Winter “Size of the Problem” Escape Room Lesson for Elementary School Counselors

Cascades Gorge Hike at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia during the 2019 Virginia Counselors Association Conference.

Temps are dropping QUICKLY here in Virginia. I’ve just returned home from the Virginia Counselors Association conference at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, where I enjoyed three days of professional development and a few quiet evenings to recharge before coming home to my hubby and three little boys! After my Saturday sessions, I braved the 3-hour Cascades Gorge Hike with our expert guide, Brian Lafontain, and I was a bit intimidated by the forecast in the 20s, but the day turned out to be gorgeous, and the chilly, fresh air felt amazing in my lungs.

I’m excited to return to my school this week and do a winter “Escape the Avalanche!” Escape Room activity with my 5th graders. Students will work in four groups to solve four quests to escape the avalanche while learning to discern the size of a problem and apply coping strategies.

This 48-page PDF activity includes a mini lesson about “Size of Problem” and “Coping Strategies,” followed by a Challenge from Meteorologist Size-Mic Mike and a 4-puzzle Escape Room complete with four quests and four different printable prizes. Students will solve the code word/sentence at each quest to redeem for one of four tiles to glue onto their team’s map. Afterward, students receive printable prizes. This resources includes two printable bookmarks and two printable pencil toppers! As a bonus, there are three related bonus activities at the end of the lesson to use as time allows or in follow-up lessons and activities.

Check it out, and while you’re there, don’t forget to download this “Hot Cocoa Breathing” Printable Freebie! I know your students will enjoy having this mindful exercise in their repertoire this winter!

And just for a little teaser… I’m so eager to share another project I’m working on, also related to discerning the size of a problem! Coming soon!

Six Fall-Themed Activities for Elementary School Counselors

Happy October! October is by far my favorite month, but also my busiest, both at home and school! From family programs, to community partnerships, Red Ribbon Week, schoolwide programs and assemblies, fundraisers, and preparing for holiday assistance programs, my co-counselor and I stay busy! Can I just add how grateful I am for our local coffee truck that parks right outside of our building with delicious pumpkin roll lattes a few times a month? Here are some of my favorite fall-themed counseling ideas to save you some time and give you some inspiration!


  1. By now, I’m sure you and your teachers have started to identify students who may need some extra support with friendship skills. Check out my fun pumpkin-themed Pumpkin Patch Friendship lesson for use in classroom instruction, small groups, or even individual sessions. 
  2. Introduce a Pumpkin Patch Breathing Board for a fun, mindful breathing exercise to open and close your classroom lessons and counseling sessions this fall!


  • 3. Red Ribbon Week is coming up Oct. 23-31, and I recently wrote a blog post about how I teach “Peer Pressure and Healthy Choices” concepts to my 5th graders using my Peer Pressure and Healthy Choices lesson and a the generosity of a few community partnerships. This year I’m passing out bracelets, pencils, and bookmarks as my flash prizes throughout the lesson.


  • 4. It’s also book fair season, which we pair with Donuts with Grownups and other breakfast events — such fun, easy ways to encourage family involvement in your school! I have so many editable flyers for all sorts of creative breakfast events!


  • 5. National Bullying Prevention Month coincides with a unit I teach 5th grade using Trudy Ludwig’s books, “My Secret Bully” and “Confessions of a Former Bully.” I love how Trudy provides 8 responses beyond simply “just ignore it,” and I’ve created a fun Response to Bullying Scoot Game to practice similar phrases. 


As always, thank you so much for supporting Counselor Station. Feel free to check out more ideas and posts here on my blog, Counselor Station, and on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest).

Happy fall, friends!