| || |
While catching up on my blog reading, I came across a Corner on Character
post about "the path that leads to awesome." Within the post, Barbara highlighted an adorable, hilarious, and heartfelt video
's "Kid President" that inspires viewers to make the world a better place.
I was incredibly moved by the video and instantly thought of dozens of ways that my students could benefit from its message. But, like the obsessive video scavenger I am, I HAD to discover what SoulPancake
was all about and, of course, if there were more videos school counselors could incorporate into their own programs.
So, here's what I found out:
was founded in 2008 by actor Rainn Wilson and his friends, Joshua Homnick and Devon Gundry. As described on their website, "SoulPancake
sprang out of their desire to create a space where people from all walks of life could discuss and question what it means to be human - a place to wrestle with the spiritual, philosophical, and creative journey that is life" (FAQ
is not just video - there are also print, web, and live event formats.
One of my favorite aspects of the site is the "activities
" section. There are various writing or multimedia prompts (i.e. "List the one thing that you'll never give in to.") that visitors can participate in. These activities are a wonderful springboard for school counseling services; you could easily modify an existing prompt to meet your specific needs. If you trust their little hands, you could even provide your students (in individual or small group sessions, ideally) with a camera so they can respond to challenging questions in a different way.
As for the additional videos for school counselors, I found plenty of clips to spice up a lesson or two. I added some of these SoulPancake
videos to my YouTube channel
- organized by topic, of course! ;)
You can view my "Brighten Your Day" SoulPancake
playlist in its entirety here
. You won't be sorry! I promise! These videos are meant to energize, inspire, and ease the burdens we carry. Lighten the load. Enjoy!Here are two of my favorites:
In addition to their website and YouTube channel
also published a book
. You could use this to spark conversation, encourage friendly debates, or to help with your own self-care.
Wow...big discovery today. Thanks, Barbara!
| || |
In December, I highlighted
an educational and super adorable television series called Small Potatoes
, which was created by Little Airplane Productions, Inc.
Little Airplane, as described on their website, "specializes in quality film and television programming for young children." They have created many outstanding shows, such as The Wonder Pets
, 3rd & Bird
, and Tobi!
One of my favorites, which was recommended to me by one of my readers, is The Olive Branch
. The Olive Branch
is part of Little Airplane's non-profit wing, Little Light Foundation
. Each 1 minute episode is meant to model effective conflict resolution strategies, but does so without using words. This way, the message can be understood by anyone, anywhere, which is quite beautiful.
"The children of today are the global citizens of tomorrow. They will play and ultimately work with people from different countries and different cultures. Tolerance, the ability to see and incorporate diverse points of view, and the skill to forge win-win solutions will soon be the most important skills we teach our children. It's never to early to lay the groundwork of these skills."
-Laura G. Brown, Ph.D.
While researching Little Airplane, I was lucky enough to speak with Tone Thyne
, Supervising Producer for the company. We discussed how their shows are made, the dreams for The Olive Branch
, and ways that fans can get involved.
We also talked about an exciting and unique aspect of Little Airplane: Little Airplane Academy
, a 3-day intensive workshop in New York for those interested in created their own preschool series. Participants are able to meet with influential network executives during a panel discussion. There's still time to apply for the upcoming February 9-11 session. Interested? Then, contact Tone at firstname.lastname@example.org
| || |
Elementary School Counseling.org was recently included in School Counselor Blog
's "10 Outstanding School Counselor Blogs" list!
It feels great to be part of such a talented group of bloggers. Definitely made my day!
Thank you, Danielle!
| || |
I've received a lot of emails from my readers, asking me to describe how I spend my time and why I love my job.
Instead of writing a long post about this topic, I decided to make a VERY LONG (nearly 30 minute) podcast, which you'll find on the left.
In this video, I explain how I organize my schedule. I also reveal the pros and cons of the school counseling profession, as I see them. If you're able to watch the whole video, you'll hear about one of my recent success stories that may help you in your own school counseling journey.
| || |
For the past few months, I have been rehearsing, and now performing, Neil Simon's The Dinner Party
at The Village Players Theatre. The play, which is set in Paris, is about the complexity of relationships. 6 individuals are invited to a dinner party not knowing who the other guests will be, but soon find themselves face-to-face with their ex-spouses. As you might guess, tempers flare and old wounds are reopened. I find that every show I work on teaches me something that I can bring back to my school counseling program. In this case, I can better understand why relationships of all kinds go wrong. Many of our students come from divorced households and come to us for answers, which we can't always provide. Sometimes, personalities change, people change. Children, unfortunately, have no say in what happens, so they must be flexible and "go with the flow" as their parents make all of the decisions - decisions that affect more than just their adult relationships.
