Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Colorful Name Sign!

On another birthday present search, I came across these colorful signs by Personal Pizazz by Lindsey. Yet again, I purchased one as a gift and I purchased one as a gift to myself! I couldn't pass it up! The sign now hangs in the hallway by my office door and I've already had a bunch of compliments!

Head on over to Personal Pizazz by Lindsey to see all of the different types of signs she creates!

Magnetic Boards Update!

On July 6th, I posted about a summer project of magnetic boards using metal baking sheets. Today, put up a few on my boring closet doors! Any papers I hang on them will now have a fun, colorful background!

Sassies With Attitude!

Look what arrived today! These cute girls were handcrafted by Janus Designs on Etsy. Janis was wonderful...we communicated about the colors I was interested in, the facial expressions, the eye and hair colors, the earrings, and the beaded legs! Originally I was in search of the perfect birthday gift for a school counselor friend....but, I ended up getting one for myself too! The saying on these two girls are perfect for school counselors and fits with my beginning of the year theme. So fun!

Head on over to Etsy and check out Janus Designs - there you will find a number of fun "Sassies With Attitude!"

Look what the Sassies were packaged in...pool noodle slices!! Little did Janis know that these are perfect for school counselors to re-use as de-stress tools!!

Be Yourself Update!

Today was the day when I climbed up and down the ladder, at school, to hang the "Be Yourself" words.I will be adding a few more words to the wall - because somehow I forgot our "Be the Best You Can Be" school motto. Oops! But overall, I think it looks really colorful and fun. I've already had a ton of compliments from staff.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Whoooooo's a Great Kid?

Following a Pinterest pin about Whooo's a Good-Looking Kid? - found at Lesson Plan SOS, I knew that I had to incorporate this into my school counseling office! Our school mascot is an owl and I just thought the idea was so clever!

So, I purchased a long closet mirror last school year on clearance. To attach to my school wall, I used multiple 3M strips (on the back) that would hold up to 12 pounds.

Next, I outlined the mirror with an owl bulletin board border. I found this border at Becker's Teacher Store.

I created a sign to hang above the mirror and printed out 2 owls found at Lesson Plan SOS to stick on the mirror corners.

Viola! A perfect place for kiddos to take a peek and remind themselves of what makes them great!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Office Update

Well, my office is coming along - slowly but surely. There is quite a sense of accomplishment when organizing stuff and disposing things I no longer need (or things that I inherited in the closets and don't want). There is still a bunch to do over the next week and a half - before the kiddos arrive - but I've been making some pretty good progress!

Counseling Supplies


Counseling Resource Books



Picture Books



Classroom Guidance Lesson Bins



Wall of Supplies






Beginning of the Year Theme - BE YOURSELF

I have been thinking all summer about my beginning of the year theme and how I would introduce myself to this year's student body. Historically, I have chosen a picture book to read to every classroom. I choose the book after an extensive search for something that has a profound message.

This year, I saw some quotes on Pinterest that peeked my interest. Then, I saw a graphic on www.mycollegesandcareers.com that looked really interesting to me.
The final theme decision:  "BE" Yourself!

First, I created small signs with a whole bunch of words to go along with BE - to describe qualities the students should strive for.  For example: BE - unique, smart, different, responsible, respectful, honest, trustworthy, etc. I used fun free fonts I downloaded (see my July 24th post - Fun Free Fonts). I printed many of the words on patterned cardstock that I found at the Dollar Store. I laminated all of them. See the pictures below.

Next, I created small signs with quotes that focused on the word BE. I downloaded free colorful frames and backgrounds from www.teacherspayteachers.com and printed out the signs on white cardstock. I laminated all of them. See below.

Third, I purchased the book: The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jennifer Wojtowicz and Steve Adams from Amazon. This will be the book I read to every student in the school during my introductory lessons.

Finally, I will be hanging up all the words and quotes in the hallway by my office. Check back for a picture of the finished product!
Now, for my beginning of the school year gift to you! If you click the pictures below, you can download a .pdf file with the words and the signs for you to print out at home. Happy Printing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hunter Workbook

After posting about the book Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control by Dr. Lori Copeland, I had some questions about the workbook I referred to. I use a workbook during the first few small group sessions to reinforce the topics/buttons, check for understanding, and for review. Sometimes I assign a page for homework (the book must be returned the next day for a reward) and sometimes we work on it during the small group session.

This workbook is nothing fancy...just a Word document with some clipart!

Click here to print out your own copy of the workbook!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Inspired By Others

Check out the updated Inspired By Others tab/page for some DIY calming doodads and sensory tools. All of what I posted today were inspired by the ideas of others and links to their blogs/websites are included on the page.

Consider making a few extras to give as back-to-school gifts to some of your school counseling colleagues! They will love the gesture!

All of the doodads and tools are really easy to make, as well as, economical!

Happy DIY'ing!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

School Counselors: Our Time and Services are Valuable!

