Monday, May 28, 2012

ASCA conference app

Are you going to the ASCA conference this year in Minneapolis, MN?  I'll be there and I'm very excited about attending for the very first time!  In my excitement, I have already downloaded my free ASCA conference app (click here to download from iTunes, click here to download on your Android device).

This app is soooo cool and so much easier to keep track of than a paper program.  It's easy to use and fully functional.  You can take notes, search presenters, rate sessions, find maps of the convention center and plan and review your own conference schedule plan.  Here's a screen shot of the app from my iPad to give you an idea (click on the picture to view larger).
Dashboard screen shot, look to the left to see all the cool features!

Please consider attending the Web 2.0 & Technology Smackdown session on Monday, June 25 from 10:45 am-12:00 pm where I will be presenting with fellow counselors Erin MasonRuss Sabella, Danielle Schultz & Julia Taylor.

Don't forget to attend the Web 2.0 Smackdown!

I look forward to meeting those of you that will be in Minnesota and will be sure to share  about my ASCA conference experience in an upcoming post.  See you there!
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Friday, May 25, 2012

New Feature: JYJ Blog & Tech Shout Out

There are so many great counselor blogs and great tech tips that have helped me in my school counselor journey.  I want to share the wealth, with you!  So each month I plan to give a counselor blog or great tech feature a "shout out". 

The school counselor blog shout out is:

Savvy School Counselor
 I am a huge fan of the Savvy School Counselor Blog.  This blog has great and very creative ideas on elementary lessons, activities, creative crafts & book suggestions to use in your school counseling program.  She also gives tips on understanding and planning for National Board Certification if that's a direction that you're interested in working towards.  Vanessa is a school counselor in my school district, who has fantastic ideas.  I think that she's so awesome and I think you will too!

The tech feature shout out is:

Secrets for iPad (Lite)
Now that many of us have or plan to have an iPad, Secrets for iPad app (free, my favorite price) will help you get started with the basics of using your iPad. It's very simple to read and understand and the pictures and graphics are crystal clear!  I consider myself fairly competent with using the iPad but this app gave me several great pointers. 

If you know of some other great counselor blogs or awesome tech features that would benefit counselors, please feel free to contact me so that I can continue to share. Pin It

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

iPads for school counselor wiki

I can tell that many of you wonderful school counselors have an huge interest in using your iPads in your school counseling programs (that's fantastic!)  I can tell this because of the number of emails, pins and views on my post on my Top 10 iPad Counselor Apps.  I have another counselor iPad resource to share:  I created a wiki called ipads4schcounselors just for us counselors on iPad basics, accessories and of course apps.  I update the site regularly and love when counselors contact me to share great apps to add to the list.  Since summer is just around the corner, I'll have more time to add even more resources and tips.  Please feel to contact me if you have questions about how to fuse the iPad into your school counseling program. Pin It

Monday, May 21, 2012

Help, I may need a pinterest intervention!

I'm was little late to the Pinterest game, (I actually had an account for several months before I used it) but I'm now a full fledged "pinaholic" (is that a word)?   If you're not familiar with Pinterest, it's an online "pin board" of websites, pictures, blogs, etc of things that you have an interest in.  Click here for a Pinterest overview.  I've gotten so many awesome school counseling tips and ideas that I'm super excited to try them out.  It's totally free (my favorite price), simple and easy to use.

Pinterest has given me confidence to try out not just new school counselor ideas but new recipes and home projects that I certainly couldn't have even imagined before.  It's definitely something that I recommend to school counselors.  I will warn you that it's very addicting and in the past I've found myself "pinning" away, missing my bedtime and losing track of time.  If you're on Pinterest, here are some great boards to follow about school counseling stuff:

-My boards: I have several school counseling boards (it's easier to navigate through that way).  Also if you're into cooking and home projects, I have boards for that too!

-Vanessa A.: actually is a great counselor friend and blogger of the Savvy School Counselor Blog.  We're always repinning each others pins. 

-School Counselor Blogger Danielle S.

