Friday, August 28, 2015

Meet the Counselor with Jenga!

Looking for a quick and easy "Welcome Back- What is a School Counselor lesson?"  Well, you've found one!  We've been playing School Counselor Jenga and the kids love it.  Actually, kids just love Jenga!   I had no idea how much until I bought a set of Jenga blocks for my School Counselor intro lesson. When I mentioned Jenga they got all excited. They stayed engaged the entire lesson and were very careful not to knock over the Jenga tower so everyone in their class could have a turn.
This was truly one of the easiest, simplest and most engaging lessons I have ever done. Seriously!

Lesson Prep
1. Buy Jenga blocks
2. Make and print a numbered list of questions
3. Number your blocks
4. Play School Counselor Jenga!

Make a numbered list of questions that reflect all the information you want your students to know about you, your job, procedures for seeing you, school rules, behavioral expectations or whatever is unique to you, your school, and your school counseling program. I came up with 42 questions for my lesson. You can see my list HERE to give you some ideas of what you might ask. Some of my questions are generic and can be used by all School Counselors, but since our schools, programs and procedures are different, your list will need to reflect the things that are special to your population and your school.  Next, get your Jenga blocks and using a black permanent marker, number the blocks to match your list of questions. You can number them on the top or on the end.  I chose to number mine on the end, no special reason.  I had about a dozen blank blocks left over, but that was okay, I had to rack my brain for the 42 questions on my list!

After a brief introduction of new students, a reminder about procedures and my expectations for classroom behavior we got down to Jenga Time!  I explained I was not going to tell them about my job this year because they had been hearing from me for years.  This year, I was going have them tell me and each other what a School Counselor does.  I had the blocks set up on a table in the front of the room and told them we would take turns coming up and removing a block.  They would tell me the number and I would give them a School Counselor question.  If they couldn't answer it, they were allowed to call on a friend to help. I used the number of the day they were born to determine the order in which they would come up to take their turn. When I had 3 students born on the 18th, we went in order of which month came first.  The students had a great time, cheered, clapped and encouraged each other. Twenty-five missing blocks later our tower was still standing and my students had shown me how much they knew about what a School Counselor does and had taught our new students too.

As we played School Counselor Jenga, as I decided to call it, I had two thoughts.  First, I became aware of the things about my job the students struggled with or did not understand.  I  learned I have some re-teaching to do. Secondly, I began to realize my numbered Jenga blocks could be used in this same fun way to review a lesson or skills and assess how well my students understood the concepts of that lesson or unit.  How fun would that be?

The Inspiration
I was inspired to use Jenga after attending an ASCA session this summer on using games in your School Counseling program. I saw presenter Grace Wilhelm  demonstrate how she uses Jenga to get to know her students at the beginning of the school year. This got my brain thinking about how I could use games to introduce the School Counselor.  Thanks Grace!  To learn more about how to use all sorts of games in your counseling program, visit Grace at her blog Counselor Games.

Thanks for stopping by!  Here's to fun and engaging Meet the Counselor lessons!


  1. YAY - how fun! I can positively feel your excitement which I know, in turn, sparks and fuels theirs. SUPER proud of you; happy new year.

    1. Thanks Barbara, it has been a lot of fun! Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Hello Jeannie, I am so happy to hear how your creative juices were energized at the Games session at ASCA! I love using wood blocks and the Jenga game with my students and there are so many different versions and ways to use it with many counseling strategies. Truly creative, engaging and fun😀 I love your blog! Here's to a great school year!

    1. Thanks Grace! I loved your ASCA session and I am already thinking of other ways to use Jenga. I found Kerpluck the other day and snatched it right up. Looking forward to using that one too! Thanks for the inspiration! I hope your new school year is going well.