My Top 10 School Counseling Resources of 2021

A new year is here! And while I'm excited about the potential and possibilities 2022 holds for me and for all of you, as we get ready to go back to school after a restful (hopefully) Winter Break, I bet some of you are already looking for quality resources to use in your counseling program this semester. Here is a roundup of my top 10 resources in 2021, how I use them, and why people love them.

1. 1. Size of the Problem Digital Activity

There are so many ways to teach this topic but given the digital age we live in and the sudden turn of events that saw with virtual learning, this no-prep digital activity is perfect for helping students learn about the size of the problem and appropriate reactions.

Helping students identify the size of their problem is a big part of self-regulation. Students assess the size of the problem by dragging and dropping the scenarios into the size of the problem boxes. This editable product can be played in Google'Slides or Boom Learning and can be used on multiple devices!

How I use this resource

Although this activity is designed for students grades 1-5, the slides are completely editable and can be changed to fit a wide variety of student needs. I use them in whole class, group, and individual settings. When we were online, this is one set of Boom Cards I ended up using the most.

Counselor Review

“At the last minute, I felt like I needed something more for my 'size of the problem' social skills lesson. I searched and found this and it exceeded my expectations!! It ended up being the main and best part of my lesson. Highly recommended. Thank you so much!!”

2. Expected vs Unexpected Behaviors Boom Cards

Understanding what is expected is the first step in behavior management and self-regulation. With these Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors Boom Cards, students will learn to differentiate between expected and unexpected behaviors and how to apply that knowledge when at school, home, and in the community. With audio added to every slide, young learners and EAL students will find them as easy to use. This no-prep resource is ready to use and can be sent directly to students.

How I Use This Resource

While Boom Cards were a great resource to use during virtual learning, my kiddos enjoy them just as much now that we're back in school. Students I see individually access this set of Boom Cards on their/my iPad. In a Tier 1 or Tier 2 setting, I project this resource for everyone to view together and respond collectively.

Counselor Review

“My students liked that they were able to hear/see if their answer was correct. I used this on an iPad and was able to walk around to each student to have them take a turn. The "real" pictures were engaging for my learners.”

3. Social Skills Boom Cards

An effective way to teach social skills is using Boom Cards! With these Social Skills Boom Cards, students will learn how to behave in social settings and how to apply that knowledge in different settings, inside and outside school. Learning how to act in social situations will help students make friends, succeed in the classroom, and get along with their parents at home. Establishing these strong interpersonal skills early in life will give students the confidence they need to excel in the classroom and in their social life.

How I use this resource

Since it is a no-prep ready to use resource and is versatile, I prefer to use or send them directly to students. In the classroom, I sometimes share my screen and have students tell me their responses.

Counselor Review

“Great product to reinforce social skills in a fun, interactive way. I love that the student gets immediate feedback when they respond.”

4. Wiggle Worms Self-Control Group

Every year, like clockwork, I've had to run a self-control group. However, when we returned to school from virtual learning, elementary teachers really pushed for me to run this group sooner than later. This 8 week self-control group teaches students self-control through engaging and fun activities. Wiggle Worms includes outlines with ASCA Standards and Objectives. This self-control group is perfect for younger students who struggle with impulse control and self-control. Students will learn to identify self-control strategies and how to apply them in their everyday lives. In addition, they will improve communication skills and learn how to practice thinking before speaking.

In addition to the outlines, standards, objectives, assessments, and the plethora of accompanying games and activities and instructions on how to use them, also included each week are Group Rules and Feelings Check Posters. A favorite of this group are the fun, interactive icebreakers!

How I use this resource

Wiggle Worms is designed for younger students (K-2) but it can be modified to use with a more broad age range. I prefer to have no more than 6-8 students in a group. I make sure to use pre and post group self-assessments to track student growth and make data collection easy. I simply print out each session before students arrive and keep them in a file folder. Students are given awards/certificates of completion at the end.

Counselor Review

“I used this resource with a small group of 1st grade students who were struggling with impulse control and behavior difficulties in the classroom! I LOVED every component of this resource! The kids were excited to come to the group each week because they loved all the activities!! My favorite part of this resource is all of the movement related activities and games!”

5. Size of the Problem Activity Pack

Who doesn't love bundles, right? This Size of the Problem activity bundle has everything you need to teach your students how to better understand the size of their problems and appropriate reactions. In addition, they will improve self-regulation and learn how to better assess and solve problems. This pack includes activities and games, a lap book, and a scoot game, all of which work perfectly together.

How I use this resource

One of the best things about this activity pack is that it comes with multiple activities of all kinds that suit all learners. I have used these in my Tier 1 class lessons but also in my group and individual sessions too.

Counselor Review

'Great resource! The lap book is very resourceful and worked well for promoting size of the problem. The scoot game was great as an exit ticket for my students.'

