2020 is proving to be the year of uncertainty! The stress that families and educators are facing over when, where, and how they will be able to access school this year is unbelievable!
If you find yourself in the crazy boat of having to figure out how to transition your school counseling (or teaching) into a virtual setting, then you are probably busily scrambling for resources that will enable you to provide virtual school counseling activities.
Are Virtual School Counseling Activities Even a Thing?
While this is a whole new arena for so many of us, yes, you can find and use counseling resources for Virtual Learning.
Whether or not your school is planning on going back in person, doing a combo of virtual and classroom learning, or struggling with finding ways to offer completely remote learning environments, you will need to adapt your counseling activities to be flexible.
The good news is that it is completely possible to continue to provide resources, curriculum, and support in a virtual setting.
To do this, you will find that you may need to spend some time restructuring some of your current lessons to be more digital/virtual friendly.
You may also find that it is helpful to branch out into some new resources that are already designed for virtual learning.
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Restructuring Your Lessons into Digital Formats
Some of your lesson plans will be easy to transition into online learning. If you had a lesson that already incorporated a google slide presentation – it is easy to present this in a remote classroom and even have the kids go into break out rooms for small group discussion.
You may also find that some of your resources work just fine to scan in and share on screen with students. For example, it would be easy enough to use a print copy of a feelings check-in worksheet in a one-on-one virtual session.
You could potentially also get creative and find ways to have your students use blank paper or drawing on-screen for some of your lessons. Here is a great article on 5 different lessons that you can do with just a blank sheet of paper. https://confidentcounselors.com/2017/11/15/5-ways-to-use-a-plain-sheet-of-paper/
Top 10 resources for Virtual counseling tools
You may also want to start working on pulling together some new resources for this new environment and the challenges it brings. The good news is that there are increasingly more and more options for digital counseling tools available.
Here are my Top 10 Favorites:
I would be remiss if I didn’t start with the Virtual Calm Down Kit that I created out of my most popular resources. This kit has everything you need to help kids express and manage their emotions, learn coping skills, and create calm down skills that they can use at home or in the classroom. All of the resources in this kit are designed to be used online (digitally) or in print format!
This bundle provides a variety of files that focus on some of the specific emotions and challenges of this year!
I love this check-in self-care assessment and tracker. It is a great tool that will work virtually or in-person.
This is a great resource for teaching kids how to be safe online – especially important these days!
I love the clean look of this Virtual Classroom – it is a great starting point for your online tools!
This is a super fun and easy activity that works really well for virtual learning!
I love how clean and simple this online check-in tool is for virtual sessions.
If you were used to hosting a Lunch Bunch, then this curriculum will give you what you need to continue offering this group – even while distance learning!
This is a great resource for getting to know your kids and breaking the ice – remotely!
These super cute google slides give you a way to check in with students and remind them that you are available and ready to help them when needed!
Using Calm Down Spaces to Bridge the Gap of Home Learning vs. In Class Learning
This virtual environment will bring up new challenges but also pose new opportunities. One of the most important areas that I am focusing on this year is helping kids and families Create Calm Down Spaces that easily transition from online to offline spaces.
In a traditional classroom setting kids generally have some calm down tools available to them. At home, their families may need some education and encouragement to provide appropriate tools and resources.
The Virtual Calm Down Kit that I mentioned earlier includes a calm down space checklist that you can send out to parents. Encouraging your families to create space for kids to practice and use coping skills. Helping kids find this space – no matter where they are – will be so important this year!