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Saturday, July 29, 2017


At summer camp I am always trying to come up new ideas that are fun (because it is summer after all) and will continue to teach the students something new. I wanted to work on idioms with the upper elementary school group of kids because it is slowly becoming a lost art form! For 3 days straight we read an idiom book, the Parts series by Tedd Arnold are one of my favorite! The books are: Parts, More Parts and Even More Parts.

After we read a book each day we played my Idiom Game. This is a card game that I created many years ago, it isn't perfect and there are plenty of others that can be added but it is a great starting point. To play the game I would say an idiom out loud and the first person that could accurately describe the idiom got the card and in the end the student with the most cards wins. Unfortunately, what the assistants and I quickly learned is the students didn't really know any of the idioms! We were constantly describing and acting out idioms to help them understand. So, my Idiom Dictionary by Scholastic came in handy every once in a while when we couldn't figure out enough ways to describe something for them to understand. 

At the end of each 30 minute group each day I would ask the students to pick an idiom in the pile of earned Idiom Game cards that they could remember and put that card on top. The next day I would say the top card idiom out loud to have the students get their decks of cards back. After the 3 days of Parts idiom books and playing the card game the kids were finally getting it! WOOHOO! 

The next step of idioms wasn't originally planned but I wanted to do another extension activity to really help them understand some idioms a little bit more. So I had each student pick 2 idioms that they truly knew the meaning of and then folded 2 pieces of white paper in half for each of them.  On one side of the paper the students were going to draw the literal meaning of the words in the idiom and on the other side of the paper students were instructed to draw the actual meaning of the idiom. For instance, for the idiom Catching Some Z's the literal side would have a person catching a bunch of the letter Z in their hands and the other side would have the person sleeping. I gave the students 3 days to work on their drawings. Some students took more time because they were really enjoying the illustration aspect of this activity! Below is an example of some of the students' art work, they did such a great job! I made a color copy of their artwork and laminated it so I can hang them up next school year.

The Idiom Game card game is now a free resource on my TpT store! As I mentioned before the card game isn't perfect but it works and I added a page of blank cards for your to add your own additions. I hope you find it useful!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Giveaway!

I am so happy to announce my first book giveaway of Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives by Erainna Winnett! Below is her guest post and at the very bottom is how to entry to win one of five signed copies! The giveaway runs from Tuesday, July 25th until Monday, July 31st. What a great resource to have in your hands to start of the next school year!

First, thank you so much for having me as a guest blogger, I am honored to share my story with your readers. I've been in education for the past twenty-two years. After fifteen years in the classroom, I felt a calling for something more - a deeper way to connect with and help children, which is how I discovered school counseling.

I moved from classroom teacher to school counselor in 2011 and absolutely fell in love. However, I soon discovered there weren’t a lot of up-to-date resources available for school counselors. After hearing me gripe about it for months my husband finally told me to write my own resources. Isn’t it nice to have someone who knows what you need before you do?

And so, I began researching self-publishing and taught myself the basics of publishing a book. To be honest, there were some costly mistakes: the cover for Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives was redesigned five times—YIKES—before I found one that I felt was ‘right’. Most students didn’t even know their school had a counselor, much less how one could help them.

The first week of school during my second year as a counselor I went into every classroom and read the Mrs. Joyce book. The children loved it and I received many thank-yous from teachers. Needless to say, the following week my office was constantly busy.

I continued listening to my students and knew that I needed to write other books to address individual needs. This launched me into the Helping Kids Heals therapeutic activity book set. I’m thrilled with how well all of these books have been received. Just last week, I woke up to an email from Ireland requesting copies of my books. Who would have ever thought a small-town Texas counselor-author could reach professionals across the ocean?
As educators, counselors are often the least familiar to parents, students and sometimes teachers. I hope my efforts have offered you some tools and helped you appreciate the power of your roles in our children’s lives. And I invite you to continue to add to our community. I wish you luck in the giveaway and hope you are having a relaxing, restful summer. All the best and Happy Counseling. 
- Erainna

To enter for a chance to win 1 of 5 signed copies:

  • Leave a comment on my blog about your favorite beginning of the school year activity.
  • Tag a fellow school counselor or educator on my Facebook page post about the giveaway to help let others know.
For each of the above your name will be entered in the drawing and I will randomly select 5 winners at the end. So if you comment on my blog post and tag a fellow school counselor or educator your name will be entered twice!
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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Animal Prints!

So yesterday I noticed that was having their huge 50% off sale, this is when I order my What You Say In Here, Stays In Here banner each year. Therefore, I needed to get working on creating my banner and other items! My theme for the upcoming school year is Zebra Print and Polka Dots from Teacher Created Resources.

I found an amazing artist, PrettyGrafik, that had some great animal print graphics that I could use with my polka dots.  So far I have made my What You Say in Here, Stays in Here confidentiality banner and my Where is the Counselor? door sign. The zebra prints are totally out of my comfort zone, but I think I am liking them so far! 

This week I will be working on the rest of my items - bin labels, binder covers, etc. and will post all of them on TpT once they are done. TpT also came out with a cool new 'Custom Category' option so last night I sat down and categorized all my products to make it much more user friendly!

I then went to town with all of the other animal prints I now had at my disposal thanks to PrettyGrafik and made this cool animal print Where is the Classroom sign for one of my co-workers!

 Hope everyone is having a great summer!
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