-And here's a search of "school counselor" boards:  Warning, there are LOTS of great ideas, you'll be so excited! 

Happy pinning! Pin It

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Student Orientation Video

Each year some grade level's going to be the new kids on the block at your school (examples: Kindergarten, 6th grade, 9th grade).  A neat way that I welcomed new Kindergarten parents and students at my school was to create a video of "A day in the life of a Kindergartener".  The video was fairly simple to make.  I used my school issued Flip Camera to video record the daily activities of our Kindergarten students.  Before taping, I told each class of students that I needed their help in welcoming the new Kindergarten students for next year (great way to let them have ownership in the project).  I told them that because they were such awesome Kindergarteners now and headed to 1st grade for next year that they could share some of the things that they did this year with new kids coming to Kindergarten for next year.  They were all on board with the project although at times I had to remind them to "act normal" and "pretend that there's no camera". There's just something about having a (recording) video camera around that makes young children point, make faces, scream, yell and ask you numerous times "did you record me?" 

I filmed over 3 days during different times of the day and actually didn't get the "whole" day (I didn't get their all specials: music, PE, art, Spanish) but the video shows for the most part, how their day goes.  I used iMovie to create my video.  If you're not a Mac user, Microsoft has Movie Maker which is very similar.  For those a little confused about using either, here are links for tutorials for iMovie & Movie Maker.  I added music over the finished video to drown out some of the noise (example: me talking telling children to "pretend that I'm not here filming") and I chose the tune "ABC" by the Jackson 5 (I'm a huge Motown & Michael Jackson fan so this song was already in my iTunes library).

This video format can be used for any school setting (elem, middle & high) to welcome and show new students to the school what to expect.  Students are always willing to participate and provide input on what's like to be in their shoes.

Here's rundown of what I used:

-Flip Camera (school issued)

-Students & Teachers:  Easy to find and use!

-Movie editing software
      -iMovie (which I used)
      -Microsoft Movie Maker
      -The technology teacher at my school also suggested to me Adobe Premier Elements to create movies.
      -Here's a list of various movie editing software.  I haven't used any of these, but they're on CNET which is pretty reputable on tech. 

Here's the finished product:

What ways do you welcome new students to your school?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Great way to pump up the staff & students for testing

Test taking time is here! We started our End of Grade Tests (EOG's) today.   Something that the 3rd grade team at my school did to take a little edge off testing worries and such was to have a daily treat for our staff.  I'm thinking that a smaller scaled version of this could be done for students too.  Each day a little note with a goodie was put in our mailbox.  This may be something that your school's PTA could do or you could do with a test anxiety group.  The pictures are below: 

What a great way to get us pumped up for testing!  Did your school do something special to pump up the staff for state testing?

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Free Finds at Barnes & Noble

I'm not sure if you are aware that Barnes & Noble Bookstore offers a 20% off educator discount on your purchases.  This is a pretty sweet discount and even sweeter is that they have quarterly education appreciation days.  During these appreciation days, they have lots of freebies, snacks & you get 25% off your purchase (even a discount on the Nook).  I recently went to an appreciation day and found these goodies:

All free, I have 2 copies so I can share with the counselor intern.

-Pencils:  I almost always write in pencil (when I jot down notes, reminders, etc) and it doesn't hurt to have a few more.

-Brochure on using the power of children's literature to take a stand against bullying.  The guide also correlates to common core standards and connections that are used in classrooms. This is a great resource and I know that I will be referring to this often as I plan and teach my lessons on bullying. 

I've found the online version of this bullying brochure to share with you.  Click here to download your own copy.

Also at the appreciation day, I got several book posters that I am going to gift to a friend who will be starting her 1st year teaching next year. These will be great to add to her classroom reading corner.

At previous appreciation days, I've almost always found something that's a little jewel to me.  These "jewels" include: a pack of thank you notes, bookmarks, pencils, pens, folders and resource guides.  I encourage you to sign up for B&N educator emails to take advantage of freebies that may help you and your counseling program. 

