The Water Lily Way

A school counselor's story of how to live, work and play…the water lily way

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Online, FREE Resources to use with Students: Books, Songs, Movement Activities and More

Hi Friends!

As an aspiring counselor, I am beginning to gather different resources such as books, games, toys, etc. However, as we all know there’s a ton of resources, activities and books online that are FREE to use. What a great way to balance and mix up resources as an educator. Like many of the other collections I’ve shared on the blog, this is a very  basic list! I will continue to add to this list as I slowly uncover more of the wonderful and inexpensive resources that exist for educators! Enjoy and feel free to share others that you’ve found to be fun and effective to use throughout the school day!


Energizers & Movement for Students with the Wiggles

Relaxation, Deep Breathing, Mindfulness

Music Videos

Clips with Powerful Messages

 Brain Breaks

  • –This site is AWESOME! If you’ve never heard of it, check it out asap! Zumba for kids, calming exercises, energizing exercises…So great for the classroom! You have to create an account (you earn points as you do different exercises), but it’s FREE! 🙂

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Monday Mindfulness: Bye, bye Little Monster. Hello, Positive Self-Talk!

Hello all! I hope you had an enjoyable weekend, and are ready to tackle another Monday. 🙂 I am at my practicum site on Monday, and decided to share a little card I began making for some of the students I see individually. One thing I have noticed since being at my elementary school since February is that we have a lot of students with low levels of confidence and self-esteem. While this may not come surprising to some, it still shocks me every Monday when I am at my site and talking with my kids. I suppose I assumed I would encounter more self-esteem related struggles when I eventually entered into a middle and high school during my internship next year. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

A lot of the kiddo’s I have been talking with individually, originally were connected with me because of either behavioral or academic related issues (or so I was told). After spending time with a few of these students, I’ve come to see that their self-talk is very negative and their self confidence is extremely low. How are children suppose to succeed in school when their brains are telling them one thing, and yet they are being challenged beyond belief to perform academically? How is that happening to our little ones at such a young age? What can we do as school counselors, teachers, parents and friends to promote positive self-talk, and increase self-esteem in our youth? Self-talk effects SO many aspects of our daily life: our mental wellness, our ability to cope and handle stress, our immune systems and physical health, our confidence, self-esteem, work habits and relationships. Self-talk. Is. Powerful.

There are millions of resources for school counselors, teachers and parents to use to help increase positive self-talk in our youth. As I continue to explore different activities, I will, of course, share them with you on the blog (this is an area of passion for me!). For now, here is a little card I have been giving to some of my students. While they decorate around the card (we paste them on construction paper -I believe decorating helps make it “their own”) we discuss the “little monster” that feeds them negative thoughts. By externalizing the self-talk, it takes the blame off the child and any extra frustration that may have been connected with the self-talk being “their fault.” Talking points can include things such as:

-What does the monster say?

-How does the monster impact you at school? Home? With friends?

-How can we stop the monster?

-What are some of your strengths? What do you enjoy? What makes you feel good about yourself?


Feel free to let me know what you think, as always. 🙂

One final thought for your “Mindfulness Monday”…

Remember: “Your thoughts only have as much power as you give them.”

Be well,

Jessica 🙂



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Lesson Plans for School Counseling Core Curriculum

An important aspect to delivering a comprehensive school counseling program entails providing students with lessons or activities that are preventative and developmental in design. School Counseling Core Curriculum is often thought of as “guidance,” however curriculum can actually be delivered to students in a school through several strategies such as:

Direct Instruction:

School Counselor’s teach school counseling core curriculum in a variety of subject areas to all students in classrooms, school counselor offices, computer labs and other school facilities. School Counseling Core Curriculum is focused around the three domains: academic development, career development and personal/social development.  The ASCA model encourages school counselors to allocate 35%-45% of their total time spent at school providing students with school counseling curriculum. Not only does direct instruction provide students with knowledge, skills and new awareness’s, but it also assists the school counselor in identifying students who may need further support in either a small group setting or through individual student counseling.

Groups Activities:

The school counselor facilitates groups outside of the classroom to meet individual student needs or interests. The groups promote academic, career or personal/social development to enhance student skills and knowledge within these areas.


Examples of possible content topics for direct instruction or group activities:

Academic support

Career awareness

Career exploration

Character education

Conflict resolution

Cultural competence

Goal setting


Protective behaviors

Relational skills

School safety


Social skills

Stress management and healthy coping




The following are lesson plans that could be used to deliver school counseling curriculum to students. The lesson plans have been created using the current templates provided by ASCA for school counselors.

Personal/Social Lesson #1

Career Lesson Plan #1

Academic Lesson Plan #1

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Intro to Comprehensive School Counseling Program

Hi all & welcome to the part of my blog that is dedicated towards information on developing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive school counseling program (CSCP). Most of what I will be providing in upcoming posts will be based on the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model and the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model (3.0). As  I finish the second year of my graduate program, and continue on to my internship experiences, I will be sharing what I am learning in the field, from my classmates, professors, and supervisors that pertain to comprehensive school counseling programs. I am currently completing my practicum at an elementary school, and will be moving to a new elementary school and a middle school during my first internship experience next fall (2014). With that being said, I will be exposed to several different school counseling programs. Likewise, in my graduate courses I am learning a significant amount of information in regards to school counseling program design, implementation and assessment. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have, and also, I welcome you to teach me or share any resources you may have in regards to approaching and maintaining an effective school counseling program.

