Creating Pre/Post Tests in School Counseling

I recently got the textbook, The Use of Data in School Counseling by Trish Hatch. Chapter 7 is all about creating pre/post tests. Hatch (2014) uses the A-S-K method to measure how much students are learning.

A=Attitude Questions- Attitude questions measure student opinions and beliefs. Many of these questions use a Likert Scale. Examples of attitude questions:

  • I believe watching fights is a lot of fun. Strongly agree…strongly disagree
  • Compared to high school classes, I think college classes will be.. A lot harder…a lot easier
  • I believe kids who report bullying are snitches. strongly agree….strongly disagree

S=Skills- Creating skills questions is more difficult than creating knowledge and attitude questions. When measuring skills the respondent may be asked to answer a “What would you do scenario?” Other ways to answer skills questions are role play, complete a job application, locate a missing part to a planner, or write a goal. A knowledge question may be “what is the GPA required to move on” while a skills question may be to figure out the GPA when given a set of grades. Examples of skills questions are: Continue reading


Wisconsin School Counselor Fall Summit-Treating Anxiety in Kids

In October, I went to the WSCA fall summit. In the morning there was a presentation by Dr. Micheal Axelrod about treating anxiety disorders in children. Dr. Axelrod did a great job and I’d like to share some of what I have learned with you all.

Something that stood out to me was that anxiety is on a spectrum. Most people experience anxiety, the only people who do not experience any anxiety are sociopaths. Some people experience too much anxiety and it is important to tell them that they will never be able to be completely anxiety free.

Anxiety is also very difficult to diagnose because how do we know “how much anxiety is too much?” Anxiety is especially difficult to diagnose in schools because schools produce a lot of anxiety (because of social situations, test anxiety among other things).

When we are in the anxious mode we will do whatever it takes to leave that situation because we do not like to feel anxious. An example of this is a child who has separation anxiety at school, they will do whatever it takes to go back home. We do know that if we allow a child to escape the anxiety it will only get worse the next time. The way to cure anxiety is to face the anxious situation. This means that if a child is anxious at school and they want to go home, we should not let them go home. Instead they need to stay at school and move through the anxious feeling.

Our ultimate goal with anxiety is to have children still experience anxiety but have a manageable response to the anxiety.

Treatment: To best treat anxiety we have to expose the child to whatever they are anxious about. This could be school, tests, social situations or many other things.

Awareness Training- We should help children understand what the triggers to their anxiety are and how their body reacts (fast breathing, sweaty palms etc).

Relaxation Training- Teaching deep breathing, “going to a happy place”, progressive muscle relaxation, distraction techniques.

Get Parents Involved- Getting parents involved is a very important piece of helping a child with an anxiety disorder. The parent can help the child practice deep breathing at home (additionally, the therapist could assign homework of deep breathing ex. 10 sets of 3 deep breaths before bed).

Most importantly for the child and counselor, they should give positive reinforcement for when the child is not showing anxious feelings.


Treating Anxiety in Children and Adolescents- Tom Huberty

The Anxiety Workbook for Teens

Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents-Wilson

The WI DPI Mental Health Toolkit has a variety of screeners that school counselors can use.

3rd Grade Girls Friendship Group Outline

I thought I would share a small group that I just finished running with a group of 3rd grade girls at the school I intern at. I had a very small group and really enjoyed it. We met for 45 minutes once a week during lunch. Here is my outline of 6 sessions:

Week 1

ASCA Standards: PS:A1.9 Demonstrate cooperative behavior is groups.

Materials needed: Roy’s Story Cubes, pre-test, group rules

  • Explain what this group is about and what we are going to talk about
  • Group rules-explain the importance of rules and ask the girls what kinds of rules do they want (confidentiality). All students will sign the group rules sheet.
  • Pre-test
  • Play a game of Roy’s story cubes


Week 2

ASCA Standards: PS.A1.5 Identify and express feelings; PS.A1.9 Demonstrate cooperative behaviors in groups; PS. A2.6 Use effective communication strategies.

