Thursday, December 24, 2015

Change Mindset Bulletin Board

This is the bulletin board outside my office put together by my awesome volunteer to remind students how to change their words from a fixed to a growth mindset. It also has a QR Code on the left side that if you have a reader takes you to a great article on growth mindset.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Together We Rise

It is inspiring to see children make a difference in the world and education is so important, especially to girls in the developing world. This clip is a good example of our mission statement preparing our students to be contributing citizens in a changing global society.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Understanding Mistakes

When teaching about growth mindset or consulting with staff and families I like to use this image. I hear some people misinterpret or over simplify that mistakes are good. This clearly shows that some types facilitate learning and some do not. Check out the full explanation at

Friday, November 27, 2015

Keeping Kids Safe

One of the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors is "Demonstrate personal safety skills." The best free resource for that self-management skill is TeachingTools

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stress Management

The students in grades 3-5 really get the stress cup metaphor to explain stress.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to talk to kids about attacks in Paris

When there is a tragedy in the world today children are exposed to it either through the media, from discussions they hear, or from friends sharing the "news." Many of our students already know something about what occurred on Friday in Paris. Many churches openly prayed for the victims. However they know counselors need to be prepared with a response come Monday morning. Here is a good article for parents how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-the-attacks-in-paris/ The same advice goes for staff: generally don't bring it up but if a child mentions it ask what they know, respond that we are safe, it is okay to feel upset (share personal feelings of sadness and compassion), let them no France and countries around the world or working harder to being the terrorists who did this to justice.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Worry Wise Group Activity

My second graders discussed Julia Cook's Wilma Jean Worry Machine that talks about many different common worries. In the book she encourages writing down worries and putting them in a "worry hat." I prefer to have the members write their worries on a worry tree. We talk about what is currently worrying them and when they start thinking "what if" thoughts about their anxieties they can imagine just hanging them on their worry tree.  Most of the members quickly identified and wrote down 5 worries and marked them with a glitter leaf. They also each wrote one worry they used to have (marked with a bird) that no longer concerns them (it flew out of their mind).  They can take these home and share their worries with a trusted adult.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Organizing My Counseling Services for the Day

I am currently running 28 small groups. Our program relies heavily on small group counseling because it has been shown to help our students acquire specific skills that can be practiced. For each group topic I have a binder and for each group I have an accountability sheet to capture process data and notes and each child has an individual folder. I hold on to all work and send folders home when group ends. These are the groups I am leading just today.  Every morning I make sure I have what I need (books, handouts, materials, etc.) and line them up in front of my book case.  The pink folder at the end holds my classroom lesson I will teach at the end of the day. To manage a comprehensive counseling program requires a lot of time with the organization and management part.  I am lucky because my Kindergarten team gives me 2 slots I can use as does my second grade team. That allows me the flexibility to run 6 groups in both of those grades.  First grade only gives me one slot so I run 5 first grade groups (one each day of the week). Third grade I do a lunch group every day. In grades 4 and 5 I run 3 lunch groups each.  I will start more groups after some of these conclude.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Favorite Author

If you are expanding your library for books to use in classroom lessons and small groups, I would recommend all or Maria Dismondy's books.  She really understands common issues children face including diversity, problem solving, self-esteem, and bullying behavior. Her books promote pro-social skills like kindness and other character traits. I use them in grades 1-3.  To learn more about her work check out her website

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Shoes Will You Wear?

Julia Cook's book What Shoes Will You Wear? is very popular with my third graders. As the hook I ask, "How is what you wear and a job connected?" It is easy for students to point out shoes and uniforms are required for some occupations. The essential questions for this lesson are: Who am I? Where am I headed? How do I get there? During the lesson I review the 6 career paths. For more information about career paths At the end of the lesson the students each draw a picture titled "What shoes will I wear in the future?" and label the occupation and match it to a career path.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November is National Career Development Month

November is a good month to look at your Core Curriculum Action Plan to determine if your program has the needed lessons and activities to make all your students college and career ready. At the elementary school we need to make students aware of all the career paths and help them connect what they are learning today to their future tomorrow.  Parents often need help understanding why we even address careers in elementary school.  If you want to "celebrate" National Career Development Month go the the NCDA website

