Building Cultural Unity

“You see, our glorious diversity—our diversity of faiths, and colors and creeds―that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.” – Michelle Obama

More than ever our country needs to come together and see that our diversity is what makes us strong. Children need to learn at a very young age what their personal strengths are and how to use these strengths to make positive changes and to overcome challenges. Michelle Obama has been a role model for our students for how to deal with bullying and discrimination. Her message “when they go low, we go high” is a message of empowerment and strength. If others insult you, bully you or degrade you, let that motivate you to rise up to the challenge and show others that their words do not define you or cause you to lower yourself to their level.

Too many of our young people are taking their lives because of what others have said to them. Let’s reach all young people this year with a message of hope and resilience through a positive mindset and set of social skills to help them stay strong in the midst of personal challenges.

Ideas for Elementary School:

  • Share what you have in common with others in your classroom, school and neighborhood.
  • Share what makes you different or unique and how your uniqueness can help make your school a better place.
  • Describe your family and how it is the same and how it is different from others you know.
  • Provide different ways various cultures greet each other and ask students to practice a different greeting each day.
  • Pretend to be of a different culture or race and what you think it might be like. (learn information on the internet or by speaking to someone of that culture)
  • Learn how to say “Hello” and “Goodbye” in several different languages.
  • Interview a student from a different country to learn more about their culture.
  • Choose a different country and learn what it is like to be a child your age living there. (school, traditions, greeting, music, holidays, laws, style of clothing, etc)
  • Hold an International Fair at your school and have everyone pick a country that represents some of the students in your school.
  • Participate in “Mix it Up Day” where you sit with someone different during lunch.

Ideas for Middle & High School:

  • Share how your family influences you on cultural issues, politics, religion, etc.
  • Brainstorm stereotypes you have heard about different races or cultures.
    • Discuss how these are not all true.
    • What are these stereotypes based on?
    • How do you accurately describe a culture?
  • Research historical events where people were attacked because of their race or culture. Discuss why you think this happened?
  • What are some of your fears? Which fears are based on something you heard? What fears are based on an actual event that happened to you or someone close to you? How can changing your beliefs help you combat your fears?
  • Define generalizing and how people generalize an entire culture based on a few things they have heard. How can generalizing be dangerous?
  • Participate in “Mix it Up Day” where you sit with someone different during lunch.
  • Find someone of a different culture from you, adult or student, and learn 5 things you have in common.
  • Have students select a country they are interested in learning more about and hold an International Fair at your school and represent that country you selected.
  • Discuss how students from different cultural backgrounds can come together to fight a common cause. (examples; bullying, suicide prevention, prejudice, poverty, failing grades, etc.)
  • What are some common issues or concerns at your school and what organization can you start at your school to address this issue?

Survival Skills for the New Counselor

Have a schedule and a plan ahead of time

Set up your counseling program using the ASCA model. The more you have a plan in place the less likely you will be asked to “volunteer” for other duties. For example schedule the dates and times you will be conducting Classroom and School-wide Guidance Lessons, Small Group Sessions, Individual Sessions, and set aside time for Responsive Counseling. Then at the beginning of the year provide a copy to your administrators so they can see what you will be doing each month. You can back up your plan by explaining the ASCA model to them.

Be visible

Stand in the front entrance when students enter the school and stand in the hallways when students are changing classes. This goes for all grade levels. Let your face be the first one they see when they walk through the doors to start their day off positive. A smile or high five first thing in the morning can go a long way!

Documentation

Keep accurate records of student appointments, parent visits, meetings and all guidance related programs. The more accountable you are the less worry you will have. Here is a sample of some electronic documentation programs that counselors have used. (Google Drive, Hallways, SCUTA, Microsoft Access, SCAATAP, TheraScribe, Bridges)

Establish a rapport with all school staff

Get to know all the staff in your building- it will benefit you later. Take time to recognize the custodians and lunchroom staff. Some of them know the students better than the teachers in the building. Make sure you let your teachers know that you are there for them as well as their students. Offer your help and services whenever you can. Positive connections in your school can help you when starting a program or launching a school-wide initiative and need the support of others in the school.

Know where to find resources

Know where to go in your community for resources- it can save you time and money. Many local businesses want to help by donating items or donating money or time. Retirees, college students or company employees can make excellent mentors! Many times local churches and civic clubs are very willing to help with student programs or projects.

Get support for yourself

Take care of yourself, take up yoga, get a massage or take an art class. Be sure you have other counselors who you can talk to and get suggestions from. Seasoned counselors can be a big help when it comes to ideas and programs.

Involve parents

Be sure to get off to a good start with parents. Establish an email and phone list so you can keep them informed of what you will be doing throughout the year. Hold parent support groups and other helpful parent workshops to get to know some of your parents and their needs.

