As I shared in my last post, we offered eleven small groups with five different topics for students in grades 3-5 this fall. It required a great deal of organization to keep everything running smoothly! Luckily, I had many school counseling blogs to use as reference for efficient methods and systems. Below are a few tools and systems that were implemented.
To organize group projects, each group was given a cardboard book box or plastic basket (I bought 25 at a dollar store, and they come in so handy!). Students clip their checking in clothespin to the box/basket at the end of the group, as well as storing any art projects or worksheets for safekeeping. This has proven to be an efficient and space-saving way to keep track of many items and pins for eleven different groups.
The check in scale (modeled after that of Tabitha's at Scrapbook of a School Counselor) proved to be extremely popular with group members! The scale is a simple piece of laminated cardboard with the numbers one through five, and is attached to the edge of a large whiteboard. Every week, I wrote two emotions/ states that could be considered along a range (satisfied/longing, extroverted/introverted, shy/outgoing, etc). Every group member had a clothespin with their name, and clipped their pin to the number that best suited their feelings at that moment. Each member then had the opportunity to share about their choice or pass. At the end of our groups, students reported this was one of their favorite parts of the group experience.
For my own organization, I have a groups binder with tabs that contain the list of group members by topic, permission form letters, lesson plans, and notes from each group. Each curriculum also has its own binder filled with clear plastic sleeves. As we completed projects, I placed extra worksheets and samples of group members' work to show in future groups. When I find ideas for supplemental projects or worksheets, I place these in the back of the binder as well.