As the 2012-2013 school year approaches, I'm beginning to think about the early mornings and late evenings I'll spend working. Even though I love my job, I think we can all agree that school counselors get tired. So, why not prepare for the new school year by entering Elementary School Counseling.org's "Coffee Mug Giveaway!"
| |To Enter:
1. "Like" Elementary School Counseling.org
2. Follow Elementary School Counseling.org
3. Complete the form below
August 3, 2012 (11:59 PM EST)
1 winner will choose which mug they prefer ($20 value).
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I recently started working on a local theatre production
of "From Up Here," a dramatic comedy by Liz Flahive. From the minute I opened the script, I loved this show! In essence, it's about a family dealing with the aftermath of a serious school incident - the son brought a gun (unloaded) to school and threatened other students. The boy must now prepare for a public apology to his school community, while also navigating stressful family dynamics.
I was cast as the fun-loving aunt who runs from difficult situations. The more I rehearse, the more I realize the depth and complexity of this particular topic.
We hear about tragic situations every single day - individuals are pushed to their breaking point and lash out. As a school counselor we work with students most at-risk for this type of behavior and, in fact, are often pushed to the limit ourselves. How often have you had a day where you gave others everything you had mentally, emotionally, and physically? Are you always recognized for your efforts?
School counselors may be able to help their students, staff, and communities, but if they do not have their own way of decompressing, then it's only a matter of time before the water comes to a boil.
As you gear up for another busy school year, please remember to take the time you need to breathe and "reboot."
Promo from The Circuit Playhouse
Recently, I have been receiving a lot of questions from my readers regarding the start of the school year. Whether you are getting ready for your very first year as a school counselor or are just starting at a new building, it can feel overwhelming. Where do you begin? What should you focus on? Well, here are a few of my ideas:
Without positive relationships with your students, staff, and parents, you will not be able to accomplish much. School counselors are a resource for EVERYONE. Your school family must feel comfortable coming to you with their concerns and should look to you for support.
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I recently posted a video podcast (left) about building relationships. In the video, I share a few ways that I have formed strong bonds with my students, staff, and parents.
For additional ideas, check out the following links:
Organizing Counseling Materials
I have found it helpful to have a routine, especially with my individual and small group counseling sessions. Students know the expectations, but have some freedom to choose how they wish to express themselves. Here are a few of my favorite and most used materials:
Documenting can be one of the most stressful parts of the job, simply because we often must push it aside to handle more pressing concerns. Then, we may let it go until there is a huge pile of paperwork to manage.
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Just like with counseling materials, you should have a routine for your documentation. In June, I posted a video podcast (left) about how I record my session data.
For additional ways to document and promote your efforts, check out the following links:
"Guidance Counselor Extraordinaire"
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I recently discovered Buckalope Elementary
. Buckalope Elementary
, as described on their site, "was created to be a fun, relatable school environment with puppet students and teachers and engaging stories and songs. Focusing on character traits and career possibilities in this way sets the stage early on in students who then move forward on a more positive educational and life journey."
The program was created by Sandy Rakich, a retired teacher and school counselor, and Jimmy Mastandrea, a music producer and executive for a major record label. Mastandrea also created Furry Friends Productions
My favorite part about Buckalope Elementary
is the music! There are many adorable videos with educational (and catchy!) songs to share with your students. Check out this video: "The Responsibility Rap."
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For more videos to use in your school counseling programs, visit my YouTube channel
. I have playlists for a variety of school counseling topics.
Do you have attendance issues at your school? Do you have students who have a hard time waking up in the morning?
If so, check out Get Schooled
! They have an easy and FREE sign-up for kids who want morning wake-up calls from celebrities.
Today, School Counselor Blog
highlighted the "What You Say In Here, Stays In Here" banner. Since I have a new office for the 2012-2013 school year, I was excited to make this banner for myself.
I also couldn't resist making a vertical banner for my small group sessions. Much more attractive that my previous sign!
Finally, I decided to create personalized pens for school. I don't know why, but I consistently lose my pens at meetings, classroom lessons, and during random conversations with staff. Now, they will never truly be lost.
Check out Vistaprint
I'm back from another week at Camp Quality Ohio! As always, I had a wonderful time and felt truly inspired and humbled by the amazing CQ kids.
We had crafts, woodshop, fishing, boating, sailing, "Olympic" games, trivia, balloons, martial arts, a Cleveland Zoo trip, a remembrance celebration (for campers who have died), therapy dogs, teambuilding activities, a talent show, swimming, cake decorating, and MORE! The campers decide how they want to spend the day (based on the schedule of events) and the companions who are paired with them join in the fun.
Camp Quality is a meaningful way to use your summer vacation as a school counselor. I was able to work with kids on social skills, anxiety, depression, and other difficult issues just by being their friend. During the end-of-camp reflection exercise, kids shared that Camp Quality makes their cancer go away and that it's a place where they can truly be themselves.
I feel lucky to have met these children and other volunteer staff. Please consider volunteering at your local CQ. You will be glad you did.
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I am off to CQO
for the week!
I am always nervous and excited at this time - you never know what the week will bring. However, when it's over, you are always left with feelings of happiness, accomplishment, and hope. Just a reminder:
I will not have internet access while at camp, so I will not be able to post, respond to emails, or approve your blog posts. I will be back on July 14th, so I'll "see you" then!
Have a great week!