Counselor's Corner

Jennifer Connors, School Counselor for Grades 1 and 3


Classroom Guidance Update

1st Grade

In February we are learning about Problem Solving in Second Step. Students' social problem-solving skills can be improved by direct instruction. Teaching problem-solving skills reduces impulsive behavior, improves social competence and friendships, and prevents violence. The skills taught in the Second Step program are designed to build students' ability to handle interpersonal conflicts effectively. Students capable of calming down and solving their own problems are more successful in school and in their interpersonal relationships.

There are two main goals for this unit. The first is to develop students' ability to solve problems in safe and respectful ways. The second is to develop students' skills for making and keeping friends. To achieve these goals, students in first grade learn to:

1. Calm down before trying to solve problems using the Calming-Down Steps.

2. Apply the Second Step Problem Solving Steps:

*S: Say the problem without blame.

*T: Think of solutions that are safe and respectful.

*E: Explore consequences.

*P: Pick the best solution.

Make sure to join with the activation key SSP1 FAMI LY71 to watch videos about the Second Step program and get information about what your student is learning.

Auto B. Good-Character Education/Habits

Welcome to the Tullahoma Superspeedway! The Auto-B-Good series presents character traits that will captivate, entertain and educate students. This month's lesson is on Cooperation and is called "Digging for Gold." "Digging for Gold" tells us about the great things that can be accomplished when we work together. Izzi and most of her friends were really surprised to be helped by the cars from Vehicleville. Our friends discovered it is everyone's goal to improve- to grow- to make our world an even better place to live. The lesson was: You achieve more by working together...come sleet or snow, cooperation is the way to go. For more info about this series, check out their website at

3rd grade

The third grade teachers felt that my "Big Rocks" this year will be centered around Bullying Prevention, Problem Solving, Friendship, Skills for Learning, Character Education/The Habits. My monthly lessons will be developed based on these important topics.

In February, I will be teaching a lesson on the topic of proactive conflict resolution. Students will learn strategies to work through small problems that they may have with their friends. We will have a short discussion about conflict and what it is. We will use the Problem Solving Wheel to discuss helpful strategies. Then we will learn about I-Messages and how they are often used with the purpose to be assertive without putting the listener on the defensive. Finally, we will apply these skills by using I-Messages during partner practice. I will leave each classroom with their very own Problem Solving Wheel and I-Message poster.

February Classroom Guidance Schedule

Feb 2- Klager, Coleman (January makeup)

Feb 5- Falkner, Weber

Feb 9- Randle, Hughes

Feb 16- Christie

Feb 18- Landis, Levinson

Feb 23- Almond, Pleasants, Lewis

Feb 25- Norman, Coleman, Garrison

Leadership Connection

The 7 Habits and Character Traits that will be taught in Classroom Guidance this month:

Covey Habits: Habit 4: Think Win Win! Habit 5: Seek First to Understand

Character Trait: Cooperation- You achieve more when working together...come sleet or snow, cooperation is the way to go!

Small Group Counseling

Small group counseling is offered to students to support and enhance the development of personal and social skills and to support and promote academic success. Small groups allow children to develop coping skills, a sense of belonging, and to realize that they are not alone in their concerns. Children may be referred to certain groups by teachers or parents.

Groups in Progress:

1st Grade-All Stars- This group has a sports theme and involves creatively "coaching" students. The skills "coached" include: effective listening & paying attention, positive self-concept, controlling impulses, organizational skills, setting & reaching goals, and successful communication. I have one more space available if you would like your child to participate. We will also connect these lessons to Habits 1, 2, and 3: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, and Put First Things First!

3rd Grade-School Success-Put First Things First (2 groups)-The focus of this group is to teach academic skills (organization, study tips, homework tips, test taking tips) that will help them to be successful in school. These groups are full at the time.

Attendance Check-in: Selected students will be in our check-in group to help reduce the their unexcused absences and encourage being at school on time each day. Each identified student will have a calendar sticker chart to record their daily arrival for 45 days.

New Groups this month:

1st Grade-School Success-Put First Things First- In group, students will learn skills to help the student be successful in the school environment. We will focus on learning how to follow group rules, to play well with others, and listen well to the teacher, follow directions, and what to do when we have to do things we don't want to. Our goal is for our students to feel happy and successful so that learning can take place.

Groups typically run for 4-6 weeks and meet once a week for a 35- 40 minute period. Times for groups are coordinated with classroom teachers to minimize time away from instruction.



Jumpstart your child's success! Have him or her registered for kindergarten early.

Kindergarten Registration Jumpstart Day for the 2016-17 school year is January 7, 2016. While you may register later, earlier is better. Why? The sooner we know how many children are coming to a specific school, the better we can prepare.

Register for kindergarten

Lunch Bunch 3rd Grade

What is lunch bunch? Lunch bunch is an amazing time! Students can bring their lunch to the counselor's room to eat and make new friends.

When? Fridays

Where? The counselors room, Room 120

How? Students can write their name on a sign up sheet on the counselor's door--students can sign up once a quarter.

National School Counselor Week

Since it is School Counseling Week (Feb 1-5), I thought we would help answer your burning question of "What exactly do you DO as the School Counselor???" Many of you may not have had a school counselor when you were in school. For those of you who did, there is a good possibility that school counselors have very different functions now than they did 10 or 20 years ago!

I'm not one to toot my own horn but I think it's important to advocate for how school counselors can PARTNER with parents and educators to help children find success and remove barriers. This will help explain why I LOVE my job so much! I am honored to work with parents, students & educators.

Elementary School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by Providing:

School Guidance Curriculum

  • Academic support, including organizational, study and test-taking skills
  • Goal setting and decision-making
  • Career awareness, exploration and planning
  • Education on understanding self and others
  • Peer relationships, coping strategies and effective social skills
  • Communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution
  • Multicultural/diversity awareness
  • Individual student planning

Academic planning

  • Goal setting/decision- making
  • Education on understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses
  • Transition plans

Responsive Services

  • Individual and small-group counseling
  • Individual/family/school crisis intervention
  • Conflict resolution
  • Consultation/collaboration
  • Referrals

System Support

  • Professional development
  • Consultation, collaboration and teaming
  • Program management and operation

School counselors are actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; working in a partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today's world; focusing on positive ways to enhance students' social/personal, educational and career development; and working with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves. Professional school counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master's degree in guidance and counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.


About Ms. Connors

Hello! My name is Jennifer Connors and I am thrilled to be part of the A.B Combs Community this year! I will be your child's counselor this school year! I will be working with our amazing full time counselor Mrs. Trueman who will be the counselor for K, 2, 4, and 5th grade. Each month I will send out an online newsletter to keep you updated on our comprehensive counseling program so you can reinforce it at home, if you want...WIN-WIN!

A little bit about myself-I graduated from SUNY Cortland in NY with a Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education and was a first and second grade teacher for almost 9 years. While teaching, I realized my true passion was to become a school counselor. In 2014, I received my Master’s Degree in School Counseling from NC State. I am very excited to contribute to a school that incorporates Covey’s Habits, leadership, and character education into every aspect of the day. I will be working part-time with Mrs. Trueman on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and most Fridays. When I am not working with children I enjoy traveling to NY to see family, spending time with friends, and going to the beach. I am also thrilled to announce that over this holiday break I got engaged to a wonderful man, who I can't wait to call my husband!