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.

20 comments:

  1. This is such a great idea!!!! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I love this idea Danielle. A quick check in with students can make all the difference. I think it is great that you are physically going to their classroom and not wasting time having students come down to your office.

    Catchy name too, thanks for sharing!!!

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  3. Such a nice gift for your students! Quick question - after you touched base, did requests to see you go up? I've found, for example, that after a mediation with kids, they request future visits even if there isn't really an issue anymore . . . something about the attention, probably, and how good it feels to be listened to and heard.

    Happy New Year, Danielle - thanks for all of the time and talent you share with us! Barbara

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  4. NJSchCounselor, I agree pulling up a chair is a great time saver!

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  5. Barbara, I am going to write a follow up post in answer to your question. I did have requests to see me from students I had never met with before, which is GREAT! Even though I do introduction lessons with classes having a face-to-face one-on-one interaction with each student has been really powerful. Thanks so much for commenting! :) Happy New Year to you too!

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  6. love this! I am so doing this when I get back after break. Although I know my younger grades pretty well- it would be nice to check in with 4,5,6,7 and then schedule 8th graders a little later in preparation for HS. Thanks Danielle!

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  7. Great idea. I actually teach my kids every 3rd day, but I still feel that a 1-on-1 meeting with every student could be very beneficial. I've always thought about it but never quite figured out what it would look like. Now I have an idea to work with. Thanks and I look forward to some of your follow up posts about this idea.

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  8. Great idea! This is like out "Check-in, Check-out" intervention, part of PBIS (http://firstyearschoolpsych.blogspot.com/2011/09/checking-in-hopefully-not-checking-out.html). A mentor meets with a caseload of students at breakfast time, make sure they're ready to have a productive day (homework done, something to eat, positive adult interaction). Each meeting is just a minute or so. The kiddos get a daily behavior report card to be filled out during each class period. At the end of the day, the mentor goes back to see how the students did, record their point total, and get them ready to go home (all materials and homework ready to go, what they'll do when they get home, positive adult interaction). These quick positive conversations are so valuable for kids! Glad you were able to get so many done. :)

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  9. Love this! I start my internship on January 5 and I would love to incorporate this as a way to meet students and assess need! Thanks so much for continuing to provide such great resources...

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  10. It looks like you're going to generate some valuable perception data. What do you foresee doing with your data once it's compiled? This is a great way to make your program more comprehensive and be able to address the needs of all of your students.

    PS: Just one request, could you open up commenting to allow for name/url? I rarely identify myself on blogs through my Google/Wordpress/etc... profiles. Thanks so much!

    Rick
    http://counselor.rickscheibner.net

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  11. Thanks so much for your feedback everyone! I can't wait to share more about Minute Meetings with you all!

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  12. Aimee we are starting to use Check in/Check out at my school this month as part of our PBIS plan. I have a training in January on it! Can't wait to share about that too! It seems like a great program!

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  13. Rick, I am getting LOTS of data! I would love your help with ideas of how I could use my perception data!

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  14. I love this! Do you inform parents that you are doing this before? On that note, what do as far as parent permission for individual sessions?

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  15. This is an awesome idea Danielle! Thanks for all of your great posts :-D

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  16. I will be doing this too! I see all my classes 1x a month, and walk around during work time, but think this personal touch will be so wonderful for so many of the shy students! Thanks!

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  17. I love this idea!! I'd like ideas for an effective scale to create -- one that would be meaningful to gr. 2-5 students (so that I can gather data).  I'd also like to add a question about bullying or school climate.  Any ideas about how to word such a question so that I might get clear responses?  I am thoroughly enjoying your blog & ideas. Thanks!

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  18. Danielle I have a quick question. Do you think this is feasible if your caseload is 550 kids? I would love your thought on ways to make that work. Thanks!

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  19. I have been thinking about doing something like this for the new school year, though I want students to come to my office---even though I tell them where it is, 2-3 months down the road when they need me, they don't remember where my office is. It's a bit off the beaten path of our school - which is good. I'm trying to brainstorm that they would get a little gift/prize for coming to my office & spending a few minutes w/me...of course, this is tricky because there are always the kids that will do this simply for the prize. I do think however, that having the one-on-one contact & their visit to my office would encourage them to come again should they need to...if anything, would make them more confident in seeing the school counselor. If anyone has any ideas on great ways to make this work, please let me know. Thanks!!

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