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mix It Up at Lunch

Today we participated in the nationwide Mix It Up at Lunch Day sponsored by Our teachers talked about the purpose of the day "to connect with others and make a new friend" during morning meetings. The student services staff gave each student in grades 1-5 a lego and had signs on all the tables with the variety of colors. The children sitting at the tables made something with their color and then during the last lunch period we had a child from each color add their creation to a single product that is on display in the library. We would recommend using legos because most elementary students like building with legos and you can get them in as many colors as you need. Lat year we ordered pencils that said "Mix It Up at Lunch Day 2014" and had the students write on post it notes something new they learned about a person but this was much easier. We do something different most years to keep up the interest. It is a great opportunity to observe students social skills and how they cope with problems (like not sitting with their best friend).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Unite Against Bullying

Our school mascot, a Knight, joined the staff and students for wear orange day October 21 to make bullying end! Orange is the color for fairness in Character Counts. A key word in our definition of bullying is bullying in unfair (a group against one). The Knight was dressed in the a color each day during Character Counts Week.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Character Counts Week 2015

Our state requires that we teach character education.  Our school uses the Character Counts 6 pillars as the foundation of our program. When properly implemented, CHARACTER COUNTS! is an immersive program connecting staff and students through a shared language and framework of values called The Six Pillars of Character. It fosters a positive environment that has been shown to improve overall attendance and test scores while reducing negative incidents such as bullying and discipline referrals. For the week students and staff dress in a color of one of the traits each day.  On Monday we will all be "true blue" for trustworthiness...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bullying: Awareness, Prevention & Intervention

What do you share about bullying prevention on your school web page? In Virginia there is supposed to be a designated point of contact for parents to go to about bullying. I am the point of contact for my school.  I think it is very important for parents to know what we are teaching students about bullying behavior. Here is a link to the page for my school program

Bystander Revolution | Break the Cycle

Bullying Prevention

    The best short films about bullying, check them out     film-festival-bullying-prevention-upstanders

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


My first lesson of the year in grade 5 involves discussion of growth mindset and setting a reach higher goal. I explained that it is better to focus on what they need to improve and strategies than getting an A or a B. The lesson was successful judged by the fact that I got less than 10% who wrote a goal to get a specific grade. They each wrote their goal on an arm cut out - it makes a nice "kid work" bulletin board display.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bullying Prevention in PreK-grade 2

With our younger students I use constructs from the Bullying Prevention in Positive Behavior Support handbook focusing on giving students the tools to reduce bullying behavior through the blending of school-wide positive behavior support, explicit instruction, and a redefinition of the bullying construct. I like that it teaches one approach, Stop-Walk-Talk, to address all disrespectful behavior because young students have a hard time distinguishing conflict and actual bullying behavior. Th3 52 page manual is a free download at The images above are one of the slides from my presentation in the lower grades and the draw and label response sheet I have my first graders do after I teach the lesson and read "Lucy and the Bully." I also teach the 3 prong response strategy to all teachers as part of our annual update training on bullying prevention.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Literature Based Bullying Prevention Program

Our school uses a literature based bullying prevention program from K-grade 5. These are the books I will be reading in my lesson at the younger grades to address the theme of bullying behavior in October - Bullying Prevention Month. In grades 3-5 the teachers read the books that are part of the Steps to Respect (Classroom Curriculum Kits). The entire school uses the Steps to Respect definition of bullying and uses Safe, Caring, and Respectful behavior expectations. All students are taught an assertive response is usually the best way to handle challenging behavior and to be positive, helpful bystanders or upstanders - not provide an audience or join in. All staff receives annual training on how to respond to disrespectful behavior and what to do if the reported behavior is bullying. Our state requires schools to use a research-based program to address bullying. We have been doing this for 8 years and we evaluate it every June. We have swapped out some of the books over the years as new ones are published that send clear messages about both prosocial and bullying behavior. We use an online Bullying Report Form that you can see on the Counseling page of our school's website.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bullying Prevention Month - Stop Bullying Before It Starts

Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center has a free toolkit for educators for Preschool - grade 3 to go along with The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Two of my volunteers put this up outside my office today and the students walking down the hall got so excited. The Digital Teacher Toolkit allows teachers to stream the movie for free and deliver engaging lessons on bullying prevention

Friday, September 25, 2015

Girls and STEM

My school data profile shows that our female students scored significantly lower than males in grades 3 and 5 in math and science on our state standardized tests. This has been the trend the past two years in grade 3. My SMART goal this year will address this gap. Here is a resource you may want to check out if your school has a similar gap http://www.vsgc.gfb.pdf

