Monday, July 21, 2014

Hello From Across the Pond

Hey school counselor friends, I hope that your summer so far has been fabulous.  I've been a little MIA for a while, like missing the ASCA conference (which still hurts, but Phoenix look out), #scchat Twitter chats and such, so just in case you were wondering....I'm actually in England.  I'm participating in a educator summer study abroad course and it's been so much fun.  I'm the only school counselor in the group, but that's no different than in my actual school, so I fit right in.  Here's a few pics of our adventures throughout England.  We'll also be traveling to Norway later on this week!  Don't worry I'll share how I found out about this educator travel abroad opportunity in a later post.

Highclere Castle (yes from Downtown Abbey), Tea and Scones, London Bridge, Big Ben & Parliament

Another plus is that I completed my summer homework for staff by taking my photo in my school shirt (oh yeah)!

Summer homework done at Guildford Castle in Guildford, England (beautiful place).

What exciting trip(s) have you been on during your summer break? Pin It

Monday, July 7, 2014

Just a Little (More) About Me...

Since I was #notatasca14, I have no #asca14 recap post  (sad face) so to try and think of an ASCA theme for this post...A few months back I saw in the ASCA School Counselor magazine a showcase on the 2014 school counselor of the year candidates (Congrats to Robin Zorn).  I liked reading fun facts about the school counselor of the year finalists and thought "hmmm how would I answer some of those questions?" So now that school's out and summer is in full effect I thought that I'd take a chance to answer those questions (I also used some questions from other counselor bloggers for the Liebster Award):

-Share 10 things about yourself that most of your readers wouldn't know:
1.) I'm a morning person and wake up early even on weekends and days off.
2.) Breakfast is my favorite meal, I can't function without it. 
3.) I almost never wear any makeup.
4.) I like to drive with my shoes off (yep, even when I had a 5 speed).
5.) I usually have several things in my various online shopping carts, on "my wish list" or under "save for later".
6.) I'm very passionate about recycling and taking care of the environment.  
7.) I like dressing up, but would definitely opt for yoga pants/workout gear anytime.  
8.) In college I was in the marching band (Shout out to the NC A&T SU BGMM) & joined a sorority.
9.) I enjoy live music and musical theater.  I secretly wish that I could sing, dance and act...all at the same time to make it on Broadway.  
10.)  I have no idea why I put my hands on my hips when I take pictures.  

-What's your favorite thing about your job?  Well taking that it's summer the schedule certainly is a plus, but I love being able to make lasting connections with students, parents and staff as a school counselor.

-What would you be if you weren't in the School Counseling field?  I'd either be a corporate trainer/recruiter, travel blogger or museum curator (I love museums and history). 

-What do you do for self care?  I LOVE group fitness classes at my gym and go most days right after work (which makes me leave work on time).  Group fitness is fun and it doesn't require me to do a lot of heavy thinking.  I just listen and follow the instructor and in an hour I've had a workout!   I also try to plan for pedicures or massages as needed.  

-What books are you currently reading?  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (it's a great read so far).  I've also been enjoying books on tape (audiobooks).  The public library has them (for free, my favorite price).  I just load them on my iPod and listen to them while I walk or if the book's really good in the car.  Just a side note, make sure to turn off "shuffle" on your iPod when listening to audiobooks.  

-What's your guilty pleasure TV show?
 I can't just limit myself to just ONE show.  Thanks to the likes of Netflix and Hulu I've gotten into binge movie/tv watching. I just finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black (awesome!)

-If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  The beach is always ideal but I'd compromise and just be willing to live where I have the freedom to travel and see the world.

-What are your top 5 tech tools?
Google Docs
My iPad (of course)

So that's a little about me!  On a side note, I am really looking forward to reading the #ASCA14 recap posts from other bloggers that were there.  I was able to be a little bit in the loop from social media, but I can't wait to hear from them.  So now I know that I must make plans to be at #asca15 next year in Phoenix.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Time

Forget Christmas, summer break is the "most wonderful time of the year" for me!  Another busy and productive school year completed.  Whether it's your 1st year or 21st year, I'm sure that you can now sit back and reflect upon how your school year went.  I certainly can!

