Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mood Wobblers

I bought this set of 4 mood wobblers at the ASCA Conference this summer from the ASGW booth.  You can buy a set online too. They are sitting on the ledge of my white board. Lots of kids pick up one to explain how they are feeling and why.  They can then use it like a stress ball while we talk.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back to School Night Information Table

This is my co-counselor staffing our table. It may not be clear from the picture but we choose to
"brand" our program using blue and gold as a consistent color scheme for our materials we share out whenever possible. We had our iPad running with a slide show on the table of the many pictures we have taken this past year. We also try to collaborate with our school social worker and psychologist whenever we can as the "student services" staff.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Career Cafe iHelp

My co-counselor made this for our Back-to-School Night display to help with our recruiting for speakers in grades 3-5.  We are trying to use the iHelp theme to brand the counseling program.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

iHelp Student Services Bulletin Board

Once again the counselors come up with the ideas and our wonderful parent volunteers construct our catchy bulletin boards. This board introduces the 4 student services mental health providers to the learning community. We are starting a one on one iPad initiative this year so we decided to use the "iHelp" brand or theme. Compliments keep coming in...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome New Students and Staff

The bulletin board (actually 2 made to look like one giant board) says, "Look Who Has Beeb Spotted At Nottingham." Each new student is holding a white spot with their first name and staff are labeled. I see students, staff, and parents using the board as a resource to recall the names of the 60 plus new members of our learning community. Each new person is featured on their own lady bug. Of course our WONDERFUL parent volunteer who did this creation also added lots of finishing touches like flowers and bees. I can't wait for all parents to see it tomorrow at Back-to-School Night.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Start of the School Year Is All About Building Relationships

Like most school counselors I spent preservice week and the first two weeks of the school year building relationships.  We have over 20 new staff members who are professional educators, but do not know our learning community.  I try to reach out to 2-3 of them each day so I can establish a positive relationship.  We have 40 new students in grades 1-5 and over 100 new kindergarten students.  We did orientations for the new students and followed up through a bingo activity (find 5 staff members then bring Bingo card back to me for a prize).  This week we will be doing follow-up lunches with the new students.  I have been spending any free block of 15 minutes in one of the kindergarten rooms to learn names.  I hate going into a class to teach when I don't know everyone's names.  It helps because each teacher takes a class picture and labels the students for the administrators and counselors.  I look at the class pictures before I go into classes to teach the first few months of school. My part-time counselor does the 6 first grade classes and those teachers which leaves me with 600 students and more staff than I want to think about. As school counselors we need to be approachable to students, staff, and parents to be effective.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Diversity Lessons

One of the major themes we teach in our curriculum is Diversity.  We choose to start the year on this important topic but you could also do it in October which is Diversity Awareness Month.  We use the Teaching Tolerance Anti Bias Standards and the resources on this fabulous site

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Buddy Bench

I suggested last years Fifth Grade gift to the school be a Buddy Bench. We are now training our students that if they are lonely or can't figure out how to join in a group or game they can sit on the Buddy Bench. The expectation is another peer will notice and go up and invite them to play or engage with them in conversation. The concept was "invented" by a young boy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beginning of the Year School Safety Video

The administrators, PE teachers, and counselors along with other staff teamed up the first week of school to make an engaging video modeling correct behavior. In the past, we have done grade level meetings, but they were BORING. This year our Library Media Specialist offered to video each of us doing our part and my co-counselor (enjoying herself going down the slide) offered to take still shots to match what we expect students to do.  We follow the Responsive Classroom approach so we are all about interactive modeling. The result was far more engaging than the assemblies and took up a third of the time. 

Where is the counselor?

We are using the iHelp theme with an iPAD as our new motto and brand for the school counseling program. We have added to our brochure, bulletin board, and this is the sign I made for the door of my office. I have gotten several compliments already.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Attendance Awareness Month

Attendance Awareness Month is a nationwide event recognizing the connection between school attendance and academic achievement. The goal is to mobilize schools and communities not only to promote the value of good attendance, but also to take concrete steps toward reducing chronic absence. More than 40 national organizations are working in partnership on the event.
My school is participating for the second year. See the Attendance Works website for a free /toolkit/\