When I first began my school counseling career, I quickly found myself at the mercy of everyone and their needs/schedule - from the administration, to the teachers/staff, to the parents, to the students, to community agencies, etc. A phone call came in or I heard a page over the school intercom and off I went to address the issue. While I certainly felt I was helping those in need , I didn't always feel that my time as a school counselor was being valued. We didn't have a comprehensive school counseling program at the time and I felt I was letting others decide for me what was important for a school counselor to be doing each day.

I began to feel even more conflicted, when I had to abruptly end a small group session, individual session, or a classroom guidance lesson to take a parent phone call, to meet with a parent who stopped into school, to meet with an agency professional who popped in, or to address someone else's definition of a crisis situation. I was not meeting the needs of all students in the school, I was letting students down, and my time wasn't being used as wisely as possible. I sometimes felt that I was giving others the impression that all I did was sit around all day waiting for the next phone call, meeting, page, or issue to pop-up. I felt I was giving the impression to others that the school counselor wasn't busy, so she's available to address any situation. I was sending the incorrect message that my time, and the work I was doing with students and staff, was not valuable.

So, with a few years of experience (way back then:), I began to feel more comfortable with how to schedule many of my services, how to triage the crises, and how to manage the phone calls/pop-ins from others. After searching for a system of scheduling/time management that would work for me -- from index cards, to logs on a clipboard, to monthly calendars, to small appointment books, to computer data sheets/logs -- about 12 years ago, I came across this appointment book. I found one summer during the special Teacher's Back to School Breakfast at Staples. I've been using one ever since!

This is the At-A-Glance Academic weekly version which runs from July 25 to September 1.

The inside of the book looks like this.

In the front of the book, there is a page with small yearly calendars. In the back, there is a page of important dates /holidays for the current year and 3 future years, a page indicating U.S.A. time zones and area codes, as well as, pages to list important names, addresses, and phone numbers.

I like this book because:
  1. It runs from July to July
  2. An entire week is shown when the book is opened
  3. I can write in my scheduled responsibilities at the scheduled time (classroom lessons, small groups, lunch sessions, individual sessions, meetings, etc.). See example to the right.
  4. I can write in the unscheduled responsibilities that pop-up during the day at the time they occurred 
  5. I can keep track of the amount of time that was devoted to each responsibility, activity, meeting, etc. by drawing a a little line or arrow (see example).
  6. If a scheduled responsibility was cancelled, then I keep it in the book and put a line through it
  7. I can go back and collect data later on
  8. There is enough space to write on each line
  9. I like that the day is divided into 15 minute increments
  10. The book easily fits in my school bag and is easy to carry to meetings
  11. Because of the size of the book, a paper sheet can easily fit between the pages without having to fold it
  12. Post-it Notes (which I should buy stock in) stick nicely on the pages

I wish the book:
  1. Came in fun colors or patterns other than black
  2. Had a pocket on the inside cover

Whatever the system, find one that works best for you. Your time and the services you provide are extremely valuable!!

Community Resource Binder

Here is a great way to keep track of all of your community resource/agency information (phone numbers, addresses, insurance information, hours, etc.). A resource binder! The contents of this binder are easy to update, easy to access, and perfect for a school counselor on the run!

A colorful, "easy-to-find on your desk" binder

Pocket folders to hold items such as copies of district parental waivers, compiled resource lists to give to parents/guardians, and other important resource sheets that may be needed during meetings, etc.

Numerous clear plastic business card pages/holders.

I purchased blank, printable business cards so that I could hand write or create "business cards" on my computer and print community resource information on each card (the information from one resource per card). Most of my cards are handwritten, however, those that I printed out on my computer contain information that rarely changes - such as county agency phone numbers and addresses. An example is seen below.

 A few years back, I found decorative blank business card sheets that I purchased (instead of the plain white ones you see above). I just thought they were way more fun to look at!

While the resources in my binder are not all inclusive I create a card for those places/professionals I have had to contact or have worked with. When I need the information, it is at my fingertips. When parents/guardians ask for community resource ideas, I am able to quickly access the information to give to them.

Information on the front of most cards include:
  • Name of agency, doctor, therapist, community agency, etc.
  • Phone number
  • Fax number
  • Address
  • Website information
Information on the back of the mental health cards include:
  • Insurances accepted by resource if known -- (this information has been the most useful to me)
Categories of cards:
  • local mental health agencies
  • local governmental agencies (welfare office, department of health, children and youth, etc.)
  • local doctors (developmental specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists)
  • local mental health providers (therapists, counselors)
  • other community resources (Salvation Army, food banks, Headstart, Red Cross, etc.)
  • community activities (boy/girl scouts, big brothers/big sisters, recreational department, YMCA, etc.)
  • any business cards I received from folks in the field

Using the information I have compiled on my cards, I created a sheet of resources to hand to parents/guardians when asked. On this handout, I state that the list is not all inclusive, but includes some resources in our area. If nothing else, this list provides a starting point for parents/guardians looking for outside services for their child(ren) or family.