Thursday, September 5, 2013


Two buildings. Seven grades per building, K-6. Two classrooms per grade (except my Wildcats school has three 1st grade classrooms). One new Classroom Counseling topic per month plus extras (Red Ribbon Week, College Go! Week, weekly LifeSkills lessons for 6th grade, impromptu lessons as teacher request, etc.). Last year I completed a total of 424 Classroom Counseling lessons. Maybe that's why I am still so tired :)

However, it keeps me busy and I have a great relative- direction for my lessons. Our District utilizes the RICHER Principles:
The RICHER Principles explained... The pawprints are for my Wildcat's school!
These Principles are what every school adheres to (though some schools might condense them). So every month we discuss a new RICHER Principle school-wide and district-wide for Elementary schools. We normally start with RESPECT and tie in Bullying since it's the beginning of the year and we want all students to know what is and what is not tolerated at our schools. But since our State is implementing new legislature, so are we and we're waiting for all the kinks to be ironed out (Lord help us). So instead, we skipped on ahead to EXCELLENCE (yea, we don't go in R-I-C-H-E-R order, oh well!).

A lot of our Principles are relatively easy to teach (working together, doing the right thing, caring...) but how in the world do you teach someone to be Excellent?! Last year I stressed over this to the max... but what I thought would be the hardest thing to teach became some of my favorite lessons!

For my 2nd graders, we read Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae. 
This has become one of my favorite books ever! It's about a Giraffe named Gerald who is told he can't dance. So when the Jungle Dance comes around, he has a hard time trying and believing in himself. All the animals are so good at their own dances but he isn't. But he finds out that "sometimes when you're different, you just need a different song". So we talk about how we are ALL Excellent at something and we all have something to contribute to our classroom. There are a lot of small elements in this book that tie in with everyone having their own "song" to "dance" to. 

Have you read it? No?!?! Seriously, go to your school's Library right now and get this book... Don't worry, I'll wait for you to come back before I go on. Ready go...
Okay, welcome back. Great book, right?!

So, after we read and discuss it, we play "EXCELLENCE Find-A-Friend" a game I created which is a cross between Guess Who and Bingo. I make a grid about 4x4 or 5x5 (depending on the class size) and write one positive thing in each grid box (Can Dance, Can Sing, Likes Softball, Is Good At Math, etc.). Each student gets a copy and then they have to go around and find one new "friend" for each square. They write that person's name in their grid and then go find someone else and someone else and so on and so forth. The goal is to get their entire grid filled in... and most of them get almost all the way done before we end it (I always end it early so that they stay curious and want to finish it at lunch or recess :). We then discuss how we can make new friends through common interests and through showing EXCELLENCE. 

Isn't it funny how becoming a School Counselor makes us believe in so many things- like the goodness in others and how every student really can be Excellent?

So, I have finished K-2 EXCELLENCE and will be doing 3-5 and starting 6th Grade LifeSkills (an entire post all to itself). Next week I'll share another EXCELLENCE lesson that I love involving Post-It Notes and maps!

As always, have a great day!


1 comment:

  1. You know our school speech therapist recommended this book to me. I've got to get it and I love the lesson you've developed!! Thanks so much for such an informative blog!!