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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Around School ...

This year I let some of my creative juices flow outside of my office and helped some of my fellow teachers at my school create some items for their classrooms and offices.

One of the 3rd grade teachers was inspired by a fellow 3rd grade teacher to distribute and display her classroom jobs a little differently this year. So we worked together to create this fun Job Wheel for her class. Each student's name is labeled on the outside of the 14" wheel and each week she turns the wheel to assign new jobs to the students. The job wheel has 21 spots (she has 21 students), I also created a smaller circle with the numbers 1 through 21 listed that could be used as the spinner if you prefer that option.

Job Wheel in Mrs. McFadden's class

I also made a fun Where is the Classroom sign for her class as well to coordinate with her Boho Birds borders.
Where is the Classroom sign on Mrs. McFadden's 3rd grade classroom door

In Miss Binette's class she wanted to make some fun and bright class schedule cards. Miss Binette and I both love color in our room at school! The schedule cards fit in a pocket chart for easy use and storage. Additionally, another teacher was able to use the some cards as her name tags on the desks in her classroom! It turned out to be a great multi-purpose item!
Class Schedule cards in Miss Binette's 4th grade classroom

We also made a Where is the Classroom sign for Miss Binette's door to coordinate with her theme this year, which was Monkey Mischief borders.
Where is the Classroom sign on Miss Binette's door

Mrs. Cochrane has a beach theme in her 5th grade classroom so we created this Where is the Classroom sign to keep the water theme going on her door as well.
Where is the Classroom sign on Mrs. Cochrane's door

Mrs. Fontes, who is our reading specialist decorated her room with a Dr. Seuss theme this year so we created this fun polka-dotted Where is the Specialist sign to help students and staff be able to find her when she wasn't in her classroom.

Mrs. Fonte's sign outside her Developmental Reading classroom

Mrs. Tucceri, who is our Technology Integration Specialist, is also not always in her office so we created this fun Where is the Specialist sign to help staff and students know where she is.
Mrs. Tucceri's sign on her office door

Finally, Miss Moore has a fun animal print theme in her classroom so we created this Where is the Classroom sign for her.
Miss Moore's sign on her 5th grade classroom door

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

TpT Back to School Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their huge back to school sale starting tomorrow! My entire store will be 15% off and if you enter the code BESTYEAR at checkout you will also receive an additional 10% off. 

Have fun shopping!

Don't forget I also have a selection of "Where is the Classroom signs!" Please let your classroom teacher friends know! 

And my new theme this year is Color Me Bright!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pin the Tongue on the Josh

I love all of Julia Cook's books, they are just awesome! I recently read A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue with my upper elementary boys during summer camp. In this book Josh, who is a perpetual tattler, develops a case of Tattle Tongue in which his tongue gets longer and longer and becomes yellow with purple spots! The Tattle Prince teaches him about tattling and reporting and he is soon able to get rid of his Tattle Tongue and make friends at school too!

We then played a game I called "Pin the Tongue on the Josh!". I came up with this idea from a lesson in Youth Light's Classroom Guidance Games called Pin the Face on the Tattle. However, I decided to make it more directly related to the book we all just read. So I copied 2 faces of Josh out of the Bad Case of Tattle Tongue: Activity Book and colored them in. I then hand drew some tongues and colored some in yellow with purple spots and others in pink or red. 

For the game I read the situation cards from the Youth Light activity and the students had to decide if the scenario was tattling or reporting and choose the appropriate tongue. I then blindfolded them and spun them around a couple times and they needed to find the appropriate Josh to pin the tongue on. I would always tell them that the tattle tongue is on the left and regular or reporting tongue is on the left.

I also had the students complete this FREE worksheet I found on TpT from Bringing Back MayBerry. The students had to recall a tattling scenario from the book and draw it and then draw a tattling situation that happens in school.

The kids loved this activity so much we did it for 3 group meetings!!! I LOVED it too, such fun and they were still learning about the differences between tattling and reporting.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Can't Imagine Life Without ...

I was trying to find a fun get to know you activity for the first day of our summer camp here at school and was lucky enough to stumble across Jenna Smith's blog Musings from the Middle School. She had a writing activity that I easily was able to make into a fun and low key get to know you activity. I drew a cloud like shape in the middle and then rays out from it. In each ray the students (and staff because it was so much fun) wrote or drew the things in life that they can't imagine living with out. It was a great way to see what each kid (and staff member) loves and is important to them.

We then pinned each group's artwork up on my bulletin board and the kids took turns guessing whose was whose based on what they already knew about each other. I then had the kids tell us a little more about what they wrote or drew about.

One suggestion I learned along the way of doing this though is I would have the kids first write their ideas in pencil and then go over them in marker. I originally just used marker but one or two students got frustrated when they made a mistake and couldn't change it.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I'm in Charge of Me!

A few weeks ago my colleague, Carolyn Kelley ran a lunch bunch with some of her lower elementary school students that was great, so I wanted to share it with you! While the children ate she read, The Way I Feel by Janan Cain.   This is a lovely book with fun illustrations that introduce children to the array of feelings that can be a part of any day. Feelings are a normal part of life for children as well as adults, and the more we teach our children about emotions, the better they can understand how they are feeling.  She had the boys quickly name 5 feelings – they were able to use posters around the room to help if need be…it was interesting to hear the feelings that came out first!

