Monday, September 30, 2013

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

If you didn't already know but we're in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) and by the way if you wondering what events happen each month of the year click here for the National Educational and Health Awareness dates for 2013-2014.  My school is a magnet Spanish immersion school so the students are very knowledgeable about Spanish language and culture.  Here are a few things I did to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

-Made a bulletin board of famous Hispanics (the banner is from Vistaprint) for display on the main hall (right outside my office).  I typed the names in Word and printed a picture of each person (using Google images) also one of the Spanish teachers let me borrow her poster set of famous Hispanics which are also mixed in with the pictures that I printed (these can be found at any teacher supply store).

Bulletin Board

-Made Daily Hispanic Heritage Month Facts to be shown on our school's TV news show.  The facts are also shown during the day in the daily announcements.  I used PowerPoint to create this.

Fact shown on our school news.

-Made a book display showcasing books written by Hispanic authors or had a character that was Hispanic (the librarian helped me with this, she's awesome).

Each of these things was super easy to do and made a positive impact on our month long celebration.
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Add A Voice Recording to Your Counselor PowerPoint

Did you know that you can record your voice directly into your PowerPoint presentations?  It's so cool!  I've used this easy feature several times for staff presentations, parent info, reminders, etc. 

Here's how to add your voice recording to your presentations:

-1st, you'll need a microphone (most computers/laptops have one already built in).  I actually have a microphone headset that I've had for years to record, but do what works best and easiest for you.

-In PowerPoint, go to "Insert", then choose "Sound" (the speaker icon).

 -When you click on "Sound", then choose "Record Sound".

 -Use your microphone to record what you want to say.  Use the record, stop and play buttons just like on your iPod to navigate.  When you're finished recording click "Stop" (the square), then "OK" (it saves your voice recording automatically).

-After you click "Ok", a small speaker icon will appear.  After you've recorded your voice recording, be sure to click "Save" to save your work.  Your viewers will need to click on the speaker icon to hear the voice recording and that's it!

Like I said earlier I've used this feature several times.  For the pictures for this post, I recorded my voice for our annual signs of suicide awareness for our staff.  By doing this, we can post the PowerPoint on our school's online staff folder (with all other trainings and documents) where staff can have a refresher of the training as needed at their own pace and time.  I've also used this voice recording feature for parent info and directions.  It takes almost no time to create!

Do you use voice recordings in your Counselor PowerPoint Presentations? 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Quick & Easy Staff & Student Pick Me Ups!

Now that school's in full swing, from time to time we all need a pick me up (especially with all the negativity going on with public education, but I'll save my rant for another post)! Going with the "random acts of kindness" theme.  I thought of some quick ways to show the staff & students at my school that we're all appreciated.  On a side note, I'm am very fortunate to work at a school where the PTA celebrates teacher appreciation once a month for staff as a pick me up.  Each month has a theme where there are treats just to let the staff know that we are appreciated (little things make such a BIG difference).  I just wanted to follow suit by doing a little something myself.  So here's what I did:

I found this printable on from the Flair to Remember Blog, I copied and printed the printable on colored paper, cut the positive thoughts on the bottom as strips and posted in each of the staff restrooms and also created those awesome "keep calm" posters you see all over Pinterest and such.    I used the website to create the (free) posters.  2 days after putting up the positive thoughts ALL of them were taken (I'll be putting up some more)!

Click here to download the printable
Keep Calm Posters (in our school colors)

In the student restrooms I posted positive quotes that I got from the Entirely Elementary Blog (thanks Sue for sharing) right above the mirrors above the sink (you can't miss them).

Positive quotes over the restroom mirrors

I tried to do this "secretly" so no one would know it was me, but a several staff members thanked me. Sometimes we (students and staff) all just need a little pick me up!

What other things have you tried as staff/student pick me ups?

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Share Your "Youth" With Your Students

Most of us have our name on our door in our counselor offices (thanks for sharing your #scoffice pics by the way, it was so cool to see all the creative counselor spaces).  At my school in the past couple of years, we've had an acrostic poem with each staff members name and picture printed by our PTA (we write our own poem).
Acrostic poem printed from by my school's PTA (if you notice, I had to cover up the "G" word and put in "school")
This year we did something a little different, based on a back to school display, that the grocery store Trader Joe's had up (TJ's is one of my FAVORITES).  The front windows of the store had school pictures of all their employees as children.  I actually could match quite a few them up (yes, I go in there that often).
Display at TJ's
So we did something a little similar at my school.   Each staff member created a sign outside their door with a picture of them as a child and their favorite childhood book.  We had creative freedom of how we wanted to decorate/design our "signs".  It has been an absolute hit!  Everyone has been complimenting each other on "how cute you look as a child" or "I loved that book too as a child".

Here's my sign (sorry for the glare).  I used scrapbook & construction paper for my sign. Notice there's no "G" word!
This also shows a little different (fun & real) side of us to parents and especially our students (somehow they don't realize that at one point we were children too).  I also like that this can be adapted for any school level (elementary, middle or high) and other choices other than a favorite book could include: favorite quote, favorite thing about being at your school or cool fact about them. 

Do you have common name signs for staff at your school?

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Daily Reminders Magnet Board

No matter how many calendars or to do lists I keep, I do from time to time forget things (it's seems a little more often these days, but I digress).  A former counselor intern gave me this cute and cool magnetic message board.  At first I thought great I can put little notes, reminders and such on it.  That plan lasted about let's see....2 days!  I had a small board and a large amount of reminders & notes.  I got this great idea to make this reminder board for each day of the week.  I used something similar when I was teacher a few years back.  So this is what I did:

Magnetic Board
I typed a quick reminders template using Word for Mac (it took probably 10 minutes to type this).  I just typed the usual things that I have daily such as: classroom visits, students lunches, meetings, people I may need to call & other notes.  I typed the title "Monday's Reminders"once and changed the day of the week after printing.  I printed each day of the week on different color cardstock paper and laminated it.
Daily Reminder

The whole week of reminders

After trimming the laminating film from each day of the week I then glued some magnets I got in a race packet from our 5K several months ago (I also got extra magnets to use for future projects, hey they were free) on the back of each day of the week reminder sheet. By the way 2 magnets (shown below) came with the board, but having magnets on each day works great for me.
Free magnets, my favorite price!

Magnets that came w/ the board
Using glue gun to put on magnet

I write what I'm supposed to do each day with a dry erase marker (it's better to get a smaller tip dry erase pen, the ones used for a large whiteboard are hard for me to write with).  I can then wipe clean & reuse the same daily sheet...forever!  I use my Google calendar (agenda view) and transfer it to my daily reminders sheets.  I usually write my reminders for the following week on Friday's and it has worked great for me! 

Dry Erase Markers $4.99 for pack of 4
The finished product is below.
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