Monday, August 12, 2013

My Top 10 Counselor Must Haves

I see this question all the time: "what things are counselor must haves"  well the answer certainly depends on the school counselor (please always do what works best for you and your students) but I'll be glad to share my top 10 counselor must haves (I have more, but keep this post from being super long, I'll keep it to 10).

Here's my list (in no particular order)

-Kimochis:  My favorite cute feelings friends.  My students LOVE these and they are great conversation starters on how students are feeling.  Many students have "multiple feelings" with these fun toys.  I have several sets and also have 2 mini sets for parents to check out and use at home (they are machine washable just in case you're wondering).

-Board Games/Puzzles:  Students love playing games and not to mention it's another way to re-live childhood memories for me (I loved board games as a child).  Games that are very popular with my students are UnoJengaCheckersMancala & Perfection.  As for puzzles, I took an idea from Pinterest and put my puzzles into cloth mesh bags to take up less space.

-iPad/VGA Adapter:  This also falls on my counselor tech list, but this combo is great to have.  You can do so much with an iPad in your school counselor program!  The VGA adapter is the perfect addition to take your iPad to another level by connecting to a LCD projector, SMART or Promethan boards.

-Trevor Romain DVD Series:  These are the BEST!!!  Need a video about friendship, bullying, facing fear, organization, healthy eating, grief or even divorce?  These are an absolute must have.  Each time I've shown a video to a class without a doubt someone will ask "can we watch it again" or "where'd you get that movie?"  The students love, love, love these and they have a great way to tie in an important morale and lesson that is completely relatable to children.  I ordered these from Amazon.

-Art Supplies:  What counselor can't function without a good supply of paper, glue, markers, crayons and other craft goodies?  I try to keep all of my counselor craft supplies in a bin so that it's easier for students to find.

-Composition Notebooks: These can be used for any and everything under the sun.  Students having problems communicating with their parents, what to express themselves without actually saying them, want students to keep track of group events/activities or even want to draw positive thoughts a composition notebook is a must!  I've given out so many "fill in the blank" journals to students and they have had such a great effect on them.  My school supplies the composition books, but you if have to purchase your own, wait until back to school time starts and catch them on sale.

-Dry Eraser Boards & Markers:  These are great for so many things, individual sessions, group sessions, notes to yourself, the list goes on and on.  I go all these items from the $1 Spot at Target.

Dry erase markers, glue a pom pom on the cap to add a built in eraser.  

Dry erase boards (these have lines, like notebook paper)
-Counselor Treats:  I always have counselor treats on hand (sometimes for myself too, we need treats too).  I usually have smarties as my candy of choice students (it's not chocolate, no allergies, no gluten, etc).   My personal "counselor treats" include my favorite snack(s) of choice (I have a serious weakness for sweets).  This counselor's treat box was given to me my 1st year as a counselor by the previous counselor.  I've been asked several times where to get one, but I have no idea where she got it from.

-Vista Print Goodies:  Where do I begin with all the awesome counselor goodies you can create via Vista Print?  Banners, posters, note cards, t-shirts, polos, business cards and more!  Sign up to receive notifications so you'll know when they have sales.

-Thank you notes:  Without a doubt, someone (staff member, student or parent) will do something nice for you throughout the year.  Writing a handwritten thank you note is such a personal way of showing your appreciation.  I have several sets of thank you notes (including some created from Vista Print).

-Also worth mentioning: Cleaning Wipes (like Lysol), Room deodorizer, mailing labels (address and mailing sized), storage bins, counselor bag, play dough and books of course!

-Some of you may question where's my sand tray, well I don't have a sand tray and I'm a bit of a germaphobic at times.  Although I work in an elementary school, my education career started out in a high school.  Younger students tend not to wash their hands as well/often as older students and because we've had multiple cases of lice, ring worm, flu, stomach virus, etc. I'll trust my high school teacher intuition and pass on the sand tray, but again do what works for you!

What are some of your school counselor must have items?

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  1. My favorite resource is the Get Along Monsters DVD series. It covers important issues including anger, saying no, & bullying. I think I bought it from Human Relations Media.

  2. My students (and I as well) love the game "Guess Who" is super quick to play and even some Kindys understand it. I also have a basket of squishy balls and "fidgets" that many students ask for while we're talking. My most recent acquisition is a set of blocks that are glued together in various arrangements, but all fit together to make a cube. It provided great conversations about frustration and perseverence!

  3. Awesome post! Thanks. I had not thought of using Vistaprint for anything other than business cards. Wow!