Materials Needed: Homemade board game (see previous post on the board game Welcome to the Zoo) and Bright Spot Sentence Completion Cards.

  • Play Welcome to the Zoo. The cards include Bright Spot Thoughts and Feelings Sentence Completion Cards and homemade cards that include statements such as “give the player to your right a compliment.”

Process the game: What did we learn about each other? What was it like to receive and give compliments? thoughts and feelingsWeek 3

ASCA Standards: PS.A2.8 Learn how to make and keep friends; PS.B1.6 Apply conflict resolution skills

Materials Needed: Fortune Teller Sheets, Diane Senn, Small Group Counseling

  • Have students identify common friendship problems and define the word “conflict”
  • Create a list of ways that students can solve friendship problems (Rock, paper, scissors, flip a coin, let the other person go first, talk it out, compromise, etc)
  • Students will practice with the fortune teller with ways that they can solve the problem.
  • Process: All students will have conflict, what are some ways that we can solve our own problem before telling a teacher?

diane senn

Week 4

ASCA Standards: PS.A1.1 Develop positive attitudes towards self as a unique and worthy person; PS.A2.8 Learn how to make a keep friends

Materials Needed: Making Friends is an Art, by Julia Cook.

  • Questions: How many of you wish you had more friends? Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in?
  • Read: Making Friends is an Art, by Julia Cook (They are 3rd grade students but enjoyed the book)
  • Questions after reading: Which crayon do you think you are most like? What is one thing that the brown crayon did at the end of the story to make friends? What is something that you can do to make a new friend?

julia cook

Week 5

ASCA Standards: PS.A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as unique and worthy, PS.A1.10 Identify personal strengths and assets; PS.A2.3 Recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences.

Materials Needed: Thumbprint worksheet, Small Group Counseling by Diane Senn.

  • Students will complete the thumbprint activity. We will talk about how all of our thumbprints are different.
  • Students will stamp their thumb on the pages and draw in the characters for things such as, “I like to” or “My teacher says I’m good at.”
  • We will compare drawings and look for similarities and differences

Week 6

ASCA Standards: PS.A2.8 Learn how to make and keep friends, PS.A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person, PS.A1.10 Identify personal strengths and assets.

Materials Needed: Dry erase markers, post-test

  • Look back at everything that we talked about, what did we learn about friendships?
  • One student will stand in front of a whiteboard and other students will write nice things about her or things she is good at. After it is done the girls will look back at what everyone wrote about her (if allowed, I will take a picture for them to keep).
  • Post-test

dry erase

Collecting Data:

  • Process: Four 3rd grade students will attend my group for a total of 6 weeks for 45 minutes sessions.
  • Perception: Students will complete a pre and post-test and results will be analyzed
  • Outcome: Ask the teachers if the students have had more friends in class (someone to pick during partner times). Observe the children at recess.

Follow Up: We will follow up with the girls a month after the group is completed and see how they are doing.

If you would like a word document copy of my agenda, pre-test, or friendship cards for the board game please put a comment below with your email address and I will send them to you. Thank you.

Creating Board Games

I recently got a great idea from Marissa Rex’s blog Elementary School Counseling about making your own board games. I thought that I would try to make my own board game and I thought it turned out great. 


As I mentioned on a previous post, I have a silhouette and that is how I created all of the animals. If someone didn’t have a die cutting machine, they would be able to buy stickers and use those instead. The great thing about making your own board games is that you can customize them. On my board game, I have some spaces that have circles and some have stars. When a player lands on a circle, they will pick up a Bright Spots Thoughts and Feelings Cards. These cards are sentence completion cards that contain sentences such as: I feel embarrassed when____ or The best gift I ever received was___. There are 35 cards and I thought that I would pick out specific cards that would benefit the group or individual that I am working with. When a student lands on a star, they will pick out a card that I created. These cards could be anything that the group needed.  I thought that I would give students scenarios and ask what they would do. I could also incorporate movement into the board game this way. 