6. Social Skills Board Game

I love board games, as do my kiddos. This extremely low-prep Social Skills Board Game teaches students important social skills and how to respond appropriately in a variety of social situations.Topics include using a social filter, assessing if a behavior is expected or unexpected, and how to recover from a social mishap.

How I use this resource

This game can be used with a small group, individual, or the entire class. I used the digital version during remote and distance learning and it was just as effective!

Counselor Review

“My students love this game! They ask to play it every day.”

7. Meet the Counselor Digital Game Show

Have you ever been asked what it is that you even do at school? Are you looking for a fun way to introduce yourself and the role of the school counselor? If you love jeopardy and think your kiddos might love it too, this school counseling digital game show is a fun, interactive way for students to learn the role of the school counselor. It’s sure to be your go-to, especially at the start of the new year. This interactive game will inform students of the role of the school counselor and empower them to seek out the school counselor when appropriate. It is available in PowerPoint and is completely editable so you can change the questions to fit your school's population and needs.

How I use this resource

While I’ve designed this digital game show for students in grades 2-5, it can also be modified to work for other grades, parents, and faculty. I like to use it in my Tier 1 class lessons at the beginning of the academic year. I also sometimes do a refresher when we get back to school after Winter Break as we have a lot of new students joining us then. Since this is a no-prep ready-to-use resource, I’m constantly recycling it yet it doesn’t lose its novelty with the kiddos!  

Counselor Review

“This is a fantastic way to introduce students to what I do, even if they have known about me for years. When they answered the question correctly they earned fake money (green copy paper that they then drew to look like $100) and they loved it!”

8. School Counseling Office Bundle

If you know me, you know how passionate I am about being organized and tracking data. I personally believe that organization and data tracking are essential for a successful school counseling program and this bundle has everything you need to set your data-driven counseling program up for success. This office bundle includes School Counseling Needs Assessment Forms that can be sent out to teachers to get their feedback on topics that are most needed.

The editable School Counseling Referral Forms are perfect to collect referrals from parents, administrators, or teachers. They enable you to receive some background information on students before sending home permission slips or scheduling a check-in. A personal favorite has got to be the editable School Counseling End of the Year Report with which you can share all of your hard work and data-driven results with a year-long reflection of your comprehensive school counseling program. With my School Counseling Organization Hacks, you can organize your caseload, develop an efficient calling system, and keep data from student visits

How I use this resource

I use this bundle all of the time! I send out the School Counseling Needs Assessment at the start of every school year and always wrap up with my School Counseling End of the Year Report. The Referral Forms allow for a seamless intake process. I constantly have the caseload spreadsheet pulled up on my computer and I daily use the folder systems with my students. Be sure to watch this video to see exactly how I use the organization hacks resource.

Counselor Review

“Thanks so much for creating this resource. I have been using a number of the items in it to keep me more organized this year. It has been extremely helpful.”

9. Love your Selfie Self-Esteem Group

Every year, I meet with a bunch of girls who are struggling with issues surrounding their identity, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. Love Your Selfie is a fun low-prep 8 week girls' self-esteem group set to ASCA Standards and Objectives that helps develop confidence and self-esteem. Group members will practice self-reflection, communication, goal setting and more with each week's self-esteem building activities.

 How I use this resource

Love Your Selfie is designed for girls from Grades 2-6. Once students for the group are identified and permission slips are received from parents, I find a convenient time for us to meet weekly. As with my other groups, creating group rules and going over them each week is routine as well as the Feelings Check poster. Pre and post group self-assessments are necessary for tracking progress.  A wide variety of games and activities each week including dice games, interactive worksheets, card games, Bingo, discussion cards, and videos. With easy to implement outlines and activities, this group curriculum is very low-prep. Simply print out each session before students arrive and keep them in a file folder.

Counselor Review

“Love this resource! Very easy to use and multifaceted. I can use this for different grade level small groups and pull activities for individual counseling sessions. I will use this resource for years to come!”

10. Friendship Pizza Craft Activity

One of the skills I’ve found many of my students struggle with after we returned to on-campus school was making friends. Maintaining healthy friendships is essential to student success both inside and outside of the classroom. Friendship Pizza is a fun way for younger students to identify the qualities of a good friend.  It also includes a digital version.

How I use this resource

This activity is perfect to use in an elementary small group, class lesson, or individual session. My favorite way to use it is with a friendship group.

 Counselor Review

“The class I was working with last year had many social challenges. Our main focus for the year was kindness, friendships and social skills. This resource gave them a cool visual to express themselves as well as communicate their developing understanding of friendship skills. It opened up many discussion opportunities. Thank you so much.”

 Which of these resources do you think your students and you would benefit from using this year?

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