3rd Grade Family Change Small Group

I am beginning to facilitate a small group for students who have gone through a family change and don’t have a mom and dad living in the same house. I leave the group open to children who have divorced parents, single mom, parents never married, one parent in jail or other unique situation. I included my outline of sessions to be delivered as well as the pre and post test that I use.

Purpose/Goal of the Group: Students will learn that they are not the only ones with a unique family situation. Students will also learn healthy ways to cope with the family change while increasing his or her self-image.

Participants: Participants were identified by the results of a survey. To participate in the group, parents had to sign a permission form.

 Time and Length of Group: Ten 3rd grade students will meet on Thursday’s at Lunch (11:55-12:35) for five weeks.

Week 1

ASCA Student Standards:

PS.A1.9 Demonstrate cooperative behavior in groups

P.S.A2.5 Recognize and respect differences in various family configurations

WI DPI Benchmarks:

D4.1.1 Demonstrate positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person

Materials Needed:

Pre-test, What Kind of Family do you have?, paper, crayons


  • Discuss why each of us are in this group and tell the students what they can except during the group
  • Students will complete the Pre-test
  • Read the story: What Kind of Family do you have?
  • Each student will draw a picture of his or her family
  • If there is time, students can share their drawings if they would like

 Week 2

 ASCA Student Standards:

PS.A1. 4 Understand that change is a necessary part of growth

PS.A1.12 Identify and recognize changing family roles

WI DPI Benchmarks:

D.4.2.4 Respect and accept individual differences


Book: Nellies Story


  • Read Nellies Story
  • Ask students how their family situation is similar or different to Nellies Story
  • Facilitate conversation between students

 Week 3

ASCA Student Standards:

PS.A1.5 Identify and express feelings

PS.A2.6 Use effective communication skills

WI DPI Benchmarks:

A.4.2.1 Use communication skills to know when and how to ask for help when needed

B.4.1.1 Demonstrate the ability to seek information and support from faculty, staff and peers


Worksheet from When Mom and Dad Separate-Feelings are O.K. and Feelings Change


  • Discussion about feelings during the family change process
    • How did/do you feel when there is fighting in your house?
    • How did you feel if someone moved out?
    • Are these feelings okay?
  • Facilitate the conversation to best meet the needs of the students


Week 4

 ASCA Student Standards:

PS.A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person

PS.A1.10 Identify personal strengths and assets

PS.B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with the problem

WI DPI Benchmarks:

G.4.2.1 Practice positive social skills while interacting with others in a way that is respectful, honest, helpful and appreciative

F.4.1.6 Use effective problem solving and decision-making skills to make safe and healthy choices

Materials Needed:



  • Discussion about how to have fun when parents are going through a rough time
    • Do you have to move? How to still have fun?
    • What to do when parents are fighting?
  • Facilitate the conversation to center around coping skills
  • Students will complete the post-test (Students will not be able to complete the post test on the last day because we are bringing all students together and not every group is assessing the students.)

 Week 5

ASCA Student Standards:

PS.A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person

PS.B1.9 Identify long term and short term goals

WI DPI Benchmarks:

G.4.2.1 Practice positive social skills while interacting with others in a way that is respectful, hones, helpful and appreciative

Material Needed:

Banana Split ingredients


  • Bring all 3rd grade students in the family change group together (~30 students)
  • After lunch, students can make a banana split
  • Discussion as to what everyone took away from the group
    • What is a goal that you have for yourself and your family in the future?

 Collecting Data:

Process: Ten 3rd grade students participated in the family change group. The group met for 40 minutes for a total of five weeks.

Perception: The students completed a pre-test and post-test.

Outcome: SWIS data is looked at to see if the number of behavior incidents decreased after the group. Consult with teachers to see if students are coping healthier after the family change group.

Follow Up: 2 or 3 weeks after the group is complete, we will follow up with the students to see how they are doing and if individual counseling is needed. We will also have students complete a second verbal post-test to see if they remember what we learned in group.

Here is the pre/post test for the small group!

3rd Grade Family Change pre and post test

Family Change Results


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