Monday, July 30, 2012

Counselor Goodies via Vistaprint

Vistaprint is an awesome tool to incorporate in our school counseling programs.  The Vistaprint list of "counselor goodies" goes on and on from postcards, posters, pens, t-shirts, signs, banners and more!  I like that you can create and design your own specialized counselor things but without any prior knowledge of graphic design, all the templates are provided (you can also upload your design if you'd like). There's also a Groupon for Vistaprint $20 for $80 of personalized counselor goodies (thanks to Laura F. for letting me know about this awesome deal). 

Vistaprint often has many order specials (this is the only time when I'll order) and many of the things that I've gotten have been my favorite (you pay only for shipping).  Here are some counselor goodies that I've gotten from VistaPrint.

Counselor's Rules Poster
What You Say in Here, Stays in Here Poster

Counselor Notebook

Yard Sign for our annual Character Ed Night

I heart JYJ t-shirt

JYJ Counselor polo shirt

JYJ Counselor Post-it Notes

Canvas bag with my initials
Business cards of course!

I also have few more Vistaprint things not shown in photos:  Pens, ink stamp, post cards and stationary
 Have you ordered or plan to order any counselor goodies from Vistaprint? Pin It

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Cool app: HeyTell

Hey school counselor friends, I have another great (free) app to share with you...HeyTell is an app (which can be used on your iPhone, iPad, Android & Windows phones) recommended to me by counselor and blog buddy Vanessa from Savvy School Counselor.  We work in the same district and talk and text pretty regularly.  She recently suggested that we start using HeyTell which allows us to communicate short voice messages to one another.  It's soooo awesome!!!!  Just think of instead of sending a text message you send a quick voice message to your buddy (like a walkie-talkie).  No more misspelled words in your texts (I know I'm NOT the only guilty one).  Here are a few screenshots of the the app:

Just hold the button on the screen & speak, simple!

Just tap on the time you want to replay/hear the message.

You can even email your messages (you can only email your actual voice recording, not the person whom you're talking with)

So the question is how can we use this app in our school counseling world?   I haven't quite figured out all the logistics with this for students yet (you need a login).  This is a great way to connect with friends, family & other school counselors.

Keep reading, I'll continue to share more counselor apps. Pin It

Monday, July 23, 2012

Teaching students it's okay to be yourself!

X-Factor Stage
A few weeks ago, I got to sit in the audience for auditions for the music talent show The X-Factor.  As I watched person after person stand and perform in front of the panel of judges: Simon Cowell, Brittney Spears, LA Reid, Demi Lovato AND the thousands of people sitting in the audience, I couldn't help but think "wow, it truly takes confidence, courage  and comfort in being yourself to do this".

Most of the people had a quality that made them unique.  For an example one contestant was a 43 year old male construction worker who wore a leather coat and basketball shorts (did I mention that it was over 100 degrees outside) anyways this young man sang the "Halleluiah Chorus" all by himself.  I'm sure you know how this turned out...NOT GOOD at all!   I can credit this young man for having the courage to continue to sing as the crowd booed and jeered.  He took full advantage of his time on the stage and showed lots of confidence in himself and his performance.  As the judges commented on his performance (which probably will make it on TV) he nodded and said that he just wanted to come out, be himself and have a good time (these are words, I can totally live by minus the performing part). 

X-Factor judges

I then began to think of how I could turn this experience into a teachable moment.  How can I continue to show students that there's nobody else like them and to use their unique and special talents like these (brave) people did?  Through bibliotherapy of course!
Here are some books that share the celebration of just being you that can be used with our students.

For younger readers:

It's Okay to Be Different 
It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr

 Product Details

What I Like About Me by Allia Zobel Nolan


Marvelous Me Inside & Out by Lisa Bullard


I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont

Today I Feel Jaime Lee Curtis

I Like Me by Nancy Carlson

For older readers:

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

Hidden Talents by David Lubar

A few of these books I plan to incorporate into my class visit lessons and with my counselor led book club (post coming soon).  There's absolutely nothing wrong with students being themselves.  Since being at a music competition sparked this post, I'll close with a quote from an 80's song (I LOVE 80's music by the way) performed by Steve Arrington.  The chorus says "nobody can be you but you" and that's what I plan to continue teaching my students! Pin It

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Finds at the Target $1 Spot!

After seeing  a post from Tabitha from Scrapbook of a School Counselor on "I messages" on whiteboard sentence strips, I headed over to Target to see what counselor finds that I could get for the upcoming school year.  So I didn't find the whiteboard sentence strips, but found something even better...Full, front and back mini whiteboards that have the sentence lines (like a sheet of notebook paper).


These are going to be great to use with students and small groups.  I bought 6 boards ($1 each = $6).   I also found dry erase markers (pack of 2 markers) in the $1 spot (3 packs = $3).

Dry erase markers

I also saw a neat idea on Pinterest to make erasers for dry erase markers by putting a pom pom on the end of the marker.  I used a hot glue gun to glue the pom pom on the cap of each pen and ta-da brilliance is born!

Bag of pom poms ($1)

Hot glue gun

Use the hot glue gun to glue pom pom onto the pen cap

Pens with pom poms

Finished product!

Total cost for the project:  $10!
Have you found some other great finds at the $1 Spot? Pin It

Monday, July 16, 2012

Starting a Counselor Blog

I know many of you are reading great counselor blogs and have the desire to start your own, but may have a little uncertainty about taking the plunge into the blog world.  My advice is to go ahead and do it!  Summer is great time to start since you may have a little less on your plate. Blogs can give us a little glimpse in your counselor world and give great ideas on what things that you do in your counseling program.