On a side note, I visit ALL book stores that show a little love to educators.  I'm actually a fan of supporting local businesses and buy locally when possible (most have educator discount comparable to larger national book stores).
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Field trips

How many of us are asked to chaperone field trips?  Some people cringe at the thought of going on a field trip but here's the thing...I love going on field trips!  I do have my pick of the trips that I chaperone on, some trips I'm not as interested in going (I pass on those trips) while other trips, I'm just as excited as the students.  I have found that even on a field trip those trusty school counselings skills are always needed.  Here's an example:

I chaperoned a field trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA with my school's 4th and 5th grade show choir.  Myself and a parent chaperone had a group of 7 young ladies who were very giddy about the trip (well all the students were excited).  I had agreed to ride the rides with the girls while the parent stayed with the girls that didn't want to ride.  As a child I loved roller coasters and thought that I could just pick back up my "coaster skills" on this trip (I was wrong on this one).  As we waited in line for the coaster, the girls began to show signs of fear and anxiety about getting on the ride.  I was a little nervous myself but couldn't show them as they may worry even more.  I kept telling them that we were all doing this together and we would have fun and be okay.  So we got on the ride, took our deep breathes and were ready to ride....Whoa is all that we could say during and after the ride. It was much more intense than any of us had anticipated and after that our group of 7 "serious" riders was cut to 4 (including myself).  The other girls and I rode a few more rides but I chickened out after we walked to get in line for the Griffon ride.  When I saw that the ride was 210 feet high going 75 mph, I just couldn't "stomach" that kind of ride.  Our "serious" riders group was now cut to 2!  The rest of us watched the girls ride the ride and they were just fine telling us the we missed "the most awesome ride".  No thanks, I'll pass.

The ride I chickened out on.  By the way I'm standing on the ground and this is way high up!
Field trips allow counselors to get a break from the school building, make a connection with students and parents during a meaningful experience and most important they are fun!  If you have an opportunity to go on a field trip make the most of it.  I've found that many of the trips I've been on I went on as a child but enjoy more as an adult (example NC zoo trip, which was great) and I've been places that I hadn't been to (Wilmington, NC Battleship & Aquarium).  I will admit that on the bus ride back that I was worn out, but will do it again!  How many of your students can say that they rode a roller coaster with their school counselor?  How awesome is that!

Here's some pictures from my field trips:
This was the highlight of the zoo, seeing the baby chimp (3 months old).  Oh so cute!

Baby Chimp w/ mom

What a great way to get the point across
Zebras & Giraffes

Counselor intern & me

Turtles sunbathing on a log

On the NC Battleship

Beautiful, just a tease of summer?
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Update counselor clipboards for you & your students

I've had these clipboards in my office for quite some time.
Clipboards before

I use them with students from time to time,  if we're writing, drawing, completing an activity they quite helpful.  It's something about having a clipboard in your hands, maybe it's because they make you look "official" like you're doing important business.  They're handy for me when doing observations, jotting a few notes, etc.  However, some of these counselor clipboards had seen better days, they look rather boring and plain.  I did a simple fix by adding scrapbook paper onto each clipboard.

Scrapbook Paper, Michaels $7.49 w/ 40% off coupon
 I used mod podge to glue the paper and once the paper was on, I painted another top layer of glue on top (now I so see why people rave about this stuff, it's great).
Mod Podge glue,  AC Moore $4.49 w/ 50% off coupon.

After drying overnight they were good as new.  I covered 6 clipboards total and made sure that I had paper on the boards that would appeal to both girls & boys.  I even made one a little personal.  Years ago I was really into running and doing local races and I had saved all my bib numbers.  I cut the numbers up and glued them on the clip board (same as the scrapbook paper).  This was a simple way to enjoy my (distant) memories of running.  It's actually an idea I'm thinking would be a great activity for a group.  You could also do pictures or words of encouragement for your clipboards or even have a group make the clipboards as a take away (inexpensive project).    I have really been channeling my inner DIY craftiness lately and am really enjoying updating my "new & updated" counselor goodies. 

Race bibs
Finished product! 
Are there some clipboards in your office that could use a quick and easy update? 
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