Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Respect: It’s for the Birds

Kids love the bird video that is used in this lesson as it’s super silly, and yet it also has a deep lesson embedded within – the importance of respecting those who are different from us. This lesson can also support the general education curriculum use of comparing/contrasting, writing and the use of poems.

Lesson Title: Respect – It’s for the Birds

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • PS:A1.2 Identify values, attitudes and beliefs
  • PS:B1.7 Demonstrate a respect and appreciation for individual and cultural differences

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to define respect and provide examples for how they may show respect for things, places, and people



Begin by sharing the following video with students:

Discussion questions:

  • Were the small birds respectful to the big bird or disrespectful?
    • Disrespectful
  • How were the small birds disrespectful to the big bird?
    • By not letting him sit with them and laughing at him/making fun of him
  • How do you think that made the big bird feel?
    • Sad, hurt, frustrated, left out
  • Why do you think the little birds treated the big bird this way?
    • Because he looked/was different from them, trying to be funny, to seem cool, maybe they didn’t know how it would make the big bird feel or haven’t learned the importance of respect

Share the following: Today we are going to talk about respect. Does anyone know what respect means? [Call on students] Respect is a way that you think or treat something or someone. Respecting others means that you think well of them, behave in a positive way around them, and that you treat them the way you want to be treated.

We can respect Places, Things, and People! Draw two lines to create three different spaces on a white board. Label one spot Places, one Things, and the last People. Ask students to share different ways we can be respectful in each category and provide examples. The following video shows a counselor doing a good job of providing examples:

Closing Discussion:

  • How can we make the world a better place by respecting people, places, and things?
  • How can we show respect to people who look/act different or believe different things from us?
  • Is it ever difficult to be respectful?
  • Why is it important that we show respect?

The following worksheet allows students to explore respect. This first link (optional) can be used to help students to reference examples of respect or to hang up in your classroom. The second link is a worksheet you may provide to each student. I printed page 6: This is Me Showing Respect for K-1, page 7: Acrostic Poem about Respect for grades 4-5, and page 5: What It Means To Me for grades 2-3. If time allows, students may color/decorate or present their papers to the class.

End the activity by allowing students K-2 to watch the following segment on Respect from Sesame Street:

Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Character Traits That Describe You

This lesson provides a unique experience for students to gain a perspective on how other students view them. This is especially powerful for the older students, who often wonder what their peers think of them. I hope that this lesson increases student self-esteem, in addition to developing friendships and a more cohesive classroom.

Lesson Title: Character Traits That Describes You

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • PS:A1.3 Learn the goal-setting process
  • PS:A1.4 Understand change is a part of growth
  • PS:A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person
  • PS:A1.10 Identify personal strengths and assets

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to describe character traits and adjectives used to describe others
  • Students will be able to list several adjectives and character traits that others used to describe them, furthering their understanding of how others perceive them
  • Students can develop goals and a plan to accomplish goals


  • Blank Paper (One per student)
  • Pencils


K-5: Begin by asking students to share character traits and adjectives that can describe people – who they are, how they act, etc. A few examples include funny, kind, nice, honest, generous, friendly, outgoing, respectful, hardworking, smart, etc. Write these words on the board for students to reference.

2-5: Next, provide a blank piece of paper to each student. Ask students to write their name in the middle of their paper, leaving plenty of room for more writing. Explain to students that they are going to move from their seat to the seat next to theirs. Ask them to write a positive character trait or describing word about the person whose name is on the paper. When you play music, they may sit or stand to think of a word and write it on the person’s paper. Remind them of the importance of being both honest and kind at the same time. When you stop the music, have them switch to the spot next to them, and keep switching until you’ve made it around the room.

Once everyone has finished writing on all of their classmates’ paper, ask students to return to their student. Allow students to review their paper and allow students to take turns sharing with their class the most surprising or their favorite word/trait mentioned on their paper.

Discussion questions:

  1. How did you feel writing character traits for other people?
  2. Was it hard to describe some people?
  3. Why is it important to write the positive traits of others here?
  4. How did you feel knowing other people were working on your paper?
  5. How did you feel reading your paper?

