Tuesday, September 30, 2014


By no means do I consider myself a "techie." What I do know is, even though technology can be temperamental, technology can make things easier - way easier. As the years go by in my career, ease of use is important to me and saving time is even more important. I once wrote about my record keeping techniques...my "black book." While I still have my "black book" I have the technology tool that will help you save time and easily help you report out. While I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the development and pilot of the program I talk about below, I do not financially benefit from this company or from those who sign-up to use the program. I just want you to be aware of a program out there that may make the data-collection side of your school counseling life a bit easier. 

Introducing SCUTA (School Counselor Use of Time Analysis) - an easy to use record keeping program for school counselors at all levels. Visit www.counselorapp.com to explore this NEW online tool accessible via computer. While you can also access it via tablet, at this current time, some of the features (such as dragging) do not work as they are designed. 

Not only is the program based on the ASCA National Model, it measures (in real time) a school counselor's use of time. SCUTA can be used for daily/weekly/monthly scheduling, frequency counts, basic student note-keeping, and searches. All information can be compiled in a useful report to share with those who need to know what you are doing daily.

Check out this brief video about SCUTA!!

SCUTA was developed out of necessity. My colleagues and I needed a computer program that could easily compile our use of time in each of the ASCA National Model delivery categories: Direct Student Services (School Counseling Core Curriculum, Responsive Services, and Individual Student Planning), Indirect Student Services (Referrals, Consultation and Collaboration), Program Management and School Support (Program Foundation, Management and Accountability and Fair-Share Responsibility), and Non-School Counseling Tasks. Furthermore, we wanted a program that could allow us to document the specific tasks were were doing daily in each of these categories. We wanted to know the answers to these questions:
  1. Does our use of time match the ASCA recommended allotment in each delivery category?
  2. What is the frequency and time spent on each of the school counseling identified tasks? How about in non-school counseling duties?
  3. Is our school counseling program comprehensive?
  4. Where do we need to make changes as individual school counselors and as a department in order to better service all students?
  5. How can we report what we do as school counselors to our stakeholders? 
  6. Can we use this gathered data to show how we are meeting student needs?
SCUTA now comes in two versions: SCUTA and SCUTAPro. Click here to see/read an introduction to SCUTA and SCUTAPro. The video above is a brief introduction to the basics of SCUTA. The video shows you what SCUTA does - use of time data in a calendar format, frequency/time counts, and printing reports for each delivery category. SCUTAPro gives you much more flexibility and bang for your buck. SCUTAPro contains all that is in the SCUTA version but much more. In the SCUTAPro version, you will not only have the ASCA Delivery categories, but you have school-counseling specific tasks within each category. This option lets you really hone in on what tasks you are doing with the greatest frequency and amount of time. Also, you can enter student ID numbers and enter basic notes (such as: conflict mediation or behavior planning) with each student. You can also enter basic notes for each of the tasks (such as: meeting regarding Career Day). You can then print the search reports. Click here to see the Features of SCUTA and SCUTAPro.

Here are my thoughts on SCUTAPro: I love how everything is color-coded (easy to read), point and click, and the use of time is in real-time. I love how I can use each week's calendar page as essentially my appoint book as I once used in my "Black Book." Using the Student Service Log feature, I can get a list of all services I provided a student. With the Activity Log, I can choose any date or any range of dates and get a log of all I did in that period of time. The Topic Delivery Log will list all I did after choosing a specific task. For example, if I choose, Responsive Services-Individual Counseling, up will come a log of all I did within that task. This is fabulous!!! I can find out the frequency and time spent in each of the school-counseling tasks (by day, month, week, year, etc.) within the Descriptive Statistics page. I can print!  I can print out my calendar and reports, then stick them in a binder. While I like technology and it's ease, I still like seeing things on paper (where I can highlight and put my own handwriting). Yes, I know, "old school", but for me, printing is important. Overall, I appreciate having the statistics at my fingertips, that I can get a log of my services and work within a particular category and/or task, that it is color-coded with point and click, and finally that I can print out reports. No more going through my "black book" at the end of the school year and counting (only frequency data) each and everything I did! 

So, you are probably wondering, how much does this cost? Being an urban school counselor, cost is always on my mind. SCUTA costs $75.00 per year, SCUTAPro costs $125.00 per year and SCUTASD (School District) costs $1500.00 per year (beginning rate for all school counselors in a district). Depending on your situation, you can find a version that meets your needs and is affordable for you and/or your school district. Keep reading for some big news!

