November 9, 2011

What They Don’t Teach You in Grad School

School counseling professors deserve major props. If you’re a school counseling professor reading this right now, stop and give yourself a high-five. Yes, I said a high five. Hold up your left hand and give yourself a high five with your right one. Fantastic!

Our professors work tirelessly to prepare us for the world of counseling. They teach us the ASCA National Model, counseling theories, and human development. They provide safe spaces for us to practice our skills and get feedback.  They encourage us to reflect on our lives, experiences, and culture so we can connect with our students more effectively. They model how to channel our nurturing and empathetic spirits in ways that will empower our students to create change. They motivate us to become advocates for our profession and for our students.

But let’s face it…they can’t teach us everything.

Today a student tore down most of the posters on my wall. Some are still in tact. Others are ripped into pieces. It was my first day meeting this student. It was his first day at our school, and right after arrival I was called down to assist because he was crying and refusing to go class. He was a first grader. I tried talking to him, but he didn’t want to. Instead he began kicking and swinging at me and other staff members. A few staff members who are certified in “Handle with Care” restrained him and brought him to my office. That’s when he tore down all my posters.  He wouldn’t tell me his name. He wouldn’t speak to me. He attempted to run out of my office two more times and had to be restrained two more times.

As I watched him, I felt helpless. I kept wondering what was causing his anger? What was hurting him so much that the needed to release his feelings in this way? I’m sure being carted down to a stranger’s office by a bunch of other strangers didn’t help. Still, all I wanted was a chance to get to know this little boy and help him deal with whatever was causing him so much stress, even if I was causing him stress too. In that situation, under those circumstances, I had no idea what to do. I thought to myself later on, “They never taught me this in grad school.”

I remember learning that the counselor’s room should be a safe space for students. Within schools, counselors are symbols of acceptance, tolerance, peace, and understanding. Counselors are who kids can come to get the help they need. Sometimes, though, the kids don’t see it that way. There can be different reasons for this: cultural views towards counseling/help-seeking; negative experiences with other counselors in the past; perceptions about what counseling is in that particular school; or strict instructions to keep family business within the family. Sometimes, they just don’t trust you. Sometimes, they just don’t trust me. Trust doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.

This little boy didn’t trust me. I was a stranger. Everything associated with me so far had been negative. He certainly wasn’t going to learn to trust me within that short period of time, especially under the circumstances. He showed me how he felt by trying to destroy my room.  I can understand that.

I can also understand that our professors can’t teach us how to deal with every unexpected experience. That’s the beauty of our professional journey. We can take all the things we have learned and try and apply them in specific situations. And when we fail (because we most certainly will) we can reflect on how to respond better the next time around.

Still, it would have been helpful to have a lesson or seminar called, “What to Do When a Student DOESN’T Want to See a Counselor, Tries to Run Away and Then Rips Down All Your Posters.” If you’re a professor out there with a lesson on this topic, please feel free to share. I’ll give you my email.

October 27, 2011

Focus on the Strengths Day 4: The Courage to Reflect

I knew this day would come. The day when I would be so tired, so worn out , and so frustrated that finding a positive would seem impossible. I could easily make a list of things that went wrong. I’ve been rattling them off since my day ended.  I could choose to avoid my experiment and wallow in frustration. It would be so much easier to do that but I won’t. I made a commitment to the experiment and I’m seeing it through.

Let me be clear: Focusing on the strengths doesn’t mean ignoring everything else. Bad days happen. It’s a part of life. Ignoring negative things would be such a missed opportunity. Paying attention to those frustrating experiences can be useful. They help us learn more about ourselves, our communication or conflict-resolution styles, our environment, and how we can be better counselors.

In grad school, one my favorite assignments was reflection journaling. Reflection provided me with an opportunity to really evaluate my experiences and track my growth. I remember writing about one of my worst days at my internship. I was so disappointed in myself and was desperate for help. I rushed home to write my weekly reflection even though it wasn’t due for a few more days. Initially, I was feeling desperate and was seeking help from my professor. I knew she would read my reflection and provide thoughtful feedback. As I wrote, however, I remember gaining so much insight into how I was handling the situations my students’ were facing. If I had only focused on what had gone right, I never would have developed the humility and courage I needed to grow.

