Newsletter: April 2016

Helpful Hints and Reminders for Middle School Educators

Hello Teachers!

We are coming closer to the end of the school year, but there is still so much left in store! This newsletter includes information on the resources your school counselors are able to provide to students, faculty, and staff, as well as helpful information regarding career planning and social/personal development of students.

Some things your school counselors can do for/with you...

  1. Provide counseling services to students, faculty, and staff
  2. Provide information on classroom management strageties
  3. Be an advocate for students and teachers
  4. Help to review and explain assessment data
  5. Collaborate on the creation of inclusive lesson plans:
  • working to include students with disabilities in the classroom
  • avoiding discrimination in lesson materials
  • being mindful of all populations represented in the classroom
  • not ignoring the impact of cultural development on student academic performance

Student Career Development

Career Planning Lessons

It is important to remember that planning for the future begins with IDEAS. Helpings students to figure out their areas of interest as well as personal strengths during middle school years can help them have a stronger focus on their academic, vocational, and/or career GOALS during high school and beyond!

Resources for classroom career and future exploration

The following link leads to an abundance of resources with information regarding level of education needed for a job position, typical pay rates and salaries, job requirements and experience needed, as well as activities which can be used in the classroom.

Click Here

The following link leads to a classroom program which covers several aspects of money management including checking, saving, budgeting, and investing. This activity could be used as an independent activity for advanced students or generally used as an overview or class activity.

Click Here

Vocational Interest Materials

There are a variety of ways to go about helping students define their interests when it comes to work and career choices for their future. Some options include the following...
  • A free online vocational inventory that is available online is easily accessed using this link which leads to a Holland Code career test. This inventory will give students a better understanding of their interests and abilities and how these combine to show careers based on their interest profile.
  • Students may also be asked to research some of the careers they find interesting from those listed and determine which seem the best fit for them using this link.

Personal/Social Development

Teaching Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is proven to engage and develop higher academic achievement in students. SEL is an integration of five different areas into the classroom curriculum and around the school. The five components it teaches are self awareness, social awareness, self management, relationships, and decision making. By integrating these areas into the classroom the students not only achieve higher academically, but they learn the essential skills they need for home, work, and life in general. SEL teaches students to be productive citizens and gets them career ready.

1. Self Awareness- teaches the child to put emotions to their feelings. It also helps tie feelings to behaviors. One of the ways it can be included into the classroom curriculum is through journaling. It can also be used during conflict mediation when issues arise between students.

2. Social Awareness- focuses on putting emotions on how others feel. Students can learn these skills through service learning projects. Teachers and counselors may also practice role playing to help students understand and show empathy for others.

3. Self Management- the ability to self motivate and regulate one’s emotions. Teachers may use this technique by teaching students to count to five when they are overcome by emotions. Or by teaching breathing exercises to help calm the nerves before or after big tests. Both these techniques give students a tool to use in the classroom and in real life to control their emotions.

4. Relationship skills- teaches students to work together to achieve a common goal while working through personality and learning differences. Skills can be learned through project based learning or collaborating for lessons.

5. Responsible Decision Making- teaches students to consider the well being for self or others. Individualized contracts for behavior or academics may be a way to incorporate this skill into the academic curriculum.

All of these five keys are important in the development of the student. They are important now, to keep the classroom functioning appropriately and also vital skills to know for later in life. Not only are they important, but by including these skills into the school, student achievement rises. SEL is also proven to reduce aggression and emotional distress in the students lives. It helps raise the overall behavior of the school climate and promotes positive attitudes towards self and others. SEL is a great way to teach the whole student and once you the student learns who they really are, learning becomes exciting because discipline has already established.

Contact Information

Samantha Denhart and Katherine Patterson