Monday, September 21, 2015

Apps to help children sleep

A parent asked me today for resources to help her third grader get to sleep. She explained that since school started each night has gotten worse. After listening to what they had already tried, I gave her my usual recommendations and asked if she also wanted to consider using an app or two to see if one might help. I use a few myself when I have trouble winding down.
Establishing a relaxing routine for bedtime and avoiding exposure to bright light as the body prepares for sleep are important. Reading or being read to gives the child a chance to begin to relax and unwind (along with many other benefits). Some families have found that saying what they are grateful for or writing a gratitude journal entry ends the day on a positive note.
For those children who still have trouble relaxing and allowing sleep to take over, there are a variety of apps. The electronic device could be put on the floor under the bed so the light is not a problem. Children may respond to one of these type of apps: guided meditation, nature sounds or white noise, breathing practice, or relaxing yoga. Some of these are free and others cost less than $5.00.

Preschool – grade 1
Arabian Nights by Relax Kids
Enchanted Meditation

Grades 2 and older
Sleep Meditations for Kids by Christiane Kerr
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Sleep Genius
Smiling Mind
AmbiScience Sleep Aid for Children
Breathing Zone
Stop, Breathe & Think
Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite
Naturespace: Relax Meditate Focus Sleep and Relax
Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep

Yoga in Bed

I welcome additional suggestions.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Welcome Bulletin Board for New Students and Staff

This is the double bulletin board in the front hall of our school. We got lots of compliments on it last night at Back to School Night. We take pictures of all new students at our "Welcome Reception" that I organize and get help with from my school psychologist or librarian. It is hard to change schools so we want our students (and staff) to become known to our learning community. We typically use a theme for 2 years just to save energy and time. Most of the labor is done by my awesome parent volunteer!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Be the 3

Each year I participate in our school safety assemblies where the administrators, PE staff, and counselor(s) talk to each grade level (2-5) about rules, expectations of behavior, and consequences of not meeting expectations. All our school rules are organized around the terms safe, caring, and respectful: classroom, hallway, cafeteria, playground, and bus. I decided to use the theme "Be the 3" this year with the students and ask my wonderful volunteer to make me some posters to use as a visual for the assembly and then serve as a reminder on their grade level hallways. Since we teach Spanish 3 days a week, one hand has the words written in Spanish. I think the poster is attractive and kid friendly and the 3 finger visual is a good reminder.  Anytime a staff member has to talk to a student about behavior, they can just hold up 3 fingers and ask, "I need you to make a choice that is safe, caring, and respectful!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Good resource for self-regulation

This book published by Youth Light is great for a small group teaching calming and self-control. The story is great and it includes several follow-up games and activities. I am planning to use "Pass Back" which involves passing a ball and changing directions with variations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome Back

This Helping Tree themed bulletin board is right outside my office thanks to my wonderful school psychologist. To introduce the student and related services staff team to our learning community we each have our picture on one of the apples. iHELP is the motto of my counseling program, but there are many other helpers that I team with to support the students.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September is Attendance Awareness Month

This is the counseling program bulletin board that greeted families at our Open House during pre-service and sends a positive message about attendance. If you need resources go to

Monday, August 31, 2015

Book on Grief

This book is perfect for sharing with a child after the loss of a parent or grandparent.  It expresses through words and pictures when someone a child loves is gone.  It is a sad book but ends with a message of hope and coping. I also recommend Jeffers book Stuck.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

3rd grader introduces the 12 tools in the Toolbox Project's curriculum.

Building Social Emotional Tools in Children

As counselors we know how important social emotional learning is to laying the foundation of academic success. The Toolbox Project features 12 capacities that reside in all students; teachers provide instruction in how to use the tools (example empathy). Check out this overview http:Toolbox

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Year New Books

Today was our first day of preservice and I was excited to unpack my first book order of the year. I am fortunate to have a PTA who gives me a generous budget with which to buy books for the school counseling program. I have a continuous wish list going in Amazon where I buy most of my books but I also get some donations from other staff and parents who find books they think I might like to share with students. These are all children's books but I also purchase books for our Family Resource Packs I have described in the Parent page of this blog. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Helping New Professional School Counselors Have an Ideal Induction Experience