As a counselor, I believe that all feelings are valid and useful for helping change take place. Personal reflection helps me change for the better. Being able to take a honest assessment of myself, my strengths, weaknesses, and feelings has brought so much depth to my personal and professional lives. I’ve learned to ask for help to when I need it. I learned to stand up for what I believe. I’ve learned to advocate for myself. I’ve learned to accept when I make a mistake, and since I can accept mistakes, I can figure out how to make better choices the next time.

Even if I can’t find a positive in today’s events, I can find hope in what I see as one of my greatest personal strengths: the ability reflect. After reflecting, I know that tomorrow is another opportunity to take a shot at making a difference.

I plan to make the most of it.

October 26, 2011

Focus on the Strengths Day 3: Building Relationships

Sometimes finding positives can be bittersweet.

When I tried to find positive things today, I don’t have to look very far. I taught lessons in fifth grade, fourth grade, third grade, and kindergarten. Each one was successful.  During my fourth grade lesson, my district supervisor came in for an informal observation. The lesson was about decision-making, and she said she liked that I incorporated technology and cause/effect thinking maps into the lesson.**   She also said she was pleased with how well I’ve connected with my students since the beginning of the school year. She reminded me that I was providing a safe space for them to grow, learn, and get the help that they need.

I’m so proud that my students trust me. I’m glad that they feel they can confide in me.  I’m so thankful that they’ve learned they can come to me when they’re faced with something bigger than they can handle; something that is far beyond their control. That happened today. A student was faced with something that was beyond her control.  She wasn’t safe and she trusted me enough to do what I could to keep her safe. While the situation is one that I despise, I’m so happy to know that we’ve built a strong relationship.  She did her part and I did mine.

I also talked to my mentor this evening. I sent her a frantic email at the end of the day and she returned my call at 8PM to make sure I was okay.  Her dedication to supporting me is so inspiring. Talking to her really reaffirmed the strength I chose to focus on today. I’ve made a connection with my students and because of  that, I can provide them with the support they need. If I didn’t make the choices I did and if I didn’t make the extra effort to establish ways for my students to communicate with me, I wouldn’t be doing my job.

“There is a brilliant child locked inside every student.”

Marva Collins 

I read this quote on a magnet in a classroom today. More often than not, building a strong relationship is what unlocks a student’s brilliance. Sometimes the first step in empowering a child to be brilliant is making sure they’re safe.  I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

** Want to hear more about this lesson? Great! I’m planning to blog about it very soon because I love doing it! Stay tuned…

October 25, 2011

Focus on the Strengths Day 2: Don’t Take the Bait!

This week I’m keeping myself positive by focusing on the strengths. Read about why here. 

It’s a good thing I started this experiment because today was seriously one of “those days.”  Although nothing erupted into chaos, I spent a lot of time feeling isolated. Ideas and plans I was excited to implement just fizzled into nothingness and the negative self-talk started pretty early. “What’s the point?” I asked myself. “Why am I even doing this?” It caught myself almost immediately and thought about my experiment. I looked at my Power Tower and promised to find a positive to blog about tonight.

I am so proud of my students for noticing when they need to ask for help. I’m especially proud of the class of students with Emotional Disabilities. Many of those students have faced labels and negative talk for as long as they’ve been in school.  I’m so glad to have such a strong working relationship with their teacher. She’s my partner in helping them meet their goals  I treat them like any other class and see them as often as I see my other classes. We’ve spent some time talking about decision-making and thinking before acting. Since that lesson, I’ve noticed more of them coming to me when they feel like their emotions are moving beyond their control. One student in particular has asked to visit my office three times since our last lesson. He is the smallest boy in the class and worries about being teased and picked on. He told me makes the decision to come see me before he gets so angry that he hits or kicks someone.  That was the reason he visited me today.

