This month our school is celebrating the great “Brain Awareness Month” sponsored by the Neurologist Societies. For more information on some free worksheets for your school counselor guidance program see below. This “Brain Awareness Month Program” is a fun way to combine science, psychology, career, and drug prevention for students. My kindergarten students will be coloring a picture of a brain and then we will practice writing the word “brain”. My first grade students will get to read and color, “A Neuroscience Coloring Book”, and then make a brain puzzle.
Our second grade students will get to play a “Matching Memory” card game with pictures of animal brains on the cards. Third grade students are making and labeling a “brain hat”. The fourth graders at my school will make a “dendrite wand” and label a dendrite. Finally, the 5th graders are going to create a “Brain Game” based on materials I made and distributed to create a game.
As a school counselor, I also teach about how to “Grow a Dendrite” and emphasis how important it is to listen in class, do your class and homework, and study for tests. My school students really pay attention as I draw a dendrite on the board of a student that works hard vs. a student that does not pay attention. This demonstration shows students that is not all about the I.Q., but also one’s work ethic. My students are learning ways to take good care of their brains! Plus, adding a little neuroscience to your school counseling curriculum is also a good thing!
Everyone is trying to prepare for the C.R.C.T. test that is coming in April. I will be writing a story on a Warm Fuzzy Friend named “Nervous” to help the students deal with anxiety. This month we learned about the Warm Fuzzy Friend named “Lucky”, who is a very hard worker, and not just lucky! Lucky teaches children the social story about study skills and why it is important to work hard and study. You can find this social skill story link below.
We are also working hard on getting our “Response to Intervention” files ready for referrals. I am the R.T.I. coordinator at my school. This does take a lot of my time away from counseling; however, we do not have a full time assistant principal, so I get to do it. I wear many hats as a counselor, and one must be willing to do what it takes to pitch in and get the job done. I also help out with discipline, which is not ideal, but I have learned how to be tough yet keep the school counselor/ student relationship going strong. This took many years to master and I consider it a delicate art form. It is similar to walking on a tight rope.
My county is also conducting Mindset Restraint Training. I have been trained in restraint before, but this is a superior program. If you are in mental health you really need to be trained in this area. For years, the past county I was in did not offer training for school counselors, or other mental health workers. It is very dangerous to restrain anyone without the proper restraint training. You need to insist upon getting this training or paying for it yourself. It can keep you and your students safer if you are well trained.
I am also working hard to help some of our teachers with some classroom behavior issues. Our school is now using a B.A.P. (Behavior Action Plan) for our Response to Intervention Tier 3 students. I prefer this over a B.I.P. (Behavior Intervention Plan) used in Special Education. A B.A.P. is also much more positive because it includes rewards as well as punitive measures.
All in all, it has been a very busy month in the life of a school counselor!
Here is a fantastic website for your school counselor guidance lessons:
Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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