Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Did It Get to be November Already?, and a list of Favorite School Counselor Blogs!!

Greetings everyone!!!  As the title ponders How Did It Get to be November Already?  I know I have had bit of writer's block and yet at other times I have wanted to write so much but haven't had the time.   As I am thinking about how much I enjoy reading other school counseling blogs, I think to myself, "its been a while since I blogged, I should write something today!!"
So today's blog is just going to be a quick list of other school counselor blogs that I enjoy reading and learning from!  They are truly inspirational and I aspire to be a better blogger because of them.

Here is the list in no particular order:

The Corner on Character,  written by my friend Barbara!!

JYJ Counselor, written by my friend Andrea!!

School Counselor Blog, written by a colleague, Danielle, that I met at ASCA 13!!

Entirely Elementary, written by my friend, Dr. Fuller!

Elementary School Counseling, written by Marissa!

Scrapbook of a School Counselor, written by Tabitha!

Savvy School Counselor, written by Vanessa!

The Counseling Geek, written by Jeff!

There is also a well put together school counselor blogroll but together by Dr. Mason, which you can find here: SCOPE!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pinwheels for Peace 2013

This past Friday, September 20, 2013 was the International Day of Peace!  We celebrated it again this year, at both of my schools, by having the children in Kindergarten to 5th grade design and color their own Pinwheels for Peace!  You can find the link for those templates here!  The kids did an amazing job!!

To start the day off, I did a quick guidance lesson about what peace is to each of the classes in every grade.  Then grade by grade the children went outside to plant their Pinwheel for Peace!!   Below are the photos from both schools!!!  I hope you enjoy them!!  What did your school do for International Day of Peace?

Bulletin Board by our Art teacher, Mrs. Kondikoff!!!
Sign at Asa Packer

Pinwheels lining the walkway at Asa Packer

Pinwheels among the trees at Hanover 

Pinwheels along the sidewalk at Hanover

Pinwheels sign at Hanover

Beautiful Pinwheel!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Being Frank"

Today, I had opportunity to visit one of our 2nd grades to do a small guidance lesson on a difficult concept for youngsters... the idea of being honest without hurting other's feelings!!

The teacher asked me to read Being Frank, by Donna W. Earnhardt.  I was delighted because I love love love to do a read aloud!!!  The book was super cute!!  Great illustrations by Andrea Castellani!  The kids loved the story and were able to answer all of the "what does that mean" questions!!  Love that!!! had this to say about Being Frank:  "Frank follows the motto, "Honesty is the best policy." He tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Frank never lies to his schoolmates, he always tells the truth to adults, and he’s always honest with police officers. The balancing act of finding tact, that fine line between telling the truth and telling too much truth, is the main theme of this story, and it's very funny—although not necessarily to his friend Dotti whose freckles remind Frank of the Big Dipper, or to the teacher who hears that her breath smells like onions, or to the principal who is told that his toupee looks like a weasel. No one is quite as impressed with Frank’s honesty as he thinks they should be. He is sweet and straightforward, and, well, very frank, but with everyone annoyed at him, Frank is now honestly unhappy. He decides to visit his confidante and pal, Grandpa Ernest, who has a history of frankness himself. With a few lessons from Grandpa, Frank begins to understand that the truth is important, but so is not being hurtful. With amusing characters and expressive artwork, this story tells the powerful message of finding the good in everything—a lesson that sends compassion and understanding to take the place of rudeness in the complex concept of truth."

This was such a great way to show kids how to be tactful yet sincere!!! Have you used this book yet?

Pearson Chronological Age Calculator!

I just wanted to do a quick post about a very handy tool that I use quite often!!  Have you ever needed to calculate a student's chronological age for a standardized test?  I mean year, months & exact date?

One of my school counselor responsibilities is to administer brief intelligence test to screen for possible giftedness in students.  If you are slightly mathematically challenged, like I am, calculating chronological ages can be a nightmare!!

Enter Pearson Chronological Age Calculator!!  This totally easy to use calculator makes this task incredibly easy and immediate!!!!  No more "back adding" as I like to call it! just go to the site, enter student's name & their birthday.  Today's date will automatically be there for you as the test date!!  Just hit "calculate age" and presto there is the student's exact chronological age in years, months & days!! Fantastic!!

