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Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday (and Tuesday!)

Happy Cyber Monday! I know I braved the crowds on Black Friday to buy some great Christmas gifts for family and even made a trip to JoAnn Fabrics on Friday morning because they had Fimo Clay for only 75 cents each (AMAZING!) which I use all the time to make Worry Stones with!

But I must say shopping online this morning in my pajamas (for shoes of course!) before heading to work was so much easier and didn't involve standing outside in lines in the cold weather. Therefore, I am having a Cyber Monday (and Tuesday!) sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers page as well! I am taking 15% off all my products and TpT is also taking another 10% off too!! Just enter the promo code CYBER at checkout to take advantage of this great sale!

Happy shopping!!

Did any of you pick up some great deals during Black Friday or Cyber Monday for your office and students?

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Office

Wow, what a long overdue blog post! I want to give you all a glimpse of my office at school and I would love to see pictures of your office space as well! Please post your office pictures to my Facebook page and I will create a blog post afterwards sharing them all. What a great way to get some inspiration to make our offices even more welcoming to students!

View from the hallway

The curtain on the full glass window creates privacy for students. It was very simple to make and coordinates with the one on my window.

 

My office door

Sign on my door so students and staff can find me. The sign is available to purchase on my TpT store. There are already 13 variations of this sign available on my TpT page however, if you need a different set of 8 school locations on your sign just let me know and I will create one for you to meet your needs!

 

Bulletin boards

These 2 bulletin boards are across from the large student table in my office.


My BE bulletin board was inspired from a similar bulletin board I saw on Savvy School Counselor blogCounseling with Confidence blog and Entirely Elementary School Counseling blog. I have created a PDF document that you can download to create your own BE bulletin board on my TpT store.

 I love these quotes and they are all available to download for FREE at Technology Rocks Seriously - I love this website!!

 

My desk area

I covered cork tiles (from IKEA) with fabric to create a bulletin board area to hang up important papers. (I will eventually be getting a real bulletin board near my desk but in the mean time this works great!) I also have 2 dry erase peel and stick boards that I use to write important information on - like the school fax number and the phone numbers of the other schools that I call regularly. I also made the curtains for my office to add a bit more color to my office. The 3 cubes I have bought at Target over the last 2 years when their back to college/ school items come out. These cubes are awesome, they serve as extra storage as well as extra seating (for extra large lunch bunches and when teachers stop by to chat). 

I painted a small bookcase to add more color. I also use borders on my large signs and posters to help them pop from the white walls. My storage cabinet has printouts that I colored with students that are also available for FREE from Doodle-Art-Alley. I also use this website to print out all sorts of coloring pages for students to work on while we are working and talking together. The other poster on the cabinet is actually the inside book sleeve from a book by Trudy Ludwig that I laminated and hung up.

 

Confidentiality sign

 My what you say in here, stays in here sign is hung on the wall next to my table that I work with students at. It is available to purchase on my TpT page in many different colors and 2 different themes for only $3.00. I printed mine on vistaprint.com as a banner.

 

Student area

 I have all sorts of goodies on these shelves!! The containers are from the Dollar Store and the bin labels are available for FREE on my TpT store in 2 different designs and several colors themes. The games are mostly from Super Duper and ChildsWork/ ChildsPlay. I also have some 'non-therapy' games such as Uno and Guess Who that sometimes come in VERY handy. I also have Legos and Bionicles on the bottom shelf which are great for boys to play with while you are working with them! I have Get to Know You Jenga on the top shelf that I use with all m: Totika, which is very similar to Jenga, and their self-esteem cards, my Worry Stones, Mind Jars (blog post coming soon!), Popsicle Sentences and a FindIt! game. I keep napkins, forks, spoons and knives on hand for lunch bunches.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour through my office. I would love to see pictures of your offices, so please post them on my Facebook page and I will create a blog post with all of them to help get everyone's creative juices flowing!

Thanks!


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A New School Year Means New Groups

First, I want to thank everyone because I reached 100,000 visits to my blog this week! WOW THANK YOU!!

As a new school year is starting that also means the start of new small counseling groups. I like to start the groups off with casual get-to-know you activities so the kids can relax and obviously get to know each other! So I thought I would share some of my ideas with you and hopefully you can share some of yours with everyone as well.

I love to use 'Get To Know You Jenga' during the first group meeting or the start of a new lunch bunch. I previously blogged about this activity and you can check out the full details here.