I love a great sale and/or coupons that give me significant savings. So, as a reader of Entirely Elementary...School Counseling, you can get SCUTA or SCUTAPro at a discounted rate! Just enter the corresponding Coupon Code found below when you get to the payment page or checkout! Incredibly exciting!

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 (discoveryeducation.com) - $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         

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ASCA14 Highlights - Professional Learnings - Day 2

My Day 2 was packed with more "good stuff." Below you will find my notes from the sessions I attended and a link to the speaker's handouts. I was typing like crazy, so please check out the Handout Links I posted - just to make sure I got all the information correct! The highlight of Day 2 was being in the same room as First Lady Michelle Obama! After Stedman Graham's fantastic keynote and Mrs. Obama gave a spot-on speech about the trials and tribulations of school counselors and validated all we do. She got it!

Day 2: Professional Learnings

1. Tier Two RtI Behavior Interventions (Lisa Maloney)
  • Name to Know: Jeff Sprague - Pattan
  • Is it that the students "can't do it" or "won't do it"
  • Behavior and academic success are intimately connected
  • We assume kids "learn a lesson" when they get OSS (Out-of-School Suspension) and ISS (In-School Suspension)
    • This was not in this session, but something I teach to my graduate students - a consequences/rewards need to be meaningful to the student if it is going to be effective. If consequences/rewards are done purely out of convenience of the adult or because the adult "thinks" the student will enjoy a particular reward...the adults are missing the mark. Do a survey of reinforcers to find out what is meaningful -- otherwise, you may be wasting your time and the student's time!
  • We need to teach kids about behavior
  • On the Tiers:
    • Bottom level - is meant to get to everyone - school-wide, proactive
    • Middle level - 15% ish -- if more, need to think about what is happening at the Tier 1
  • Norms in a class can be problematic. Observe. Are kids walking all over the place and rules are not clear?
    • Observation is key. I feel that seeing the behavior for yourself within an ecological perspective is very, very beneficial.
  • CHAMPS Program - Randy Sprick - Safe and Civil Schools Tier 1 - Very Clear - Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, Success
  • RtII - PA
  • Universal Proactive Screening - ALL students - no longer rely on referrals!!!
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Data-based decision making - need to fade if doing well - ***very, very important to remember
  • Use evidence-based/scientifically validated interventions
    • Treatment Integrity
    • Multiple tiers of behavior support
    • Problem Solving
    • Check-In/Check-Out - check -in, daily progress report, check out
  • Perfect Quote/Sign: Keep Calm There's a Paradigm Shift Going On - From a deficit model to a risk model
  • SWPBIS - 
    • School-Wide Rules and Consequence - Use Stations - to teach the rules, model the rules, model and practice - refresher in January - ReTeach Form - if break a rule; Quiet Room - reteach the rules that are broken - 2 of 3 teachers at recess and 1 re--teaching
    • School-Wide Themes
    • Olweus Bullying Prevention
    • Peer mediation
    • RtI Behavior Tier I Team - principal, school counselor, intervention coordinator, school psychologist, classroom teachers, specialists, parents, nay-sayers and some in the middle
    • Reinforcement for pro-social behavior is 4:1 - 4 positive statements to 1 critical statement
    • DATA: SET used to evaluate yourself at Tier 1 - FREE
  • Internalizing Behaviors are Problematic behaviors
  • Universal Screening - office referrals shouldn't be the only data you use -- need to use the other data from the classroom SWPBIS; Office Referrals only catch the externalizers
    • Also, I think office referral data is too late. We need to use our color-chart data or daily classroom data to catch those students who are struggling to help PREVENT the office referrals
    • DATA: SSBD - Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders - FREE - Golden Standard
    • DATA: First Level of Screening in School - Teacher Ranking Form - Rank every kiddo - Take top 3-5 on each side; can't be the same kiddo (if same kiddo shows up on both lists on the top; end of September and April
    • WSI -- Walker Survey Instrument - Teacher Rating Scale only done on those top kiddos that are ranked
    • Kathleen Lane - if you screen you must intervene!!; A lot of work to go through the process and need to follow through with buy-in
    • IEP/ED kids are included if without a PBSP - but those kiddos are not in the top 3
  • Explanation to Parents -
    • School handbook
    • Website
  • Data-
    • attendance
    • nurse visits
    • office disciplinary referrals
    • others - classroom color chart
    • Data After Intervention -
    • Pre/post intervention
    • re-teach forms
    • self-assessment data Tier 2 Level - Team
  • Look at all kids that come up indicated - observations of all those kids, time on task and social observation - train the team to observe
  • meet once a month to review data - mentor
  • BEP - The Behavior Education Program - very evidence based - 
    • This CHART looks exactly like the rating scales I have made for student behavior charts - taken home daily - signed by parents and reviewed each morning by the counselor
    • My experience with these is to do a progression: 1. teachers rate students first and review with student after each class period 2. student rates self and then teacher rates students and reviewed after each class period  - the point is to teach students how to self-monitor their own behavior. Rewards are based on 5 goal but extra reward for teacher-student rating matches 3. student rates self
    • Goal- 80% is considered a success; then fade and move to self-monitor
    • Goal charts - when reflecting weekly
  • Strong Kids - Small group counseling curriculum - 12 lessons and scripted
    • Small groups need to be researched based - Strong Kids, Skill Streaming, Second Step
  • Handouts

