Groups, Groups, and More Groups!

It's crazy to think Thanksgiving is next week! It feels like just yesterday it was August! I wanted to share about groups I have been running so far this year and groups I plan to start in the near future.

G.I.R.L.S. Groups

Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades 6-12: Group Counseling Activities for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development (Book and CD)I am running two sixth grade girls groups, and one seventh grade girls group using Girls in Real Life Situations (G.I.R.L.S.) curriculum by Julia V. Taylor. The groups are going great! The Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum is working out really well. Girls in Real Life Situations covers a myriad of topics including self esteem, friendships, and stress. I love that the curriculum is flexible and enables the facilitator to pick and choose which activities to facilitate for each topic! I have used some of the activities in the Girls in Real Life Situations with other groups I am running too! I will be writing a review about the Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum in a future post.

Grief and Loss Groups

Healing Activities for Children in GriefI am currently running two grief and loss groups.  One group, a group of sixth grade boys, started three weeks ago. The other grief and loss group, a group of fifth grade girls, just started this week.

I have been using a variety of different curricula and activities for my grief and loss groups. I used the "Wall of Support" activity from the Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum with the grief and loss group for the sixth grade boys and it went very well. The purpose of the "Wall of Support" activity is for students to identify family, adults, and friends who support them as well as hobbies/activities that they enjoy. I made a handout for students to use to create their wall.

I am also using some activities from Healing Activities for Children in Grief. I plan to have students make memory boxes during one of our sessions. We are also going to do a balloon release at the end of the group. Over the summer I volunteered at a grief and loss camp for kids. Everyone got a helium balloon and wrote a message on it. Then, everyone released the balloons at the same time. It was very powerful.

Tess's TreeTess's Tree by Jess M. Brallier is another book I plan to use with students in my grief and loss groups. Tess's Tree is about a girl whose tree is cut down after being damaged in a storm. Tess's Tree shows an array of emotions Tess is experiencing. I plan to read Tess's Tree with my groups to discuss the stages of grief that Tess experiences as well as talk about how she memorializes her tree. The book is beautifully illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds founder of FableVision.

Future Groups

My Daddy Is in Jail: Story, Discussion Guide, and Small Group Activities for Grades K-5Through the Walls - Children of Incarcerated Parents Group
I am starting groups for children who have a mom, dad, or close family member in jail. I plan to start a group of seventh grade boys and possibly another grade level at the beginning of December. I have facilitated groups for children of incarcerated parents in the past and I work with many students who have a mom, dad, or close family member in jail. I was recently interviewed by the American Counseling Association about my work with children of incarcerated parents. The article, Endangered Innocence, appeared in the November issue of Counseling Today.

I plan to use some activities from My Daddy Is in Jail, Empowering Children of Incarcerated Parents, the G.I.R.L.S. curriculum, and the Seeing Red curriculum,  and some I created. I will be writing more about the "Through the Walls" groups in a future post.

Seeing Red: An Anger Management and Peacemaking Curriculum for KidsSeeing Red - 6th Grade Boys Group
I am also planning to start a sixth grade boys group for anger management and conflict resolution using Seeing Red: An Anger Management and Peacemaking Curriculum for Kids. I have run groups for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade using the Seeing Red curriculum. The Seeing Red curriculum is one of my favorites because of it's great icebreakers and activities. It students really connect to the activities in  Seeing Red because they are fun and informative.

Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades 6-12: Group Counseling Activities for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development (Book and CD)G.I.R.L.S. - 8th Grade Girls Group
I am planning to start more groups after Thanksgiving break. Next week two of my two sixth grade G.I.R.L.S. groups will be ending.  I am in the process of screening for an eighth grade girls group using the Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum. The students are very excited about being a part of it and keep asking me when it is starting.

I really enjoy facilitating groups. Counseling groups allow me to serve many students at once. I also love that students are able to support and be supported by their group members even after their group is over!

What types of groups are you currently facilitating? What curricula do you use? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

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.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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