Well, it is getting close to that festive time of year….Thanksgiving! Read on for lots of school counseling Thanksgiving resources that you can use in your program during the month of November.
Saying “Thank You”
An important theme of Thanksgiving is saying “thank you.” What better way to do this than to write thank you cards to our troops around the November Veteran’s Day holiday? This activity makes for a perfect guidance lesson where we define thankfulness and Veteran’s Day, then read a story together on the theme of thankfulness (see the November book list link below), and finally write our letters. Here are a few school counseling Thanksgiving resources that will put your students in touch with a deployed soldier or veteran that they can write to.
Transitioning to the USA
In my school counseling office, we’ve been gearing up to work with our Culture Explorers counseling group on our Thanksgiving activity. We run several psychoeducational counseling groups throughout the semester and one of my favorites is my Culture Explorers group. It is for students who have just arrived this year to the US from another country; we these students “Newcomers”. The purpose of the group is to help students learn about and transition to the US culture. We also run these two groups to provide support for their homesickness and culture shock. My co-counselor and I run two of these Culture Explorers’ groups. Almost all of our Newcomer students are native Spanish speakers, so we run these groups in Spanish.
As I facilitate my Culture Explorers group, I hear so many endearing stories from these group members. This past week, I was explaining the term homesickness to the group after reading about the characters’ homesickness in the bilingual picture book, El Cucuy. As I was telling them about my own experience feeling homesick for my mother during my first night as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique back in 2002, I looked up and noticed several of my group members crying as they empathized with my story of homesickness! Oh, the emotions and experiences these newbies struggle with!
School Counseling Thanksgiving Resource
On a lighter note, next week we will start our Thanksgiving activity, Thanksgiving Booklet & Funquiz with these groups. This activity introduces students to an important American holiday, while strengthening their English vocabulary and listening comprehension. Knowledge of major holidays is such an important part of feeling comfortable and accepted within a culture. It is a great way for Newcomers to gain understanding of that culture. Moreover, this is something that all young nationals get as they go through the school system in their own culture, but our Newcomers often miss out on this important cultural knowledge when they transition in after all the fun grade school holiday instruction is finished. This booklet and fun quiz is included in our ESL Survival Skills Guide. I’ve also included a few freebie clips from this Thanksgiving booklet for your downloading pleasure- “Thanksgiving in America” and “El Dia de Gracias”.
Families in Need of Support
During the Thanksgiving holiday, many families are in need of support. You can start by reaching out to families that you know are struggling- you might send an “Are you interested in holiday support?” letter to families of your students that are receiving free lunch, are in foster placements, etc. The best way to find holiday resources for these families is by contacting local organizations that specialize in this type of assistance. You can find these organizations by calling your local 311 or 211 information service. In addition, I’ve provided a list of Thanksgiving support organizations below that are not location specific.
More School Counseling Thanksgiving Resources
Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving counseling resources that you also might want to use with your students/clients…
Newsy & Noteworthy
I’ll wrap up this November post with some super exciting news that I have to share:
- My group counseling book just hit the presses!! I am so honored that it has been published by Youthlight. Here is the link if you want to check it out or snag the perfect holiday gifty for your counseling BFF: https://youthlight.com/product.php?id=3281.
- Guess who just got an invite to present about group counseling at the ASCA conference this summer in Los Angeles!?!? This girl! I hope to see you there!
And that brings us to the end of this month’s counseling post. Catch up with us again the first Saturday in December for my post on holiday resources for counselors. I’d love to hear about your November experiences, lessons, or resources, so please leave a comment. In the meantime, you can find out about my latest promotions, free stuff, or counseling adventures by following me on my School Counselor Stephanie Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest pages!