2. General Session: Keynote Address - Stedman Graham and Special Guest: First Lady Michelle Obama

We all waited in a gigantic line, went through the metal detectors, walked into the ballroom and had to sit seat-by-seat (no seats could be left empty), had only our phones/cameras with no wi-fi, and then we waited!! Unfortunately, I couldn't take in my IPad into the speeches (we were told cameras and phones only). They both said such great stuff that I found myself wanting to take notes.. 

Stedman was inspirational...really made me think about where I'm headed, what I want to be known for, and how I'm helping to grow/develop the identity of the students I work with. He reminded me how monotonous the job as a school counselor can become - but we need to stay fresh, on our game, and of course, figure out how to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others.

Next up, the First Lady - Michelle Obama! Wow! It was so thrilling and exciting to be in the same room as her. I also found the secret-service at each door fascinating as well...dressed in black suites with red ties!! She began speaking and almost immediately I knew that she and her speech writers did their homework on the role of the school counselor. Everything she said was right on target. Never in my professional career did I feel so validated and appreciated for all I do for kids and for my school. I just kept thinking - "YES - that is what we deal with, go through, and experience." The truth of the matter is, I'm not so sure many folks truly understand our job as school counselors, what we do each day, and the how we are working our tails off, too, to help our students succeed. I hope our local leaders and administrators watch the video - she highlights the new initiatives for school counseling, but she also highlights the our role and the challenges we face everyday.  Heck, it didn't take long for the tears to flow (yes, I laughed and smiled too)! I'm such a sap...

3. The Connection Between Boys' Social Status, Gaming and Conflict (Ashley Burch and Rosalind Wiseman)

  • Happiness is: meaning beyond oneself, hope of success,, social connection, satisfying work
    • Also the criterion for successful game - a good game satisfies these 4 things
  • What is the purpose of learning about games? Point of entry to understand youth culture and opportunity to increase rapport and build relationships with students
  • Ashley Burch - well known in gaming community/world; voice actor, written for games, and social advocate
  • Ashley - This world is really important to your your students
  • Ashley - recognizes that the gaming industry is a flawed industry - women representation in games can be very violent, white straight men as protagonists, sexuality choices no existent
  • Rosalind - Screen time and violent contact are the main issues that folks think about. We need to learn how to talk about gaming in a credible way with students about something that is meaningful to them. 
  • Rosalind - Need to be careful about the assumptions we make about kids who are gaming for hours
  • What console? - XBox vs. Playstation - like Mac vs. PC; some games are specific to a particular console; games come out earlier on consoles; PC over console - can make it a better gaming PC and better graphics cards on PC; can always upgrade your PC
  • Computer games - Steam; can be Mod'd - "add ons to games" 
    • for example, to make the dragon fly. Creates a new environment for people and games and made by players
  • Game Genres
    • Mobile Games - designed for mobile devices and use touch controls
    • Micro-transactions - exchange of money in order to move to other parts of the game or to buy more to make characters do more, etc. Can be dangerous - amount of money being spent. Clash of Clans - allows someone create a clan in real life and a great way to talk about exclusion; pushes with kids to interact with the game, have to have access to money - teaches them that money buys them success (don't have to work very hard)
    • Action - emphasizes physical challenges, hand-eye coordination and reaction time
      • FPS - First Person Shooter - kills are not perceived as kills - but to gain points; 
        • Call of Duty - "COD" - Single player mode - one static player 5+ hours; 
        • Team Death Match - care about their ration - amount of kills they get as compared to how may deaths they get; no dying because they regenerate - COD and ratio will hear kids talking about this
        • Rosalind - if we say that they don't respect life vs. death - kids will shut you off.
        • COD is the standard; outdated kind-of at this point; they grew-up with this
    • Adventure Games - 
      • Zelda - third person game; more cartoony; Nintendo
      • RPG - Role-Playing Games
        • gives players a choice to direct their story; can make characters to look exactly how they want.
    • Sandbox - ex. Mindcraft; creativity of it - playing with Lego's and building
    • Action - combat - ex. Grand Theft Auto; very cinematic; realistic looking; language; sexist; horrifying product
      • Massively Multiplayer 
      • World WarCraft - it is about happiness, social connectednesss, guild will suffer if I don't join in at 1 a.m.; I have to be online for these people or I won't win
    • Sports
      • Madden, NBA2K14; FIFA14
    • Real-Time Strategy: multiplayer online battle Arena (MOBA)
      • League of Legends - extremely popular among kids and adults; tournaments (huge)
    • Other types on handouts
  • Invisible Cultural Influence - children have strong relationships with it; very personal representation of who they are when they talk about what game they like
  • Boy World - example - shoes tend to be an issue
  • Masculinity -- 
    • Halo - Master Hicks - scene to talk about masculinity with boys 
    • Girl World - Pretty Cure 3 Women have highly sexualized body parts, but highly skilled fighters
  • SEAL - 
    • Stop: Breathe, listen, and think when and where, now or later
    • Explain: What happened that you don't like and what you want
    • Affirm: Affirm the push-back and acknowledge anything I did to contribute to this problem
    • Lock: in the friendship, take a vacation or lock it out (as a last resort)
  • No matter what we as adults say or how we as adults talk about conflict resolution is "cheesy"
    • Say - I get this stuff is super cheesy - so, if we are getting ready to go into battle in our video game - what do you do?? I get my weapons, where's my dragon, my map - 
    • You are preparing and speaking your truth the most meaningful way possible
  • Handouts