See just like that you know my pretend chronological age!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Nice Fresh Office for Back to School Hanover Edition!!

Well, as promised, here are the photos of my 2nd office at Hanover Elementary School!! I apologize that it took a little while to post these ( busy start to the new year!!)

I am at Hanover for 1 1/2 days a week and I share that office space with 2 other support staff, not all at the same time, but I think we make it work!!  Enjoy!!!
Hanover Front door

Sometimes I Feel... Bulletin Board
Hanover Back of Door, The Golden Rule

Counseling Table

Files & Games
A Nice Clean Desk
Therapeutic Activities

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Nice Fresh Office for Back to School!!

Well I am finally home from my long vacation!! (sorry for the blog absence!)  I was able to get into my offices and spruce things up a bit!!  I got a new rug for my Asa Packer office as it was a bit nasty (10 years old + 2-3 Lunch Bunches almost every day this year alone).  I went with gray to hide the dirt a little more.  There are a total of 10 ottomans!

I also got a new tall book shelf for my fidgets (Legos, Magnetix, a Find It!, squishy balls, etc).  I replaced a broken book shelf with a re-purposed cube crate set and really organized my guidance books by topic!!  I keep all of my play therapy toys and games in one corner.  The kids Love this area!!!!  Some new posters outside of the front door brightened up a dull space!! I kept the same bulletin board just because I love it so much!!!!

I made a photo collage of my office for your enjoyment!  Stay tuned for pictures of my Hanover office!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Using Facebook Page to Promote Your #SchoolCounselor Blog!

I want to share with you another very easy way to promote your school counselor blog!  My new blogging buddy, Dr. Susan Fuller, from Entirely Elementary School Counseling, told me how to do this when we met at ASCA13!!   Thank you Dr. Fuller!!

You can do this using Facebook.  If you already have a Facebook account, it is pretty easy! (If not, sign up for Facebook first, then follow these instructions!)   On the sign in page near the bottom are the words Create A Page, click that.

Next, click on "Brand or Product"  

Under "Brand or Product", click the drop down menu and scroll to select "Website."  In the text box, enter the name of your blog and the check I agree... and then the "Get Started" button!  It's that easy!!!

Once you're on you newly created page, you can edit your page, invite friends, build audience, and get help!!  You can even link your new Facebook Page to Twitter!!  Very Cool!!!   Your Facebook Page can you show you your page insights about who you are reaching and make suggestions to promote your page.   I just started my School Counselor Companion Facebook Page last week and I already have people who like my page!!!!  It is a nice platform to get your school counselor blog out there!!!

Do YOU have a school counselor blog Facebook Page?  I would love the link!!!  Comment below!!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back To School Booty Day 1 #schoolcounselor style

Back to school shopping already?  Say it isn't so!!!  I actually wasn't planning to back to school shop but found myself out and about this week and I stumbled across a few neat things that were too good to pass up!

As many of you know, I <3 he Target $1 Spot.  Every time I go into Target I meander through there!!  Yesterday I found some cool #schoolcounselor stuff!!  I got a cute kid themed bulletin board border and accents; 2 packs of sticky notes; monster themed snack bags; a Superman puzzle; Marvel Comics pens; sticky flags; blue pens and a chalkboard speech bubble!  Every item was just $1!! Love that!!!

On Sunday, I was at the Christmas Tree Shop, and again accidentally happened upon this really cool 5 tier book shelf that was priced at $20!!  I was looking for something like this to help out with the spacing issue in my office!!!  I am planning to store some of my  new counseling resources here!!

What have you found for back to school so far?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What I Bought at #ASCA13!!

In addition to all of the amazing things I learned at #ASCA13, I also really enjoyed shopping for school counseling resources!  The ASCA conference turned out to be a great place to buy from some of my favorite counselor resources such as Youth Light, MarCO Products and Research Press!!!  All of these stores had vendor exhibits and all were offering 10% of all conference purchases and free shipping for any item not available!!!  Awesome!!!

From Youth light, I purchased the Weird, Dare, Tough series by Erin Frankel, @erinfrankel1.  Check out Erin's Video on YouTube.  This series is a bullying prevention collection aimed at young girls.  The illustrations are amazing and I have been wanting this series for a while!  Thank you 10% off!!  I also bought 2 miniature Anger and Stress Management Glitter Wands to use in both of my offices as fidgets!!

