Monday, September 01, 2014

Homework & Positive Behavior Signs

As school counselors and other educators, we are always looking for ways to motivate our kiddos. I made these signs as an option for teachers to use in conjunction with our SWPBIS program. The idea is to have the signs hanging on lockers, placed on desks/tabletops, or hanging from closet cubbies for when the recognized students arrive in the morning. What a surprise they will have!!

The Homework Signs could be used to recognize those kiddos who struggle with returning their homework - but did so on one particular day. Or, they could be used for those kiddos who faithfully return their homework. 

The Positive Behavior Signs could be used to thank those students for the fabulous job they did that day or as a pick-me-up for a student who showed an act of kindness. The possibilities of use are truly endless!

All of the signs can be printed out on cardstock and laminated. For use on lockers, put magnets on the back. For use on desks, either put a magnet at the top to hang off of the front of the desk OR just leave magnet free and put on top of the student's desk or table space in the morning. When laminated, they could also hang from closet cubbies! 

You can purchase these cute signs by clicking here or by clicking on graphic below. Print, cut-out, laminate, add magnets if need be and you're all ready to go! 

The downloadable document includes:

  1. Homework Signs (Homework Hero) with Superhero girl and Superhero boy
  2. Homework Signs (Homework HotShot) with Pencil
  3. 2 Different Positive Behavior Signs with Owl (2 different owls - one holding pencil/paper and one holding a book)
  4. 2 Different Positive Behavior Signs with Boys (faces only)
  5. 2 Different Positive Behavior Signs with Girls (faces only)

Click below to purchase the printables!


Fonts by: Kimberly Geswein
Graphics By: Jessica Weible Illustrations, Melonheadz Illustrations, and JC Sweet Pea Designs

Friday, August 29, 2014

Theme for 2014: Make your Mark!

The new school year is just beginning this week for some of us and for others, it's not too late to get into those classrooms to introduce yourself and inspire your students. Each year I try to find a book that is just the right length, but leaves an important message. This year's theme: Make YOUR Mark!

I found another fantastically simple, but powerful book in Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. The book talks about how Exclamation Mark looked different from everyone else and wanted to be more like "them." Until one day he met Question Mark who began to bother Exclamation Mark with all of his questions. Annoyed, Exclamation Mark found his powerful voice when he exclaimed, "Stop." He found himself, happy and amazed at what he was able say with gusto and went off proud as a button to "make his mark!"

This is a perfect theme for not only school counselors, but also classroom teachers and principals. This book would be great to use at a faculty meeting with staff. Teachers could read this book and do some related activities in their classrooms. I explain the printables that are available for purchase below...items for school counselors, teachers AND principals! Check them out!

Using the Book and Creating a Theme
1. I will be reading it to my elementary students during my beginning of the year introductory lessons.


2. I made a bulletin board in the hallway by my office that focuses on this concept. I made a giant Exclamation Mark out of fadeless construction paper and then laminated it. Tip - always use FADELESS construction paper. If you are going through all this trouble to make something really cool, you might as well make it to last! Then, I printed out the words/signs on cardstock. These words/signs are available for purchase by clicking on the picture at the end of the post. See the picture below.

3. I made a beginning of the year teacher gift. I utilized Staples $.97 Crayola marker sale and made these adorable exclamation marks. You could also buy Mini Smiley Cookies and tape the individual packages to the smiley face portion of the exclamation mark. Draw in a smiley face, cut two small slits in the paper and carefully slide the marker through the slits. Using a paper punch, punch a hole in the tag, insert a small piece of ribbon and tie it onto the marker. See the picture below.

4. Using those same markers from the sale ad, I made an Open House night parent gift that I will hand out at my table. I printed out the same exclamation marks above and attached the following tags.

These tags could be used by teachers and principals for Open House night! 

Short on Time??

The above printable items are FOR SALE!! Click the graphic below to purchase these items! While you'll have to do some printing, cutting, and assembling, having these printables at your finger tips will be a time saver! 