I have also used a game called Totika with the Ice Breaker Question cards. It is very similar to Jenga except the students answer a question depending on what color block they pull, it can get pretty interesting when students want to pull certain color blocks only! Just like the 'Get to Know You Jenga' game this is great because it is very informal and game like but you are still learning about one another. This game is also great because there are other card sets you can purchase such as divorce, life skills, self-esteem and teen values so you can easily transition this game to other group focuses.


I also like to do 'Popsicle Sentences' with groups, although this one generally is a girls group favorite. The idea is from Creative Approaches for Counseling Individual Children in the School Setting. 

The activity includes 28 fill-in-the-blank sentences such as 'I like friends who ....', 'One thing you should know about me is ...' and 'happiness is ...'. I wrote each of these statements on a separate popsicle stick in all sorts of different colors and put them in an empty peanut butter jar (that was cleaned out of course!) The students go around randomly picking a popsicle stick out of the jar and answering the questions, I am not sure why the kids enjoy this so much because it is such a simple activity - but they really seem to! I have used this activity with students in all grades.

And finally, I like the groups to create a set of group rules they agree to follow while in group together. The students all brainstorm ideas together and we write the top 3-5 rules on a sheet of construction paper; ideas tend to be things like 'don't talk over each other', 'listen to each other' or 'be respectful of everyone's ideas.'  I then have the students sign their names on the new document and I sign it as well. If I ever need to reference these rules during group again I can just pull out the document to discuss it.

Please leave comments with your own ideas or activities that you use to start of new groups, I would love to hear what you are all doing!

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Where is the School Counselor? sign update!

Last year I blogged about my Where is the School Counselor sign that I made with scrapbook paper so that students and staff members would know where to find me in school because I am not always in my office.

However, I needed to update my sign this year to add a few more school locations and I thought why don't I do it digitally so other school counselors can use it too?! The sign is available on my Teachers pay Teachers store for only $3.00. I added 'at recess' and 'in my office' to this year's sign. Students love turning the arrow to 'with students' when they come in to see me and they kept saying I needed a spot for them to put the arrow when they leave and I am in my office working.


You can print the sign on a website such as www.vistaprint.com or at your local Staples store. I suggest laminating the sign so that it will last over time. Simply attach the black 'arrow' with a brad.



*There are several variations posted on my TpT store that I made to meet the needs of other counselors. If you need the sign adjusted to meet your needs just send me a message on my TpT store and I will do what I can to help you out.*



Don't forget that today and tomorrow (8/18-8/19) is the special Back to School TpT sale! Use the offer code BTS13 to save an additional 10% off the sale prices!



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Saturday, August 17, 2013

New TpT Products and Sale!

I have posted some new products on Teachers Pay Teachers and I am having a special Back to School sale!
Please let me know if there are certain colors you are looking for or a particular design you want and I will try my best to create something for you to go with the 'theme' of your office or classroom.

TpT's Back-to-School Sale is:
Sunday, August 18 12:00AM Eastern Time (EDT) through
Monday, August 19 11:59PM Hawaii Time (HAST)

New What You Say in Here, Stays in Here Posters! ($3.00)





New Bin Labels (free!)



Make sure to check out my TpT page and get ready for the start of school!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination

Carol Miller from The Middle School Counselor blog nominated me for the Liebster Award - how exciting!!  It's supposedly an award for new bloggers with less than 200 followers to promote new and upcoming blogs. (although I must say I have googled this award to find more information and can't find anything! I think it is like a chain letter/ email that helps get traffic to new blogs. However, just being nominated by a fellow blogger is enough recognition for me!)  I am so excited to be nominated for this award by a fellow school counselor blogger. 

So the rules are:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.  


So here are the questions that I need to answer:

  1. What are your favorite blogs? 

    My favorite types of blogs are ones in which I get ideas from that I can implement into my everyday counseling with students or in my office. You can see all the blogs that I follow on the right hand side, but here are just a few of my favorites:
    JY Joyner Counselor blog - Andrea is a school counselor whose blog I absolutely love following. She has so many great ideas that are practical and best of all she uses so much technology! ( I am a techie as well)
    School Counselor Blog - Would any of us school counselors be blogging if it wasn't for Danielle?! I feel like she was the first big school counselor to start blogging and definitely inspired me to get started.
    Technology Rocks Seriously blog - she has tons of free printable I use in my office and throughout the school on bulletin boards. 
    Fun in 4B - This classroom teacher's blog has given me so many ideas for my office due to all the creativity in her classroom that I just have to share her blog with others!

