weren't allowed to really have "outside" snack parties in school, I would use this activity for my students to invite a friend to group for a fun activity.  It's still great though, and I think I have as much fun as the kids do!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Structuring counseling and social skills sessions...what works!

I do a LOT more sessions with students individually and in small groups this year than I ever have.  I often go for a few hours without a break in between to catch my breath.  I thought I'd start a resource to share ideas for small groups in schools. To start out, I thought I'd start with the basics, scheduling and structuring groups.  I have been following the same format for 4 years, and I have no plans to change it anytime soon!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A day in the life of a school psychologist

My daily work life is different this year at my new school than it has been in the past.  I counsel way more students, and find myself with less and less time to plan and prep, which is certainly an adjustment for me.  I have a lot less administrative duties however, which is nice for my time and stress level!  Here is how my day went on a recent Friday.

8:15  I roll into school, large coffee in hand, still trying to fix my hair and look presentable as I walk in the door.  Thus is the never ending life of a working parent.  As I walk past the office, the school secretary gives me a phone message, another message from a pediatrician in town.  We've been playing phone tag for a few days.

8:30  As I drop my bags down, two teachers come in to talk and touch base on things.  One teacher is reporting something a parent emailed her about last night, another is sharing what happened at a parent conference the night before.  As I run to check my school mailbox, another teacher reviews an email she sent me last night about a student I need to observe.  And my to-do list is already growing for the day!

9:10  I head across the hall to a classroom to do a Mindfulness lesson during morning meeting.  I do twice weekly lessons with this class, and I know them pretty well.  Today's lesson goes well-except for the fact that during my lesson on a 1-5 scale, I forget to cover up the Minecraft chart I have on the back, which serves as a distraction to every. single. student.  Oops.

9:30 During my lesson, I saw a student pacing in front of my door, wanting to talk to me.  I try to catch up with them, but see my next individual student coming down the hall.  It will have to wait!  After that student, I have another group of 2.  Things go well.  I recently restocked my prize box, which is a win for everyone.

10:30  I check and return emails, phone calls, and make some plans for testing and observing next week.

11:15 I head down to the lunchroom.  One of my students from earlier was having some anxiety about getting hot lunch, and hasn't been eating.  I am happy to see my suggestions along with the teachers' have worked, and he is eating pizza.  Meanwhile, another student comes in upset.  I hang out for a little bit to make sure things are going smooth.

11:30  I quickly grab my lunch from the teacher's room fridge and almost get to start eating it.

11:45  "Lunch bunch" with a student.  I have 1-2 of these everyday, and really enjoy them!  I get to eat my lunch with the student.

12:30  After some behavior issues that I'm called to attend to, I'm now running late for my recess support.  Oops.

12:45  I attempt to run inside for a bathroom break before my next group.  A parent stops me in the hall to talk about her son.  Oh well, I tried.

12:50  My next 2 students are waiting outside my office wondering where I am.  "You're late!  We just saw you!"  It feels nice to be valued :)

1:15 During my scheduled "lunch" time for the day, I decide to scrap any semblance of a break (aside from texting to check on my daughter), to move up a student I need to test.  I use my "walking feet" as quickly as I can to get to the other side of the school and back.

1:45  Last minute meeting with someone in the district about district planning

2:00  I head to a classroom to support a student with organizing in writing.  I like these times in the classroom because I get to see so many students I don't normally.  They are writing research papers and their topics are amazing!

2:30  Head back to my office.  Finally get to call the pediatrician I've been trying to talk to, input some new 504 plans and print and file those.  Schedule some student meetings about students in the behavior intervention process.

3:15  Students are heading down to buses when two of my students come in with a "friendship" problem they need me to help solve.  I do a VERY quick talk before sending them on the bus home.

3:30  Touch base with some teachers on students and meetings from the day.  Attempt to make my office look less like a tornado has hit it.  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I AM: Self-Esteem Activity

You guys, I just love this activity.  I saw something similar to it on Pinterest (of course!), and thought that it would be perfect for one of my students that is struggling with self esteem, and very artistic.

The thing with art therapy is that it calms you and relaxes you, right?  I mean everyone I know is buying adult coloring books now!

So, the way I used this activity was that I presented the idea of self-esteem, and talked with my student about what that meant, and how we were going to talk about positive traits she had, and things she was good at.  Upon an initial, cold question of this, she couldn't come up with anything.  So, we got started painting.  And the great thing about art therapy and crafts like this are that the words just start to flow.

As she started painting, we began talking more about positive things, and what it meant to have "talents".  The whole project took about 3 weeks, between letting the paint dry, brainstorming the traits, designing the words, and then in the end, Mode Podging the whole thing.

In the end, it got the conversation going about positive traits, and allowed my student to be creative, but also be able to share things that she does well!