Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Girl's Day Out!

Girl's Day Out!

Empowering girls through lessons on self-esteem, relational aggression, and body image.

This is one of my FAVORITE activities to do with the students on my campus.  I found some wonderful ideas on one of my favorite blogs: with regard to lessons to do with girls to help empower them.

I chose two days last year to work with each grade level of girls.  On our campus our students go to "Specials" class: computers, music, library, p.e., art, etc....  The boys went to P.E. while the girls and some of the Specials teachers joined me in the music room for some Girly FUN!  

During our forty-five minutes together the students listened to music videos, participated in group activities, and ended with an individual quick writing portion.  

I paired the fourth and fifth grade girls together for over an hour for their lesson.  This year I plan to create special "invitations" for this day and present them to each of the girls.

(The kindergarten and first grade presentation was shorter: 
no Prezi, reading The Recess Queen, and looking into the Mirror: "What do I Like When I look in the Mirror?")
**Before you ask, yes, I had a Boy T.A.L.K. day**

Back to Back: Girls sat with their backs to each other and had to only use their backs/legs to get up.  :)

Mirrors: (Students are sitting in a circle) Look into the mirror and either say it out loud or think it inside, what do you like about the person looking back at you?  2nd time around: One person holds the mirror and the girl to her right says something about her that she likes (body image).

Paper Chain: Students are given a slip of colored construction paper.  Brainstorm one thing you can do to help empower girls, make a difference on our campus, or help someone in your community. Staple links together to make a long chain of powerful statements! (Together we can be the change we wish to see in the world!)

The program's design for grades 2-5 is outlined 
in this PREZI:

Monday, September 23, 2013



I'm thrilled to start a new program at my school called "M&M" (Mentor & Me)!  I am excited to pair students with an adult on our campus to help foster positive relationships.  The mentors are meeting with me this week in order to discuss the intended outcomes of this program, as well as, the multitude of opportunities with their mentee throughout the school year.  In the initial stage of this program, I have asked each team to select five students to be paired with a mentor.  Once the list of "mentored" students has been established, I will send a permission slip home with the students before the students are paired with a mentor.

Another component of this mentoring program will be to establish positive peer connections through my "mini me" program! (okay, kidding with the name)  I have begun a peer leadership team with a group of fourth graders called P.A.L.s. (Peers as Leaders)  A wonderful colleague of mine shared this idea at one of our counseling meetings and I absolutely loved it!  Our school already has an established group of fifth graders in Student Council.  I wanted to give the fourth graders an opportunity to embrace leadership, mentoring, and helping positions throughout our campus.

I have already received several applications from interested students.  One of my favorite parts of the P.A.L.s application was the narrative aspect where the students had to indicate the reasoning why they would make an excellent P.A.L.!

I can not wait to begin this journey with the students and staff on my campus in order to foster healthy relationships that impact so many!

Staff mentor treats ~ a little chocolate is always a nice incentive!
(Idea adapted from an idea on:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Counselor Coffee Chats

Coffee Chats!

Last year was my first experience hosting Counselor Chats with parents and staff.  This year instead of merely selecting topics that I feel parents wish to learn about, I have sent out a Needs Assessment in order to obtain parent input.

I'm thrilled that I have received over seventy responses from parents regarding possible topics of interest to them.  Here is my Needs Assessment:
Needs Assessment for Parents

Parents have also submitted that they would like to learn more about the following topics: self-esteem, organization, anger, and anxiety.  I love it!  (Btw, the STAAR is our standardized test for our 3rd - 5th graders)

As always, I can't wait to schedule the chats and meet with the parents!

Scheduling Guidance Lessons

Scheduling of guidance lessons for me has evolved from the typical paper and pen circulated sign up calendar.  Several years ago I transitioned to a technology approach to scheduling guidance lessons with the teachers.

Last year I used Sign Up Schedule.  While this was of course free, it didn't have the capability (or not that I noticed) to send an email to me notifying me of the dates/times that the teachers signed up for lessons.

This year I am using Sign Up Genius and I LOVE it!  This online scheduling system not only has several cute templates to choose from, it also sends an email to me when teachers sign up for lessons!

I'm still hoping to figure out a system that syncs the sign up times and places them onto my calendar.  I think I would have to convert to a Google calendar system which wouldn't really work since my work calendar is GroupWise.

Alas, this is still so much "cooler" than the traditional paper and pen aspect!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Back to Decorating I Go!

Today was my first day back in my Counseling Corner classroom since painting furniture in early June.  I couldn't wait to move all of the furniture around and begin to see my vision for my room start to come together.

Naturally, this is the easy part, it's the organizing of the books and materials that might take a bit longer.  :) 

All of the furniture was either in our storage gathering dust or was donated to me by amazing teachers and staff!  

Here are some pictures of my classroom so far:

Before and After!!

View from the doorway

My Counseling Corner!