Implementing Comprehensive School Counseling Programs in our schools is SO critical in order to meet the needs of ALL of our students, focus on and achieve school counseling program goals, and demonstrate effectiveness of interventions, curriculum and small groups. As an aspiring school counselor, I understand the importance and benefit in collarboarting and sharing ideas with other school counselors, parents, school staff, administrators and community members. My hope is that not only this aspect of my blog, but the entire website will create a community for exchanging ideas, thoughts, interventions, etc. Through this we can work together in our schools, homes and communities to advocate for student success, encourage positive social development in our youth and increase the mental health and wellness of our young people.

Stay tuned for more. 🙂



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IPad Apps

Hi All,

Another list of resources that I will slowly be adding to as I discover more IPad apps to use with kiddo’s. At this point, I have not used a ton of apps when working with my students, however I find they get REALLY excited when I pull out the IPad! Hmmmmm, wonder why? 😉

Please feel free to share any other apps you enjoy using with students!

Be well -Jessica

P.S. All of the apps listed are FREE!


Mindfulness/Deep Breathing/Relaxation

(Great for teaching kids deep breathing skills and a good “calm down tool” for kids who need a break. AND, I enjoy a couple of these myself. 🙂 )

Breathe 2 Relax

Relax Melodies

Calm Talk

Smiling Mind



(These seem to be more appropriate for elementary students.)

Focus on the go!

Touch & Learn Emotions (Younger children)

Moody Monsters

Dusty D. Dawg Has Feelings Too! (Younger children)


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“Bee Breathing” -A Deep Breathing Exercise for Kids

Hi Friends!

I hope your week is off to a great start. Just wanted to share a fun resource with you that I was able to try out with some kiddos at my practicum site today. Before I say much more, if you haven’t tried deep breathing or relaxation exercises with your children or students, don’t let any nervousness you may have to do so hold you back! All of the kids I have tried deep breathing with respond SO well to it. It amazes me! Maybe it has something to do with how fast paced our society is, especially our schools! There are so many responsibilities and expectations in our classrooms today, there often is not time for just “being & breathing.”

Anyways, my cool tool for you! If you check out the website, “” a screen should pop up offering a free subscription for a chapter from the book “Deep Breathing for Kids.” I have not looked into this book yet, however I plan to do so! The free chapter will be sent to you via email, and it has some great breathing exercises for kids. For instance, one activity is “bee breathing.” In this activity children (or a child if you do this individually as I did) practices inhaling and exhaling. During the exhale you encourage the children to make a “buzzzz” sound as they breathe out. I have the Bee Breathing activity listed below, but definietely check out the website for more  mindfulness fun with children! Have a great week! 🙂 🙂 🙂



Bee Breathing

1) Let’s get in a comfortable position to practice bee breathing. Imagine that you are sitting on a leaf or a flower petal. Sit straight and allow the leaf petal to support you.

2) Breath in, allowing the air to just gently come in through your nose, filling up your lungs.

3) As you breathe out, buzz like a bee. see how far your bee is going to fly before sitting down and resting again. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz

4) On the next breath, see if your bee can fly with a loud, strong buzz.

5) On the next breath, see if your bee can fly with a soft buzz.

6) Does it feel different with a strong or soft buzz? How does your buzz feel?

Ideas for use: After breathing practice, draw a picture of a bumblebee and the leaf or flower that you were “sitting” on in your imagination. This picture can be used as a relaxation practice reminder. When you see the picture, practice being like a bee and practice bee breath!



Pb & Apple Baked Oatmeal (And Let’s Go Wisconsin!!)

Hi Friends!

I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks, but I am back and ready to share more with you! School, work, spring break and some much needed family/friend time kept me busy over the past few weeks…Oh, and a 24 hour bug that had me in bed for 24 hours straight! I have not been sick for a long time, and it made me realize how much I appreciate my health and feeling good! I slept for almost an entire day, which is exactly what my body needed. So not only did it remind me about the importance of my health, but also of the importance of sleep (which in grad school, and I think life in general, often times gets neglected…). And for the last six weeks of the semester, a focus of mine is going to be just that!

With that being said, I have a new breakfast recipe for you to try (maybe tomorrow morning after you get a good nights sleep, right 😉 ). This is the second baked oatmeal recipe that I will be sharing with you, but it is the FIRST recipe that I’ve made up by myself! Well, that turned out I should say… 🙂 The very first time I ever made baked oatmeal from scratch, I WAY over did it with the butter (using both regular butter & apple butter, aka a bad idea). Ironically, I didn’t use any butter this time. Although I came up with this recipe by myself, I still have to thank all the recipes that I’ve tried (and have been delicious!) that inspired me to finally come up with one on my own. Oh, and one more thing, this is one of those recipes that is just NOT photogenic! Don’t let the picture scare you, I promise the taste is similar to a PB cookie… 🙂

I hope you can enjoy this one morning when you are well rested, with a loved one, your family, friends, and of course, a cup of coffee or tea. 🙂

Happy Saturday, and GO BADGERS!!!!!!!!!!

Pb & Apple Baked Oatmeal

pb baked oamteal


2 c rolled oats

1 1/2 c milk (I used almond, but any kind will work just fine)

2 eggs

1/2 c Peanut Butter

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 medium sized apple (chopped)

Craisins or Raisins (optional)

Cinnamon (I never measure cinnamon in anything I make because I LOVE it. I just shake away…)

Brown sugar (Also optional)


1.) Pre-heat oven to 400.

2) Mix together oats, milk, and eggs.

3) Stir in Pb, vanilla, and baking soda.

4) Finally, add your apple and craisins (if desired).

5) Pour into a greased pan (9×9). Sprinkle brown sugar on top (you decide how much).

6) Bake for about 30 minutes.

           Enjoy!!! For a sweeter taste, try drizzling honey or syrup over the top before serving. If you really want to splurge (like my momma and papa Pagel, there’s usually a little whip cream in the house for baked oatmeal mornings… 🙂 ).