I’d been trying to help him understand that if he stopped responding to the teasing, the other students may leave him alone. I borrowed my co-counselor’s copy of “Simon’s Hook. “We didn’t have time to read it together, but I was inspired by the message about not taking the bait. The boy and I talked about how people catch fish. He drew a quick picture of a hook with a worm for bait and a fish swimming in the water.  We turned it over and talked about who in his class tries to “bait” him. He colored another hook, this time with teasing and mean words for bait.  Instead of a fish, he drew a picture of himself and brainstormed ways he could avoid taking the bait.  He said sometimes fish start to realize that there’s a hook attached to the worm and they swim around it so they don’t get caught.  Just like the fish, he continued, he could avoid taking the bait by moving somewhere else or choosing to ignore the teasing. He folded the picture up, put it in his pocket, and left smiling. Usually, I have to convince him to return to class. Today, he went willingly. Now that I’ve helped him feel a little more empowered to face his classmates, I can start planning lessons to help other students learn to treat each other with kindness and respect. I’ve laid the groundwork to read  Simon’s Hook as a class!

There are so many times when I feel like I’ve failed.  I look around and start to think that I’m never going to find my footing. I’m tempted to give up. I have to remember:  Don’t take the bait! I know what I’m here to do and I believe I have the power and resources I need to do it.

Another positive: My copy of “How Full is Your Bucket?” arrived today! I can’t wait to use it to help end these situations.

My last, last positive: Even though I feel isolated sometimes, I know I’m connecting somewhere. Today a teacher invited me to her class for lunch bunch and saved me a brownie. And who doesn’t love brownies?!  I may not take the negative self-talk bait, but 9 times out of 10, I will take the brownies.

October 24, 2011

Focus on the Strengths Day 1: Power Towers

This week I’m keeping myself positive by focusing on the strengths. Read about why here.

Today I had an amazing time with one of my most challenging 3rd grade classes.  Each time I’ve done a lesson in that class, it’s flown of the rails. Whenever I try to talk to students about their behaviors, they always tell me that someone made them laugh, or someone else made them get in trouble. I wanted the students to starting thinking about how they can be more responsible for themselves.

Today, we worked on self-control and being in charge of ourselves. We started by playing  the “Make Me Laugh” game. Five students sat in chairs in the front of the room while other students tried to make them laugh. The goal for students in the chairs was to keep a straight face. If a student laughed, they got up and gave another student a chance.  The kids really got a kick out of making silly faces, telling jokes, and doing whatever they could to make their classmates laugh. The ones who did not laugh were so proud of their self-control.

When the game was over, we read “My Mouth is a Volcano” by Julia Cook. Students answered questions about how the main character Louis learned to be in charge of his behavior. They mimicked his breathing and practiced saving some of their words for later.

Finally, we made power towers. Each student got a piece of cardstock paper and folded it over like a tent. On one side they wrote their name and decorated it however they wanted. On the back they wrote a variation of the phrase “I am in charge of myself.” Some students said they were in charge of their actions. Others chose to write “I am in charge of my attitudes.” Once they were finished with the front and the back, the students wrote reminders inside the towers about to how they can do a better job of being in charge of themselves. Having a chance to decorate their towers and write their own responses really personalized the activity for the students. I told the students to look at their towers if they needed help remember how to practice self-control. If they found themselves getting distracted or losing focus, they could look at their towers.

Later on today, I was called to speak with a student. Our school has self-contained classrooms for students with Emotional Disabilities and one of the students needed to cool down. I’ve worked with this student before. When we talk, I can see many of his needs. He’s changed schools several times and doesn’t have many friends. He’s been labeled as a “problem kid” because of his behavior. Right now, he’s in a class for Kindergarten through 2nd grade, even though he’s a 3rd grader.  I’ve been trying to help him understand some of things he has control over. When I got to the classroom, the student had climbed inside of a rolling whiteboard and was refusing to do anything else. He came with me to my room and we sat and started to talk. It was going nowhere. Just when I felt myself losing patience, he pointed to my example Power Tower and asked what it was.  I told him about the lesson I had done earlier and asked if he wanted to make one.  He said yes. We read “My Mouth is a Volcano” together. Afterwards, he made his own Power Tower.  He was so excited to be doing what other 3rd graders were doing. He took his Power Tower back to his room, showed his teacher what he had made, and placed it on his desk.

At the end of the day, the teacher for the 3rd grade class told me his students had a much better afternoon. They kept their towers on their desks and even reminded each other to look at them throughout the day! I couldn’t have been more proud. I had finally made a connection with the students in a way that made sense to them. I felt that way about the 3rd grade class and the student I worked with individually.

 (The personal reminders in Ms. Ward’s Power Tower.)

October 24, 2011

Focus on the Strengths: An Experiment

We’ve all had those days.

