Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get Connected for Back to School

We all know what this time of the year is...if you've forgotten check any TV ad because it's back to school time!  Andrea from JYJ Counselor Blog and Danielle from School Counselor Blog want to celebrate and kick off the new school year with you!

There are many ways that you can participate and connect with other school counselors to celebrate the new school year.

Here's how:

Share Your First Day of School Picture!
We want to see your smiling face as you head back to another year or your first year as a school counselor! We also want to see graduate students and counselor educators heading back to graduate school!  To share your first day of school picture with other school counselors use the hashtag #scday1 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine.

Share Your School Counseling Office!
We want to see your school counseling office! Whether you are still preparing and decorating your office for the school year or are all done and ready for students, we want to see your space! To share pictures or a tour of your office with other school counselors use the hashtag #scoffice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine.

Join Us for a LIVE Chat!
Join us on Wednesday, August 7th at 8PM EST for the first ever School Counseling On Air Back to School Chat.  We will discuss back school tips, best practices, and much more!  We have an amazing lineup of school counselor bloggers to represent each school counseling level! The following school counselors will be participating in the chat:

Elementary Level:
Middle School:
High School:

To view the School Counseling On Air Back to School Chat live from YouTube visit the School Counseling On Air YouTube page. The School Counseling On Air Back to School Chat will also be broadcast live on JYJ Counselor Blog and School Counselor Blog.

You can tweet questions on Twitter using the hashtag #SCOA. You can also ask questions on the School Counseling On Air YouTube page.

We look forward to kicking off the new school year with you!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to School Apps for School Counselors

Many, many more school counselors are adding the use of an iPad to their programs.  I think that this is absolutely fantastic! This will be my 3rd school year using one in my program and each year I find more and more ways to incorporate its use in my day to day counselor life.  So here are a few (free, my favorite price) apps to consider adding on your iPad:

-Dusty D. Dawg Has Feelings Too:  Completely interactive book that shows students that having and showing your feelings is ok.

-Digital Passport for Kids:  Great app to share knowledge of on-line/internet safety.  There are also games and great videos about proper internet use.

-ABC Notes:  Sticky notes and reminders for you iPad.  I don't know about you, but I use more than my fair share of sticky notes.  Here's a paperless alternative (I'm always looking for paperless ideas).  

-PikMe:  This app randomly chooses students, so that everyone gets a chance.  I will most likely use this in my small groups so that everyone gets a turn to talk/share. 

-Frame Artist:  This is a cool picture app that be used to create calendars, flyers, photo collages, etc.  I plan on using it in small groups (could be used individually also) and I plan on using this app to create a photo collage of all the various things that a school counselor does.  

Here's a quick collage that I created to show for this post.  

-Keeper:  (I've shared this before but it's worth sharing again) Store all your passwords in one place.  We all have full plates and remembering 15 different passwords just adds to the madness.  You now only need to remember ONE password to access Keeper.  This app has been a lifesaver for me!  

-Teacher Kit:  Another app worth sharing again, keep (paperless) attendance and notes for your small groups.  To see my full post on this app click here.

And for high school counselors...

-College FASFA Finder: College and financial aid reference

-SATMax SAT Prep: SAT prep app that even provides SAT info on colleges that you're interested in.

-Teen Hotlines:  Need resources, phone numbers or websites for issues and concerns that teens deal with?  It's all in one place thanks to this app.

If you're looking for more free educational apps, sign up to receive daily Fabulous and Free educational apps from Shannon Long by clicking here.   If you have more counselor apps to share, please comment below. Pin It

Monday, July 22, 2013

(free) School Counselor Time Trackers

Being a school counselor there is no such thing as a "perfect scheduled day" as we know that things in the life of a school counselor change from hour to hour, minute to minute.  I will admit that coming from a very structured teacher routine that I had some trouble adjusting to going with the flow when I started out as a counselor.  Maybe I've accepted it a little too much, because now going with flow, is now pretty much my way of life.