The downloadable file includes:

  1. Staff Tags #1 (in blue) and Staff Tags #2 (in red)
  2. School Counselor Tags #1 (in green): A School Counselor...
  3. School Counselor Tags #2 (in hot pink): As Your Child's School Counselor...
  4. School Counselor Tags #3 (in orange): Your School Counselor...
  5. Teacher Tags #1 (in jade): A Teacher...
  6. Teacher Tags #2 (in purple): As Your Child's Teacher...
  7. Principal Tags #1 (in yellow): A Principal...
  8. Principal Tags #2 (in navy): As Your Child's Principal...
  9. Large Exclamation Mark (size of 1 sheet)
  10. 3 Smaller Exclamation Marks (for the parent/staff gifts)
  11. Bulletin Board Wording: Go..., Make, YOUR, Mark, On This World, In This World, !

Click This Picture for the Printables!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Linda's Lessons #5: Summer

My guest writer is back with another Linda's Lessons blog post for Entirely Elementary...School Counseling! I find I always seem to ask her for another blog post when I need a little educational "pick-me-up." The end of summer vacation is upon us and for this installment, she has written about her summers as a teacher (and a mom). Enjoy!

As summer vacation comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my previous summers as a teacher. Summer was always a time for me to be a full time mom again. It was time for me to do fun things with my sons, but I also made sure that I did some things to recharge. I’ve thought about it and made a list of some of the things I tried to do for myself each summer in order that the following year would go smoothly. Compare them to your list, and I’m sure you could add to mine.

1. Being a full time mom in the summer to do special activities with my sons was absolutely precious to me. We often went to breakfast or lunch, to the beach, and to family picnics. Summer also included plenty of sleepovers with friends without the thought of school after a fun weekend. In fact, sleepovers could be any night of the week in the summer!

2. Attending a workshop to learn something new to attempt in my classroom the next year was important. I’ve participated in workshops relating to reading, writing, math, behavior programs, inclusive classrooms, and team building. These workshops were always more relaxed, and I was much less stressed and open to learning something new.

3. Organizing/cleaning at home to assure that the upcoming year go smoother was also part of my time. Purging/organizing closets and drawers, shampooing carpets, anything that I could do that would help make the school year go more smoothly was done because I knew I would not have the time to spend on these things when I was teaching.

4. Spending time with neighbors and personal friends was also important. I have many fond memories of impromptu and planned clambakes, Friday night backyard parties, and afternoons at the pool.

5. Strengthening relationships with colleagues on a social level was important, also. It was vital to keep connections with friends at work and relate socially. It often helped when relating professionally.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of teaching during the school year. It is important to make sure to relax in the summer and take time to recharge physically and mentally. It helps start the next school year with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.

Monday, July 28, 2014

ASCA 14 Highlights - Professional Learnings - Day 3

The third and final day of ASCA14 seemed to come so quickly and I hated to see it end. Throughout the school year, I search for pertinent professional development on my own in order to stay on top of my game (usually found on Twitter, through blogs, via Facebook, or from ASCA). My professional development opportunities are hit or miss during the course of the school year... usually unrelated to my work as a school counselor. The professional development and networking opportunities at ASCA's Annual Conference are second to none!

On Day 3 - I was taking notes like crazy...once again. Below you will find my notes and quotes!

Day 3: Professional Learnings

1. Teach Students to Recognize and Report Sexual Abuse (Rebecca Lallier - School Counseling by Heart)

Quotes and notes from her presentation:
  • We should not use the term "good touch - bad touch"
  • "Good touch-Bad touch" is not trauma informed AND it is REALLY outdated
  • Be careful about the programs you bring in to teach about these topics 
    • Research them 
    • Rebecca would rather present herself so she knows what is being taught and that the kids know she is the one they can come to (I have had the same feeling for years regarding bringing in outside programs - I want to know what is being said and taught to the kids)
  • "You should teach the kids about it - it might save them from happening by teaching about it - this is really serious and you need to teach it to them. You're like a translator for this."
  • Stats (these numbers are startling):
    • 62,936 sexually abused in 2012 - National
    • ages - 3-5 - 14%
    • ages 6-8 - 17.2%
    • 9-11 - 18.4%
  • Share the data of relationship of abuser to victim pie-chart data -- get from Children and Youth -- they do a report
  • **Abuser by age group - telling data -- many, many of the abusers are under age 20 (in school)
    • 12-15 years - 54%
    • 16-19 - 38%
    • >12 - 8%
    • 94% of abusers are male 

