A School Counselor Lunch Bunch Linky Party

9 Comments

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Scrapbook of a School Counselor is hosting a linky party that’s all about lunch groups! Many counselors facilitate lunch bunches/buddies to get to know students, encourage peer connections, and/or to help with social skills. You should join the party too! Here are my answers to the questions:

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I call my lunch groups “Lunch Buddies” and I use them as a laid back way to connect with students over a meal. If I’m facilitating more formal groups, I do it at another time because it becomes too complicated during lunch (it’s difficult to play a game or do a craft while eating tacos or spaghetti!).

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Like I said, I keep it laid back and fun. During Lunch Buddies, we eat our food, we talk about our day, we answer fun “would you rather” questions (that I have typed up ready to go), we play I-Spy, or we play an animal guessing game. It’s just a quick meeting to connect and get food in our bellies. I don’t plan anything usually, unless there is a specific issue that might need to be discussed to help someone who’s attending the group that day (for instance, how to join a group, using kind words, etc.).

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Unfortunately, this year I am unable to do Lunch Buddies for grades 3-5 due to being assigned recess duty everyday during their lunch block (which is another whole post altogether, ugh). However, I organize my Lunch Buddies for grades K-2 by picking one day per week to hold the groups – this year, it’s Tuesdays. Then, I pick three students who each pick one buddy to invite. So in total, there are six students who show up to each group. I invite the same three students two weeks in a row to give them more than one opportunity to be a part of the group and to invite a different buddy the second week if they wish (sometimes, choosing just one friend to invite is really hard, and sometimes there are tears, no joke).

I pick students for the group based on any new faces to our school first, then I choose students who may need the extra attention or social interaction, or students who I am aware might be having a difficult time recently for any number of reasons. By the end of the year, I like to have included all students, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out that way.

Also, I hold my lunch groups in a teacher’s classroom because my room is too small for six children plus me, plus all our food. So, I stick to three simple rules during Lunch Buddies to help keep the teacher’s room in order: 1) We stay in our seats, 2) We listen to who is talking, and 3) We clean up our messes. That’s it!

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Well, I have found that facilitating Lunch Buddy groups has been an integral part of my school counseling program because it gives me access to a lot of students in a smaller setting than the classroom. So although I am not necessarily documenting notes from each lunch group, I am gathering useful information about students while getting to know them better. And, it allows students to feel more comfortable talking with me or coming to my room later if needed.

I will also say that Lunch Buddies is extremely popular in my school! Students come to know that Tuesdays mean I will be walking down the hall to their lunch line with my clipboard and lunchbox in tow, inviting three lucky students who get to grab a friend and eat with their school counselor. Seriously, some of the “please, oh, please pick me” faces I see are absolutely ridiculous, but I love it.

Annnnd done! 🙂

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9 thoughts on “A School Counselor Lunch Bunch Linky Party

  1. I do lunch bunches 6 times a week and I have 4 students in first grade at each lunch bunch. I take referrals from teachers first and then go down the list to add students until I have 24 students. I used to take students who had concerns, but now I try to see every student for a month. They love it! My office is right off the cafeteria so the location is great. We do informal activities as well to work on listening, sharing, and manners. I, too, think it is a great way to get to know more students! Thanks for your post!

  2. Hi Sue, that’s a lot of lunch buddy groups! I could definitely do more than one day for more groups, but I try to keep the other days open for student concerns that come up. I’m only 4 days per week, so I have to use my time very wisely!

    • We have 2 lunches a day and I do lunch bunches 3 days a week. I leave the other 2 days open for mtgs and what not. I am full time and only have kindergarten and first grade at mt school and only first graders have lunch. They love it and I enjoy them too!

  3. Hello,
    I’m new to the elementary school counseling world, and thus new to lunch bunches. I really want to start them at my school, but my main concern is do I need parent consent or not? Do you see a single group more than one time or just for that one day session? Thanks for your help!!

    • Welcome! When I do lunch with students, I don’t typically get parent permission because it’s short term and very laid back. If I use lunch to do an ongoing group with the same student(s), I might notify parents. Lunch groups can be done all kinds of ways!

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