Another vendor of counseling resources that I use frequently is MarCo Products!  Their warehouse is located in PA, My home state!! I purchased the Operation series by Dr. Poppy Moon and Cathy Wooldridge.  Here is the link to Dr. Moon's YouTube Channel  These workbooks and card games are designed to be an 8 week guidance program!!   My booty included Operation: Breaking the Girl Code and the accompanying card game!  I also purchased the Operation: Breaking the Boy Code and that accompanying card game.  MarCo did not have the Operation: Breaking the Boy Code at the conference but graciously gave me the 10% off and I was also able to get free shipping to my home!!! Score!!!  

From Research Press, I purchased Salvaging Sisterhood by Julia V. Taylor (@Juliavtaylor)!!  This book is "a small group counseling and classroom guidance  curriculum for relationally aggressive girls (Grades 5-12)."  I bought this book after attending Julia V. Taylor's  ASCA 13 Presentation, Help Girls Unlock Their Leadership Potential!!  I had the pleasure of meeting Julia after her presentation.  Also, Research Press was having a meet the author and she signed my new book!!!  Amazing!!

One more pretty cool item that I purchased from a fellow school counselor was this school counselor t-shirt!!  I loved the sayings!!

What did you buy at #ASCA13??  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

#ASCA13 = Really Awesome Time!!!

#ASCA13 Really Really inspired me!!!   I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and not very motivated to blog and just needed a professional pick me up!!!  I found all of that and much much more at #ASCA13 in Philadelphia, PA June 30-July 3, 2013.

ASCA 13 Exhibit Hall
Before the conference, I downloaded the ASCA 2013 App from the iTunes store!! I arrived in Philadelphia at #ASCA13 on Sunday, June 30th and immediately felt the amazing energy of all of the school counselors!!!  There was high excitement in the air!  I signed up for the pre-conference session entitled Group Counseling for Elementary Students, presented by Kathleen Tillman.  This was a great way for me to start off my professional pick me up as I tend to do a lot groups!!  By the way, if you were #notatasca you can download all of the handouts from the ASCA 2013 App, Brilliant!!!

Monday I was super Excited to attend some fantastic breakout sessions!!!  I started out with "Let me Show You What I Do: Evidence and Evaluation" presented by Leigh Bagwell, Nicole Cobb and Carol Dahir, amazing and very helpful!  I hope to do this for my counselor evaluation this year!!

 The next session was "Working with Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders, given by Stephanie Carter-Larson,  super helpful for me, since this population is growing!!

The last breakout session on Monday was the incredible Web 2.0 Technology Smack down!!!  This was presented by several of my favorite bloggers Andrea Burston, Dr. Erin Mason, Dr. Russell Sabella, Danielle Schultz and Julia V. Taylor =totally awesome presentation and jam packed full of technology!!!!

Tuesday, Dr. Wong, Executive Director of ASCA, welcomes the ASCA counselors and special guest Peter Yarrow sings a school counselor rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon!!!  Very Cool!!  David Marcus was the Keynote Speaker and spoke about his book A is For Acceptance.

ASCA Dr. Wong

Special Guest Peter Yarrow

After that presentation, was the incredible Julia V. Taylor's session entitled "Help Girls Unlock their leadership Potential"  Ms. Taylor presented to a standing room only crowd!!  I was lucky enough to meet her and get my picture taken!!  She also signed my copy of her book, Salvaging Sisterhood.  Amazing!!!

Julia V. Taylor & me!!!

I also met Mrs. Mindy Willard, School Counselor of the Year!!!  She was right in front of me, so I had to get a picture with her!!!

ASCA School Counselor of the Year Mindy Willard and Me!!

Overall #ASCA13 was amazing, inspiring, motivating, educational, fun, energizing and everything I hoped for!!  Looking forward to Orlando for ASCA 14

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ASCA Annual Conference

I am SO excited this morning!! I finally had time to look through and decide about breakout sessions at the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Annual Conference being held this year in Phila. PA!!!  The conference runs from Sunday June 30, 1013 through Wednesday July 3, 2013.  Here is the link for the annual conference!!