  • CDC - handout
  • need to learn how to identify appropriate, inappropriate and harmful behaviors from adults and other adults
  • Erin's Law - in the process of being adopted in many states - mandated prevention K--12 and training for staff
  • Use statistics, current events to show those who are in denial
  • Fear - frame it as a part of sexual abuse prevention/health education curriculum - if law -- put it on the law (get educated on Erin's Law)
  • Be persistent in addressing myths, denial, and fear relate to child sexual abuse prevention
  • Trauma-Informed Practice -
    • promote safety and facilitate support to avoid re-victimizing
    • be aware of how language can promote or reduce feelings of shame and self--blame
    • remind constantly that it is okay if they couldn't use refusal skills - remind them that the adult is responsible for his/her behaviors
    • a trusted adult will handle this issue and you can help a trusted adult by telling him/her
    • Assertiveness Training
  • Tell kids in advance - we are going to talk about ways to keep our bodies safe and we're going to talk about it in a way that feels safe
  • Talk privately with students you know who have been abused or had other trauma (consult with their parents/therapists first).
  • Provide clear behavioral expectations - you need to help yourself and help yourself stay focused - this is really important - I don't want you to miss what to do and I don't want your friends to miss what to do
  • We can feel uncomfortable without being silly
  • Need to be respectful - because you never know if this is something that happened with someone we know
  • If you know you have someone who won't contain themselves in the group (disclosing or prior history), pull them out of the group
  • If questions are off...bring them back to the topic quickly
  • Have the expectation that everyone will participate - because this is an important skill that everyone needs to know
  • Role-play the skills taught - reporting, as well as, hearing the supportive response from the adult; Someone touched my private parts 
  • Teach -
    • tell a trusted adult both in and out of school
    • your body belongs to you
    • private parts of your body are the parts of your body covered by your bathing suit and/or use correct anatomical names
    • write a letter to parents -- tell them in beginning of the year what you will be teaching throughout the year (newsletters) -- will reduce the number of kids pulled from the lessons
    • adults know it's wrong and they try to trick kids
    • no secrets about touching
    • trust your yucky feelings
    • sexual or physical abuse is not your fault
    • the best way to stop it is to tell a trusted adult
    • keep telling until the abuse stops
    • tell them it is the law that adults at school must get help - it's the law -- tell them that you (school counselor) know what to do to get help
    • always tell even if someone threatens you or tries to trick you
    • recognizing grooming (use words tricks/tricking, 3rd on - grooming)
    • abusers rely on tricking and grooming
    • takes responsibility away from kids if they realize they were tricked
    • at first they might seem nice - but they can change
    • fake trustworthiness 
  • Books: 
    •  Mia's Secret -- highly recommended; Do you have a secret?
    • **Get the book - No more secrets for Me - out of print get on Amazon
    • Book: Not in Room 204
  • Curriculum - trauma informed, researched base, staff information and parent information; need to add a piece to these about refusal skills
    • Care for Kids Curriculum - pre-K to 2
    • We Care Elementary - grades 3-6
    • Sexual Abuse-Free Environment for Teens - grades 7-8
    • Second Step Child Protection Unit (going to be very comprehensive for adult training and student prevention) - will be free pieces - PreK-3 in October; Grades 4 & 5 - April 2014
    • Video for 5th Grade - Break the Silence Against Child Abuse DVD ( - $99
  • Don't explicitly ask - have you been touched -- could damage an investigation
  • Handouts
  • School Counseling By Heart Blog - visit here for information and classroom core curriculum on this topic
2. Keynote Address (Rosalind Wiseman)