Those days when Murphy’s Law seems to be in full effect. Everything that could possibly go wrong has, and then some. As a new school counselor, I feel like I “those days” can turn into “those weeks.”  Just when I think I’m getting into the groove of being a school counselor… just when I feel like I’m planning lessons that make sense… just when I feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life….

It happens.

The lesson I spent hours planning completely bombs. The class I can usually count on to be well behaved erupts into complete chaos. The student I thought I made a breakthrough with is in the principal’s office facing suspension.  I read the schedule wrong and I’m late to a lesson with nothing planned. I forget to have lunch with a student because something else came up.

Those days are the worst. I feel defeated, frustrated, and hopeless. I wonder if I’ll ever be any good at my job. I mean, I went to grad school for this. Shouldn’t I have some clue about what I’m doing?

Last week seemed like it was full of “those days.” I felt like I was sinking. Everywhere I stood was quicksand and I had nothing to grab onto to keep me from going under. Overwhelmed barely scratches the surface of how I felt.

I can’t go through every week like that. This week I’m trying something new.

In grad school, whenever we had supervision my professor made us start off by sharing one positive thing that happened in our week. “Focus on the strengths,” she’d say. It was one of her many catchphrases. In a way, she’d be talking about strength-based counseling. When it came to reflection, however, she was talking about our perspectives. If we could find one thing that went right, one thing that was successful, one thing we could be proud of, then that was our hope and inspiration for the next day.

Every day this week, my goal is to blog about a positive thing that happened. It may be short and simple or long and involved. Either way, if it happened I’m writing about it.

This is my attempt to focus on the strengths – my students’ and mine.

October 11, 2011

“All Students” versus “Those Students”

All students.

I’m a fan of that phrase. I see it in mission statements, philosophies of education and counseling, and on school websites. ASCA encourages counselors to implement a comprehensive program that reaches ALL students. We say ALL students can learn, ALL students can succeed, ALL students can achieve. On paper, seeing “ALL students” looks great. The phrase conveys an idea of equality and inclusion. Still, sometimes in schools what we do as educators is in conflict with the belief that ALL students can achieve.  Do we really believe ALL students can learn? If so, how do we show it? How can students and parents tell? We as educators must evaluate our perceptions about students’ race, gender, socioeconomic status, home life, social environment, nation of origin, native language, etc.  Once we’ve done that, we also need to examine how our perceptions affect our service.

Beliefs Determine Actions

A professor in my graduate program introduced this statement to me on the first day of her class. At its core the phrase means that beliefs about students affect how we act to meet their needs. There can be many variations on the statement.

What we believe about a student as a counselor, teacher, administrator, etc can determine our students’ actions. If you believe students can succeed at high levels, students understand that and work to meet those high expectations. Likewise, if a student is labeled as a problem child or someone who will never make it, they can internalize those beliefs as well. If these beliefs are internalized, we can see it in their actions, generally the things we as counselors try to change – attendance, academic achievement, behavior, graduation rates, college attendance.

“Beliefs Determine Actions” also means that our beliefs about students can affect OUR OWN actions. If we believe that all students are capable of going to college, then based on that belief, a counselor would ensure that all students have the opportunity to enroll in a college preparatory curriculum, regardless of their academic track. On the other hand, if we start looking at “those students” versus “All students,” we encounter a problem.

Negative beliefs about students are sometimes apparent in school policies and practices.  More often, however, negative beliefs come out in our words:

“Oh, well you know the kids at our school are different, don’t you?”

“You know where he lives, right? No wonder he acts that way.”

“Oh no. He’s not going to make it. There’s no use in even trying.”

“She’s has an IEP. She’s aiming too high and you’re just putting ideas in her head.”

“Most of the kids who have behavior problems have parents who don’t care anyway”

Students may not hear these things being said. Parents may not be around when we are talking about their family situations. But they can feel it, and they can see it in our actions. They see that some students are treated differently. And they act accordingly.

That needs to change. More often that not, that change starts with personal reflection on our own beliefs, our own life experiences, our perceptions, our own cultures. To be culturally competent, we have to raise our own awareness. Once we examine our beliefs and hold ourselves accountable to working for ALL students, including “those students,” then we can strive for equity. We meet students where they are and provide the support they need rise to our high expectations.