I have been an ASCA member since I was in grad school and I have ALWAYS wanted to go the annual conference.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to attend for various reasons, but THIS year the ASCA conference is being held in Philadelphia!!  That's a short 45-60 minutes away!!!!  I have family in Phila so this is a no brainer!!!

I am SUPER excited that Rachel Simmons, founder of Girls Leadership Institute & author of Odd Girl Out; Odd Girl Speaks Out & The Curse of the Good Girl will be the final Keynote speaker!!!  Her presentation is called "The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls".   She does so much to help girls with conflict resolution and prevention!!!

I am also equally excited to attend some to of the breakout sessions!!  Some of the sessions that I am looking forward to are "Let Me Show You What I Do: Evidence and Evaluation", "Working With Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders", Top 10 Solution-Focused Techniques" & "Web 2.0 Technology Smack Down."  These are on Monday July1st!

Tuesday, July 2nd,  I am hoping to attend "The School Counselor's  Role in Special Education",  "Working with Students with Autism, Asperger's and Similar Developmental Delays", "APPlying 21st Century Tools to Your Program" and Aiding Grieving Children".

For the last day of the conference, I am looking forward to "Get Your Blog On".  Are you getting that I am interested in technology?  I am hoping to meet up face to face with other school counselor bloggers that I follow!!!

I am so happy that I will finally get to attend the ASCA annual conference!!  I have heard so many amazing things about previous conferences and keynote speakers!!  And who doesn't love being in our country's birthplace of Freedom, just before Independence Day!!!

Have you ever been to the ASCA Annual Conference?  Are you going this year?  What are you looking forward to?  Please share in the comments section below!!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Have you heard about Teachers Pay Teachers?

Have YOU heard about Teachers Pay Teachers yet?  If you haven't, YOU definitely need to check this site out!!!  In their words they are:  "An open marketplace for educators where teachers buy, sell and share original teaching resources."

I have been on this site a few times before, but yesterday I was looking for something specific for a new social skills group that I am starting for 1st grade and I hit the jack pot!!!  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of educators (including school counselors!) that post their creations as downloads for free or very little money!!  

Yesterday I purchased or  free downloaded 6 excellent packets/games for use with my social skills group!!  Here are the links to my finds!!  Reacting Robots; Social Skills Conversation Hearts;  Mustache You a Question...; Social Aliens;  Monster Fun Teaching Manners and Expectations; and Feelings Matching and Game Cards!!!!!

I also had some free time yesterday evening and really browsed the free products and I downloaded about 15 freebies in all different areas including anger, feelings, behavior management, get to know you and all about me.  I also found worksheets for great guidance books such as Personal Space Camp, Do Onto Otters, Don't Squeal Unless it's a Big Deal and The 7 Habits of Happy Kids!!  All For FREE!!!

You can "follow" all of the sellers so you can choose to receive email updates from those sellers that you really got great stuff from.  The site also sends you a weekly email update with a list of the week's top sellers and free downloads!

Creating an account is super simple and the Teachers Pay Teachers website is well organized!!!  You are able to search by grade level, subject, speciality, seller, title, free or cost.  I can't wait to do some more exploring on this wonderful site!!!

Have you visited Teachers Pay Teachers yet and what have you downloaded?  Share you findings below!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew?

Hello Again Blogging friends!!  I realize that it has been a little over 3 months since I last posted and I apologize for that absence!!  As the title states I may have bitten off more than I could chew with starting this blog just before the start of the school year.

Some personal things came up requiring my attention and I found myself not having the time nor motivation to keep blogging :(

I have had time to reflect on the important things I got from blogging such as school counselor camaraderie, new, fresh ideas, and tons of support from fellow school counselors and I decided that it is something that I want to continue doing at least on a weekly basis for right now!!

We as counselor's sometimes find ourselves taking on more than we can handle and we are the ones that end up stressed out.  So I took so of the advice that I give to my students and I did some self-reflection and prioritized things that were needing my attention!!

 I love being a school counselor and I really enjoyed blogging about the things I do on an day to day basis.  I look forward to sharing with you the things I do to serve my students and I hope to continue learning from you!  Thank you for your patience!!

What have you done to help get yourself back on track?