Help! I’m in the Specials Rotation!

I recently had a counselor friend email me, and the subject line was: HELP! I’m in the specials rotation! My friend moved to a new school and suddenly found herself in the specials rotation, seeing every single class every single week. She knew I had a unique position in a grades 7-8 middle school where I was essentially teaching a counseling class. I had the same students every single day as an elective class. It was awesome, but it took a lot of planning. So I sat down to talk with my friend about some counseling specials rotation ideas to get her started in the right direction. We brainstormed together about themed days, centers, units, and interactive notebooks. So if you’re counseling in the specials rotation, check out these ideas to see if you can find something that will work for you! (Short on time? Get all these tips emailed to you by visiting this page).

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

Counseling in the Specials Rotation

1. Themed days

If your specials rotation changes a bit each week (you’re not seeing the same students on the same day each week; on a 6-8 day rotation), consider doing some themed days to meet your program goals. You can really address a lot of content areas with these suggested theme days (and please, leave me your ideas for other themed days in the comments!).

Mindful Monday

Start the week off with mindfulness activities! Use different mindfulness activities each time you see the students with Mindfulness A to Z programs or even a mindfulness small group program for the whole class.

   

Teamwork Tuesday

Plan cooperative activities for Teamwork Tuesday! You can do cooperative games or even escape rooms to help your students build their teamwork and cooperation skills. Here’s a simple video and cooperative activity that touches on perseverance.

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

World of Work Wednesday

Spend Wednesdays focusing on career education! Focus on a different career cluster each week or invite speakers to do a mini career presentation.  Your students can do research projects on careers they’re interested in to find out about education, training, skills, salary, and more. You can even teach a focused career unit using an interactive notebook (more on both of these topics later…).

 

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

Thoughtful Thursday

Spend Thursdays on school or community service projects. Let your students plan their own community engagement project or kindness ripple they can start at school. To get started, teach your students about the ripple effect of kindness, and then let them come up with ideas for their own kindness ripple effect at school or in the community. Spend your time together working on action steps toward that project!

Friendship Friday

On Friendship Fridays, teach friendship social skills lessons, do friendship centers, and discuss friendship dilemmas. Help your students learn about what kind of friends they want to be and how they can treat their friends well.

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

2. Centers

I’ve talked at length recently about doing centers in school counseling. If you’re using your own room in the specials rotation, you may be able to set up stationary centers for a few weeks at a time for students to explore. If centers are new for you in counseling, be sure to download my free ebook with 101 ideas for school counseling centers to get some ideas to get started! And here’s a quick video to explain how it can work for you in the counseling specials rotation:

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

3. Units

When the classroom guidance schedule only affords the opportunity for 1-2 lessons a month, you may find that you are only able to hit all of the “big topics” once or maybe twice during the year. When you’re seeing your students on a regular, weekly basis, you can teach focused units. So instead of packing all of the conflict resolution steps into 1 or 2 lessons, you can spend more time talking about feelings, events that precipitate conflicts, perspective taking, self regulation, expression emotions, brainstorming solutions, and more in a conflict resolution unit. Or teach an entire career unit like I mentioned above, discussing interests, goals, values, education levels, career clusters, and more to really take a deep dive into the topic.

Unit ideas: Conflict resolution,self regulation, mindfulness, social skills, study skills, career development, self esteem, self controlSchool counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

4. Project-Based Learning

In project-based learning, students tackle a project over an extended period of time. The project aims to solve real-world problems and complex questions in a hands-on way while addressing the standards and goals of the subject area.

What real world problems can your students solve that relate to your counseling curriculum? Maybe your 5th grade students want to address cyber bullying. Team up with your technology teacher to put together a project to help students understand and tackle the problem. Share stories with them about other kids who have solved real-world problems, like Natalie Hampton who created the Sit With Us app. Read more about project-based learning here.

5. Interactive Notebooks

Use interactive notebooks to enhance your lessons! If you’re seeing your students with frequency in the specials rotation, you can build your lessons to include time for interactive notebooks. If you’re unfamiliar with interactive notebooks, be sure to check out this post where I explained the benefits and how they can work in school counseling. Depending on your time, you can teach your content during one session and take time to revisit and reflect on the material during your second session by using the interactive notebooks. At the end of the year, your students will have a completed interactive notebook full of counseling material to keep and reference forever. It’s like their own little counseling guidebook.

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

Recap

That was a lot of information, so let’s summarize: if you’re finding yourself in the specials rotation for the first time, or you’ve been there a while and feel like you’re barely staying afloat, try a new approach! Use themed days, centers, units, project-based learning, and interactive notebooks to help yourself get a grasp on your year-long plan as you address the needs of your students in the specials rotation. Want an email reminder about these tips? Visit this page and get them emailed to you to save for later.

Got other ideas for rocking the counseling specials rotation? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Counseling! -Counselor Keri

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

School counselor in the specials rotation? Use units, themed days, interactive notebooks, & centers for great counseling specials rotation activities! Manage your counseling specials rotation classroom guidance lessons with these fun school counseling activities. Counselor Keri

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