The winner of the Counselors with Character "Gratitude" contest is...
View the winning lesson here
While I was reading her first two posts, I have to admit that I was a little jealous. I have always had a strange obsession with historic buildings and the idea of working in one seems surreal; it's like a set for Masterpiece Classic.
| || |
If, like me, you are intrigued, check out the video below to learn more about ACS International Schools.
Still want more information? Well, you're in luck!
Lauren was willing to conduct an interview over Skype to share her experiences, including the application process, her day-to-day responsibilities, and how school counseling in an international school differs from the U.S.
| || |
Every other month, my school has grade level team meetings that focus on core instruction and student behavior. For the behavior section, I bring data and facilitate a discussion on how to manage the personal/social concerns of our students. This year, I decided to bring 1-2 behavior management strategies to each meeting as a way to introduce fresh, exciting ideas.
The ice cube strategy (described at Entirely Elementary...School Counseling
blog) is great for individual students and small groups. I altered the technique slightly by having numbers on the cubes instead of words. That way, you can reuse the cubes with different cool down strategies. Click here
to purchase your own ice cubes.
Here is a different behavior management technique (from the Something to Chirp About
blog) that is easy to explain and implement with your students. When your group demonstrates positive behaviors, you add a part to Mr. Potato Head
. If they put him back to together, then your group can earn a reward, whatever you decide is most appopriate.
| || |
Download your own checklist for free!
| || |
As a school counselor, I often feel like a sponge. I soak up the chaos around me, attempting to clean up the emotional spills. By the end of the day, I have absorbed more than I should have. I rarely take the time to ring out the excess before cleaning up another mess, so all I am is a soggy sponge... and let's face it, that is no use to anyone.
This, perhaps, overdramatic interpretation of my feelings leads me to an amazing novel and, dare I say, equally amazing film: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The main character, Charlie, is an introverted, intuitive, and intelligent high school freshman who is able to see those around him for who they really are.
Like many school counselors, Charlie absorbs others' pain. He wants to fix their problems, provide a shoulder to lean on, and give them hope for a better tomorrow. In doing this, Charlie sees the cycle of pain, which is hard to ignore; there is always someone experiencing heartache. However, when you open yourself up to this reality, you must be prepared to protect yourself. Don't be the saturated sponge, working to clean up a spill, but only spreading the mess around. We must take care of ourselves in order to take-on the world. Charlie, unfortunately, has not mastered this skill.
When I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I knew I had to blog about it. Watching these thoughtfully-crafted characters experience the world made me think of my students. I have students like Charlie, who need time and support to open up. I have students like Sam, who have experienced some form of trauma and desperately need to connect. I have students like Patrick, who use humor to hide the depth of their struggles.
I also thought about my own experiences in school - those times when I felt completely alone, the times I just wanted to blend into the background. I think when we leave high school, regardless of what that experience was like, we forget how claustrophobic it felt. Life revolved around a petri dish of students, all floating within the barriers of the container. The moment those walls are removed, you finally see the world for all its possibilities. It's the fresh start you thought you'd get in high school, before you realized that your middle school years followed you.
| |The Perks of Being a Wallflower
is a powerful reminder of the only world our students know. They haven't experienced life outside of the dish yet. In smaller elementary school settings (like mine), a student may only have 50 other students in their grade. What are the odds that 1 of those 50 would be a perfect friendship match? For some kids, our school pond is a little too small. The end result? The kids on the outside, the wallflowers, are reminded that they are different and, in some cases, believe their future will never improve, even after high school.
If nothing else, this film reminds us to look beyond the surface and see individuals for who they are. We all have our baggage, our struggles, our own journey that shaped our present.
| || |Cupcake
is an adorable book about a plain vanilla cupcake that isn't picked to eat. Cupcake decides that he must find a way to make himself more exciting, but ends up making a friend in the process. Students can learn about self-esteem through Cupcake, having to list things that they like about themselves. I have a worksheet that students can use. Also, you can bring in plain white cupcakes for students to snack on. There is a recipe in the back of the book.
| || |
I have found that the simple worksheet works best for K-1 and the other (right) can be used with 2-4.
I also allow students to decorate their cupcake to highlight how unique we all are.
| Simple Worksheet (left)|
|File Size: ||132 kb|
|File Type: || pdf|| |
| || |
This is a wonderful way to promote your school counseling program. Plus, it helps beautify your hallways and educate other students as they pass by.
Just download the PDF (below) and you're good to go!
Have you ever had one of those days or weeks when paperwork gathers in piles, student referrals pour out of your mailbox, and the twinkling light of your phone's voicemail blinks with urgency? Wait. Of course you have. You're a school counselor!
On those difficult days, I'll admit that I've closed my office door after dismissal and cried. The build up of emotions, the pressure, the responsibility...it all boils over and once it does, it's hard to stop.
Well, this week was one of those weeks. I spent most of my days in a panic, racing to see all of the students on my list. I knew that it'd be impossible to fit everything in, but somehow, I thought I'd be awarded Hermione's time turner and magically I could do 10 things at once. Unfortunately, J. K. Rowling did not write my school day. Boo.
So, what makes me feel better? I, of course, vent to my husband (poor guy), but I find other outlets that allow me to take that built up energy and use it for something positive. Currently, I'm rehearsing my second play of the season, which has been a wonderful way to express myself. More on that later.
Also, I discovered something pretty amazing: Preschool Gems
. As described on her website, "Preschool Gems
is a Twitter feed
run by Leslie McCollom, a writer and educator living in Portland, Oregon who posts wacky and brilliant quotes from her young students on the internet for your enjoyment."
| || |
| || |
I find myself laughing out loud and feeling that joy heal my heavy heart.
You can get daily quotes on the Twitter feed or buy the book
I thought I'd share some of my personal favorites.
From the Preschool Gems Twitter feed...
| || |
Now that I have an office with a SMART Board, I have been experimenting with all of the special features. I found "word dice," which I instantly knew would be perfect for both small groups and classroom lessons.
I decided to create dice that students could use to roleplay various feelings. So, students go up to the SMART Board, tap the dice, and act out the animal and feeling they are given. For example, a student may have to act out a mad cat or a sad bear.
This is a simple activity that would be great at the beginning of a lesson to grab their attention or at the end of a lesson to practice what they have learned.
If you have access to a SMART Board, please feel free to download my roleplay dice (below). If not, you can easily create your own or use regular dice with a key (that explains what each number stands for).
| Dice (SMART Board)|
|File Size: ||421 kb|
|File Type: || notebook|
Like most of you, I'm two days into my school's Red Ribbon Week festivities. I wanted to share my first two morning messages from this week. My students have loved hearing from Tim!
Want to know what else I do during Red Ribbon Week?
Check out my RRW page here
My school has an AMAZING climate committee that focuses on highlighting special events to boost staff morale. They pick random days, like National Pasta Day or Friday the 13th, and decorate our lounge. The staff love it! Here are some pictures from our latest special day: National "Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work" Day!
This table was in our staff lounge. All of the teddy bears received special awards, like "best manicure" or "best dressed." My little friend earned the "best monogram" trophy!
| || |
Our fabulous art teacher created teddy bear table decorations to match the theme. The Teddy Grahams were the final, delicious touch.
| || |
| || |
One of my favorite Pixar short films
is called "For the Birds." It's about a group of birds with poor social skills. I use this film to discuss the types of behaviors that students see or engage in at school. The worksheets are a great way for students to express how they would respond to these situations.
Want more great short films?
Buy the DVD here
Download the worksheets here