December is here and with it comes all the holiday hustle and bustle that usually results in extra squirrely students! For that reason, I’d like to share some tips on school counselor classroom management. Managing student behavior can be so challenging, especially during this holiday time of year. These tips are perfect for use in your own guidance lessons and groups. In addition, you can offer up these tips to your teachers who reach out to you for help with managing their own classrooms! Finally, I’d like to give you lots of fun, festive, holiday freebies curated especially for the school counselor! Let’s begin by jumping into the basics of classroom management…
Classroom Management in School Counseling
Classroom management is such a major aspect of effective teaching and learning. The type of classroom management an educator has will set their classroom tone and make or break student learning. So, in all my work with student teachers and counseling interns over the years, here’s a list of the major tips I give on classroom management.
For school counselors, classroom management is an important part of your guidance or counseling lessons even if you are teaching them in another teacher’s classroom. When I first started out as a rookie school counselor back in 2008, I (feeling a little too confident about my classroom management as a teacher) thought I’d alleviate some teacher work load, and tell them they didn’t need to stick around to discipline during my guidance lessons. Mistake! Big. Mistake.
I realized pretty quickly that while the kids followed my rules and accepted my consequences for misbehavior, they lost sight of how I could support them. My (inappropriate) role as disciplinarian, even in a short monthly 30 min lesson, seriously compromised they way the students interacted with me as a counselor. In short, they weren’t always comfortable coming to me for counseling help because they saw me as their disciplinarian, not as the non-judgmental, always-on-their-side school counselor. Hmmmm….
School Counselor Classroom Management Tips
So here are a few tips for effective management in the school counseling program:
- Always have the teacher stay in the classroom while you are doing a guidance lesson- let them handle disruptions and behavior problems so you can remain in your non-disciplinarian counselor role.
- Make sure everyone in a class or group is quiet and eyes are on you before you speak. This is a key strategy for school counselor classroom management.
- Praise good classroom behaviors frequently with statements such as, “I appreciate the way Joaquim has started filling in his course selection sheet in pencil, just like I asked the class to do.” If you haven’t tried this- you’ll be AMAZED how well this works to get everyone looking at Joaquim and following his lead, even with high schoolers!
- Begin every group counseling session with a a review of the group rules and consequences. Here are mine if you need some ideas. Make sure to gently re-direct members not following rules by having them re-read the rule to the group as a reminder to all.
- Also make sure to explain that your group consequences are not discipline or punishment consequences; instead explain that the group consequences are only intended to create an environment where all group members can be successful. Tell them that if one group member is repeatedly unable to follow the group rules, it jeopardizes the group’s success, so the jeopardizing member may need to work individually with the counselor instead.
Classroom Management Resources
Here are some fun and super informative teacher or school counselor classroom management resources that will round out any teacher’s or counselor’s toolbox…
- Some great management tips in this article– I LOVE #1! Great, great tip for school counselor classroom management, too!
- Great, great classroom management tips for setting the tone to elicit the best from your students!
- Super classroom management ideas tailored just for the ESL/EFL classroom.
- Another solid, must-do classroom management article.
Holiday Freebies & Resources
With “newcomer” students who are brand new to the USA, I love to do a mini-unit on the different winter holidays celebrated in the US and around the world. This holiday mini unit is part of my Cultural Explorers group. Incidentally, this group just finished the Thanksgiving in America booklet that was mentioned in my November blog post.
In the holiday mini-unit, I first ask students what they know about popular winter holidays celebrated in the US and then I hand out this Winter Holidays booklet. I round robin read the packet with students, having them fill in the holidays in the blanks as we read along. It’s best to have a holiday word bank displayed for students to use as they copy the holiday words into their packets. Once we are done reading/filling in the packet, students can then illustrate each holiday in their packet. The following session, we have a Winter Holiday FUNquiz where students can test their knowledge of the packet info and win a prize.
This winter holiday activity will be part of my next book in the Culture Explorers series. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram (links at bottom of post) to get real time alerts of when my next Culture Explorers book, as well as other School Counselor Stephanie resources, are available!
Below are some other excellent seasonal counseling resources that I’ve come across. Additionally, you can check out my Resources & Links Page to find lots more freebie school counseling resources!
- Counseling tips for helping students/clients cope with grief during the holidays from Dr. Rubenstein at the University of Rochester.
- Cute holiday jokes for the elementary student (and even those super silly 8th and 9th graders!) from Glittermagic.com.
- Want to decorate your office door for the holidays? Have at it with this fab idea from Monique Toman’s Pinterest Page.
- A helpful vid since the holidays are so hard for those that are grieving… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsYL4PC0hyk
- Elf Movie Academic Achievement Bulletin Board by Kern’s Counselor Corner
- Reindeer Job Application by Whattheteacherwants.com; you can easily modify it to promote college and career readiness at any level!
- Holidays Around the World Picture Books by Ayearofmanyfirsts.com
Newsy & Noteworthy
My next group counseling book is just went to the publishers!! Get Your Group On Volume Two will include counseling guides on the topics of stress management, grief/loss, and academic achievement! Look for it in the next month or so at Youthlight.com! In the meantime, you can check out my Shop page to see what fab school counseling resources I have available right now!
And that brings us to the end of this month’s counseling post on school counselor classroom management. Catch up with us again the first Saturday in January for my post on Growth Mindset and running groups in school counseling! I’d love to hear about your favorite holiday 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!