It's the first snow day I've had in 2 years, so I'm excited for the unexpected opportunity to relax...and my definition of relaxing is movies, theatre, and blogging.
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These are some of the movies I've been digging lately. All 3 deal with tough topics and can certainly help school counselors reflect on the challenges their students experience. While there are inappropriate parts in each film, there are brilliant clips that students could benefit from as well. For additional movie suggestions, visit my Amazon store
I know many of you have watched Shane Koyczan's powerful visual poem about bullying. When I saw it for the first time, I couldn't help but cry - I became a school counselor because I want to help students who feel broken become whole again. This is the kind of thing that stirs the helper and healer inside of me.
But...the poem also made me think about my own childhood. I had trouble in school, I was made fun of...but...did I inflict pain on others in order to fit in? Did I say something I thought was funny, but really damaged someone's self-worth? The thought haunts me sometimes, because I may never know how I'm truly perceived through another person's lense.
I discuss this with my students, because not only do I not want students to feel bullied, I also don't want students to live with regret. I don't want anyone to be the villain in someone else's memory. I, like most of us, will never know the extent to which my kindness and my cruelty (intentional or not) have impacted others. My hope is that we all take a step back and reflect on our actions, good or bad. Then, and only then, can we become better people.
Right now, I'm preparing for The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, my 4th and 5th shows of the season. These plays discuss the aftermath of Matthew Shepard's murder in Laramie, Wyoming. We have a company of 13 actors who are dividing up over 100 roles, which are, in actuality, real people who were interviewed in Laramie.
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I first read The Laramie Project my freshman year at Bowling Green State University, because it was the Honors Program's "community read." It broke my heart as I discovered more about Matthew Shepard and the town he lived in. Matthew was gay. One night, he was tied to a fence and savagely beaten by two Laramie men. When he was found, Matthew was barely breathing and days later, died in a Poudre Valley hospital.
Members of Tectonic Theater Project interviewed the people of Laramie and created a moving play based on those interviews. Ten years later, they came back to see how things had or had not changed. "The original will move you, the follow-up will shock you." More on these productions will be posted soon!
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I recently added a new school-wide program to my website. It's a friendly, good behavior competition my school started to improve cafeteria behavior. For more information on this program, click here
In other news, Elementary School Counseling.org was featured in the January/February issue of ASCA School Counselor
! The article, Get on the Blogging Bandwagon
, was written by Darrell Sampson, the founder of From the Counselor's Office
Check it out!
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I recently read a wonderful new book by Kathleen Cherry called Blowing Bubbles
. The story is about a boy, Josh, and his grandfather; they love to go on excursions, like riding roller coasters and racing go-karts. They have a great relationship until one day, Grandpa George has a stroke.
Josh has a difficult time coping with these changes - the hospital is boring and smells funny, his stomach hurts when he thinks about what happened, his grandpa can't speak...everything is different and Josh doesn't know what to do.
School counselors work with students like Josh almost every day, but it can be challenging to find quality resources to help children cope with illness and aging. Kathleen Cherry, a school counselor herself, created this beautiful story to fill that void. I definitely recommend this heartfelt and honest book. Check it out!
For more information, check out the Blowing Bubbles website
Are you an author? Do you have a book that you would like me to review on my blog? If so, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be happy to check out your work and spread the word to my readers.
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Better late than never, right?! Between school counseling and theatre, I've had very little time lately to keep up with blogging.
So, what did I do to celebrate National School Counseling Week? Well, every day, I wore a different school counseling t-shirt
, which was fun. In the past, I've also given my staff certificates to show my appreciation of their constant love and support.
On Friday, I had a fun surprise from my 1st graders (left). Their banner was hanging outside my office door. I almost cried!
Overall, NSCW is one area I'd like to improve in. I think it's hard to promote and celebrate ourselves, because it can feel a little self-indulgent. However, like it or not, we still need to "sell" our services, especially now that money is tight for most school districts. We must show that we are essential members of the school team.
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Each month, I offer classroom lessons
that highlight my school district's core values. "Dedication" is our January core value, so I taught my students about the importance of never giving up.
For my youngest students, I based my lesson on The Little Engine that Could
. This year, I opened my lesson with a Sesame Street
music video called "Don't Give Up." Then, I discussed the story of The Little Engine and told students we would make our own train to show what we will never give up on. They loved it! I definitely recommend this lesson!Click here
for more lesson details.
I also found this amazing video that older students may appreciate. It's about a man who was told that he would never walk without assistance, but with hard work and dedication, he was able to run.
Be ready to wipe away some tears, because this video is quite inspiring.
One of my favorite quotes from the video is: "Just because I can't do it today, doesn't mean I'm not going to be able to do it someday." That is such a wonderful message to share with our students. School isn't always easy (and it shouldn't be), because we are challenging ourselves to be better, stronger people. Let's live this message: Never, EVER give up!