What I love about The Dinner Party is that each couple's marriage failed for a different reason and even when they think they're past the conflict, it bubbles back up the longer they're together. I see this with more than just romantic relationships. Friends hold grudges and make biting remarks, finding the vulnerable spot in their pal's armor. Why do we do this? We protect ourselves ("The best defense is a good offense."), show our disappointment, hint at underlying issues, and more. The sad thing is, we tend to be so involved in our own feelings that we forget the damage we're inflicting on the other person.
My husband and I were discussing The Dinner Party after he had a chance to see it. We began to analyze the flaws of not just each relationship, but each character as well. When we arrived at my character (Mariette Levieux), I found myself coming to her defense. I even started raising my voice - "What?! She was supportive!" Once I realized what I was doing, we both laughed. I was too entrenched in Mariette's point-of-view that I had a hard time admitting her own faults...and she's fictional!
As school counselors, we need to teach our students how to self-reflect and take a breath before jumping into an argument. We have the right to feel how we feel, but just because we're hurting doesn't mean that the other person isn't hurting as well. Relationships, regardless of their nature, are not one-sided. We must understand who we are in order to function well in a friendship or, in this case, marriage.
Photos courtesy of Frank Venda
| || |
The Village Players
| || |
Check out my counselor confessional
at Scrapbook of a School Counselor
!Thank you, Tabitha, for the opportunity. It felt great to take the time to write out my feelings. If you haven't already, consider submitting your own essay!
I do have to say that I'm lucky to be in a school with AMAZING coworkers who have my back each and every day. I also work in a district with fabulous school counselors who are not just role models, but friends as well. That helps you feel connected too! :)
Okay, so better late than never, right? I've been a bad blogger and never finished Pixar
Week! Yikes! I've had 2 straight weeks of rehearsals and performances, so I am a little out of sorts. I apologize for being much more unavailable than in previous months. Please forgive me, lovely and intelligent school counselors...no, I'm not picking up clever (but still bad!) habits from my students.
Alright, now to the final Pixar
short film of the "week." Day & Night
is a thought-provoking movie about two completely different people who have a hard time getting along. There are, however, 2 potentially inappropriate parts of the film that I think you should know about. First, there is a scene when one cartoon is punching the other. Second, there is a scene when one cartoon is oogling a girl in a bikini. Besides those concerns, Day & Night is pure genius and great for our elementary students.
| || |
A wonderful follow-up activity would be a friendship venn diagram. The film, in essence, is a moving venn diagram, so how perfect is that?! Students could be divided into pairs to complete this task. You can use a basic diagram (below) or a cutesy one from Mar*Co's Colorful Counseling
activity book (one of my favorites!).
Pixar Week is almost over, but I still have a lot of excellent resources for you.
Today's short film has a funny group counseling scene. I know many students have questions about what small groups are like and frankly, many school counselors (like myself) wonder how to implement them in the best possible way.
I created a video podcast (right) to help answer some of your questions. Please post additional questions in the comments section below so that everyone can benefit from the discussion.
| || |Pixar
's short film, Small Fry
(left), could be a fun way to reflect on our expectations of small group counseling.
Some of your students may think that a group is all about sitting in a circle and crying. Some may think it's a punishment or a negative reflection of their character. It's important to start a group with a clear purpose, so that everyone feels comfortable and prepared for the sessions ahead.
For more information about small groups, check out my small group page
. You will find documents, activities, and more!
| || |
How often do students come to you with friendship problems? My guess would be VERY often. A common issue I see, especially as students get older, is the friendship triangle, where someone is always left out. In many cases, one student feels pulled between two friends he/she likes and doesn't want to choose which one to play with. One Man Band
offers a comical depiction of that "stuck in the middle" feeling. This short film would work as a perfect discussion starter.
For an additional friendship triangle activity, check out my Dear Tim
page. My poor puppet friend is having the same problem. :(
| || |
Show your students how special and unique they are by writing notes on these beautiful Pixar notecards
! Vol. 2
was also just released.
Day 4!La Luna is a beautiful story about a young boy learning "the family business." Both his father and grandfather
try to push their views, but the boy learns to find his own way.This short film could help students reflect on the pressure they feel from others (friends, family, peers, strangers) to act a certain way.
To facilitate the discussion, try using the workpage below. It will you give a revealing look into the minds of your students.
| || |
This came from a colleague - I'm unsure of the original source.