My first year as a school counselor I had an administrator who had never done the job I was doing and no mentor assigned by the system.  I know I could have done better and not felt so lost if I had a mentor, coach, or just someone else in the same position I was for advice, collaboration, and support.  My school system has a Teacher Mentor Program and counselors get assigned another counselor as a mentor. However, all mentors are trained in a basic model that is designed for classroom teachers. I have also supervised many practicum and interns for various universities so I have had training to do that type of counseling supervision. I have also attended supervisor training at our state counseling association conference. I have taught practicum at a local university in the school counseling program so I have many ideas and experiences to reflect on what works and what does not.
Here are my main thoughts about what a mentor can and should do for a novice school counselor to make the induction experience ideal:
1) Don't agree to be a mentor/coach unless you have the time to commit.  The past few years my school was over-crowded so I did not mentor; however, this year our enrollment is much lower and I feel I have the time, energy, and desire to do so.
2) Teach novices routine school procedures and district policies and best practices.  Hopefully the district provides all new counselors training on risk assessments and referrals for child abuse, if not that should be a priority.  If the counselor is in another building, encourage them to identify someone in their building who has been there awhile to seek guidance about building specific routines and expectations.  At my first elementary school I asked the librarian most of my questions because my office was right next to the library.
3) Provide ongoing guidance related to lesson planning and classroom management. Unless the novice is a former teacher, this can be a struggle.  Encourage them to use the ASCA Model lesson plan template unless the school requires a different format.
4) Provide observation, sharing, and collaboration throughout the first year.  Offer to let the novice observe you and then observe them and provide lots of feedback.  An alternative is to video lessons and review them together at a convenient time.  Video seems awkward but it provides such great feedback and opportunity for professional growth.
5) Be transparent about how you organize and conduct your school counseling program.  Share copies of letters, agendas, session plans, calendars, so that the novice has a starting point to make their own.
Finally, be available to just listen. Encourage the novice to share and reflect as they learn and grow throughout the year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bad Signs

Alfie Kohn in his book Feel-bad Education (2011) has a thought-provoking chapter regarding what is on the walls in classrooms (and I think it can be applied to counseling offices as well). He believes that putting students on notice that they must have a positive attitude, etc. is not providing kids the safe place to learn that they need. He also feels the posters are too generic to be of any value. Kohn believes that if these posters are to be hung at least the students in the class should get to choose which ones will hang on the walls.  He thinks "Good Signs" in the learning environment are done by students, selections of their best work or information about them or the teacher. Kohn thinks its the students who should decide what goes on the walls, not the adult. It did make me stop to think about all the Pinterest inspired signs hanging on bulletin boards and in counselor's offices. Are they good or bad signs?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Book to Teach Growth Mindset

If you are trying to promote a growth mindset at your school you will want to add this book to your shelf as a resource.  It is an engaging story based on the research of growth mindset. It also has information for parents on this important concept. I am planning to use it in a classroom lesson on academic success, probably in first grade depending on what other books I find.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mind Jar, Glass, or Bottle - Video or Prop to Explain Mind to Children

I am sure most of you have a glitter filled bottle or jar in your office that can be used as a calm down tool or like a timer (breathe until the glitter settles). This short video explains how thoughts and feelings are swirling most of the time in our minds, but mindful breathing or meditation can calm the mind. I am going to use this with my group for G 1 &2 who need help with mood regulation.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Incorporating Mindfulness in Lessons and Session Plans

These are the main resources I am using to incorporate mindfulness into my lessons and some group sessions along with some of the activities from  I began to dapple in adding some mindfulness last year after starting my own mindfulness practice. I gathered these resources a year ago but this summer I have really reread the books and thought about how to best introduce some of these concepts and skills to my students.  I am using mindfulness in my lesson on EMOTIONS and SELF-REGULATION which are 2 of the counseling program's main themes.  I also am using mindfulness in my groups for students who need help with emotional regulation and my resiliency groups.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

September is Attendance Awareness Month

I hope everyone is planning their campaign for Attendance Awareness Month. Pictured above is the darling bulletin board my wonderful volunteer made for me last September that I will be putting back up with a new background. We also laminated copies of the banner available for free download at along with lots of great ideas and research.  Attendance is an area in the ASCA National Model that counselors are tasked with addressing.  Encourage all students to come to school on time every day (unless they are seriously sick or there is a family emergency).  I encourage staff not to send the message taking family vacations is an excuse for being out or providing busy work packets for the plane can possibly makeup for missing what happens in the classroom. Children and families need clear messages abut the importance of regular school attendance. The Attendance Works site makes a point to say start reinforcing good attendance in kindergarten!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Teach Mindfulness with Music

Most children like music. It helps them remember important concepts. I am going to use a few of these in classes and groups.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Share Video with K Parents

This is a great video for new parents of kindergarten students. It comes from this terrific website

