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Small Group Curriculum

Name of group: Managing Stress

Focus of the group: Within Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School there are three school
programs including, Neighborhood, Regional Gifted Center, and Deaf/Hard of Hearing. The
school holds a strong academic focus, with many students testing into highly competitive
selective enrollment Chicago Public High Schools. According to our needs assessment 60% of
seventh grade students ranked their stress level as 5 or above (on a scale of 1 to 10), with 70% of
the students ranking academic stress as their top source of stress. The group will focus on
recruiting 8-10 group members of the 14 students that ranked their stress level as 8-10 on the

Goal: The goal of the managing stress group is to increase the confidence levels of the seventh
grade students that are participating in their coping skills and self-care knowledge. The students
will also be able to recognize what stress is and how it can affect them.

Number of students: The number of students we will look to fill the group with is between
eight to ten. These students can be referred by either the school counselor, their teachers, or at
parents’ request.

Grade Level: The group is available only to seventh grade students that demonstrate the need
for more focused attention and support in stress coping strategies.

Number of sessions: There will be four sessions that meet once a week. The group will hold
these sessions every Tuesday during the student’s lunch period from 11:30 p.m. -12:30 p.m.,
starting October 10th and ending October 31st, 2018.

Adult Leader: Licensed professional school counselor who has previous experience with
stress/anxiety coping strategies for a small group.

ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors standards addressed:

M 1. Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental,

social/emotional and physical well-being

B-LS 9. Gather evidence and consider multiple perspectives to make informed decisions
B-SMS 7. Demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem

B-SS 2. Create positive and supportive relationships with other students

Informed Consent Forms
Group Agreement Form
Pre and Post-test
Chromebooks for activities
How Stress Affects Me Worksheet
Stress Google Slide Deck
Responding to Stress Survey
Handling Stress Padlet:
Responding to Stress Survey
Stress: Reacting, Managing, and Reframing during a Bear Chase Kahoot

Description of the group:

Session One: “Introduction & How Stress Affects Us”

The first session will start with members introducing themselves to the group. The group will
then work to create a set of rules for the group to follow each session. The counselor will
explain informed consent and then direct the students to complete the group pre-test. The
counselor will then explain the purpose of the group and give a brief overview of the four

The students will then start a collaborative activity on their Chromebooks called “Impacts of
Stress” through Padlet. Then they will discuss how stress affects them with their partner
including the categories of academically, physically, emotionally, socially, and at home. Next,
students will complete the “How Stress Affects Me” worksheet, portraying the individual impact
stress has on them. Students that feel comfortable and wish to share will show their worksheet to
the group. The group will recognize differences among how stress impacts themselves versus
other group members.

Session Two: “Our Bodies Reaction to Stress”

Session two will start with a review of the group rules and brief re-cap of the first session. There
will then be a meditation breathing activity. The counselor will then go into a psychoeducational
lesson in order for students to learn their body’s neurological and biological responses to stress.
Students will also learn about good stress and what bad or inappropriate levels of stress consist

Session Three: “Coping with Stress”

The third session will start with students practicing their meditative breathing technique that they
learned the previous week. Students will then collaborate taking the “Responding to Stress
Survey” and categorize each response as either a coping or avoiding behavior. The counselor
will then teach about different strategies to cope with stress including coping and avoiding,
mindfulness and centered-breathing, perspective taking, and cognitive reframing. During the
cognitive reframing discussion, the students will do a “Black and White vs. Grey Thinking

During the “Black and White vs. Grey Thinking Activity”:

1. Students will get out a pencil and a piece of paper.
2. The counselor will read a pair of opposite words and the students will then individually
write down ONE word that accurately describes the “middle ground” between the pair of
announced words. Example: If the counselor announced the pair to be an “A” grade and
an “E” grade, a middle ground (that is a single word) would be a “C” grade.
3. The pairs the counselor will announce are as follows:
a. Black and White
b. Large and Small
c. Up and Down
d. Left and Right
e. Fast and Slow
f. Easy and Hard
g. Young and Old
h. Loud and Quite
i. Good and Bad
j. Near and Far
k. Pass and Fail
l. Happy and Sad
m. Clean and Dirty
n. Shy and Outgoing
o. Calm and Anxious
4. The group members will then shout out their answers.
5. At the end of the activity the counselor will ask:
a. “Was it difficult to come up with a middle ground word?”
b. “What is the purpose of the exercise?”
c. “Are you more likely to use the grey language now? Why or why not?”.

Session Four: “Closing, Kahoot, and Post Test”

The final session will start with the group practicing their meditative breathing. They will then
participate in a Kahoot quiz on their Chromebooks, which will check for their knowledge of
stress management, stress reactions, and cognitive reframing techniques covered in the Stress
Google slide deck presentation. The group will go over the correct answer with a brief
explanation from the counselor after each question and answer. All the students will then
participate in a discussion about their small group, in regards to the content covered in the past
three weeks, the process of the group, and their overall experience. The counselor will thank the
students for participating and administer the Post Test for the members to complete before the
end of the session.

Plan for Evaluation:

Process Data: There will be between eight and ten seventh grade students that will meet in the
group once a week for an hour, for four weeks total.

Perception Data: After completing this small group, 100% of the seventh grade students will be
able to name three ways to help cope with and/or decrease their stress levels.

Outcome Data: The number of seventh grade students referred to the nurse’s office due to high
levels of stress will decrease by 3%. 3% less nurse referrals will give the students increased
class time, resulting in an increase in grades.

Follow up: Two weeks after the group is completed, the school counselor will meet with
teachers and administration to discuss the outcome of the small group. The counselor will utilize
the results from the small group to drive data for interventions in the future.

*This small group was adapted from Kate Sullivan at George Mason University.