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