For most of my schools, this week wrapped up my first round of lunch bunch groups! Students were invited for two weeks with me, and everyone was excited to come! My groups did a great job following the rules of my room, we practiced our manners and spent time getting to know one another. Groups then picked a game to play for the day. Fortunately, having two weeks of lunch bunch meant that most members had a turn to play the game they wanted, even if they had to wait a week. Everyone did a great job playing fairly, and we had fun! I look forward to seeing new students for another round of lunch bunches next week.
During the past 2 weeks, I began visiting our 3rd grade classroom for their fall developmental guidance lessons. Our fall unit will focus on emotions - identifying them, controlling how we feel, and communicating our feelings. Third graders learned a new way to identify how they feel through emotion zones. Emotion zones are based off two questions - Do I have a positive feeling or a negative feelings? Is my energy level high or low? These questions lead us to one of 4 zones - high positive, high negative, low positive, and low negative. Emotions zones help us understand how our bodies move and our voices sound when we experience different feelings. They also help us explain our mixed emotions - feeling frustrated and stressed may both be represented in high energy, negative feeling zone. We explored each zone by watching some clips from Finding Nemo, and talking about how we knew what the characters felt. Next week we will focus on making choices to move between the zones so our behavior is appropriate for different settings.
This school year, I am using our lunch waves to interact with students in a new way. Previously, students most commonly saw me in their classrooms as we worked towards objectives associated with our developmental guidance curriculum. Running lunch bunch allows me to interact with students in a more informal setting, where the goals focus simply on getting to know one another, building rapport, and having fun!
Each week, I will choose a group of 4 students at each grade level to invite to lunch bunch. Students will receive a pass from me in the morning, and then meet me in the cafeteria during their regular lunch wave. I will walk them to my room, where we will spend a few moments reviewing expectations before jumping into talking and playing games. The same group of students will be invited back for a second week so that we can enjoy some extra time together before I invite a new group. All students will be invited at some point during the year, and are welcome to accept the invitation or pass the invite to another student awaiting a turn. Looking forward to some new company during lunches!
Welcome to a new school year! I hope you and your children are transitioning back into the school year routine, and enjoying the lingering summer weather.
Often when I tell people I work as an elementary school counselor, they ask, "Why are there guidance counselors in elementary school? Do they begin career planning that early?" The role of counseling in grades K-4 looks different from many of our experiences in school. School Counselors at all levels focus on helping students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development, and career development. At the elementary level, I respond to student needs by spending the majority of my time focusing on the personal/social development of students, which in turn promotes academic development.
This school year, I will teach lessons in all K-4 classrooms which promote the development of positive social and academic skills. Lunch groups provide the opportunity for all students to interact with their peers and myself in a small group environment. When students require further support, I invite both teachers and parents to consult with me and determine how to best meet the student's needs.
For more information on the role of elementary school counselors, please visit the website for the American School Counseling Association at https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/careers-roles/why-elementary-school-counselors In addition, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
I look forward to a great school year!