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What to buy if setting up a counseling office from scratch

I would start be purchasing 5 good counseling games including:
Totika (which is counseling Jenga and has various decks of cards i.e., self-esteem, divorce)
Therapeutic/Counseling Dominoes Game Set (there are 7 - I like the Anger Control the best)
Talking, Feeling, Doing game
Face It! Feeling cards
I would buy a silent timer, markers and colored pencils, dry erase markers and some small white boards, art paper, and a few fidget toys.
I love books but they are expensive and you can borrow them from school library, interlibrary loan, and some are available free online.
All counselors need a locked space to store confidential information but hopefully the school would provide this.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Group Proposal Binders

My part-time counselor for the past 2 years loves her label maker; therefore, she labeled all the group binders we use to run groups.  We have several group proposals for each grade level. All our groups are for students in just a single grade because of the schedule.  Since some students will participate in groups each year, the books for sessions and activities are unique to one group.  For example, the session plans call for different books for each of the groups on self-regulation in kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2.  The same is true for our study skills and organization groups for grades 3, 4, and 5.  In side each binder is the rationale, the goals for the group and ASCA mindsets covered, pre-post surveys for staff, parents, and students, sample communication with parents, written session plans, and copies of all handouts and worksheets. Last year my part-time counselor and I ran 52 small groups, 466 sessions lasting @ 30 minutes each.  Approximately 40% of our student body received direct service from a counselor in a counseling group.  Without these binders with everything we need to lead a session at the ready, we could not have possibly provided this level of service. Sample of what is inside can be seen on Groups page (Howard B. Wigglebottom group).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Name It Tame It Reframe It

When teaching children to cope with unpleasant emotions like sadness or anger, research tells us that labeling the emotion is the first step.  This is often taught in mindfulness training.  For example, "that is sadness I am feeling, it is really big right now I need to think about all the good things in my life, the sadness reminds me how much I loved my grandmother." The Zach Rules series by Mulcahy does a great job of bringing the skill of emotion management to the level of a grade 1-3 student.  In Zach gets frustrated the author uses a triangle to remind the character to "Name it, Tame it, and Reframe it." I think this is a book that should be on every counselor's bookshelf.  I have used it with several groups and loaned it to parents whose children were exploding at home. Teachers, parents, and counselors could all benefit from sharing the book with children who need to learn to cope more appropriately with unpleasant emotions.

Friday, July 24, 2015

College & Career Month

I am planning to condense some of my Career Cafe, career visitors, and lessons into a College & Career Month this year. I found this video that has some great ideas. I have contacted my administrators and other key staff to try to get buy in and pick a month with not too much else going on. I'd like it to be March to tie in with March Madness but our school has been trying to spread out schoolwide activities so I will need to be flexible. I'd love to get comments with any good suggestions...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Get Into It

Every year our teachers with special needs students ask for ideas about how to explain disabilities to classmates. I always share some of my favorite books on individual differences. This year I will also suggest they check out the lessons at I really like their warm-up activity "Step Right Up." I am going to use that with my newcomers get togethers when school opens.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#Reach Higher: Grit and Goals

I have decided to redo my fifth grade goal setting lesson on academic success. I am now calling it #Reach Higher: Grit and Goals.  The lesson will address several of the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors For Student Success. The self-management skills and learning strategies covered include:  
Self-Management Skills: 2. Demonstrate self-discipline and self-control  4. Ability to delay immediate gratification for long-term rewards  5. Demonstrate perseverance to achieve long- and short-term goals
Learning Strategies: 7. Identify long- and short-term academic, career and social/emotional goals
As the hook I am going to have the students complete the 12- item Grit Scale. I will put the scoring part on the PowerPoint. Once they are focused on their own level of grit I will use the PowerPoint to guide a mini lesson tying grit to goals and then have them write a #Reach Higher goal that I will then post as a bulletin board.
If you want to learn more about "grit" or share this key concept with parents I recommend Paul Tough's book. We used it in the past as our parent/staff book club book.

Grit: The Key to Your Success at FLVS

I am going to show this video in either grade 4 or 5 as an introduction to goal setting.  I follow-up with another lesson in grade 5 that uses the Grit Scale. I hope the short video will inspire the students set challenging goals for their own academic success.

