More About the Top 10 Activities for School Counselors


Top 10 Topics
for School Counselors
Favorite Group Activities for Grades 3-8


Table of Contents


How To Use This Book

1. Self-Awarness

Pride Bingo
Attitude: A State of Mind

2. Peer Relationshps/Friendship

Compliment Bag
Is Your Behavior Really You?
Nobody Likes Me: Maybe They Just Don’t Know You

3. Communication

Group Story
Listening Skills
What Is That Label You Are Wearing?

4. Harassment/Conflct

When One Door Opens, Another One Closes
Angry Words
Out-Stressing Anger

5. Bullying/Harassment

Communicating Feelings
Bullying Behaviors
Cyber-Bullying: A Powerful Bullying Tool

6. Diversity/Toleance

Stand Up and Be Counted
Understanding Tolerance
Getting Acquainted With Diversity

7. Goals/Organization

Using Time Wisely
Thinking S.M.A.R.T.
Earnest Effort

8. Transition/Mobility

Working With Immigrant Families – Information for Counselors
Cooperative Group Picture
Transition to Junior/Middle or High School
Circle of Friends – Outside / Inside

9. Children of Divorce

It’s Not Your Fault
Puzzling Emotions
What I Think – What I Feel
Parent Permission Letter

10. Grief and Loss

Expressing Feelings of Grief and Loss
Coping Skills
A Chance to Say Good-bye
Parent Permission Letter



Life today is filled with increasing challenges and change. More than ever before, children and adolescents are dealing with insecurities, stresses, and depression in an unpredictable environment.

This book has been written to provide school counselors with an updated and timely curriculum of information and group activities to use with children and adolescents. It is our task, as educators and counseling professionals, to address the physical, social, and emotional development of our students. There is also a need to focus on teaching the coping skills necessary to live in our rapidly changing world.

Some of the lessons in this book, such as Self-Awareness, Peer Relationships/Friendship, Communication, and Goals/Organization relate to the growth of the individual. Although they are included in various books and materials, they are important in the development of the whole child. Other topics, including Anger/Conflict, Children of Divorce, and Grief and Loss have also been dealt with, but there is a necessity for further information and new ways of presenting it to the students. Because these issues have become even more prevalent in society today, it is essential that we facilitate the knowledge and skills necessary to deal with these concerns.

We are living in a time of intolerance and transition that has escalated in scope. Bullying has reached new proportions that include cell phone texting and the internet. For this reason, the book delves into the issues of Bullying/Harassment, Diversity/Tolerance, and Transition/Mobility. We are surrounded by new fears of violence and terror brought about by intolerance and a lack of understanding about diversity. A rise in immigration brings with it the concerns of adjusting to environments filled with new cultures, customs, and languages. Chaos, escalating stresses, and anxieties bring forth a need for individuals to gain a sense of control in their lives. It is my purpose to deal with all of the rapidly growing concerns presented in this book.

There are a few reasons why I chose to write this book. I was a school counselor for over 23 years. Before that, I was a classroom teacher. As a counselor, I incorporated my teaching skills into educating children and adolescents concerning their own growth and development. I recently retired from the school system. During my last year at a K-8 center, there were over 1300 students with two counselors. With almost 700 students to service, individual counseling alone could not meet the needed demands. If I had been fortunate enough to have had 300, or even 200, students to service, I still would not have been able to effectively counsel each student on an individual basis.

There are a number of reasons that I have found classroom affective lessons and small group counseling to be beneficial in meeting the affective needs of my students. Today, with growing societal pressures and stresses, more and more children and adolescents are seeking counseling support. In classroom, or large group guidance, I was able to teach basic skills to all of the students that enhanced their growth and development. It also gave these students the opportunity to get to know me, and to better understand my role as their counselor.

Although large group affective lessons reach a greater number of students, smaller group counseling sessions are essential for students who have special needs. It offers an opportunity for these students to share similar concerns with each other. They begin to realize that others have similar problems and issues, and that it is not a “just me” situation. The students not only have an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings with their peers, but also are able to discuss and process them as well.

It is generally in a small group setting that children and adolescents find a safe environment in which to release their thoughts and emotions. There are circumstances, however, where either students have difficulty discussing their issues among their peers, or are in more of a crisis situation. These are matters that are best served by individual counseling. The topics and lessons in this book may be modified or restructured to work with these students on an individual basis.

I have found excellent books and materials on group counseling over the years. However, I felt that there were areas that were essential to this day and time that needed to be addressed further, such as diversity and tolerance, transitions and mobility, and bullying and harassment. It was because of the relevance of these topics today, and the necessity to deal with them in a school setting, that this book was formulated.

As president of the Florida School Counselor Association, and the Florida Association for Specialists in Group Work, as well as elementary vice-president of the American School Counselor Association, I had the opportunity over the past few years to discuss counseling issues and concerns with other school counselors throughout the country. These occasions, as well as my own experiences as a school counselor for almost two decades, were instrumental in my choosing what I thought to be the top 10 topics for counselors working with students in the school environment. Besides the three vital issues mentioned above, the other seven topics were chosen because they are so highly prevalent and relevant among our children and adolescents in the present day.

It is one thing to have books and materials available for school counselors to use in counseling their students, but it is of no value unless the counselor feels confident enough to actually facilitate small groups. Working as an adjunct professor in group counseling a number of years ago, I stressed the importance of small group counseling with my graduate students. I emphasized that the goal of the course was not only to teach group counseling skills, but also to instill an awareness of the value and effectiveness of group counseling in the school setting. I encouraged them to let go of their fears of small group counseling and incorporate it into their comprehensive school counseling program.

My purpose for writing this book is so that counselors might have a resource at hand that focuses on timely and critical issues in counseling children and adolescents. It is my hope that Top 10 Topics for School Counselors will offer school counselors lessons, discussion questions, and activities that will be helpful in working with their students in their own school settings. It is also my wish that this book will ease the pathway toward helping our students grow and develop into healthy, positive, productive, and self-fulfilled individuals.


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