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.