4. Enhancing Your School Climate and Nurture a Sense of Belonging (Nicki Neumann, Beth Lindsey, Fran Hensley)
  • Intentional ways we work all year to enhance our school climates
  • Mission statement importance
  • School Improvement Team - be on it
  • Engaging Parents:
    • Transitions - to middle school - important to engage parents before they go to the "big bad middle school"
    • Activities/Information in the spring
    • Activities/Information in the fall
    • The more times you get the kids in the building the better - sports pass, visits, etc.
    • Printed material goes home
    • Meet your teacher day
    • Weekly Telegrams, school website, phone messaging, advisory council, PTO Newsletter, encourage committee involvement
    • Love and Logic Workshops 
  • Engaging Teachers:
    • Activities to bring staff together - games with staff; write something down on a card that others may not know about them and then staff needs to figure out "who did it"
    • Counseling commercial - film clip of what counselors do and don't do
    • Monthly SWPBIS Teacher Recognition - nominate a colleague monthly to recognize a colleague for the work for SWPBIS - PTA donated gift cards for the winners (car wash, Starbucks, etc.) - all nominees are announced and randomly one is picked; bulletin board with the comments everyone wrote
    • Bring ice cream truck to school as a treat for staff
    • Candy for staff members in mailboxes
    • Entry form for door prizes - Why I love my job? My best reasons for coming to school each morning
    • Whine and Cheese Party - breakfast during testing week
    • Random Acts of Kindness 
  • Engaging Students:
    • Expectation signs hanging all over the school
    • Green bracelets (paper ones like given at amusement park) - awarded for positive reinforcement - special recognition - teacher writes student name written on the bracelet, given free seating at lunch, help teachers with errands, get to leave class at the end of the day 5 minutes early, bracelets go into a box at and of the day and random drawing at end of week
    • AAA cards - Academics, Attendance, Attitude
    • Peer helpers to support Special Olympics
    • Storm Chaser Pledge and no name calling week
    • Service Learning Club
    • Pay It Forward Club and Projects
    • Student videos -- tips for how to resolve conflicts for example - rumors, peer pressure 
  • Data:
    • Pre and Post School Climate Survey - students; interventions for the 3% who didn't feel safe at their school
    • Google Docs - pie charts/data links in Power Point 
  • Handouts

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review & Discussion: What's Under Your Cape?

I was so thrilled when I learned that Barbara Gruener from The Corner on Character wrote her first book! Her blog posts are always so inspirational, heartfelt and positive that I looked forward to reading her book this summer.

