Within the last week, Dove
's "Real Beauty Sketches" video has been plastered over social media accounts. In fact, I discovered it through Carli Counsels
, a wonderful new elementary school counseling blog.
It's amazing how quickly good resources and thought-provoking content can spread! I love that I am able to better my school counseling program by engaging in social media. (Insert shout-out to Marty Stevens
for encouraging me to join Twitter in the first place!)
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If you haven't watched "Real Beauty Sketches," what are you waiting for?! Press play...NOW! ;)
I am fairly confident that if I were in these women's shoes, I would have been just as hard on myself. This begs the question: If we are consciously or subconsciously self-haters, how can we teach young children to avoid that path? How an individual feels about their outward appearance is usually quite apparent - body language and clothing choices, in particular, give you away. So, wouldn't our students notice that we are not practicing what we preach? They are looking to us for advice, but are we qualified to give it? I think it's time for us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
| |The Dove Social Mission
, in general, is a wonderful resource for school counselors. I think you could use almost any of their videos or materials with your intermediate level students. Personally, I would opt for 5th and 6th graders.
I created a companion workpage (left) for the "Real Beauty Sketches" series
, that would give students the opportunity to share how they see one of their peers. This would work best in a small group setting, so students have the chance to reflect and share in a more controlled, safe environment.
I have conducted a similar lesson called "Compliment Circle," an activity where group members must provide positive feedback for everyone in the group. I start by giving every student a piece of blank paper and having them write their name at the top. Then, everyone passes their paper to the person on their left. The students write something positive about the person on their paper. When everyone is finished, we pass the papers again. This continues until the students have written on every paper but their own. Before the compliments are revealed, I have students discuss how they are feeling (anticipation, worries, etc.). Then, students read their compliments. Again, we reflect as a group on the peer feedback and discuss how this could positively impact our friendships.
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Once students hear positive feedback from their peers, it's important to work on their own "inner critics" as well. Sometimes, we rely too heavily on praise and reassurance from others - we need to learn how to generate that from within. You could do this by having students complete the above workpage for themselves (before seeing what their peer created), then compare the two.
I hope there will be a day when image will no longer hold us back, preventing talented individuals from reaching their dreams and performing to their fullest potential. In the meantime, we need to help each other see what's REALLY reflecting in our mirrors...and that's beautiful. :)
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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!
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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 email@example.com
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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! :)
Welcome to Day 3 of Pixar
Sometimes the most magical moments do not happen on stage, in front of a crowd...sometimes, they happen behind the scenes as the illusion is being delicately crafted for the audience.
For a fascinating look inside Pixar Studios
, including what it takes to direct and design an animated feature, check out Pixar's behind-the-scenes page
on their website.
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Now, on to the show! Have you ever wondered what happens the moment before the curtain opens on a great magic show? Well, Presto
will show you just that.
The humor (and lesson for our students) comes from a magician's rabbit, a fiesty assistant that desperately wants a carrot to settle its rumbling tummy. This short film can teach our students about patience and self-control, but also about recognizing and responding to other people's feelings.
There are some slightly inappropriate aspects of this film (slapstick humor, such as a ladder to the groin and electric shock), so use your best judgement. Enjoy!
Day 2 of Pixar
Week has begun!
Before we look at the short film of the day, Burn-E
, I want to provide you with additional resources that help support its message.
Do you want to speak with your students about college? Check out Pixar
's Monsters University
website. It looks and feels like an actual university page, but with a cute Monster's Inc.
twist. It's perfect for elementary students!
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The short film of the day is about Burn-E, an adorable robot that makes spaceship repairs. One day, an exterior light breaks and Burn-E attempts to fix it - the only problem is that a series of unfortunate events make it difficult for this poor robot to do its job.
School counselors can use this movie to introduce careers and responsibilities. Also, it's a great way to talk about what you can and cannot control.
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Continue the can vs. can't control discussion using this activity
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.
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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.
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."
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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...
This American Life
is one of my favorite radio programs. The content is always thought-provoking, engaging, and sometimes even heart-breaking.
When I heard this episode, I knew I had to share it on my blog. As school counselors, we are handed extremely difficult situations and, with other school personnel, must help our students rise up out of their challenges and succeed. "Back to School" offers great information to help with this task. Check it out!