So now that summer's here what will I be up to?  Well I'll be doing quite a bit of resting, relaxing and traveling.  If you aren't quite sure how to rest and chill during the summer, I'll be glad to show you!  I will continue to blog, but it may not be as frequently (maybe twice a month) during the summer.  It's not because I don't want to but because I just want to fully enjoy my summer (and unplug just a bit).

What are you summer plans? Pin It

Monday, June 9, 2014

Staff Summer Homework & Bulletin Board Idea

For some of you, your summer vacation has or is just about to start  (whoot whoot, I get out on Thursday and can't wait).  Here's one small homework assignment that you can give to your staff over the summer...have staff members take pictures of themselves on their vacations or trips over the summer in their school shirt.  Those pictures can be used for a back to school bulletin board, that way people can see what fun you had over the summer and while even showing a little school spirit.  Here's an example....Ms. Burston visited the Grand Canyon!

Well clearly I wasn't at the Grand Canyon (this is actually me at the park at field day in a school shirt) but it would go along that route.  I've made a mental note to pack a school shirt with me on a summer trip for this "homework".

We did this last year with the theme "Oh the Places You Can Go" and it was a hit.  It was such a hit that we'll be doing it again!  I'll post a finished product of the bulletin board later on. Pin It

Monday, June 2, 2014

#ASCA14 1st Timer Tips

I've been seeing and hearing the buzz via social media from other school counselors about going to the upcoming ASCA conference in Orlando, FL.  The exciting part is that many of the counselors sharing the buzz are 1st timers going to the conference.  Now that got me "buzzing"!  I had absolutely no idea what to expect my first time attending the conference either.  So here are a few tips that I've learned to share with first timers or even tenth timers at the conference.

-Attend the reception events where you'll have an opportunity to mix and mingle with other counselors in a non-presentation style setting (meaning you can talk more).  I actually met a lot of counselor friends that I still keep in touch with at the first timers reception, dance and tweet up (all are fantastic opportunities for networking and fun).

-Bring plenty of your business cards to share, which is another way to stay connected with other school counselors.

-Pack comfy business casual clothing and shoes. It's usually chilly in the session rooms, so a sweater (or in my case cardigan, I love cardigans) or light jacket will help to keep you warm.

-There's usually food (lunch and snack) at the conference, but I always pack my own snacks just case.  

-Take some time to see the host city!  But of course especially since it's Disney (that's a no brainer).

-Make a shopping list of things that you'd be willing to purchase at the conference.  The vendors section can be overwhelming because there's so much to choose from and you'll just want it all (ok maybe that was just me).

-Download the conference app.  Having a conference app is awesome, you have the ability to take a look and get an idea of the sessions you'd like to attend.  Some fabulous school counselor blogger & Twitter friends will be presenting this year and I 'd like to mention their sessions for you to consider attending:

Monday 06/30 9-10:15am- Brand and Market Your School Counseling Program (Jeremy Goldman & Jeff Ream)

Monday 06/30 9-10:15am- Build Your Professional Community With Social Media (Lisa Savinon, Carli Segal, Carol Miller)

Monday 06/30 11:15-12:30pm- Help Girls Unlock Their Leadership Potential (Julia V. Taylor)

Monday 06/30 1:30-2:45pm- Going Gaga for Google (Russ Sabella)

Monday 06/30 3:45-5:00pm- Wi-Fi to Sci-Fi: Motivate anad Teach Students via Technology and Literature (Angela Poovey)  

Tuesday 07/01 11:15-12:30pm- Empower Girls Using Narrative Theory (Lee Grimes & Natalie Spencer)

Tuesday 07/01 11:15-12:30pm- Professional Development in 140 Characters or Fewer (Danielle Schultz & Erin Mason)

Tuesday 07/01 1:15-2:45pm- Create a Data-Driven Anti-Bullying Action Plan (Raychelle Lohmann)

Tuesday 07/01 1:30-4:30pm- Creating Magic Through Group Counseling (Matthew McClain, Rhonda Williams)

Wednesday 07/02 9-10:15am- Teach Students to Recognize and Report Sexual Abuse (Rebecca Lallier)

Oooooh, as I type these sessions I'm getting so excited!!!  Unfortunately I will not be attending the conference this year.  I have an amazing opportunity to participate in an educator study abroad program in Europe so I'll be following the conference through social media (use the hash tag #ASCA14). Please tweet, post and share your experiences so those of us that aren't there can "be there" via social media.  I look forward to seeing what others share from the conference this year.

