Elementary school counselors show their resilience and dedication to students and families.
Across the District, elementary school counselors are using creativity and innovation to reach their students and families.
Elementary school counselors across the Cobb County School District seamlessly transitioned into a virtual world with their students and families with the continued the implementation of their comprehensive school counseling programs. From East Cobb to West Cobb and also in South Cobb, school counselors were found collaborating and using innovative ideas to reach their students and families during this time of uncertainty. From delivering virtual classroom lessons, to the implementation of small groups to students that are in need of a little extra right now, to meeting with students and families one-on-one, CCSD elementary school counselors have not let this world-wide pandemic slow them down. Join us for a quick tour of the District to see what our elementary school counselors are up to.
In the Southern part of the county, school counselor Tanya Obaidullah at Sanders Elementary School was delivering her virtual classroom lessons focusing on students’ academic success, social/emotional development, as well as college- and career-readiness, when she had a realization. She shared, “I noticed that the students just wanted to talk – to me and to each other – and share with one another about everyday things. Several students were so excited to show me their baby siblings, for example. They were missing the socialization that they typically get through school.” To meet this need of her students’, Mrs. Obaidullah started virtual lunch bunch groups for her 2ndand 4th grade students. This gave them the opportunity to simply chat with her over a casual lunch, as well as socialize with their classmates. Mrs. Obaidullah also adds a little splash of fun to her lunch groups with students by inviting them to wear their favorite socks or a silly hat during the session. The number of students participating has increased greatly since starting the groups two weeks ago; last week, almost 40 students showed up to join Mrs. Obaidullah for lunch. You can follow Mrs. Obaidullah on Twitter, @CounselorTanyaO, to see all of the amazing things she is doing with her students.
Also in South Cobb, school counselor Lucrecia (Cree) Hare at Clay-Harmony Leland Elementary School, recently taught a virtual lesson for her Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students about the importance of liking and loving yourself, focusing specifically on positive self-talk. In an effort to further engage her students in the lesson, Mrs. Hare incorporated movement into her lesson, which also assessed their learning; she asked students to make a star with their body by raising their arms when she gave an example of positive self-talk, and to put their hands on their head and shake it when she gave them an example of negative self-talk. To differentiate the lesson the different grade levels she serves, Mrs. Hare used music, books, and videos as well to connect with her learners. To see Mrs. Hare in action, check out a video she posted of her teaching this lesson on Twitter, @CreeCreehare.
Over in West Cobb, school counselors at Vaughan Elementary School, Alicia Pope and Sina Pickles, have been reaching their students through their Bitmoji classroom, complete with a calm down room full of online resources to help students reset when they are upset. In their online classroom that their students can access through our online learning platform, CTLS, students can request to see their counselor by clicking on the large “help” button, similar to the Staples’ “easy” button. Students have also been practicing social distancing greetings – like air hugs, giving a thumbs up, or heart hands – with Mrs. Pope and Mrs. Pickles during their time together in the classroom. Additionally, for their 4th and 5th grade students, they have been offering drop-in hours during students’ asynchronous time, because similar to Mrs. Obaidullah, they have found that students are missing socialization with their peers and preferred adults. To see more of what Mrs. Pope and Mrs. Pickles are up to, check them out on Twitter, @VaughanCounsel1.
To end our tour, in East Cobb, Rebecca Grindstaff and Andrea Hodgin, school counselors at Tritt Elementary School, decided to bring camp and the outdoors to the virtual classroom. Students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades learned important skills, such as learning to communicate digitally, COVID safety precautions, as well as the role of the school counselor through a camp themed curriculum. Campers (students) enjoyed camp chants that brought a sense of belonging to the classroom, along with camp crafts and weekly challenges to reinforce skills learned during the classroom lesson with their counselor. Traditional camp songs were even creatively modified to reflect the current climate, for example Zoom Chicka Zoom, instead of Boom Chicka Boom. Mrs. Grindstaff and Mrs. Hodgin have also created “stay connected post cards” that they are sending out to their students, as well as the occasional pet that may have the pleasure of meeting during an online lesson. They have been mailing about ten per day and families have shared with them that these post cards make their students’ day and help them feel connected to their school.
Alexandra Huguelet, School Counseling Consultant