  2. What made you start blogging?

    Like I just mentioned above I started following Danielle's School Counselor Blog a year or 2 ago and she inspired me to start sharing some of my ideas with other school counselors. I feel like counselors in schools have a more difficult time sharing and collaborating with other counselors because we are usually the only ones in our schools therefore I often took to the internet and blogs to find new ideas for working with my students. 
  3. What are your favorite outside of school activities?

    I love to play with my chocolate lab, he is the biggest goofball ever and always puts a smile on my face and makes me laugh! I also like to spend time with family and friends (obviously!). I am a big sports fan and my favorite teams are the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. 
  4. What other forms of social media do you use? 

    I use Facebook and Google+ with my blog. Personally (and privately) I also use Twitter and Instagram.
  5. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 

    I will either remain a School Adjustment Counselor or pursue a role as an Assistant Principal because I received my administration license last year.
  6. What other jobs did you dream of when you were younger? 

    I originally wanted to go to college for interior design and decided to go the architecture route instead; I was an architecture major until my junior year of college until I switched to psychology.
  7. What made you decide to be a School Counselor? 

    I began subbing in a charter school during breaks from college and liked working with the students however, I particularly loved working with the students needed a little TLC and extra support and guidance. I talked to the counselor at the building and began researching the different routes to becoming a School Adjustment Counselor (vs. a Guidance Counselor (yes they are still called that in Massachusetts!) or a School Psychologist) and switched majors in college and then went onto grad school.
  8. What advice do you have for others thinking about starting a blog?

    It takes much more time than you think to blog consistently (which I was completely lacking in during the spring of this past year when school got so busy!)
     
  9. Do you have a blog feature (or article) that you are most proud of?  I don't necessarily have a favorite blog post or feature that I am most proud of. Instead I find it interesting what posts get the most visits and therefore could possibly be the most helpful to other school counselors. This helps me to decide what types of things I should blog about in the future.
     
  10. Who is your superhero?  My mom - she really was a superhero when I was a kid! 
     
  11. What is your favorite quote?  I have way too many to list however, some of my favorites that I post in my school office are: 
  1.           
these are all free printables available at: http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com/p/school-signs.html


My nominations for the Liebster Award are:

 

Nominee's questions to answer:

  1. What are your favorite blogs?
  2. Why did you start blogging?
  3. What advice do you have for others who are just starting out with their own blog?
  4. Why did you decide to work as a school counselor?
  5. What are your favorite things to do outside of school?
  6. What is the best part of your job?
  7. How many years have you been working in a school?
  8. If you could only have 5 books in your office which ones would you choose?
  9. If you could live any where in the world where would you live?
  10. What is your favorite memory of a teacher from childhood?
  11. What is your #1 go to resource at school?


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Like Myself

I am always trying to intertwine self-esteem lessons into my groups and one of the favorite lessons with my 2nd graders a few years ago was based off of the book I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont

We read the book together as a group and had some discussion throughout. At this point all of the kids are in a happy and silly mood because of the fun nature of this book! I then told the students that we are making our OWN I Like Myself book! I worked with each student to write a few sentences for their individual pages of our book focusing on what they like about themselves. While I was working with students individually the other students either worked on illustrations for their individual pages or on our book cover. I typed the student pages for them and they chose the fonts and colors to personalize their pages even more.

We also made up our own poem that each student created based off of the prompt below. (I can't remember at this point where I found this but I believe it came from another book. Once I remember I will post that information!) I included each students poem at the end of the groups I Like Myself book.
1st line: first name
2nd line: 3 adjectives about themselves
3rd line: Who loves ...
4th line: Who feels ...
5th line: Who needs ...
6th line: Who fears ...
7th line: Who gives ...
8th line: Who would like to see ...
9th line: Resident of ...
10th line: Last name

Once the pages were printed and the students illustrated them I brought them to my local Staples Copy and Print Center and the staff helped me turn all of the students' work into our very own book! I spoke with the parents of the students in my group and gave them the option of purchasing a color copy of our book (only a few dollars) otherwise I sent home a black and white copy with each students to remember this special project.