Ask students to flip their papers over. On the back, ask them to write the following:

  • List the top 3 character traits that you think describe you (use some of the words that were written on your paper)
  • List the top 3 character traits that you want to work on/need to improve on. Include the following for each trait as you make a plan:
    • WHAT trait you need to improve on?
    • WHEN you will practice it?
    • WHERE are the hardest and easiest places to practice this trait?
    • HOW will you practice this trait? How will you overcome challenges and obstacles?
    • WHY is it important for you to gain this trait?
    • What will it look like when you succeed in becoming proficient at this trait? How will your life be different? How will we know you’ve gained this trait?

K-1: Ask students to get in small groups of 5. Ask students to consider the character traits and describing words that your class generated earlier, and to think of which of these positive traits describe which of the people in the small group. Ask them to take turns sharing words for their peers. Remind them of the importance of sharing kind, honest, and positive traits only.

Discussion questions:

  1.  How did you feel as you told your classmates the character traits that describe them?
  2. Was it hard to describe some people?
  3. Why is it important to share the positive traits of others here?
  4. How did you feel knowing other people were going to share the traits that describe you?
  5. How did you feel hearing the traits that your peers said described you?

Ask students to share and brainstorm their answers to the following questions as a group:

  • WHAT trait you need to improve on?
    • WHEN you will practice it?
    • WHERE are the hardest and easiest places to practice this trait?
    • HOW will you practice this trait? How will you overcome challenges and obstacles?
    • WHY is it important for you to gain this trait?
    • What will it look like when you succeed in becoming proficient at this trait? How will your life be different? How will we know you’ve gained this trait?
Posted in Individual Counseling Resources

Little Monsters – Battling Fears

Many counselors will see a student that struggles with substantial fears of a variety of situations, such as visiting the doctor or dentist office, seeing the principal, speaking in public, dogs, seeing a community counselor for the first time, and the bus to name a few. If you have a student who struggles with a fear, this activity will help you to explore the problem and will help you as you support this child. This activity does a great job exploring ways to use it, so check it out! Additionally, consider practicing some relaxation techniques, correct automatic/negative thoughts, and even exposure therapy (when appropriate, otherwise a referral is necessary)!

Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Leadership – Historical Figure Poster

With student council elections right around the corner, I used this lesson to accompany the information I provided students on student council at our school. This lesson actually took two classes and the posters are great to display in the hallway! If you have a hard time printing the pages from the website, you can use the ones I included in the word document at the bottom of this post.

Lesson Title: Leadership – Historical Figure Poster

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • A:A3.5 Share knowledge
  • A:B1.5 Organize and apply academic information from a variety of Sources
  • PS:A1.2 Identify values, attitudes and beliefs

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify leadership traits through one leader’s life.
  • Explore leadership character traits and apply those traits and skills to real life scenarios
  • Express their opinions about leadership traits in discussion.


  • Poster paper
  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils/pencils
  • Printed biographies from historical leaders

Today we will be discussing leadership. As a class, we will start by creating a list of people with positive leadership skills. Encourage students to consider leaders from a wide range of fields, including government, business, entertainment, philanthropy, and sports. For younger students, they may also include people like parents, teachers, friends, siblings, principals, etc. Ask how we know these individuals are leaders? What kind of behaviors do they exhibit showing us that they are good leaders?

Whole Group
As a class, brainstorm aspects of leadership. Ask, “Based on what we already know about each leader in the list we created, what are some traits that leaders possess?” On a white board, compile a list of leadership traits. Some traits might include honesty, vision, humility, competence, ability to inspire, intelligence, persistence, charisma, passion, emotional intelligence, curiosity, empathy, open-mindedness, empowerment, patience, diplomacy, and creativity.

Small Group
Work as a class or break into groups to explore thoughts/opinions on the following questions and scenarios listed on the table discussion cards below.

What traits do leaders have? How do you know? Is there such thing as a bad leader?  
Why is it important to have leaders? What would life be like without leaders? Share a time that you acted as a leader.  
How does having leadership traits affect the leader’s ability to make a difference?   What leadership traits do you have?  
You go to recess and start playing a game. Someone comes along and wants to play, but one of the kids tell the person that he/she can’t play. What would you do? Does that action show a positive leadership trait?   Your mom gets the flu and is sick and stuck in bed. What is something kind you can do that shows leadership skills?  
There’s an elderly woman across the street from you who lives alone. Her family lives far away and she is rarely outside. Is there something you could do to help her? How could you show leadership in this situation? You’re on a soccer team and your coach asks you to pass the ball to your teammate. You really want to score the goal by yourself, but your teammate is open. If you pass the ball to your teammate, are you still showing leadership?