There's no "right" way to blog, it's you sharing your personal counselor experiences so it's certainly not meant to be a one size fit all deal.  I've been blogging for a little over a year and will say that my blog posts have improved with time.  Once I figured out what worked best for me, my blog truly started to show my fun, fancy-free, tech loving counselor lifestyle.  Here are a few tips I'd like to share as you ponder, plan or begin your own counselor blog:

-Read several blogs and get a feel of the writers and topics discussed.  I read all of my blogs on my iPad on one of my favorite apps ever Pulse Reader (free).  Another good blog reader is Google Reader (free) which you can read on your computer.  Each blogger has their own style and by reading others you get an idea of ways that you can "express yourself". Some great counselor blogs to follow are:

Corner on Character
Counseling by Heart
Elementary School Counseling
Savvy School Counselor
School Counselor Blog
Scrapbook of a School Counselor
and since your reading this, go ahead and add jyjoyner counselor to your blog list (shameless plug)

These are all jyjcounselor "approved" to have great ideas and are very helpful for school counselors.  I really enjoy reading these blogs. Another reason why I like these counselor blogs is that the writers post/update new info regularly. 

-Think of who your audience will be.  Will your blog be geared towards parents at your school, other counselors, interns, college students, etc?  Cater your blog writing to your audience.

-Decide which blog site you would like to use.  Several popular blog sites are: blogger, word press, edublogs.

-How often do you want to post on your blog? I try to post at least twice a week but once a week or even twice a month may work for you.  It's a good idea to post pretty regularly & consistenly so that other readers will continue to follow your blog. 

-Take pictures:  Show & tell time friends! Pictures give a visual of what you're talking about in your blog.  I use my digital camera, iPad and my iPhone to take pictures of things that I may want to share with you awesome counselor friends.  Who doesn't love looking at pictures?

-Don't worry, there's NO right or wrong way to do your blog.  You call the shots on what direction you want your blog to go in.

I'll also share that I've made great connections with my blog friends and communicate with them pretty often.  It's like an extended counselor family!  

So who's ready to on!  If you do decide to create a counselor blog, please share it with me, I'd love to see it. Pin It

Friday, July 13, 2012

Counselor Tech Shout out: You Are Your Words

A great tech tool that can be used in a small group is youareyourwords (you are your words) which allows written words to be uploaded and formatted around an image (that you choose).  I'm thinking that this would be a great take away activity for a group.

The website is very easy to use.  You upload a picture, type words, sentences or phrases (400 word minimum) and ta-da it's done!  If I were to do this in a group I would create an "all about me worksheet" and have the students write their words on the worksheet which I'd type into a word document (for the use of the spell check feature and because you can save the document).  I would  take the student's picture with my iPad while in group (simple and easy to do) to upload to the site.

I just played around with the website a bit.  Here's screen shots of how it turned out (click on the photos to see a larger version): 

Upload your pic

Here's me, this is where you'd type in your text.

I like this!  From my "test run" I see that if I had typed more text, the picture would be more defined, but since this is a test, this will do.  I certainly plan to use this for the upcoming school year in my small groups.  For counselors that have a small number of students per grade level this is something that you could do for a grade level activity.  I don't think this would work well for me as a grade level  activity because it would take me forever to type and take pictures of over 100 students, so I'll be sticking to small groups.

How could you use this tech tool in your counselor program? Pin It

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Counselor Blog Shout Out: The Corner on Character

This month's counselor blog shout out is:

The Corner on Character Blog is a fun and inspirational blog from TX school counselor Barbara.  I love how Barbara ties her posts into an event in her life, her family or even food! It's amazing the kinds of connections she makes!  I don't know of any other counselor that can tie in recipes into school counseling lessons.  Looking for books to use to teach character, chances are The Corner on Character Blog will have it and by the way she posts very regularly (I can barely keep up with 2 posts a wk) so you know she's awesome.  Go ahead and add the Corner on Character Blog to your blog list or Pulse reader (my fav iPad app).  You'll love it! Pin It

Monday, July 9, 2012

5 (free) counselor apps for your iPad/iPhone

I have a secret to share...I LOVE my iPad!  There's so much to do and use on an iPad (personally & professionally).  More and more of us are getting our hands on these nifty tablets and because of the huge response from my previous post  Top 10 apps for Counselors here are another five to download (all are free, my favorite price).

I've also included a couple of screen shots to give you an idea of how the app is used also.

-Evernote:  A great note taking app!  Many, many people use this app.  You can add pictures, websites to your notes and can easily share with others via email, Facebook or even Twitter.
I saved discussion questions to use with my 5th grade book club that I found online.  Just tap the source link...

and the website appears!  Excellent note taking app!

-Pic2Shop:  What an awesome a neat app to compare prices on our school counselor shopping list.  Simply scan the UPC of a book or item and the app will tell you comparable prices on the web.  I'm all about getting a good deal!
You can shop for the best bargain!

-Educreations:  Use your iPad like an interactive whiteboard by drawing, writing and adding pictures all while recording your voice.  This is going to be such a great app for small groups.  Lessons created are saved and can be shared via email! 

Here's a sample of a lesson that could be done. 

-Sticky Notes:  What counselor can't function without sticky notes?  Well counselor friends you can now have virtual sticky notes on your iPad!  Just tap anywhere on the screen (while the app is open) and create a new note.
iPad sticky notes

-Keeper:  How many different school logins and passwords to you have to keep up with?  Even better how many of you have to update a password every 60-90 days?  I can barely remember any of these passwords so Keeper is the app for us.  This app stores all your usernames and passwords (you do have to input them in, but it's very easy to do).  This site is very secure, you will need a password (that you can remember) to access your account.  This app has been a lifesaver. 
Home Screen, you do have to remember the password!

Screen to enter login/password info, then tap save.

What other free counselor apps would you recommend?  Be on the lookout for more posts on counselor apps.

Pin It