Friday, September 23, 2016

My Turn to Talk Cards

Last week I came home from school exhausted! My school went from a year round schedule to a traditional schedule.  This has had a HUGE impact on the behavior of my students.  Being on a year round schedule, students were never off track too long to forget about classroom procedures. After having the whole summer off, it has been a difficult transition back! I have never had so many classes with issues of blurting out and not listening. In one 2nd grade classroom, I noticed I had two extreme examples. I had a handful of students blurting out whatever came to mind and a handful of students that didn't say a word. I wanted that to change! So, I created these My Turn to Talk Cards to help teach the skill of self-control.  In addition, the cards serve as a visual reminder to me of which students need to be called on and invited to participate more in my lesson.  After using these cards, I noticed a HUGE difference in the reduction of blurt outs. When having to turn over a card, my students wanted to make their comment count so they really thought about what they wanted to say before speaking.

Here's how it works-

I give each student 2 cards for my 30 minute counselor lesson.  When a student answers a question or makes a comment, they turn their card over (or they hand it to me) indicating they've had a turn to talk.  If a student blurts out, I have them give me one of their cards. This helps them stop and think the NEXT time they are tempted to blurt out.

Before each lesson, I always comment about how as a class, we are practicing taking turns TALKING and taking turns LISTENING. When students have all their cards turned over, their turn to talk is over and it is now their turn to be good listeners. I don't use these cards in every classroom. I use these cards mainly in the classes that need reinforcement in this area.

This product can be found for $1.00 in my TpT store.  These cards come in color, ink friendly color, and black and white versions. Click HERE to see more details.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Helping Students Transition to a New School

I'm so EXCITED to be joining Heather Thomas The Helpful Counselor in her Blog Hop on Fun Ways to Welcome New Students to Your School! Transitioning to a new school can be overwhelming to students. Helping students feel comfortable in a new environment can help reduce anxiety and worry.  I work at a school where a lot of new construction is being built. Newly developed neighborhoods bring a lot of brand new students! Last year, it seemed we were getting new students EVERY week.

Meeting and reaching out to new students can make a HUGE impact. It shows them you care and that you are interested in their well-being.  To help students become more comfortable at my school, I created a New Student Brochure.

 I included a boy and girl version

I do my best to meet with every new student within the first few of days of their enrollment. I like to introduce them to a couple of students in their class and have them take the new student around to complete The New Student Bingo.  This gives the new student an opportunity to spend some time with their classmates and learn the layout of the school. Once all 9 squares have an X, they come back to my office for a small treat.

Parents are almost as anxious about a new school as their child. I have received a lot of positive feedback from parents emailing me and expressing their appreciation in helping their child feel accepted and welcome at their new school.

***If you would like a FREE copy of this New Student Brochure click HERE to download.***

I can't wait to read other school counselor blogs in the Blog Hop to see what great ideas they have that I can incorporate in my school counseling program! Click HERE to see other fun ideas!

 Fun Ways to Welcome New Students

Happy New School Year!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Counselor eBook

I am always on the hunt for professional and engaging counseling resources. Rebecca Atkins from Counselor Up has made it easy to find hundreds of counseling resources in one spot! 22 Counselors from all over the world have joined together to create a Counselors of TPT eBook.  The best news is each page has a FREEBIE to share! That is 22 counseling resources to add to your bag of tricks.
Click Here to Download eBook

The eBook has 22 pages to introduce each counselor.
 Here is my page:

Click Here to go to my TPT Store

A HUGE Back to School sale starts tomorrow on TpT. The sale is 28% off EVERYTHING!  So, if you are in need of fun, engaging lessons...go as fast as you can to check out these amazing counselor's TpT stores.
Click on Links:
Counselor Up
Mental Fills
Speckled Moose Counseling
Social Emotional Workshop
Counselor Keri
Savvy School Counselor
The Counseling Teacher Brandy Thompson
Carol Miller- The Middle School Counselor
The Helpful Counselor
School Counseling Files
School Counseling is Magical
Counselor Corner
Yanique Chambers
EduKate and Inspire
Life on the Fly Counselor
Robin Zorn-The Georgia School Counselor
Counselor Traci R Brown
Cheerful Counseling
Mrs Bell the Crafty Counselor
Little Miss Counselor
Cheerful Counseling
Bilingual Learner
Whimsy in School Counseling
The DIY Counselor

The first day of August is when I start to get into panic mode about the upcoming school year. I'm so happy to have so many resources to choose from to help make my year less stressful and more productive!

I hope you all enjoy the last few days left of summer!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Invest in Relationships With Others

Having been a School Counselor for 10 years, I've had the opportunity of working at several different schools.  I have found the secret to a positive work environment is taking the time to invest in relationships with others. We spend a lot of time at work! So, building positive relationships helps make the workplace a fun place to be. Throughout the school year, I try to do little things to show support and care to those I work with.  My school recently went through a boundary change, so there will be a lot of new staff changes this upcoming year.