We always tell children that ALL FEELINGS ARE OK.  It is what you DO with them that matters.  She want them to understand that they are in charge of their feelings and can “make a plan” to flip those negative feelings into positive and find solutions to unhappy situations.  First, we have to identify and acknowledge how we are feeling and then, if it is a “negative/unhappy” feeling or situation, we need to have some strategies to help us calm down, feel better and move on.

They briefly reviewed how to “Make a Plan” to move on from a negative situation/thought and then, played a game called Upside Down Frown from Power Play, by Kathy Cooper and Marianne Vandawalker.  The children were placed into two teams.  One team acted out a negative/unhappy situation and the other team was challenged to come up with a positive solution by changing the unhappy mood to a happy one.  If their solution was deemed a “success”, they won the upside down frown and points.  The kids had fun video taping their role plays and the game was a hit!

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Winter Door Decorations!

I know this has nothing to do with counseling, but it is creative, I promise! This past month a lot of us at my school decorated our doors for either the winter season or the holidays. I thought I would share some of the amazing creativity by our teachers and assistants in case you are looking for some inspiration!

Here is my Gingerbread themed door!

I got some Pinterest inspiration which I modeled my door after.
My Office

A winter wonderland of snowflakes!

Mrs. Enriquez's room

A Penguin

Mrs. Trombert's classroom door

Our Reading Specialist came up with this awesome winter themed door!

Mrs. Fontes' door

A Polar Bear, I love the hat and scarf!

Miss Binette's classroom door

I LOVE this door, it is actually the one that inspired me to hop on the decorating bandwagon this year!

Miss Fox's class

An Aerial view of a snowman, super creative!

Mrs. Moore's classroom

Let it Snow! Two classrooms came together to create this winter wonderland!

Mrs. Pericles and Mrs. McFadden's classrooms


Mrs. Johnston's classroom door

A cute snowy window scene.

Mrs. Buckner's class door

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Anti-Bullying & Friendship Paired Lessons

In my school district we use the MARC Anti-Bullying Curriculum that was created by Dr. Elizabeth Englander. I have been lucky enough to attend many trainings with her over the years and we have even been so fortunate to have her speak to parents at our school. As part of the curriculum the 5th graders complete paired lessons with the kindergarteners and the 4th graders complete a paired lesson with the 1st graders. These lessons are supposed to happen 3 times a year but because those grade levels are not in the same building in my school district we have been doing the lessons once per a year and all the students really look forward to them each spring and enjoy their time with their younger or older buddy. This year the 5th grade and kindergarten teachers committed to adding a second lesson into the school year this fall! So myself and my fellow (AWESOME) School Adjustment Counselor at the lower elementary school, Carolyn Kelley, worked together to create a paired lesson that was based mainly on friendship skills for the kindergarteners with a little bit of anti-bullying built in. The 5th grade students read one of two books we had purchased to their younger buddy, Lucy and the Bully by Claire Alexander or Don't Call Me Pruneface by Janet Reed Ahern.

After the students read the books together and completed some comprehension questions about the books together we then had a few other fun activities planned for them to work on together. Next, we had each 5th grade and kindergarten pairing work on a Friendship Writing Prompt together. The students really enjoyed this part! Some of the 5th graders even worked on their own as well! The plan is to make a book for each kindergarten class of all their friendship drawings and writings. We found the Friendship Writing Prompt for FREE on TPT!
Thank you Katie Boyd on TPT for this FREE download, it worked wonderfully!
Finally, we had the students work on 2 activities from Spectacular Guidance Activities for Kids. I was lucky enough that Youth Light to send me this resource over the summer and it definitely came in very handy while planning this new MARC Paired Lesson.

The students worked on 2 handouts out of this great resource, the first was "What Do I Say" in which they had to come up with 6 conversation starters they could use when talking to a friend or classmate to help create a good repertoire of conversation questions and statements. This was great because the kids got to color and expand their thinking a little bit about how to start up or maintain a conversation with friends and classmates. Lastly, the students worked on a fun maze "Roadblocks to Friendship" in which the students had to figure out if the posed responses in the friendship situations was helpful or unhelpful to to encourage positive connections with classmates and friends.  An example the Kindergarteners had to choose from was 'Talks Too Much' or 'Good Listener' before moving onto the next roadblock.

It was such a wonderful day with the 5th graders and the kindergartners working together. I can't wait to pair everyone up again in the Spring! Pin It

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Create Your Own Thumb Balls!

I love using thumb balls during lunch bunches and sometimes students even pick them up during individual sessions while we are talking and use them to fidget with or pick questions they want to answer. This past summer the students in our summer program created their own Thumb Balls during our last week to take home with them to use with their families. I wanted to create Thumb Balls that would help encourage conversation skills so I laid out a bunch of conversation starter questions for the students to choose from. We read all the options to the students and let them choose the 6 they wanted to write on their personal thumb ball.  

As you can see the Thumb Balls are actually clearance beach balls from the end of the summer, so they only cost about 75 cents each!

Once all the beach balls had been written on we practiced a round of Thumb Ball with each one of the student's personalized ball so they got to see the game in action one more time and it also had more meaning to them when it was their own questions! It was a simple activity and the students got to take it home with them too, which always creates more excitement with the little ones.
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