I had such a fun time making this game and I would recommend anyone to make their own! 

Using a Silhouette Portrait/Cameo in School Counseling

I am currently on summer break (next year will be my last year in grad school!). On my breaks I like to spend more time on my hobbies. One of my favorite hobbies is making homemade cards, and I especially like using my Silhouette Portrait when making cards. The Silhouette Portrait or Cameo is an electronic cutting tool used to cut out phrases, shapes and pictures. The Silhouette Portrait is a smaller version of the Silhouette Cameo.

I love my Silhouette Portrait and I have been thinking how helpful it can be in school counseling. I have used it at my internship sites to cut out flowers (for friendship flowers) and trees (to use with The Giving Tree).

I am excited to use my Silhouette to create art work for my office one day. I have created art work for my house that is incredibly easy. First, I bought a small canvas and some fabric. Next, I stapled the fabric over the canvas to create a smooth surface. I then used my Silhouette to cut out a phrase out of vinyl with a sticky back. The vinyl is specifically sold for use in the Silhouette. The last step is to adhere the phrase onto the fabric. The letters stick onto the fabric without any extra adhesive.

I am excited to use my Silhouette to create art work for my future art work. The great thing about my Silhouette is the possibilities are endless, I could write any phrase or make a picture and pair it with any fabric. I can’t wait until I have an office so I am able to create my own art work and signs. I am so excited that I have learned to incorporate my hobbies with my future career.


Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are a great way for students to get their “wiggles” out during the school day. I have seen break breaks be especially helpful during the long winter months with lots of indoor recesses. Brain breaks also help kids focus on the next activity at hand. There are a lot of different websites to use with brain breaks and I would like to share my favorite with you today:

One of my favorites is You have to create an account but it is free, fast and easy to do. Once you have created an account, there are a lot of different interactive games, videos, Zumba routines among many other things. I enjoy Go Noodle because the videos are broken up into different categories, such as grade level or by type (energizers or calming). One of the calming videos guides students to do deep belly breathing which I think is a really fun way to teach it to kids.

There are so many ideas for brain breaks on Pinterest or even just a Google search. I think brain breaks could be used in classroom guidance or to start or end a small group. They are short and fun and kids seem to really enjoy them.

A Bug and a Wish

I am going to use this lesson plan with my first grade students to help them start to use “I” statements. I got the original bug and a wish idea from my practicum supervisor, but I made all of the scenarios and cards myself.

We are going to have a volunteer pick a scenario card and talk about how they could respond using the bug and a wish. For example, one of the scenarios is “one of your friends is calling you a mean name at recess.” The student may then respond by saying “It bugs me when you call me mean names, I wish you would stop.” I made enough scenarios for each student to have a turn and I made cards for each of the students to coach them through the response. I am giving each student a bug and a wish card to take home to share with the adults in their lives. Email me if you would like the word documents.

Karen also posted that there is a book you can use to help students learn this concept:




1. A student who sits next to you keeps looking at your paper and it is bothering you.

2. One of your friends is calling you a mean name at recess.

3. Someone is making fun of the shirt that you are wearing.

4. A friend who sits behind you in school is kicking your chair.

5. At recess a girl keeps taking the ball you are playing with.

6. A girl in your class keeps taking your pencil

7. Your brother is being mean when you are trying to watch a t.v. show.

8. When you are walking home a boy keeps throwing snowballs at you.

9. You hear a girl saying mean things about your sister.

10. At lunch a boy takes your cookie from your tray.

11. In art, a girl says your picture looks ugly.

12. A boy is making fun of your friend on the bus.

13. At home, your sister keeps knocking over the tower you are building.

14. In gym class a boy keeps pushes you when you are playing a game.

15. A girl is spreading rumors about you.

16. A boy is tattling on you during class.

17. A girl is calling you names at lunch.

18.Your friend is telling your secret to other people.

19. At home, your sister is bothering you when you are doing homework.