Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcoming the New Students!!

Today was one of my favorite days as far as back to school goes!! Today I had the pleasure of meeting most the new kids in both schools!! I met all of the new students, 3rd, 4th and 5th at school A and all new students in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in school B!! I have over 60 newbies between the 2 schools!!!!!

I took the students by grade level to my respective offices!! On the way, I introduced myself as Ms. Birster, the school counselor and told them there would be a quiz about me before they returned!!!

For the one school, I had each student give me their name and where they came from. As they were talking I memorized their names, repeating them to them and interjecting with "what's my name and what do I do here?". The kids really enjoyed it!! Of course we covered the expectations and answered questions.

At my first school, I did the above activity along with a group coloring activity. I found this super cute "Welcome" coloring sign at the Dollar Tree for $1!!! So we, as a group colored it in and learned about each other!! The kids also enjoyed this!!

What get-to-know you activities do you do with the new kids? Please share your ideas below!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to School Guidance Lessons, aka No Place for Hate!

Today I got to do my first guidance lessons with the kindergarten.  It's so amazing to see the awe in their eyes, the newness of it all!!  At the beginning of school, usually the first week, the principal and I like to get around to all of the classrooms to present our No Place for Hate and go over expectations.

Today we co-presented in Kindergarten!!  One of my favorite books to read to Kindergarten about rules and expectations is How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?  by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.  The book has these awesome illustrations of various types of dinosaurs doing different behaviors in school.  Each page asks different questions about what the dinosaur should do, and the kinders (bless their little hearts) catch on quickly to shout out "NO!!" to the dinosaurs' misbehavior (totally cool, right?)!

After I read the story we reviewed our No Place for Hate promise with the kids and they all"signed" the pledge in their neatest kindergarten handwriting.  We will go around to all of the classrooms this week presenting our message of Peace and Safety in school and have ALL of the students sign the pledge!  The signed pledge will hang in our lobby as a reminder that our school is a No Place for Hate School!! Click here to learn more about No Place for Hate!  (I'll post more about that another time!!)

What do you do to teach Peace at your school?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Addressing Parents/Caregivers

Now that we are back to school I have met a LOT of parents, and I will meet many more tomorrow and next week at our open houses!!  Many I met yesterday when they came in with the kindergartners.  I was immediately reminded that we must be be professional at the school, when a grandparent came up to me and introduced herself as so and so's grandmother, Abby.  She immediately told me I could call her that.  I introduced myself as Ms. Birster and explained to her that I don't call parents by their first name.  I asked her what her last name was and she again said I could call her Abby.  Finally I said, I'm sorry,  but I was raised to called people by their formal title.  She then reluctantly said her name was Mrs. So and So.

Maybe it's my 12 years of Catholic school talking, but I feel that as professionals working in the school, we should address parents/caregivers as Mr., Mrs., Dr., Rev., etc. not as Abby.  I always correct the students if they answer the question "who's your teacher?" with "Jones."  I have them repeat after me "it's Mrs. Jones."  I think that sets the tone for RESPECT in your building.  

I think that when you are on a first name basis with parents, as school counselors, you lose some credibility and authority as a school professional.  It also sets a clear boundary that we are not friends, but school personnel.

How do you address parents and how you do have them address you?      

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School and a Cute Book Too!!!

Well today was our first day back to school!!! Very exciting!! It was a busy day, touching base with my regular kiddos and meeting some of our new students!!  I haven't met everybody new yet ( we had almost 40 new kids this year).

It was wonderful to meet our new kindergartners and their parents!!!  I had the pleasure of helping out with kindergarten's first day!!  They were all dressed up and so excited and eager to be there!  One of our kindergarten teachers did a read aloud just before dismissal and it was so appropriate for the first day of kindergarten!!!

The book was called The Night Before Kindergarten,  written Natasha Wing, illustrated by Julie Durrell.  The book has the same poetic quality as that Christmas story with the same type of title!!  The books starts out "Twas the night before kindergarten, and as they prepared, kids were excited, and a little bit scared."  The book very cleverly discusses the getting ready preparations and all of the different feelings that both the kindergarten kids might be feeling as well as their parents.


I will definitely be adding this to my counselor collection!!  What books do you use for first day of school?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Visit My Guest Blog Post

Today I am Super excited!!! Why you ask? My Friend Barbara over at the Corner on Character asked me to be a guest blogger!!!! Click Here to check out my post on Empathy!!!!!