Teaching class lessons was one of my biggest struggles when I first started counseling, but now it's one of my favorite things to do! It's a great way to reach the maximum number of students with preventative social-emotional lessons.

4 Classroom Management Strategies for Counselors

As counselors we usually don't have a class in grad school on classroom management. When I first started teaching class lessons I had no clue how to manage behavior while simultaneously teaching engaging content to 20+ students!

I found these tools extremely helpful while teaching class lessons:

  1. Use a call back - Use a call back phrase to get students attention or redirect them when they lose focus (ex: "1, 2, 3 eyes on me!", "1, 2, eyes on you.")

  2. Play music - Integrate music intro your lesson to serve as cues for what's next. (ex: Play music during an activity and switch songs when it's time to wrap up.) You can pair it with a timer to make it visual!

  3. Create opportunities for movement - Students get bored sitting at their desks which leads them to entertain themselves (aka getting off task) Try using activities that get them physically moving. (ex: Charades, Simon Says for following directions, Freeze Dance for self-control) This is especially important if meeting virtually! Go Noodle has some great free videos you can use.

  4. Make the lesson interactive and student-led - When kids can contribute to the lesson in a meaningful way they are more likely to stay on track. (ex: Have students act out role play scenarios.)

A combination of implementing these strategies and getting comfortable by simply doing it over and over will help you feel more confident in the effectiveness of your class lessons.

Ask for guidance on your guidance lessons!

In addition to these four strategies I recommend asking for tips from teachers. They are the experts who do this day in and out. Seek their advice to find out what works for them. You can even schedule in some time to do classroom observations. This is a great way to find out which teaching style is right for you.

3 Tier Blog Post Pictures classroom guidance lesson

Choosing the Right Class Lesson Topic

So you have the classroom management piece under control, but what are you actually supposed to be teaching? There is more to it than selecting random character traits each month. Making sure your have the "right" lesson topic picked out is essential to the effectiveness of your tier 1 intervention. Check out these ideas for choosing a class lesson topic.

4 strategies for determining your lesson topic:

1) Start with what you have

See if your school provides you with a curriculum, like Second Step or Character Counts. You could also use a book to base your lessons around, or combine one of these with your own activities!

2) Crowd source hot topics

Survey teachers, parents, and even students to see what areas students need support it. You can do this by sending out a needs assessment. Check out my needs assessment here. (It has both a print and editable digital version!)

3) Pay attention to timely trends

Look at the calendar to see if your lesson topics can complement any themes or seasonal trends. (ex: Growth mindset for Back to School season, October is Bullying Prevention Month, Goal setting for the new year, Friendship around Valentine's Day, etc)

4) Offer "as needed" lessons

Tell teachers that they can request lessons based on a specific area of need. These topics will be in addition to your planned monthly topic that every class is receiving. (ex: I did a lesson on sportsmanship to a 2nd grade class who was having problems playing soccer at recess. They received this lesson in addition to their monthly lesson on self-control that I taught to all classes.)

The Anatomy of an Engaging Class Lesson

Once your topic is determined, you'll need to plan the lesson. Lesson planning can be a challenge and it's time consuming! You want your guidance lessons to have meaningful content while simultaneously being fun. Remember, the more engaging the content the easier it is to keep kids interested and prevent off-task behaviors.

That's why I've created this guide to choose from. Simply choose one thing to do in each area and you're halfway done with planning!

Lesson Plan Guide

Tech Tools for Teacher Sign-Ups

Now that you have the perfect lesson ready to go, you need people to teach it too! Getting into classrooms may be more challenging than you think, but these tech tools will simplify scheduling class lessons. These tools allow teachers to sign up for class lessons which helps you avoid the back and forth email yo-yo. Plus this eliminates the logistical nightmare of trying to plan everything with each teacher individually.

Google Sheets: List available lesson times and share the sheet with teachers so they can sign up for their ideal times.

Google Calendar: Use a Google Calendar to create an event for the class lessons. Simplify the process further by using a recurring calendar invite. This sends the teacher an invitation and puts it on their calendar. Keep holidays and off days in mind when scheduling.

I like to combine the first two methods by having teachers first sign up on a sheet and then I add it to the calendar and send an invite to confirm!

Calendly: This is a free website where teachers can sign up for appointments with you. It is super user friendly on both ends. You write in your available times and it does the rest for you! It syncs with your calendar to keep consistent scheduling. Try it out here.


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