ASCA Toolkit: Virtual Middle School Counseling 

School counseling in a virtual world is challenging. For middle school counseling, providing lessons to students that are interactive or offer variety in tasks can be helpful in engaging students. Below is a list of resources that can be used in providing middle school lessons. Some are premade lessons, some resources are videos, texts or other activities that can be used to put lessons together. After the resources is a way to create a virtual lesson from a face-to-face lesson. Finally, a variety of virtual platforms and tech tools are outlined to assist school counselors in virtual lessons, schoolwide virtual events and direct communication with students and stakeholders. 
Virtual Lessons

Social/Emotional Development Nearpod Teaching Tolerance Lessons: Nearpod Common Sense Education Lessons: Nearpod SEL Lessons: Note: You can create your own interactive lessons (either led live by the school counselor or student-paced lessons) in Nearpod as well. The lessons in the Nearpod library can also be edited to fit your students’ needs and time constraints. You also can embed the links to Nearpod lessons in your Google Classroom, websites, Edmodo, Canvas and other platforms.
Go Noodle SEL Movement and Mindfulness Videos: Free, fun, funny videos of movement and mindfulness videos for students that you can share via link or embed in Google Classroom.  CASEL: Each of the CASEL categories below includes guiding questions, followed by a variety of texts for each topic in the category. 

Self-Awareness Self-Management Social Awareness Relationship Building Responsible Decision-Making YouTube Lessons for SEL

Social/Emotional Learning Video Lessons Week 1 Social/Emotional Learning Video Lessons Week 2 Social/Emotional Learning Video Lessons Week 3 Social/Emotional Learning Video Lessons Week 4 Helping Children Understand COVID-19 BrainPop: Engaging learning games, animated videos and activities

Academic Development
Texts Activities Videos
College and Career Development
Self-Assessments Videos Texts Virtual Tours
Additional Resources
Create Virtual School Counseling Lessons from Face-to-Face Lessons
 What were you planning to teach and how can you share each part of the lesson virtually? If it is instruction provided by the school counselor in the lesson, consider the following:
  • Record a video using Zoom (or WeVideo, Loom, Screencastify). Videos should be short – 10 minutes max. If you have more to say, break it up in different videos with other activities in between. Record yourself and share your slides. 
  • Share a video from another source to begin the lesson focus/set the topic/etc. 
  • Create a short video in Powtoon or Adobe Spark Video about your topic.
If the lesson includes discussion, post a prompt or question on your digital platform using a link ink to a Padlet (students type their answers), Flipgrid (students video record their answers) or Discuss Post (If available on your platform, it allows students to respond to each other’s discussion posts), or a add a question or comment section on your platform. 
Note: Some tools may allow students to share responses by typing an answer or by sharing pictures (hand-drawn or created on a device). If applicable, allow them to share in the way they feel most comfortable or have access to share. 
If the lesson includes a student, use these options: 

Reading assignment: 
  • Read to them on video and share via Google Doc (upload Word documents to Google so it’s easy to access). 
  • Use sites that have articles based on your topic such as Newsela
  • Create a puzzle using vocabulary, pictures, etc. that allows students to practice with the content shared. You can use sites like to create interactive digital puzzles. Links can be shared or embedded into Google Classroom. Students do not need to print anything out; they can do the puzzle online. 
  • Allow students to share their work in a variety of ways (drawing, writing, etc.). They can “share” with you through Google or add it to a pre-set Google folder. Provide them the link to the folder. 
  • All lessons don’t necessarily have to have an activity separate from the discussion.  
Pre-/post-test for the lesson:​
  • Create questions in a Google Form (Using Google FormsSocrativePolleverywhereKahoot
  • Share link to form with students to complete the form
  • Provide step-by-step instructions through the lesson with links via a post or Google doc. For example: In an eighth-grade virtual lesson, students first saw a Google Doc with directions and links to each step of their assignment: 
  • Opening directions and introduction video (link to video in Google Drive)
  • Directions about reading selection and discussion posts (link to folder with the reading selections for students to choose from) 
  • Link to discussion posts by class and directions about responding to peers’ discussion posts. 
  • Directions and link to closing video. 

Suggested technology tools for middle school counselors
Use a consistent platform to share your information, announcements, lessons, schoolwide events, etc., to stakeholders: Engage students in sharing and discussion in lessons:
  • Flipgrid – You post a topic, activity or question and share the link to your topic with students. Students follow the link and create a short video about the topic, answering the questions or doing the activity. Everyone can see each other’s videos. Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid
  • Padlet – You choose a template and background for your Padlet and post a question or prompt. Share the link to the Padlet with students. Students follow the link and add to the Padlet with a typed answer, picture, etc.  
Share information with students:
  • Smore – Allows you to create an online newsletter to share with teachers, families and students. Email the newsletter or share the link. Add titles, text, pictures, audio, video, etc. 
  • Canva – Allows you to create fliers, presentations, cards, posters, virtual backgrounds and infographics to share information, promote events or use in lessons. 
  • Videos – ZoomLoomWeVideoScreencastify (see above in Virtual Lessons). Consider creating videos for lessons, weekly greetings for students, schoolwide information that would normally be shared on announcements and more. You can create videos of pictures and slides in Adobe Spark Video or cartoon videos in Powtoon. For example: Wellness Wednesday – Coping Strategy; Growth Mindset Moment – Tips on having a growth mindset; or try a Flash Forward Friday when you share vocabulary or information about postsecondary education.  
For direct contact with students, families and teachers:
Use video/phone contact for individual sessions with students for academic check-ins and social/emotional support; parent or family/teacher conferences and meetings; meetings with school-counseling-sponsored clubs; class, team or grade level meetings; small groups, etc. Be mindful in small groups/clubs/team meetings that confidentiality is limited for the group because we do not know who is off camera in someone else’s home. If students share personal information, other people not in the group may hear it. The same goes for individual sessions; we do not see who is off camera but also hearing the conversation. 
  • How to use Google Meet
  • Zoom tips, tricks and hidden features
  • Creating a Google Voice number (With Google Voice, you can call or text parents/guardians and have them call you without sharing your personal phone number.)
  • Talking Points (With Talking Points, you can text parents/guardians in English from your phone, but the text shows up on a parent/guardian’s phone in the language they speak and vice versa. Parents/guardians text in their language and it shows up in English on your phone. Your personal phone number is not shown.)  
Invite students to participate in schoolwide “events”: 
Use Flipgrid or Padlet for a week-long or month-long campaign around a topic or theme. Students can participate virtually by creating videos in Flipgrid or sharing words/pictures in Padlet. For example, start with Hello Week: Have students create a Flipgrid video sharing how they would greet peers face to face and/or virtually. Create an Empathy Word Wall: Have students add to a Padlet wall with phrases and statements they would say to peers to show empathy. 
Distance Learning Tips
Jennifer Hall, Atlanta Public Schools educational technology specialist, has created several training videos and resources for distance learning:   
Additional Resources
Coping Apps:  
Academic Apps:  
Provided by Laura Ross, Middle School Counselor, Five Forks Middle School, Lawrenceville, Ga.