Let your office space be inviting

Your counseling office should be a place where students want to come and feel comfortable sharing what is on their heart. If you are sitting at a desk with a student on the opposite side, you have already created a barrier between you and them. Set up your office where you can pull up a chair or bean bag right next to the student. Decorate your walls with student drawings, student’s pictures or funny posters that create a friendly and positive atmosphere. Lamps that provide soft lighting are nice. Have items in your room that kids can play with or use while talking with you. Some examples (for elementary) a small table with art supplies, sand tray, dolls, puppets & puppet stage, a container of magnetic sand or playdoh, blocks, games, a collection of picture books, Thumballs, etc. (for middle/high school) art supplies, sand tray, a container of magnetic sand or playdoh, card games, Thumballs, etc.

FREE 10-Day Trial on “SMART Guidance”™ Programs!

See your elementary counseling program go from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY!

Each “SMART Guidance” Program is designed for children in grades K-6 and provides 10 lessons which include over 100 interactive pages with sound effects and animation. Lesson plans with instruction for every interactive page and other printables such as posters and worksheets are also included in the program.

DOWNLOAD A FREE TRIAL!

After you download the program you can use it free for 10 days. After the trial period has ended, click the Buy Now button to purchase the activation code online or purchase the CD. Click on any of “SMART Guidance” Programs to learn more…

SMART Guidance Volume 1
Regular Price: $54.95
Limited Time Price of $49.95!

SMART Guidance: Multi-Topic –
VOLUME 1
[Grades K-6]
These 10 interactive, topic-based lessons can be used on interactive white boards and computers and will energize, excite and engage your students for learning. Topics include:
• Where Do Feelings Come From?
• Umbrella of Self-Confidence
• True Friends Are Treasures
• Become Wise to Bully Behavior
• Problem Solving with the STOP THINK and DO Method

Read More
Smart Guidance Volume 1
Smart Guidance Volume 1

SMART Guidance Volume 2
Regular Price: $54.95
Limited Time Price of $49.95!

SMART Guidance: Multi-Topic –
VOLUME 2
[Grades K-6]
A follow up to the very popular Volume 1, Volume 2 has 10 interactive, topic-based lessons can be used on interactive white boards and computers and will energize, excite and engage your students for learning. Topics include:
• Developing Anger Management Skills
• Understanding Choices and Consequences
• Developing Good Communication Skills
• Learning to Cope
• Learning to be Patient
Read More
Smart Guidance Volume 1
Smart Guidance Volume 1

Smart Guidance Success in the Game of Life and School
Regular Price: $54.95
Limited Time Price of $49.95!

SMART Guidance: Success in the Game of Life and School [Grades K-6]
These highly interactive lessons teach, reinforce, and apply the success skills of good character to real life situations. They will work on interactive white boards and computers. Each sports-themed lesson utilizes an encouraging game that relates the lesson to a success skill. Lessons include:
• Hit a Homerun with Respect
• Score with Being Responsible
• Move the Next Level with being Thankful
• You are in the Winner’s Circle when you are Caring
• Touchdown with Self-Discipline
Read More
Smart Guidance Volume 1
Smart Guidance Volume 1

Regular Price: $54.95
Limited Time Price of $49.95!

SMART Guidance: Teaching
Self-Regulation to Children
[Grades K-6]

These highly interactive lessons are designed to teach students the skills, strategies, and behaviors they need to regulate their own physical, emotional, and cognitive processes. They will work on interactive white boards and computers. Lessons include:
• Body Regulation
• Emotion Regulation
• Thought Regulation
Read More
Smart Guidance Volume 1
Smart Guidance Volume 1

Teaching Appropriate Positive Behaviors to Children
Regular Price: $54.95
Limited Time Price of $49.95!

SMART Guidance: Teaching
APPROPRIATE POSITIVE
BEHAVIORS to Children
Through Interactive Lessons

[Grades K-6]

The interactive lessons teach children a wide variety of appropriate, positive behaviors they can use at school, at home, and in the community. They will work on interactive white boards and computers. Lessons include:
• Successful Academic and Personal-Social Behaviors
• Academic Behaviors that Help Us Achieve Success
• Behaviors that Help Us Achieve Success with Others
• Achieve Success with Schoolwork
Read More
Smart Guidance Volume 1
Smart Guidance Volume 1

Congratulations Dr. Poppy Moon!

poppyMoon_smlCongratulations to YouthLight author and illustrator, Dr. Poppy Moon for being this year’s Alabama School Counselor of the Year! Poppy has written and/or illustrated over 20 resources (and counting) including a board game, many card games, children’s storybooks and small group curriculum.

2015-2016 School Year

School Will Be Starting Before You Know It!!!!

For some it already has…

That’s no reason to leave behind the relaxing days of summer! Continue relaxing with the use of resources that you know will affect your students positively this year. There is no need to stress when you know that what you’re teaching will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Youthlight.com 

Start the New School Year Off Right

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