A few years ago, I created a questionnaire as a way to get to know people better in a short amount of time.  It was soooo helpful! It gave me the chance to see things I had in common with others and it gave me topics to discuss around the water cooler or at lunch. With all the changes at my school, I'm planning on doing this again.

I found mini TAKE 5 candy bars at Target. They were 3 bags for $10.00. Each bag had 14 candy bars in it....which makes each candy bar less than 25 cents each! When I go to each classroom for my counselor lesson, I plan to ask the Teacher to TAKE 5 minutes to fill out this questionnaire and give them a candy bar for a small treat.
If you would like to do this at your school, I have made this a FREE DOWNLOAD. I made individual tags for mini candy bars. In addition, I also included a large sign if you wish to have a bowl of candy bars to leave in the faculty room.
Click here to download. 

Some of my best friends are my coworkers. Putting the effort in developing positive relationships can make the biggest difference. School Counselors deal with heavy subjects. Having a positive relationship with others sure makes it easier to be approached when difficult things come up.

What things do you do at your school to help foster positive relationships with others? Comment below, I would love to hear!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Kindness Challenge

Working at a year round school has its challenges.  One issue that happens frequently is kids getting on each other's nerves by the end of the school year.  My list of friendship problems seems to TRIPLE the last month of school. So, in an attempt to avoid this problem last year, I came up with The Kindness Challenge Brochure. I wanted my students to be aware of this issue and make a concentrated effort to promote kindness at school.  It ended up being a big hit! I did this with my 3rd-6th grade students.   
The Challenge...
Each student received their own black and white copy of the Kindness Brochure to color and personalize. The challenge was for students to complete all 16 squares of Be A Friend Bingo. Once each activity was completed, students could mark that square with an X.  Before returning it to me, each student was expected to summarize the brochure with their parent(s)/guardian and get a signature. I really wanted this activity to generate some good conversation about positive things that were happening at school. Once signed, students could turn in their brochure to me and receive a small prize. 

What I LOVED most about this activity was watching and hearing stories of kind acts.  I received several reports from teachers of positive acts of friendship taking place in their classrooms and out at recess.  I passed out approximately 455 brochures.  I received 327 back.  When I stopped to think about it.....327(students) x 16(squares) = 5,232 ACTS OF KINDNESS. That totally blew me away!! As I was wrapping up this lesson, I had several students ask if we could do the challenge again next year! That made my whole day! So, I think I will add a sequel to The Kindness Challenge for the upcoming school year. 

Example of Completed Kindness Brochure

This activity can be found here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. What activities do you do at your school to promote kindness? I would love to hear! Please comment below.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Year of Kindness

Oh My! This summer is flying by! About the middle of July, I start to think ahead to the upcoming school year. One thing I love about being a School Counselor is that EVERY YEAR feels like a fresh start or a new beginning. At the end of each school year, I like to write down things I thought helped make the year run smoothly, and areas that need improvement. Over the last couple of years, I have noticed an increase in problems with kids getting along. Problems seemed to happen more frequently AND last longer. So, I've decided to go back to the basics. I'm planning to focus my 2016-17 school year on KINDNESS.

One way I plan to promote kindness at my school is using these googly eye magnetic clips I found at the Dollar Tree. They are sooo cute!  As I go about my day, if I observe an act of kindness I will take a couple of minutes and fill out a kindness card. After school, I will attach the kindness card with a small treat to the googly eye clip and place it on the students desk. When that particular student shows up for school the next day, it will be a sweet surprise! The googly eye clip can stay on the desk for the day and then I plan to collect the clips after school. That way I can reuse these clips all year. I want to magnify the positive and show that kindness matters.
  If you would like A FREE COPY of these Kindness Cards to use at your school,  CLICK here to download. 

*****I have 2 sets of Googly Eye magnetic clips to GIVEAWAY!  To enter, please comment below how you would use these Googly Eye clips at your school. Two random winners will be selected on Tuesday, August 19th. Don't forget to leave your email address!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Comfort Buddies

Comfort Buddies is a calming strategy I use for my younger students experiencing anxiety.  Over the years, I've found Distraction as an effective anxiety treatment option. Distraction is defined as: Something that makes it difficult to pay attention or that draws attention away from concerns. Distraction is a great way of helping students put their mind onto something POSITIVE instead of the NEGATIVE symptoms they are experiencing. I found a cute, cheap Over the Door Shoe Holder and I filled it with stuffed animals.  When students come to me upset, or full of anxiety, I let them pick out a Comfort Buddy to hang out with for a few minutes in my office. It doesn't take long for them to calm down and feel better. 

To go with the Comfort Buddies I found these cute Stretchy Dogs in the Target Dollar Spot.  I use them as a fidget toy.  I have my students keep the stretchy dog in their pocket.  If they start to feel sad or anxious again, they can put it in their hand to help them feel better.  I have been happy with the success of this coping strategy in helping to reduce fears and worries.

Click here if you would like a Comfort Buddies Cover Page.