Classroom Counseling Lessons: What I've Learned From My Mistakes!

Classroom counseling lessons are essential to your comprehensive school counseling program, however many counselors feel overwhelmed by them. Believe me, I've been there!

I've made my fair share of mistakes when it comes to teaching classroom counseling lessons. Hopefully you can learn from mine.

Mistakes I Made Teaching Classroom Counseling Lessons

  • Mistake #1: I stretched myself too thin with my schedule causing me to be late and unprepared for classroom lessons.

  • Mistake #2: I stressed myself out by last minute scheduling my lessons every month.

  • Mistake #3: I lost control of the class and didn't know how to redirect or engage them.

  • Mistake #4: I scrambled to plan lessons and didn't feel confident in my content.

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So what's the solution to these problems?

I started scheduling my lessons in advance for the entire year and using buffers in my schedule. Plus I adopted classroom management strategies from teachers and created thoughtful lessons to engage students while preventing behaviors.

Schedule for Success!

Schedule your class lessons in advance by having teachers sign-up for a time with you using a scheduling tool like Calendly or a Google Sheets sign up form. This eliminates the back and forth email yo-yo of trying to schedule 20+ lessons each month and it prevents teachers from stopping you in the hall and asking when you’re coming into their class. (I would never know off the top of my head!)

You want to make sure you actually have time in your schedule to visit all of the classrooms at least once a month. Schedule your class lessons first and then fill in your group and individual sessions. This way you ensure you are teaching ALL students.

As a counselor, you likely have more time for prep at the beginning of the school year. After a few weeks, the referrals will start pouring in, but take advantage of these first few weeks to schedule your class lessons. Your future self-will thank you!

I recommend scheduling class lessons first, then small groups, then individual counseling sessions, and here's why. It's much easier to ask one teacher if you can move their student's meeting time than to ask every teacher to reschedule their class lessons. Color code your calendar to see the different direct services you are providing at a glance!

Read more about scheduling class lessons in this post!

Manage Classroom Behaviors with Confidence!

Classroom management feels more manageable (no pun intended!) when you have a clear plan. Try using a few (or all!) of the following strategies to manage your classroom behaviors.

Use a class callback to redirect students

  • Use music and visual timers to aid transitions

  • Prep students with clear directions

  • Observe teachers to find out which teaching style you like

  • Ask for help from teachers so you can best serve their class

  • Use a script or slide deck to help your lesson flow

  • Create an engaging lesson to keep kids on task and focused

Read more about managing behaviors during class lessons in this post!

Feel Prepared with Engaging Class Lessons

Use the Lesson Builder Framework and engaging lesson styles to keep students interested and on task.

How to Use the Lesson Builder Framework - Plan your 30 minute lessons around the following:

  • Icebreaker (5 min): Try to find a movement based and topic-related icebreaker so you can give kiddos a sneak peek of the lesson content.

  • Lesson or Learning Activity (10 min): Teach a slide deck with videos, read a related book, or split the kids into break out groups for the main instructional piece.

  • Discussion (7 min): Discuss in pairs, small groups, or as a whole class. Try using a beach ball or jumbo dice to keep it fun!

  • Reflection (6 min): Have students complete an independent reflection piece to review what they've learned.

  • Data Collection (2 min): Use a simple data collection tool like a ticket out the door to assess understanding.

Scoot games, escape rooms, and game shows are lesson styles you can use to make your classroom counseling lessons extra engaging and fun!

Read more about creating engaging class lessons in this post! And if you're looking for even more ways to make your lessons engaging download my free cheat sheet with 15 Strategies to Engage Your Students during Class Lessons.

How I went from Stressed to Obsessed with Classroom Counseling Lessons

Through years of research and trail and error I went from feeling stressed to being obsessed with classroom counseling lessons!

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  • I wanted to feel more confident and prepared so I started figuring out the process (location, set up, frequency) and getting teacher buy-in.

  • I wanted to stop last minute lesson planning so I started planning engaging lessons and repurposing content.

  • I wanted to feel like I was making a difference so I started collecting data to measure the effectiveness of my lessons.

  • I wanted to feel competent and valued by my colleagues so I started writing scripts and managing behaviors.

Now you know you're not alone if you feel like you keep making mistakes in your class lessons. I've been there and I hope you now feel prepared and confident to tackle classroom counseling lessons.

 

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