  • We all need moments of joy and laughter - especially when we don't always feel that way
    • Joy of listening to our kids talk
    • We need to bring that love with us when we are feeling "ugh"
  • We do not give boys the language to talk about body image and their lives and how they feel
    • Costumes w/6 packs - we are teaching them about body image issues very very early on
    • When we say boys are easy - when they have a complicated emotional response to something - there is something is wrong with them
    • Change the way we talk to boys to affirm their lives - to be relentless and thoughtful about the way we talk to boys so we aren't forcing them into ways we want them to be - causing them to be disengaged
  • 4th grade - 12th grade - 200+ boys helped with the writing of "Mastermind"
  • Happiness is.... meaning beyond oneself, hope of success, social connection, satisfying work = will be able to navigate through a difficult life if have these things
  • Boys are sick of hearing about bullying - 
    • because one is 100% guilty and 1 is 100% innocent - so they turn off what you are saying
    • we don't acknowledge the adult contribution to bullying - identifying the "who" is a skill
    • we don't acknowledge the fact that they see adults that abuse their power in a regular basis -- for example, when they see a teacher being nasty to a student in they hallway and another teacher that ignores it - they say to themselves - why do I have faith that they will help me; these interactions are really powerful
    • we have to recognize the messiness of the adult contribution in bullying
    • they are reporting for good reason
    • Saying I'm sorry - for boys - they will never tell you their feelings were hurt or you embarrassed them.
      • Go up to them 1-1 and apologize when you realize the words you said were hurtful and you made a mistake - for example, "the shortest kid should stand over there" to a boy that is really hurtful
      • Need to tell boys when I am wrong and apologized - the difference between engaged or disengaged
      • Stop saying "That's enough" -- because you are giving permission for abuse of power in the room - for example when a kid laughs at another kiddo - if say that, the kid will disengage. Apologize and be specific about when you said "that's enough" 
  • History of words -
    • it is our job to manage this - not the kids
    • watch the words we use
    • Boys will start with a generalized comment "they are bothering me" - ask for more information. Then decide:\
      • Good teasing - feel liked, don't feel put down, will stop if asked
      • Ignorant Teasing - don't know how you feel or "I was just joking." "Relax" "Don't be a baby" "Don't be a pussy" -- Means shut up
      • When boys say it doesn't matter - they don't have the right to determine that - the adults need to 
      • Malicious Teasing - teased for insecurities, uptight or threatened with ending the friendship, relentless and public 
      • Seal - RW version of Conflict Resolution
      • Affirm the right to dignity/worth and acknowledge your contribution to the problem - it is not always about a person's rights but about responsibility and accountability
  • Push back - what does loyalty mean (boys feel they need to be loyal) so define true loyalty and fake loyalty
  • We are not giving boys the lay of the land as we do for girls; we are not giving them the affirmation that their friendships/relationships are complex (but with girls we do)
  • We need to discuss what people do that truly annoys you - push back
  • Ask boys - when talking about conflict resolution - "what do you do when you are getting ready for a video game battle?"
    • Then apply what they come up with the battle into real life
    • Need to speak your truth about what is going on about what you don't like so that you can maintain a bit of control - otherwise you the other person will have control over you
    • When you go into a battle you don't expect to not have any "push-backs"
  • Child as a bystander -
    • Say - I'm sorry this is happening. Thank you for telling and I know this can be really hard to come forward. I really respect the fact that you came to me about this. Now let's think about what we can do about this.
    • Asking for help - is one of the hardest thing for a male to do -- need to teach the skill; 
  • For the most parts adults see the retaliation in an altercation
    • if you don't see the initiating situation and if adults only react to the reaction - we are reinforcing the difference of power and supporting it.
  • Kids with low social skills - are disproportionately targets and perpetrators
  • Our goal with the perpetrators - 
    • help them become aware of their behavior
    • self-reflective of behavior on others - they don't have the right to decide how another person will feel about what they did
    • honor the impact of what they've done
    • make amends - personal and maybe public
  • Child's Perpetrator's Goal - damage control - they try to figure out how to control you!! 
    • How to handle them:
    • This is one moment not a lifetime - can't label and box kids into a character
    • "X was reported. Is this accurate? Is any of it accurate?"
    • Everyone's experience is equally true - I'm going to defend your right to be treated with dignity in this school just as I'm going to defend ___ right to be treated with dignity"
    • Define expectations - especially with those socially intelligent boys
    • If the life of the target becomes  more difficult as a result of them coming forward we will be forced to take more serious action?
    • Reintegration plan
      • truce - many feels boys need to come together to have a truce
      • the person who is a truce maker must be viewed as an ethical truce maker, a trusted person -- viewed by ALL the boys around the table -if not reinforces the power of the perpetrator
      • Be mindfully reflective on our strengths and weaknesses - and work on increasing your ethical authority
  • Book:
    • Masterminds and Wingmen
    • The Guide - E version for boys - FREE - boy advice written by boys
  • Website - made by boys to go with The Guide 
  • We need to stop barraging our boys with questions because they will immediately shut-down; at school they have their emotional armor on and when they get into the car they need to decompress; moms need to know that it is not that they want to disengage with them - but they feel interrogated; later - ask what's up? when doing something they love - a general conversation; i want to check-in - is there anything you want to tell me. they see that will let you breathe but still want a conversation with them