Creating the book as a group took several group meeting times however, it was completely worth it! It is still one of my favorite lessons to this day! :)

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Career Day Fair

My principal and I recently partnered with 3 eighth students from Norfolk Girl Scout Troop 3616 who attend our district's middle school and are working towards earning their Silver Award within The Girl Scouts.  To do this they needed to develop a project within their community and then make a plan to put the project into motion. The girls decided they wanted to sponsor a Career Day for the 5th and 6th grade girls at our elementary school! They even wrote a grant to a local organization within our community in order to raise funds to invest in their Career Day project.  The girls worked so hard to create this night and build interest in it; they started planning the Career Day back in October and the fruits of their labor were very evident this week ~ they did an absolutely amazing job! The girls recruited about 12 female professionals to have a booth at the Career Day Fair to talk to the 5th and 6th girls about their professions. We had a classroom teacher, special education teacher, veterinarian, orthodontist, firefighter/ paramedic, nurse, district attorney, personal trainer, speech and language pathologist, cosmetologist, insurance administrator, caterer/ personal chef, flight attendant and an architectural engineer. Each professional had a booth with visuals about their career, some hands on activities for the girls as well as great knowledge and information to pass along to our students.
Meghan P., Eliza S. and Caitlin D.,are members of Girl Scouts Torop 3616.
They worked incredibly hard to create this evening for the 5th and 6th grade girls at our school.

My role on this night was to make a brief presentation to all the girls before they started exploring the different careers. My PowerPoint presentation touched upon how the skill-sets they are learning in school are also valuable in their future career. However, for the most part I talked about what types of careers the girls may be interested in based upon their current interests in school and outside of school. I also briefly touched upon what type of education is generally required for these fields and about the different types of degrees they could receive after high school graduation.
Sample slide from my presentation at the Career Day Fair.
The entire PowerPoint presentation is available for FREE by clicking the link above.

We had a great turnout for the event and have had some wonderful feedback as well. It was so nice to see the girls interacting with the female professionals and learning about different opportunities that are out there for them when they get older. We are hoping to continue the Career Day each year and possibly offer a separate evening for boys as well in the future.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

National School Counseling Week!

I would like to wish all of my fellow school counselors a "Happy National School Counseling Week." For some more information about this week you can check out ASCA's website or for ideas to celebrate at your school check out Danielle Schultz's School Counselor Blog's Pinterest page for NSCW or ASCA-SCENE's discussion topic on School Counseling Week.

You all do so much for the students, families and staff at your schools. So I wanted to do at least a little something to recognize all of you do!

I am having a sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers website during NSCW; it is the least I can do to honor all you do! So please check out my TpT store to start saving on Monday morning! The best deals are earliest in the week, so shop early!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Friendship Bugs

I tend to do a "bug" unit every year with my younger students; especially the boys ~ they love it! For this lesson I first read the book How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson with the students. We discuss all the different things that the children did such as not sharing, throwing tantrums, etc and how that would effect your friendships.

I then begin a lesson called "Friendship Bugs" that I adapted from a lesson in Creative Small Groups For Grades K-5 by Marco (by they way they have the BEST customer service! Love them!) I scatter some plastic bugs  and pencils with bugs on them from the Dollar Tree Store on the table to sort of set the mood. :) I found a bunch of different bug cutouts online that I photocopied on to construction paper that I also lay out on the table. I then instruct the students to select 2 different bugs that they would like to work with and have them begin cutting them out.
My "What's Bugging You" Jar that I keep the plastic bugs in.
Assorted plastic bugs from the Dollar Tree Store.
As the students are cutting out their bugs I begin to explain the rest of the lesson. We talk about different things that others do that "bug" or bother us. For example: tattling, being bossy, teasing, laughing at others mistakes, name calling, being a copycat, breaking promises, whining, and so on. I write all of the ideas that the students come up with on the white board so they can easily refer back to them later. Now I have the students write at least 5 things that "bug" them on the bug they recently cut out. The students then paste their bugs on a piece of construction paper and I print on the top "Things that BUG me."

The next time I meet with the students we work on the next half of the lesson. I print ahead of time on the backside of their construction paper "Things I do that might BUG someone". I review what we did last week when we brainstormed all the different things that "bug" them and begin to talk about how we also do things that may "bug" or bother others. I start the conversation by expressing how even I do things that would bothers others and then give a suggestion. This generally starts the conversation going and I begin writing their ideas on the whiteboard. For some students I definitely need to lead the conversation a bit while they are brainstorming because they are unable to self-reflective. I have students write at least 3 things that they may do that "bug" others (as this is a more difficult skill to self reflect I only require 3 ideas instead of the previous 5). The students then paste their bug on the construction paper labeled "Things I do that might BUG someone else".

We then have a nice conversation about how we can apply what we just worked on in their everyday lives at school. Such as trying to be a little more aware of how their actions can impact others. I usually do this lesson with students in grades 1-3 however I have also done this with some upper elementary school students that are on the spectrum.

This is my lesson plan for the Friendship Bugs lesson.


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