Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Revisiting Goals and Revitalizing Passion


I have given all of the students in sixth grade needs assessments based on the Peacemakers program. The questions that were on the assessment include "In the last two weeks I have ..." and outlines various behaviors  "got into a fight, gave someone a compliment, talked to someone to solve a problem," etc. The students rate the questions by frequency. I have not tallied the data yet, but I think it will give me a good idea about how students are currently solving their problems. Although, from my interactions with students, most students are not solving conflicts peacefully.

This brings me to the Peacemakers curriculum itself. I think it is a wonderful framework. It is research based and data-driven.  The only problem I am having is that if you follow the program lesson plans the way the manual describes, they are not very interactive. The curriculum allows for a dialogue between the facilitator and the students, but the students I am working with are not engaged. There are many, many reasons why they may not be engaged, but I feel like the main reason is that I need to make it more hands-on.

In a meeting the other day, the principal said "the only thing we can 100% control is the curriculum." I would add that we can also control our enthusiasm and our passion. I am excited and willing to be in the classrooms and empowering students to make peaceful choices. I am going to do lessons that are engaging and fun like I was doing in the past. I am ready for change and I think the students are too!

I revisited one of my favorite interactive activities, Spaghetti, Marshmallows and Cooperation with a 6th grade class.  Stay tuned to find out how it went.

As a side note, my personal goal was to train for a half-marathon. I have happy to say that I just finished day three of training. Only 14 weeks and 4 days to go, but who's counting?!  I am definitely feeling the burn, but as my friend, who is in the military, so eloquently put it "pain is weakness leaving the body." That may be true, but I also feel like my passion and excitement towards running is coming back.


What are your goals? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Plan to be Surprised..."

One of my favorite movies is Dan in Real Life, staring Steve Carell. I watched it over the holiday break and could not help but think of the final quote of the movie with the week I have had so far....

I have been constantly reminded this week that as a school counselor, you can plan, but it is inevitable that your plans will change.

It is ironic that I love to be surprised at school, because in all the other areas of my life I am a MAJOR planner. It makes me anxious when I am not in control of the situation or when I cannot plan things in advance. Outside of work, change, in general, tends to make me uneasy.

In my career as a school counselor, however, I love the uncertainty of my day. Each day, I go into school with a plan of how I am going to spend my day, what students I will meet with, what lessons I will facilitate, which classrooms I will visit, etc.   I know however, despite my efforts to plan, my day will be a complete surprise.  Things come up such as new student tours, student outbursts, unexpected visits from students, or a crisis of some sort.  Sometimes I do not even get to a single thing that I had planned for the day.

I love that I can go into school each day and not know what the day will bring. No matter how challenging the day is, I will enjoy every minute of it. I still like to have a plan, but since becoming a school counselor I have to "plan to be surprised," in the words of Steve Carell's character from from the movie Dan in Real Life.



What do you love about being a school counselor? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What Are Your Goals for the New Year?

The holiday break has given me the opportunity to think about the needs of my school and what I want to accomplish in the coming year.

My main goal for the New Year is to determine the needs of my students and the best way for me to serve them. When I get back to school I plan on administering needs assessments for grades four through eight, the grades I serve. I already had plans to run a fourth grade anger management group, a sixth grade girls group, and facilitate classroom lessons utilizing the Peacemakers Program in sixth grade.  I think that a needs assessment will help me determine other areas that I will be able to support students. You can find sample needs assessments under resources on the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) website. You must be a member to access the files.

I also plan on collaborating with a colleague on fifth grade transition to sixth grade.  My school serves students in grades Pre-K through eighth.  There is a nearby school that serves grades K-5. The fifth grade students from that school attend my school for sixth through eighth grade. The students from the two different schools have a difficulty transitioning and getting along with each other.  My colleague and I want to come up with some ideas for a program that will aid in the transition and foster relationships among the students before they come to my school.

I have also made some personal goals for myself. When my professors in graduate school spoke about burn-out and self-care, I took what they said with a grain of salt. I now realize the importance of self-care and the impact it has on the other areas of life. So, my personal goal is to run a half-marathon in May. I ran a 5K yesterday, which made me realize how much work training is going to be. When I eat healthy and exercise I feel more motivated in all areas of my life.

I am excited for 2010 and all of the exciting opportunities and experiences I will have this year!

What are your goals for 2010? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.
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