So, who are those students for you? 

September 28, 2011

Finding Support From My Leaders

Being new is hard. I’m new to a profession, new to a school, and new to a district. There’s much to learn in what seems like an impossibly short period of time. Several nights throughout the week, I come home feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and defeated. Sometimes the lesson I planned was a disaster. Other times a teacher is upset because I kept a student too long. These little mistakes can grow into mountains of frustration. The bigger the mountain gets, the less and less I want to climb it.

Despite my feelings, I recognize that I have a level of support beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Our district has a Director of Elementary School Counseling who makes it her personal mission provide counselors with the resources they need to serve students effectively. We are held to very high expectations. Though the expectations are high, we have the tools we need to meet them.  We follow the ASCA model very closely and participate in monthly professional development opportunities. The goal is that every elementary school will have a comprehensive school counseling program. For school counselors to thrive, every school system needs this kind of visionary leadership. For me, the support from my leaders reminds me that I can climb my mountain of mistakes and stake my flag at the top.

My district also takes special care of its new school counselors. Each new counselor is assigned a mentor counselor, generally one who has gone through the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) process. The mentoring relationship is an opportunity for me to vent, share my accomplishments and frustrations, and tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience my mentor has gained over the years.

Above all, my mentor is a source of encouragement. I can tell her about my concerns and she reassures me that they are normal. It takes time to grow into a spectacular counselor. With every mistake comes an opportunity to learn and grow.  She sent me this quote by Oprah Winfrey in an email after our first meeting:

Be a Queen.  Dare to be different. Be a pioneer. Be a leader.  Be the kind of woman who in the face of adversity will continue to embrace life and walk fearlessly toward the challenge.  Take it on! Be a truth seeker and rule your domain, whatever it is- your home, your office, your family- with a loving heart.

Be a queen. Be tender. Continue to give birth to a new ideas and rejoice in your womanhood…My prayer is that we will stop wasting time being mundane and mediocre…

It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, where you come from, who your parents are-nor your social or economic status.  None of that matters.  What matters is how you choose to love, how you choose to express that love through your work, through your family, through what you have to the world…

Be a queen. Own your power and your glory!

Each day I’m learning  how to be a pioneer because of the support I receive from my leaders.

September 26, 2011

Welcome to Ms. Ward’s Office

I’ve been looking forward to my first school counseling office since the first week of grad school. My Intro to Counseling professor advised us to take special care in organizing our first office. She said we should avoid communication barriers. We should make it warm, inviting, and student-friendly. Another professor said to have small trinkets and toys close by (even for high school students) because having something to do with your hands sometimes makes those tough conversations a little easier.  Throughout my program, I was fixated on setting up my first office.  I was on a mission to create a safe space that was welcoming but that also represented me.

I never expected to walk into my new office with its bare walls and lack inspiration. I also didn’t expect to be intimidated.

My office had much more space than I ever anticipated. It also had files, papers, and booklets left behind by the ghost of counselors past. Additionally, over the summer the room had become a temporary office for the Technology Specialist. There were about 6  computer units in my room. The blank walls were daunting and I was hesitant to cover them. I wanted everything to have a purpose but I was overwhelmed. After some planning and cleaning, I set out to decorate and organize. It’s a work in progress, but here’s where I am. Enjoy the tour!

I started with my door.  The piece of paper above my name is my weekly calendar. Every Monday, I post my schedule of classroom lessons, meetings, and duties so people can find me. I also hope to create a “Where is Ms. Ward?” sign.

I’m really proud of these rugs. I raided the clearance bins at Target, Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond after all the college students went back to school. They were a great deal and really add character to the room. Speaking of character….

The character mirror was my most ambitious project. Our school uses Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character ( Fairness, Respect, Responsibility, Citizenship, Trustworthiness, and Caring). The idea is to have students look in the mirror and see which pillar of character they made need to show in their behaviors. In theory, this part of my office would start a conversation about what it looks like to show character. I haven’t used it yet, but we’ll see how it goes. The mirror also helps me meet staff members in a very large school. People often stop by to look in my mirror!

I plan to use this board as way display student work from classroom lessons. Right now (with student permission) I’m showing examples from my “Meet the School Counselor” lesson. While I used a KWL chart with the older students, the book “Who is the School Counselor” lesson worked well with the younger students. Students really got the concept of the tools School Counselors use to help them. Some decided to draw me. Other pictured themselves as future school counselors!