*Click on "Decorating Diva" for the slideshow with more pictures from my space!  :)

I definitely decided against a lengthy Mod Podge project on my small group table.  I saw an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth at Party City and went with that instead.  Vinyl tablecloth + skirted tablecloth = a happy counselor!  :)

I can't wait to add children-created posters and projects into this space!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Referrals to the Counselor

Referrals to the Counselor

This year I have devised a plan to become more streamlined with how parents, staff, and students make referrals to the counselor.  

All students on my campus are taught about self-referrals to the counselor.  During my first guidance lessons with the grade levels, I talk with the students and teachers about what constitutes a referral to the counselor.

Students in grades 2nd - 5th may complete a "Counselor Pass" and either leave it in my mailbox or slide it under my door for privacy purposes.  The Kindergartners and First Graders talk with their teacher about their request to see me.  

This year I am THRILLED to use Google Docs to help with the referral process!  I have created a form online within Google Docs for this process. 

Google Docs are AWESOME!  

If you are unfamiliar with how this works, here are some quick tips to creating a form:
1. Create a Google Account
2. Click Create: Click Form
3. You can change the "theme" at the top in the toolbar 
4. Title your page and start posting your "questions"
5. I use "checkboxes" and "paragraph text" as the format for their answers
6. Select "choose response destination" and click "new spreadsheet" - all answers will be placed into a spreadsheet for you!  :)

How to Receive a Notification

If you would like to receive a notification whenever the form is submitted:
1. Go back to your drive and "hover" over the green box beside the title of your form.  Make sure you click on the one that is the spreadsheet
2. Go to your spreadsheet and select "Tools" from the toolbar at the top
3. Click on "Notification Rules" and choose when you would like to receive the email
   *I chose immediately :)

Just a reminder, the notification will be sent to your Gmail account associated with your Google Doc!  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Grants Galore!

Grant Ideas Galore! 

I absolutely LOVE to write so I have channeled that love to apply for several grants within my school district's education foundation. Here are some of the grants I have won as a counselor:

1. Get RAMPed Up With Counseling - Driving students up the RAMP to success (all geared towards an effective ASCA model counseling program)

 *This is my newest one that I will be implementing this school year!  I will post updates as I plan the activities!

2. Girl T.A.L.K. - ideas for a positive approach to relational aggression

3. T.O.O.L.S. for Parents: Constructing a Bridge to Close the Achievement Gap
Targeted Activities
Organized by Skills
Offering Extensions of
Learning for
Students and Parents

RtI toolkits for parents ~ Brief Project Summary:

Our innovative project focuses on the parenting piece to Response to Intervention. (RtI)  We aim to provide the necessary tools and resources at home in order to support the current interventions in the school setting.  Parents need to have at their fingertips the necessary supplies and appropriate materials in order to effectively support the interventions and to help personalize learning for students.  We truly let our imaginations take flight as we delved deeper into creating innovative “RtI Parent Toolboxes” in order to provide appropriate interactive, educational resources for parents within a school and home partnership in learning.    

4. Love and Logic Grant - Teaching and Parenting with Love and Logic

Teacher's Book Study with the Teaching with Love and Logic Book

Parenting Classes: Parenting with Love and Logic

What are some ideas for grants? What have you always wanted to have as a part of your school counseling program?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Adding Pizzazz with Prezi!

I absolutely LOVE using Prezi to support my guidance lessons with students!  Thankfully, this year I will have my own classroom with a projector and screen so I won't have to roll my computer cart or have to rely on other classrooms' equipment to work!

Teacher Treats

During the week prior to the students' first day of school, we have a week of district and campus determined training for the teachers and staff.  I always like to incorporate fun activities and provide special treats for the teachers!  

What are some wonderful ideas for:

1. Icebreaker Activities
2. Cute/Fun Teacher and Staff Treats

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let Me Introduce Myself...

~Graduated May 1995 from Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.S.I.S. and an Early Childhood Minor

~Graduated May 11, 2007 from Sam Houston State University with a Master's Degree as a Professional School Counselor

~Completed over 3,000 hours of counseling in order to obtain my certificate as a Licensed Professional Counselor

I began my student teaching at an elementary school in kindergarten and then in a first grade classroom.  During these special months interacting and learning from these students and teachers, I knew I had found my "home" working with children.  

My teaching experience includes nine years as a first grade teacher and two as a third grade teacher.  I always enjoyed our tremendous journeys of learning together.  The children learned from each other throughout our many problem-solving interactions with partner, small group, and whole group activities.

A New Chapter Began...

This year I will begin my ninth year as an elementary school counselor in Texas.  I absolutely LOVE being a school counselor!

All of us are on a journey of learning together.  This partnership will help us grow to become lifelong learners.  I know the children understand what they have learned once they can articulate and then "show" what it means through their own words and actions.

"Intelligence plus character ~ that is the goal of true education."

Martin Luther King, Jr.