Grades K-1: Explain that students are going to make a poster about their favorite leader. Ask students to write the name of this person, draw a picture of this person, and to include words and pictures that show how this person is a leader.

Grades 2-5: Explain what a biography is to students – A biography is a collection of information shared to tell about a person’s life and their accomplishments. Tell your students that they are going to learn about leaders from history and that they will then make a poster about this individual. Ask students to include the following in their poster: name, information about this individual’s life, character traits that made this person a good leader, behaviors that prove this person is a good leader, interesting facts about this person and his/her contributions, and one way that we can show similar leadership skills in our own lives. Students may work individually or in small groups. Provide poster paper, markers/crayons/colored pencils/pencils to complete this project.

Have students work alone or work in small groups Provide a separate printout for each student/group of several of the biographies found at the following website or at the bottom of this lesson plan:

Closing Discussion
Ask one member of each group to share what they learned. As a class, discuss:

  • Do leaders have to demonstrate all the leadership traits to be a good leader? Why or why not?
  • Which of the leadership traits do you possess? How might you use these leadership traits in your future career?
Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

School Success: Puzzle Pieces

For any class that thrives off of group work, this is the lesson for you! My students love coming up with ideas as a group and being given the opportunity to present them to the class, not to mention their love for any lesson with a lot of classroom discussion. If you end up with extra time at the end, feel free to do some art therapy and let the students color their puzzle pieces or to cut the pieces out and use them on a bulletin board!

Lesson Title: School Success – Puzzle Pieces

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • A:A1.5 Identify attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful learning
  • A:A3.5 Share knowledge
  • A:B2.6 Understand the relationship between classroom performance and success in school

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to define success
  • Students will be able to identify behaviors that make a person successful
  • Students will understand the relationship between success as an elementary school student and as an adult


  • Puzzle piece handout (1 per small group of students)


Begin the lesson by asking students to describe what a successful person looks like. Sketch their ideas on the white board or ask another student to sketch for you. Students may describe someone in a suit with a briefcase, someone with glasses, someone with a lot of money, etc. Ask students what kind of behavior successful people have and sketch those ideas around this person.

Explore the accuracy of the ideas students had. For example, glasses don’t make someone smart or successful, dressing professionally is a behavior of a successful person, but doesn’t make the person successful, and so on. Emphasize that many of these ideas don’t define success, but instead may be qualities of some successful people. Transition to exploring what success actually is, looks like, and what behaviors accompany success.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to be successful? (definition: accomplishing a goal or aim)
  • Do you consider yourself to be “successful” right now? Why or why not?
  • How does a person become successful?
  • What do you need to do in elementary school to become successful?
  • What does that look like?
  • Who are some people in your life who help you to become successful?
  • How can elementary school success lead to success as an adult?
  • What kind of goals do you have or will you have that you would like to gain success in?

Break students up into several groups to brainstorm the following question:

“what do you think the top 10 pieces of becoming successful are?”

Ask students to write each piece of success that they came up with into a puzzle piece. Allow students to present their ideas and to share their ideas with the class. Compare and contrast ideas.

Potential ideas/examples:

  • Eating healthy
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Studying
  • Find a role model
  • Do your best and to work hard (perseverance, self-discipline)
  • Completing homework
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Paying attention to the teacher when he/she is talking
  • Break big jobs/tasks into small pieces
  • Follow instructions
  • Taking notes so you don’t have to try to remember everything (this is impossible)
  • Participating in class
  • Making to-do lists
  • Thinking positive
  • Staying organized
  • Make goals

Discuss how getting enough sleep, eating healthy, being organized, etc. can help you to be successful. Ask students what this might look like. Provide an opportunity for students to share their tips and tricks for these pieces of success. Lastly, explore/summarize with students how success as an elementary schooler can lead to success in middle school, high school, college, and in their career and home life.

Posted in School Counseling Program

Group Counseling – Consent Forms

Wording for group counseling consent forms can be a bit tricky and time consuming. Below you will find a consent form for a social skills small group. It is very easily adaptable as you only have to change the behaviors learned and the topic of the group. Please feel free to edit this and make it your own. As always, I hope this blog may provide you with efficient and effective resources to save you time in order to better serve your students through things that matter!