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You may remember a school-wide program we implemented at my school that involved grade levels earning ice cream scoops for showing respect in the cafeteria. Well, that program was a success, so we decided to try another good behavior competition using a popcorn theme.
The big difference, other than the visual, is that grades can earn their reward much quicker (2 school weeks).
For more information about our good behavior competitions, check out this page
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I interviewed Stephanie Moore, my friend and fellow school counselor, about her wonderful school-wide program. Vehicle Day is a way to help students learn about a variety of careers through the vehicles that the companies use.
To learn more about Vehicle Day and to download helpful documents, check out the official page
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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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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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.
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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. :(
If you're a school counselor, then I know you've been asked to, in some capacity, manage bullying and bullying prevention at your building(s). The trouble is, we don't always have materials available to us. I've had to create my own lessons and materials more times than I can count and while I love to exercise my creative muscles, sometimes I need something that's ready to go.
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I recently heard about S.H.A.R.K. (Students Help Achieve Respect & Kindness) Patrol, a program for grades K-3. The goal is help students understand the importance of working together and taking responsibility for our actions.
You can buy
the whole kit or just pick and choose your favorite components. I personally love the CD, because the music is very catchy. I use the songs as a way to engage my students at the beginning or end of a lesson. Since my primary students LOVE puppets, I bring in a puppet to help "sing" the songs. You'd be surprised at how funny and enchanting a singing puppet can be. Try it in the mirror with any song...see what I mean?!
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!
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Our fabulous art teacher created teddy bear table decorations to match the theme. The Teddy Grahams were the final, delicious touch.