Yesterday, on my deck with an iced tea, I read the whole book in a few short hours. It was an easy read and met all the expectations I had for it. I'm glad I had my pen out there with me because I was underlining and writing in the margins. Stars went by the ideas that I thought would be really fun to try and of course, my creative juices started flowing. It was, truly, a feel good book...one that was perfect for a summer afternoon.

What did I love about What's Under Your Cape?
  1. I had an immediate connection...Barbara talked about 4-H in the first few pages and I was a 4-H member too! I repeated that pledge in my head before I even turned the page - "I pledge my head to greater thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world!" After all these years, I remembered it. While Barbara's 4-H experiences match with growing up on a farm, our 4-H experiences were cooking, sewing, crocheting, and raising many Seeing Eye Puppies. We entered the things we made in the local 4-H Roundup and in our local fair. Raising the Seeing Eye Puppies brought us the greatest joy -- we had a sense of purpose...to raise happy, loyal, and obedient puppies who will the be companions of someone who will rely on them someday. It was a tough job....but a worthy job. And, who doesn't love puppies!!!
  2. The Chapter Titles - each first letter put together to spell out "Superheroes." At first, I thought she was going to say that the "superheroes" were school counselors (ha ha - is it so wrong that I think of myself in this way sometimes - I sometimes feel like I need to be a superhero to accomplish all I need to). But, I quickly found out that "superheroes" are our students. But then I got to thinking, these young "superheroes" grow up. Today's "young superheroes" are around us everywhere and the "young superheroes" from back-in-the-day have become our friends and family around us, our colleagues, teachers and school counselors. In an instant, we can see if an adult (somewhere and at sometime) fostered the strengths and superpowers of today's "young superheroes" and the now "seasoned superheroes."
  3. I loved the examples of how each character word was used at Barbara's school. These examples were just enough to show me (the reader) how these skills were taught and in return got my creative mind going! Some ideas were simple, yet powerful and some required more work. I tend to go big...but I was reminded that "bigger isn't always better!" Simple and powerful -- hmmmm -- like that for a go-to phrase for this school year!
  4. As I continued to read the book, I kept thinking how Barbara's family members, friends, and colleagues who were mentioned in the book must be feeling. Barbara's genuineness made this book come across as one giant "thank-you note" to those folks who have been the superheroes for others. Reading all the personal stories made this book really come to life.
  5. I was so thankful for all of the children's literature recommendations to use for each character word! I love children's literature and use it very, very often. Kids love being read to and my students know that I will be bringing them great books with meaningful messages to my core core curriculum lessons. While I have many of the books found in WUYU?, I had to add a whole bunch of Barbara's recommendations to my "wish list." 
  6. The list of characters (one for each chapter) is comprehensive and describe those "soft-skills" that we want our students to learn in order to be college and career ready. Then I think of what our school environments would look like if each and everyone of these were fostered in our kiddos. This book was a gentle reminder of how to weave in these concepts throughout the school day.
  7. Finally, within the midst of all the frameworks and programs we do at school (SWPBIS, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, PATHS, school counseling core curriculum, etc.) there are many more ways to weave in character education. When I think about it, my students actually showed this to me first hand this past school year. Two of our SWPBIS incentives involved "SERVICE." Students worked hard for a whole month to earn the incentive of making a bracelet and writing a heartfelt note for a Meals on Wheels recipient. Also, they made a bracelet to give to a classmate. In another month, my students worked hard to be ready to learn, a role model and a super student in order to earn the incentive of beautifying our school grounds. Kids weeded, spread mulch, made bird houses, painted birdbaths, made bird feeders, made stepping stones, planted grass, and picked up trash. They LOVED both of these events and they were willing to make good behavioral choices in order to earn the privilege. They were telling me, through their response, that they are ready for MORE of this sort of thing. ALL students (whether earned or not) need to have these simple and powerful superhero experiences!!

I highly recommend this book to school counselors and other educators. It's a book that will make you smile, but also make you do all sorts of brainstorming in your head. 

Thank you, Barbara....can't wait for Book #2!!


Friday, July 11, 2014

ASCA14 Highlights - Fun Find - New Books & Games

Another reason to love ASCA14's Exhibit Hall - the opportunity to page through children's literature to make sure I'm buying just what I want. Too often, over the years, I've purchased books that I thought would be a good fit for the topic I wanted to present to my students...but ended up being disappointed. 

Here are some new books and card games I found during ASCA14. I haven't even begun to think of what my lessons using these books will look like, but I do look forward to using them this coming school year with my students! I'll keep you posted on how I use them!