What other tips would you give for 1st timers attending the conference?

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Gearing up for Testing Season

What's a four letter word that (sometimes) makes students and staff cringe?  T-E-S-T!  Especially when we're talking about end of the year state testing which drives up everyone's anxiety levels.  Each year I try to do a lesson/activity and staff treat to ease some testing worries on both ends.  This year is no different. Here's what we're doing at my school:

-For Students:
  • For my 3rd graders (1st timers taking a state test) we did our Testing Survival Kit lesson which is always a hit.
  • For our EOG school pep rally there were 3 different team events.  During these events students in grades 3-5 are chosen to participate in the event prior to the pep rally.  Students chosen are super excited when chosen, it's like they won the jackpot!  Here are the 3 events we did:
-Dizzy Bat Scramble:  Teams of 5 have to each jump 10 times with a jump rope, go over and under the "obstacles", spin with the bat 6 times and when all of the team has finished put together a puzzle.

Dizzy Bat relay

-Watermelon Relay:  Teams of 5 have to eat as much watermelon (without using their hands).

Watermelon fun, I loved how another student held another student's hair while she ate the watermelon!

-Water Toss: Teams of 4 each have water buckets, the first person dips their bucket in the water then "tosses" the water to the next person to "catch".  The last person on the team pours the water into a larger team bucket.  The team that fills their team bucket first is the winner.

A common theme that we reiterated about each of the games is that you have to take your time, concentrate and do your best...just like on the test!  To close out the pep rally the younger students in grades K-2 each do a cheer to pump up the students taking the test.  It's quite creative to see what they come up with.

 I even got mentioned by my principal via twitter, whoot whoot (I have on my comfy clothes because not only did we have a pep rally, but earlier that day was field day so wearing a skirt wasn't the best choice, yoga pants are pretty awesome too).

-For staff
  • As in previous years, there will be a daily testing treat with a fun saying on it.  Click here to see my previous post about this.
  • I saw this "it's Crunch Time" sign with Crunch candy bars on Pinterest.  I put this in the staff mail room.
  • To relieve some testing stress, I asked some parents at our school that teach yoga if they could come in a do a class for staff after school.  I really enjoy yoga and feel so relaxed after each class.  
Don't we look so relaxed after our yoga class?  It was so awesome!

The madness of testing can be tamed to some degree and I appreciate other school counselors sharing cool and fun ways to pump up staff and students for state testing.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Gift Ideas for Your Counselor Interns

 For those of us that supervised interns this year, when the internship comes to an end, we usually want to get them something to show our appreciation.  Here are some gift ideas:

-Plan a celebration, this year at my school there were 3 interns so I assigned each grade level a breakfast item to bring (muffins, doughnuts, juice, flowers, plates, cups/napkins, utensils, biscuits, flowers, etc) and we had a breakfast for our interns.

JYJ Interns, congrats ladies!

Intern breakfast

-School supplies!  You know that you have extra school supplies laying around your house and counselor office.  Pens, notebook paper, folders, crayons, you name it, I probably had 3 or 4 sets of them.

-Personalized note cards, I am a HUGE fan of bringing back a letter writing campaign.  Writing notes to students, parents and staff especially when someone does something nice for you is a must for me.  I ordered note cards from Vistaprint.  Also from Vistaprint I ordered a confidentiality poster and a welcome to the school counselor's office banner.

-Personalized binder covers, I found (free) printables on Pinterest (click on the link).

-A counselor bag, of course!  I ordered a SCOUT multi-pocket tote from Amazon (I had to stop myself from ordering one for myself). 

-Where's the counselor sign (taken from a previous post, printable in the post)

 Here's the finished gift:
Intern gifts: Bag, personalized note cards & binder cover, where's the counselor sign, confidentiality poster

 Each year I'm excited to work with a energetic and excited intern and at the end of the year I'm always sad to see them leave, but glad to know that I had an opportunity to learn and them learn from me.  Congrats Kelly and to all counselor interns graduating! Pin It