Supporting Students Through Grief

Each year we inevitably support our students through grief- loss of a pet, family member, friend, and now through COVID-19. So how do we support our students through their grief? Here’s how I’m supporting my students through small groups and beyond:

Grief Small Groups

Grief small groups are are wonderful way to reach many students at once and connect them as their travel through their journey of grief. I find groups so powerful because they unite students and provide a therapeutic experience they might not get in one on one settings.

I like to keep groups as interactive as possible- reading, games, discussions, making connections through teamwork, etc. As with my entire program I limit the use of worksheets. I find this keeps students more engaged and provides a much needed break from the classroom.

After my amazing intern led a spectacular grief group with 4th-5th graders last year, I put together their favorite activities into this 6 week curriculum.

Group outline:

  1. Introductions and Icebreakers
  2. Ruff Feelings- feelings identification and connections
  3. Barks and Bounces- resiliency
  4. Sweet Memories
  5. I Can Make It!
  6. Mindfully moving forward.

You can get a copy of the curriculum here!

Biblio-Therapy

Here are some books I use when working with groups and individual students. Looking for more titles? Read this list of books I like to partner with making a memory box.

DOG HEAVEN AND CAT HEAVEN by Cynthia Rylant

Are you familiar with the Rainbow Bridge poem? These books bring the rainbow bridge to life.
Activity:  I created a memory book for pets that you can get here.

HOWARD B. WIGGLEBOTTOM LISTENS TO A FRIEND by Howard Binkow and Taillefer Long 

31b139_hbw15-front-cover-8.1.15.jpg
One of the best things about Howard B. Wigglebottom is that thanks to wedolisten.org you can get the animated book, lesson, and more all in one place. Before watching the stories, I have my students wiggle their bottoms and get their energy out. These books are perfect for grades K-1.

THE GOODBYE BOOK by Todd Parr

881c36fb-a187-44c1-a2aa-e6197ec7abb8_image4
This beautiful picture book is funny and colorful, making it easy to talk about such a hard topic.
Activity: This book works to talk about all types of loss. After reading, create a memory book about the lost loved one or pet.

THE INVISIBLE STRING by Patrice Karst

22407
This book is perfect for anyone who is missing someone they love- whether it be grief or just back to school. For anyone seeking assurance, this book has the message that love transcends and will always be there even when there is distance between us.
Activity: Partner with this worksheet on TPT.

SAMANTHA JANE’S MISSING SMILE: A STORY ABOUT COPING WITH THE LOSS OF A PARENT by Julie Kaplow

1611640
This book tackles the difficult subject of losing a parent. “The story of a young girl whose father has recently died, which deals with the full range of emotions, questions, and worries that children have when a parent has died. Offers ways to remember and honor the lost parent, encourages the open sharing of feelings, and helps children understand that their parents want them to be happy and live their lives fully.”- Goodreads.com
Activity:  Pathways2Success has this grief workbook and Counselor Keri has this small group activity packet. 

Grief Bags To Go!

Looking to continue to the learning and help students transfer their skills while providing support to families at home?

I created these grief to-go bags for my families to check out.

Grief Bags

You can read all about them over with the Confident Counselors.

Click here to access a letter to parents and the document I typed to with suggestions for use. Here is a PDF of information for parents.

Gather data and feedback

You can also use these feedback forms in paper format (PDF below) or via Google Forms to gather data!

Get everything you need to start your own bags!

Shop The Post

Pin for Later

One thought on “Supporting Students Through Grief

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s