Friday, July 3, 2015

ASCA Mindsets Alignment with Second Step Suite

The Committee for Children has stepped up to help counselors by publishing a crosswalk showing the alignment of Second Step (Early Learning to grade 8) with the ASCA Mindsets. Check it out

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Using ASCA Mindsets in Lesson Plans

I am working this summer to update my classroom lesson plans with the new ASCA Mindsets.  I also indicate our State and Local standards for each lesson. I include learning and language objectives for each lesson as well.  Most of my lessons are guided with a PowerPoint or SMART Notebook outline. I always take a book into the class just in case the technology is not working. I have been trained to share the lesson objectives in kid friendly "I can" statements so students are clear in advance what they will be learning and what they will be expected to do.

Monday, June 29, 2015

An Elementary Counselor's PLN


My personal learning network had evolved over the past 3 years. I still use Blogger for my blog and follow many other counseling related blogs, especially those linked to SCOPE I love Twitter and Twitter Chats. I have #escchat #scchat #sccrowd on my TweetDeck and this week #NotatASCA15. It is great to have up-to-date information on what colleagues are learning at the ASCA National Conference even though I could not go this year and to be able to participate in a Twitter Chat tonight with counselors at the conference as well as though monitoring what is happening online. My other current favorites are Livebinders (check mine out my shelf), Google+ (hangouts, and Docs), Facebook (Elementary School Counselor Exchange), ASCA Scene and of course YouTube. There is so much virtual professional development available for free! Today it is as easy to access as looking at my Twitter feed and following people and organization relevant to school counseling.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

School Counseling Program DATA Report

I do not like the format of the ASCA National Model Results Reports. The column format does not work for me. I really like the DATA format pictured above.  For the counseling program I try to do 3 of these a year so I can share results in a user friendly format with stakeholders. Here is the one I did for my grade 3 study skills groups that met every week for the entire second and third quarter and was very effective    and here is a link to the template

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Annual Report for Elementary School Counseling Program

If you would like to see the one page report of the direct services we provided this year just click
Annual Report 2014-15 We share this with building and district level administration and our School Counseling Program Advisory Committee.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

End-of-Year Staff Needs Assessment

This is our end of the year staff assessment to get feedback on services we offered this year and suggestions for next year.  I sent it to all classroom teachers that are planning to return to our school next year. I love Google Forms because the data can easily be analyzed. I created a simple assessment because our program is well established but we are always interested in staff input.  I wanted something they could respond to in 5 minutes and would not be a burden on me to interpret.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Categories - Organizing Children's Books

As part of packing my office for the end of the school year I was determined to finally do a book inventory and put all my books into categories so I can find what I need quickly. I also pulled out all the books I use for classroom lessons or sets for small groups. I had new shelf markers made with the following categories:
Academic Success
Character Ed
College & Career Readiness
Diversity Awareness
Diversity – Special Needs
Emotions - Anger
Emotions Anxiety/Fear
Emotions - Bravery
Emotions - Sadness
Families - Divorce
Families - Issues
Friendship Skills
Friendship - positive
Goals and Wishes
Personal Safety
Problem Solving
I also have entered all the authors, titles, and categories into a Google Sheet. I will share that at a later date.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

End-of-the-Year Counseling Program Checklist

1 Transition activities - for students moving and moving up to middle school. Lead good-bye lunch groups, participate in Awards’ Ceremonies, and Promotion.
2 Staff survey – Google forms survey to assess topics covered in classroom lessons, groups offered, etc. to serve as basis for planning.
3 Data analysis – Review behavior data (discipline & bullying reports), attendance reports, and academic records of students (report cards and standardized tests).  Write and publish the Counseling Program Annual Report on Web page.
4 Draft annual calendar – Set dates for counseling advisory committee meetings, school-wide events, based on overall calendar planning for school and PTA.
5 Inventory and order books and supplies – Prepare orders that will be placed when funds are available.
6 Declutter office – move toward a paperless environment. Remove reference books, etc no longer being used.
7 Participate in grouping meetings – give input to class placements to facilitate classes that are balanced.
8 Pick summer project and professional development – pick one group curriculum or grade level curriculum to revise.  Set a goal for professional development including online webinars, professional learning communities via Twitter, books, etc.
9 Notes and forms - Shred notes with student information and send risk assessment forms to central office according to policy.
10 Celebrate successes and say goodbye – Reflect on what went well with the program, thank all those who collaborated to make the program successful, and acknowledge colleagues who will not be returning in the fall.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious illnesses that can be life-threatening. Children as young as five or six can have an eating disorder. They are also extremely complex illnesses, arising from a variety of biological, psychological and social factors. A great resource for school counselors is nationaleatingdisorder/EducatorToolkit