Monday, June 20, 2016

Making Their Mark

I try to have something going on in my office that my students can be a part of and add too.  It let's them "make their mark" in my office and helps to build connections with them. 

When I was an elementary school counselor, I covered my table with white butcher paper and drew a random design in black marker. Each time a student came in to talk they would color in part of the design. Sometimes with solid colors. Sometimes with designs in a section. Once it was completed, I would hang it up outside my office and start all over a gain with a new design on the table. I originally did this on a whim but it turned out to be 1) a great thing to help my students relax while they talked with me and 2) a great way to allow students to have a connection with me and the counseling office. My kiddos wanted to be able to be a part of the art work going on in my office. 

 A little Tip:Since this was the table I also used for lunch groups, I bought some cheap place mats to use during those groups to keep the art work protected. 

Below is a smaller example of what my whole table looked like:

When I moved to middle school, I saw this fantastic post on Pinterest: 

I loved the idea and the bright colors. I now keep markers and bright post it notes in my office. Students can give a "shout out" to themselves noting a success they have had at school, home or with friends. They can even "shout out" a peer for doing something great. Below is what my shout out wall has looked like in the past. Now since I have moved offices, It was one of the first things I put up for next school year. My kiddos all want to add their successes to my wall. 
I start most of my small groups with a "self shout-out" and individuals always add to it through out the year too. Students who I may not be meeting with individually or in a small group also want to add to it because they have seen or heard about the wall and it allows me to make even more connections with students!

          1st Year in Middle School:                 
               Ready for Next Year! 

Last year, I had a student that needed some type of distraction when having some issues with anxiety. At one point, what worked was putting together a puzzle. The moments we spent calming down and getting distracted with the puzzle still didn't get that puzzle put together very quick. Of course, that wasn't the purpose, but as other students walked by my office and saw the incomplete puzzle on the table they wanted to be a apart of its completion. 
During individual meetings, quick check ins, or during dismissal time various students wanted to add to the puzzle. They were so excited when they found a piece that fit and it gave me time to talk and connect again with so many students. Once the puzzle was completed, they were all so excited to have been a part of the group success! 
I will say, I did have to improvise on space to do other things since the puzzle took up my table space for a few weeks. 

Any way for students to leave their mark in your space, makes your students feel a part of your world and makes them feel important. So whether it is coloring, post its, puzzles, or anything else, let them add to your space and make their mark in your world while you build connections into theirs.


  1. These are fantastic ideas. Thanks for sharing!!!
    Joy Davis - Miami, Fl

    1. You're Welcome! Thanks for checking out my blog! I will share more soon.