Anywhoo, while attending the ASCA conference I attended the Ready to Use Data Templates session. This was presented by Karl Liedtka, a high school counselor  from Leabanon, PA who was so kind to share a wiki full of counselor templates that can be used for various counselor things such as time/task analysis, pre/post test analysis and student trackers.  The time tracker is the one that I plan on using the most.  It's pretty user friendly (there are directions/user guide on how to use it) and the tracker makes the charts and graphs for you!  This will be awesome to use for my counselor evaluation and data collection piece and it's my very favorite!

Screenshot of time tracker

This will be so awesome to use this year and I can't wait to try it out!  

*Please note that I am not the creator of these time trackers, if you have specific questions about the files I would suggest that you contact the creator.  
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Counselor Tech Tools for Summer

Now that summer's here and you may have a tad bit more patience and time on your hands, exploring and learning some new tech tools will put you a step ahead.  Here are a 5 tech tools that are great for counselors that you can become familiar with during your break:

-YouTube:  Did you know that you can make a school counselor playlist on YouTube?  Meaning that all your school counselor related videos that you like and use regularly can be easily accessed.  Here's how:

You will need to have a gmail account to log in.

Once you find a video that you like click "add to" and add to your counselor playlist.  For this post, I just found a video from the NOH8 (no hate ) campaign, which by the way is a great clip to show to middle/high school levels.

Click "Add to"

As you can see I have multiple playlists.  The first time you add, you'll have to name your list, after then it will remember  that list name.

Choose your school counselor playlist
Everything saves to your school counselor playlist, here's how mine looks.  When I need to show a clip, I just go right to my playlist and click on the video I need to use.

-Smore:  I learned about this great online flyer/newsletter site from blog buddy Danielle from The School Counselor Blog. This is another free and very user friendly tool that allows you to create flyers and newsletters that can be shared through email, social media or even embedded into an email or website.  I'm so going to be using this for my monthly 5th grade newsletter (hey, I'm trying my best to keep up this paperless theme).  This may or may not be a good fit for you depending on the type of school that you work in.  The vast majority of the parents at my school have email and prefer email as a means of school communication, so this will be absolutely perfect for getting out my school counselor news!  Just in case you're wondering how I have parents emails, there are 2 ways I get them.  First, of course is through the teacher's email lists and also the PTA provides a contact list booklet for each class which I also use.

Screenshot of me setting up a newsletter using Smore.

-Tagboard:  Another tool to read all things through social media in one spot.  If you didn't already know, social media is a great way to network, get resources and ideas from other school counselors from all over the world.  At times going to various social media sites can be a little overwhelming but thanks to tagboard, you can easily read and see everything by hashtag (the # pound symbol).  Good school counselor tags are #scchat, #schoolcounselor, #schoolcounseling, #asca

Just type in the hash tag to search (I used #scchat)

All types of social media are searched (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc)

Well look who's picture showed up during the search!

-Google Drive:  This is a complete must have for any school counselor.  This is how I created my Online Minute Mtgs and Paperless Counselor Notes.  Please note that you will need to have a (free) gmail email account to access Google tools.  If you're aren't sure how to navigate through Google Drive, there are many tutorials available on YouTube (hey you can make a playlist on tutorials if you'd like).

-Dropbox:  It's time to ditch the "old school" USB drive, welcome to cloud based storage!  Store all of your documents, videos, pictures in one place.  I use Dropbox Every. Single. Day.  It's a must use for school counselors.  One of my favorite features about Dropbox is that you can share folders with others.  Have a group of counselors that you share resources with, make a Dropbox folder where everyone can easily find and access those shared files (don't worry only people "invited" to your shared folder have access to the files).

Hopefully you'll find these tools helpful as you enjoy the rest of your summer break and as you prepare when you return back to school.  

What other tech tools do you use as a school counselor that are life savers?

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Monday, July 8, 2013

2013 ASCA Conference Recap

I'm back from yet another fun, fantastic and encouraging ASCA conference!  This time in Philadelphia, PA.  I had a blast being able to gain new ideas and tips to bring to my school and of course the best part of all...connecting with so many amazing school counselors.  The tweet up and blogger meet and greet where both a success!  It was so awesome to meet school counselors I follow through social media in person.

