Three Tier Approach
In order to reach ALL students, I follow a similar tiered approach that our school district does with academics.
Tier 1: Lessons
I teach all students kindergarten through second grade a lesson each month. These lessons are developmental in nature and based off student need as well as teacher feedback. They generally focus on improving students’ social skills both inside and outside of the classroom.
Tier 2: Groups
Some students may need more individualized or topical attention in areas such as emotion management or self-esteem. These students are recommended for my lunch groups which are held over five lunches for 20-30 minutes each. They focus on an area of need or growth to give some students more saturated information while also increasing social interaction. I try to make learning about feelings and social skills fun for the students, and they generally love being in these groups!
Tier 3: Individual Counseling
Throughout the year, students may meet with me one on one. I encourage students to see me if they have a problem that they are having trouble solving and we work on a solution together. Many students may also have backgrounds or current situations that require more attention. These students may meet with me one to four times a month to discuss any problems they might be facing. In these sessions, students might draw pictures, play games, write on my white board, or just talk.
Most of the times I meet with students, I am not counseling them. We are typically building relationships and working together to solve conflicts. However, my background is in solution-focused brief counseling. It is an approach that focuses on students’ strengths to empower them to set and reach a goal. I also use cognitive-behavioral approaches to help students understand how their thoughts and behaviors can help them overcome barriers to success. In my brief meetings with each student, I strive to help the student remain positive and focus on the “cans” instead of the “cannots.”