How to Help with Middle School STRESS

I recently had a crying student come in that was very frustrated and stressed out (and I only had 20 minutes until my lunch group was coming in – sound familiar?)

Together we identified the many things that were stressing her out (peers, a teacher, her mom, her step-mom, her brother, school work, her iPad) by placing each thing on a sticky note and then we started to try to “fix” some of those issues. I could easily remove the peer problem, school work, teacher & iPad issue to give temporary solutions – which allowed us to take away that sticky note.

Everything else she listed seemed like pretty normal teen stuff…but then everything together was becoming overwhelming. Does this sound like a student you know? This is when I start to wish I had a magic wand…how can I help this poor girl that is crying in my office?

RX For Stress

My first line of defense was my favorite “RX for Stress” in a jar. I split up the cards and told her to find a few that she wanted to try. Together we chose 8 cards that could help her calm down when she is stressed such as “make sure you eat breakfast”, “get enough sleep”, “talk to your school counselor”, “do a tree pose (yoga)”…which then reminded me of another idea!

GoNoodle.com is a FANTASTIC website that “helps kids channel their physical and emotional energy with short desk-side physical activities – brain breaks – to help them with their specific issue” and it can be used individually, small group or even whole group.  So I logged in to the website (I have my own classroom version – its free!) and I let the student choose the activity type – she chose the “calming” category and then she chose the activity called “Flow” (one of my favorites). It talks kids through deep breathing (rainbow breaths) and adds visuals to help entertain. This 7th grade student LOVED IT. She said it really helped her calm down. She wanted to see some more activities so I let her choose one more (they are 1-4 minutes in length). She left my office with a smile on her face.

gonoodle

I left feeling accomplished. I did NOT fix this student’s issue but I helped her add to her own bag of tricks – and that is my goal…having kids learn the skills to adapt to every day issues!

Here is information on how to use it in your classroom or school counseling office – GoNoodle Tutorial Walkthrough

My favorite activities are Stretching Brain Breaks with Maximo, Flow and some of the energizing activities such as learning how to dance to “Move your Body” by Beyonce – let me tell you, its a great workout and my girls loved it!

How do you help a stressed out kid in your office?

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Google Drive is Driving up Traffic for the Urban Educator!

I am very excited to announce that one of my favorite bloggers, The Middle School Counselor, has posted my most recent blog post to her website! Check it out here!

I love the image Carol created for the post, thanks so much for sharing! Keep up the good work, I love your blog!

Google Drive

….and to all my new readers – thanks for all your support and I will continue to keep you updated with my life as an Urban Educator!

-Natalie

Counseling Data

That scary 4 letter word, data. We are told we need it but sometimes have a hard time gathering it. Collecting it is time consuming…a burden for sure. But the end result can blow your mind.

The data doesn’t lie.

And it is certainly amazing to see – especially with pretty little color coded graphs outlining your month’s work! Welcome to my 2nd month counseling at my new school. September was slow because I was getting to know students and make daily schedules…I wasn’t quite impressed with what I had accomplished yet. This month, October, I got into a good groove, made a system for scheduling students and started lunch groups. Below you see my October Counseling Stats, made using Google Forms (my favorite data collection source – totally customizable for my needs and easily changed) which can take the table responses from my “Daily Notes Form” and transform it into the beautiful pictures below that explain what I do so much better than words!

Take the data and run.

After realizing that a lot of my students come in for peer related issues, I want to dig a little deeper. What are my most popular topics when students come to me to discuss peers? For November, I’m breaking it down into 3 additional sections:

  • Conflict resolution
  • “bullying”
  • Friend support

Hopefully I’ll gain additional insight into our peer issues to start new groups with those topics in mind.

October Student Data_Page_1

October Student Data_Page_2