December is a crazy time of year! Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle there's a mixed bag of counseling hot topics I want to share with you including; seasonal activity ideas to supplement your lessons, data tracking strategies, and self-care hacks!

Countdown to Winter Break with Holiday Counseling Activities

How to have a counseling activity on hand for every occasion:

Do you ever have students aka frequent flyers randomly pop in your office to chat? In December I typically have dozens of drop-in kiddos. While it is easy to do a quick hello and send them back to class, there is probably a reason they keep coming by. I like to create a learning opportunity with a quick activity even if I only have a few minutes before a group or class lesson.

I also was looking to create something seasonal and engaging. That's how my interactive calendar activity was born!

How it works: It works like an advent calendar but rather than anticipating Christmas, students are counting down the days to Winter Break. When a drop-in kiddo stops by have them open a day on the calendar to see which fun activity they get to do!

You can easily make this on your own by selecting different activities to do on different "countdown" days.

Sounds great but I don't DIY... download my ready to go activity calendar here.

Read this blog post for more details on how to engage frequent flyers using a countdown calendar.

How to Host a Counseling Holiday Party

Class parties are always a fun way to end the year and celebrate the holiday season. These activities are a fun way to reinforce key counseling concepts with a seasonal twist!

  • Create self-esteem ornaments: Have students write self-esteem statements and then put them inside a clear bulb. Students can take them home and remember how awesome they are every time they see it on their tree.

  • Make "get-to-know-you" trail mix: Have students share as they assemble their bags. (ex: Popcorn - name something that you are good at, Marshmallows - name something that makes you smile, M&Ms - talk about a good choice you made today, etc)

  • Play holiday-themed counseling games

My go-to holiday counseling games: Dress an Elf with I-Statements, S(elf)-Control Board Game, and SSnowman Goals! Check out how I use them in this blog post.

Looking for more counseling holiday party tips? Check out this blog post.

How to Conduct a Mid-Year Data Check-Up

December is the end of the calendar year, halfway through the school year, and the end of the semester. It is the perfect time to analyze data and assess student progress.

A data check-up does 3 things:

  1. Assesses the effectiveness of your program (make changes now so you can see better results next semester!)

  2. Advocates for your position (districts are going to be discussing budgets, funding, and staff structure soon)

  3. Gets you started on your End of the Year Report (you are halfway done with organizing and analyzing the data you'll want to review at the end of the year!)

3 ways to do a data check-up:

  • Send another needs assessment like you did at the beginning of the year. (Click here to check out my needs assessment here.)

  • Create an End of the (calendar) Year Report. (Snag a template here.)

  • Look at group and individual data to plan next semester groups. (Move students who need additional support out of groups and into 1-on-1 sessions while you move students who have made progress back to only receiving tier 1 interventions.)

Looking for more data tracking tools? Don't miss this must-have bundle. Your future counselor-self will thank you.

3 Unexpected Self-Care Tips for the New Year

Now don't check out because you saw the buzzword "self-care". I'm not talking about bubble baths and essential oils (although I do love those!) but more specifically school counseling strategies that will make you exhale and relax knowing you've got it under control!

  1. Conduct a time audit to see exactly how you're spending every minute of your work day. Then add buffers to find margin in your schedule allowing you to feel less frazzled. (Read details on how to conduct a time audit here.)

  2. Outsource: Use your interns and student ambassadors to relieve you of tasks rather than thinking of finding them work an extra task for you!

  3. Join IMPACT! My school counselor membership program is the ultimate self-care. You'll get all of the resources, instruction, and collaboration you need to run a stress-free counseling program. Find out all of the details here.

Do you find December stressful as a school counselor? Hopefully these ideas help!


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published