Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Got a Minute?

Looking for a quick and easy way to meet with EVERY student on your caseload? Keep reading to find out how you can start off the New Year by getting to know ALL of your students.

I have been trying to figure out a way to meet with all students I serve.  The school counselor I share a building with, Natasha, suggested we conduct mini meetings with students and call them "Minute Meetings!"  I immediately LOVED this idea and could not wait to get started.

We decided to ask students four questions during the Minute Meetings: "How are you doing/feeling?" (personal/social), "How is school and grades?" (academic), "What do you want to be when you grow up?"(career), and "What questions/concerns do you have?" to address any other needs they may have.

I made a "Minute Meeting Form"Google Document of the sheet we used to take with us to the classroom. I printed the sheet out on card stock and clipped it to a clipboard. The "Minute Meetings" are meant to be brief in order to reach every student, so we did not ask too many questions.

To set up the meetings we sent an email out to all of the teachers explaining what "Minute Meetings" are and asking them to reserve an hour time slot with their class.

Here is an example of what we wrote to teachers:

I would like to schedule “Minute Meetings” with all of the students in your classrooms.  The purpose of the "Minute Meetings" is to give all students the opportunity to check-in with me. This will help me address student needs. I would like to schedule the “minute meetings” the week of December 12th for 5th, 6th and 7th grade. ***


My plan is to pull a chair into the hallway and meet with students using your class list.  I will pull students one-by-one.  I will have each student send the next person out when their check-in is over. I would like to keep these to a minute, but I imagine that will be quite difficult. In order to have enough time with each student I would like to schedule an hour block with each class. 


Please sign up in the time slots provided below and please REPLY ALL so that everyone knows what time slots are taken. Thanks!


*** I did not include 8th grade in this email because I scheduled their classes during a different week. I included a 9th grade planning aspect to their meetings so they took a little longer. I plan to write a post to explain more about this process for 8th grade.

Our classes are rather large with some classes having 30 students in a class. We wanted to make sure we had enough time to get through each class in case some students talked a little longer than others.

Once teachers signed up for a time slot with me I sent them an invitation through Outlook, the email system we use at school. This worked very well because teachers had a reminder that I would be coming to conduct the meetings.

The meetings went very well. It was great to meet with students I had never really talked with before.  Having the "Minute Meetings" is helping me learn the names of all my students and has made me realize how many names of students I already know from being at my school for going on 3 years. My 8th graders whom I have known since 6th grade were impressed that I even knew the spelling of their names without looking at the class list.

Students were excited that they got their own "Minute Meeting" with me! It was funny because after I had conducted the meetings with a few classes word got around that I would be doing it with all classes. Students would stop me in the hall and ask "When is my Minute Meeting?" It made me even more excited to conduct the meetings when I knew students were looking forward to it.

"Minute Meetings" have been great for helping me identify some students who may be in need of individual or group counseling that I was not aware.

At this point I have four more classrooms to meet with in order to finish up my "Minute Meetings." I have met with over 270 of my 360+ students on my caseload. I also have to go back and meet with the students who were absent on the days I conducted the "Minute Meetings."

I think the next time I facilitate "Minute Meetings" I would use scaling questions. Many students answered good or great and it would be beneficial to be able to gauge what "good" means to students. I think it would lead to a more purposeful questions/answers and identify more student needs.

I would love to hear your feedback about "Minute Meetings!"

What do you think of the "Minute Meeting"idea? How would you conducted "Minute Meetings" with your students? What questions would you ask? How would you modify the "Minute Meetings?"


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Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.
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