Don't forget you can still download the conference app (for free) to get all the handouts from the presentations.  You can also search social media with the hashtag #asca13 for others tweets, instagram pictures, posts, etc about the conference.  The easiest way to share my experience is through photos, so here goes....

First, shout out to the city of Philadelphia for hosting us:

Now on to the conference events:

Conference Center
Opening Session Speaker:  Chef Jeff
Exhibit Hall 

Tweet Up:
Meeting Rebecca (@SchCslgByHeart).  When we met, we both literally screamed because of the excitement!
with Rebecca Burkhart (@RebBurkhart)
with my blog buddy Danielle Schultz (@sch_counselor)
with Carli (@carlicounsels) and friend
The Tech Smackdown Presentation was awesome and it was so good to see our smackdown team together again.  To get our handout click here.

Smackdown team together again:  Danielle Schultz, Andrea Burston, Russ Sabella, Julia Taylor & Erin Mason.
Breakfast with Iowa School Counselors (thanks to Susan @cmsfl for all your #asca13 tweets)
The School Counselor Blogger Meet & Greet was a success!  It was so wonderful to meet all the bloggers that I've been following and meet the awesome readers that read our blogs.  It was a pleasure to meet you not only at the meet and greet but all throughout the conference.  Thank you readers for taking the time to read what happens in my little school counselor world, I love being able to connect with you!

School Counselor Bloggers:  Front Row: Rebecca from School Counseling By Heart, me (Andrea) from JYJ Counselor, Danielle from The School Counselor Blog
Back Row:  Jeremy from Pikesville High Counseling Dept, Marissa from Elementary School, Darrell from The Counselor's Office , Jeff from The Counseling Geek, Sue from Entirely Elementary
During our meet and greet (hosted by myself & Danielle) as promised we had great giveaways.  So of course I had to add just a hint of tech in it.  Everyone that attended got a card with 2 QR codes on it.  One code linked to all the blogs of the bloggers in attendance and the other was to determine if you won a prize.  By the way the prizes were really nice, I even wore one myself during the conference.

Meet & Greet QR Codes

School Counselors check to see if they've won a prize.

Danielle, Sue & I talk with Candice from AZ and Christina from OH.

More meet & greet mingling

Jeff talks during the meet & greet
Prize Winners:  Just in case you want these items for yourself, you can order them here.
Keep Calm I'm a School Counselor mug
School Counselors Rock mug

iCounsel t-shirt (in black)

Keep Calm t-shirt

iCounsel t-shirt (in white)

Told you I love this iCounsel t-shirt (in gray)!  And if you notice behind me is the Philadelphia Museum of Art, these are the steps that Rocky ran up in the movie! 

The Get UR Blog on Presentation with Danielle Schultz went fantastic. We both suspect that we'll have even more school counselor created blogs, yay.  To see our handout click here.
With blog buddy Danielle at our Get UR Blog On Presentation

Closing session with Rachel Simmons

As you can see, the ASCA conference was quite an event.  I was soooo tired (but in a good way) after this trip.  Being at ASCA totally pumps you up about our wonderful school counseling profession.  As I left Philadelphia, I was reminded of how much we make a difference to our's my quick story.  As I sat in the Philadelphia airport, I notice a young lady that looks like a former student that I taught years ago.   I almost go over to speak but think to myself "nah, that can't be her, I'm in Philly and I think she's been traveling abroad, what are the chances that it's really her" so I don't speak.  Then on the plane I see her again on, so I just decided to call her name and it was actually my student and I actually winded up sitting beside her mother on the plane who remembered me from when I taught her.  And the story I arrive in Raleigh, I see one of my current students who seemed so excited to see me (you know students are always excited when they see you outside of school).  I was just as excited to see both of them.  As I headed home, I had a smile on my face, seeing my former & current student was the icing on my ASCA conference cake.  Hope to see you next year in Orlando!

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