When I started my school counseling journey, I noticed really quickly that students paid better attention when they were allowed to manipulate objects or keep their hands busy. Teachers were letting them use slime or other fidgets at their desks to keep them from squirming in their seats. Although I don’t mind the fidget toys, I’d rather have them spend time fidgeting with a craft that goes with the lesson that I’m teaching. Now, I cannot even imagine trying to do a lesson without a craft. I also realized these 3 critical reasons why you should use crafts for school counseling lessons.
Cutting, pasting, and coloring are mindful activities. They require just enough brain power to keep students engaged without being too stressful. You can encourage students to be even more mindful when doing their craft by telling them to notice the little things. Tell them to notice and appreciate the colors they are using, listen for the sounds of the paper cutting or crayon moving across the page and enjoy the sensation of a finished product. When students are involved in regular mindful activities, they will reap the following benefits:
- better concentration
- improved memory
- higher grades
- reduced stress
You can read more about mindful activities in the classroom here.
When students are engaged in a craft, they are keeping their hands and minds busy. They are less likely to get involved in off task behaviors. Because crafts don’t consume all of their attention, they can still pay attention to you if you are talking about the lesson. Sometimes I will play a Ted Talk while they complete their craft so they can get another perspective on the topic of the day, other than just me lecturing. The key to engagement is to use many different formats to teach a lesson from videos, group activities, crafts, whole group discussion, and games.
A great thing about crafting with a lesson is that they have a really cute reminder of the lesson to take home with them. You can keep the crafts in a binder as a portfolio. Portfolios offer a visual way to represent all of the coping skills that they are learning throughout the year. Administrators love to see portfolios and it can help you get an amazing evaluation score. Also, when students take the crafts home, they can stir up conversations with their families which is a huge bonus.
These three reasons benefit the students, the teacher, and the school counselor. You will be able to deliver your lessons with fewer behavioral disruptions and students will benefit by performing better and feeling better. If you aren’t already, I hope that you will consider using crafts for school counseling lessons.