I love these kid drawn emotions. Simple as that.

This is my favorite part of my office. I call it my “Personal Power Corner.”  It’s where I keep what I call my foundation. I have a photo of my cohort, pictures from graduation, and photos with some of my mentors from grad school. My friends and family are represented by photos and items that have sentimental value.  The clip hanging from the larger photo is my name badge from a volunteer project. It was during that project that I realized I wanted to be a school counselor. The quote in the frame reads “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  I call this corner my foundation because it reminds me of where I came from, the lessons I’ve learned, and my perosnal mission to change lives. I am empowered to make a difference.  When I feel like I’ve lost my way, I return to my foundation: the people who’ve taught me about love, courage, respect, progress, equity, and belief. When I feel tempted to give up because it seems like I’m working all alone, I’m reminded that above all else I have to the power to live my life in a way expresses my desire to see changed world. With my foundation and the experiences that have come since the foundation was built,  I dont’ have to wait on others. I can be that change.

What’s your favorite part of your office?

September 9, 2011

Meet the School Counselor

Several smart counselors have told me, “Define your role before someone else defines it for you.”  To me, this means that as a school counselor, I need to be proactive in explaining my job to administrators, teachers, and parents. There’s another important group who needs an orientation to my job: Students.  At an elementary school, this can be a challenge. At one end of the spectrum are kindergartners who are learning everything new for the first time.  For these younger students, a book like “Who is Your School Counselor?” met my needs. With older students, however, I needed a different approach.

To lead the “Meet the School Counselor” lessons, my co-counselor and I used KWL charts. Many teachers use KWL charts to assess students’ knowledge, interests, and learning about a particular topic.

  •  K stands for “What do you KNOW?” –>  The K allows students to share knowledge they already have about a topic.
  • W stands for “What do you WANT to know?”–>  In the W column, students can list the questions they have about the topic and what they want to learn.
  • L stands for “What did you LEARN?” –> After the lesson, students can write down some the things they learned.

I enjoyed using the KWL charts for a few reasons. First, asking students what they already knew about school counselors helped us tailor the lesson to the students’ needs. Using the KWL charts, we could differentiate our lessons on the spot. If one class has a pretty clear understanding of how counselors help with personal/social issues such as bullying, we spent more time talking about supporting their academic and career needs.  If another class saw school counselors as disciplinarians, we spent more time dispelling that belief.  Asking students to share what they already knew helped us be more effective.

When students told us what they wanted to know about school counselors, they showed ownership over their learning.  We wrote down their questions, essentially allowing them to guide the direction of the lesson (with boundaries, of course). This strategy had an unexpected benefit. My co-counselor and I are both new to the school and many students are curious about who we are and where we came from. They asked questions like, “Why do you want to helps us?” “What school did you work at before you came here?” and “What are your hobbies?”  Our lessons became a way for us to introduce ourselves as both people and school counselors. Sharing a little of ourselves with them was the first step in building relationships with a very large student population.

Finally, using the KWL charts meant we had immediate DATA! Having the students tell us what they learned was a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson. After the first set of lessons, I spent a few minutes looking through the “L” responses.  I was hoping to see things like: “I can see the counselor in the classroom, in a small group, or one-on-one.”  Instead, what I read was humbling. In the very first lesson, one of the most common responses was “It is hard being a school counselor.” This was not  the message we wanted our students to take away.  We were not effective, and something needed to change. We regrouped and brainstormed different ways to talk about our job. By the next lesson, student responses where more encouraging:

“They help children when they have a problem”

“They do not suspend people”

“Their offices are in the main office.”

“You can tell them if they you had a good day or a bad day.”

“They can help you with bullying or school work.”

“They had to go to college”

Our first round of  “Meet the School Counselors” lessons were a great learning experience. Students learned from us, we learned from them, and they learned from each other. In a fourth grade class, one of the most common responses under “L” was “School counselors support you.” A student made that statement when she was sharing what she already knew about school counselors.  I was amazed by how much her words resonated with the other students.  Using the KWL charts, we established our classroom as a supportive learning community.
You can find a copy of the KWL charts HERE.

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