Wednesday, June 7, 2017

School Counseling Resources from Oriental Trading

We received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

In October of last year I was presented with the opportunity to take on the role of School Counselor at the school that both my daughters attend. My response came easily! I have a graduate degree in counseling and have worked in numerous different, fairly intense, capacities within the field. I had most recently taken a break from direct care to give my mind and heart a break, but the opportunity to work with students in a setting so important to our family was so exciting!

The role of School Counselor is new in our small private school. Having taken a break from direct care for several years and having never done counseling in a school setting before, I had to do some quick work to remind myself of all my favorite child and adolescent interventions and group activities. I had what I needed to get myself started but was on the lookout for new and fun ways of incorporating mental wellness into a school setting. I was in the market for products that I could add to my new school counseling toolkit!

I guess I'd say I'm pretty creative when it comes to my work with children. My students would tell you that I can turn any game into a counseling or therapeutic game... and they would tell you that my favorite are games with colors!

Take these blocks for example. They are different colors and shapes. As we build with them in the counseling office, we have each color or shape represent a different emotion. For instance maybe blue represents sadness, yellow represents happiness, and so on. Each time we choose that color to build with we share about a time that we've experienced that feeling. I got this set Geometric Connecting Shapes online from Oriental Trading. It was one of several options of building toys. These high quality, plastic shapes connect to each other and you can build every which way with them - up, down and all around. I have several creations displayed in my office right now!

Oriental Trading has more resources for school counselors than you may realize. I was very pleasantly surprised to look online and find a plethora of games, activities, and supplies that would fit perfectly into my work with students.

For group work with students, I love, love, love, love, any type of conversation starter activity. Creative questions or sentence starters are perfect for engaging groups of all ages. Whether I'm meeting with just a couple of students, a lunch group, or an entire classroom, everyone is always well engaged in these activities which include fun, thought-provoking, often outside-the-box ideas!

I've used this Icebreaker Owl Box and Question Card Set with middle schoolers, early elementary students, and everyone in between. It is perfect as a lunch bunch activity but I've used it in the classroom setting as well. There is truly a question for everyone and I love having a cute storage box to keep them all contained. This is much more visually appealing than the handwritten scraps of paper I had been using and I love the creative questions!

These Get to Know Your Class Pocket Dice Cards have sentence starters on them and this fun Pocket Dice with clear sleeves allows you to insert the cards and roll for added fun! This set comes with just the right combination of silly and serious - and there are 100 of them included!

Both students and teachers need brain breaks every now and then. This Classroom Brain Break Activity Dice set is perfect for a rainy day, a standardized testing break, or really any time that something active and different from the mundane might help clear the air. We used this set with first graders this week when it became clear that the task of end of year assessments - on a rainy day with indoor recess - was getting the best of them. Each student had a turn to pick a block and roll it to share an activity that everyone would do together. My favorite was clapping Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, instead of singing it! Some of these activities have a time listed on them so I got a package of 30, 60, 90, 120 Second Sand Timers to go along with this game.

Stress balls are a great addition to the counseling office. They are perfect for those times when students need to refocus their brains. Sometimes they will use them as they talk with me and other times they will use them as they complete their classwork or homework. Oriental Trading has tons of good stress ball options - all different colors, shapes, sizes, and themes. These Mini Neon Smile Face Stress Balls were perfect for us!

I adore these Emotions Dice. How could I not snatch up something so feeling-related?! The set comes with dice with different faces on some and feeling words on the other. It doesn't come with formal game instructions but the possibilities for using these are endless! The facial expressions are fun and relatable and the feeling words are familiar. Perhaps roll the word dice and share about a time you've felt that way - then find the matching face to go with the feeling.

My students were so excited to see these new additions to the school counseling office! I love the quality and creativity of these products and are proud to be able to include them in my work. Tomorrow's our last day of school but I'm already excited for next year's fun!

And by the way - don't you love the little baskets I'm using to organize?! These Round Classroom Storage Baskets come in a set of 12. They are the perfect shape and size for pretty much everything. I highly recommend!

You can find all sorts of school counseling and classroom supplies on the Oriental Trading website. Stock up now for next year!

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea that Oriental Trading had all of these resources. I really like the "Get to Know Your Class Pocket Dice Cards"


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