Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vote for School Counselor Blog in the 2011 Really Good Stuff Blog Contest!

I am so excited to share that School Counselor Blog has been nominated for the 2011 Really Good Stuff Blog Contest!

School Counselor Blog prides itself as a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lessons and quality resources.

Show your support of School Counselor Blog by voting today! Voting begins July 1st and ends July 7th.

Vote by clicking on the "Vote For Your Favorite Entry" picture or by clicking here!

Please share this post with other school counselors and encourage them to vote for School Counselor Blog in the Really Good Stuff Blog Contest!

Thank you for your support!

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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

See You in Seattle!

Space Needle - Seattle, WA
The ASCA National Conference is quickly approaching and I am heading to Seattle!

At the end of May I announced that I was asked to present at the ASCA National Conference with Julia V. Taylor and Dr. Russell Sabella during their pre-conference session "Using the Internet to Perk Up Your School Counseling Program."

I am so excited to make connections with other school counselors and learn new ideas at the ASCA National Conference! I can't wait to share resources and ideas with you all when I get back. Check the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page and Twitter for updates while I am there!

If you are attending the conference "Perk Up Your Conference Experience" by downloading the conference mobile application!

Are you attending the ASCA National Conference? 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.


  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Being Your daD is Easy: A Father's Day Post by My daD

My daD; My anchor.
Today is Father’s day and Danielle asked me to be a guest blogger.  I am mighty proud.  I have lots to be thankful for.  It’s been a lot of hard work raising children and it is exhausting.  But it is all worth it.  I of course, didn’t do it alone – I had help, as in heaping amounts of it.  Debbie her mother (my wife), her grandparents, her brother, her aunts and uncles all have a hand in it.  Danielle, as you have come to know her, is a work in progress, we think we are close to being done raising her, but I am not sure there is an end.  Just milestones.

Danielle, you see, is the sum product of a lot of effort and certainly an extraordinary amount of it hers.

We were young parents, as in teenagers.  I was in college and couldn’t pay for it.  I took out student loans.  I joined the Army National Guard to help pay for school and had 2 other part time jobs.  Deb worked as long as she could.  Baby on the way.  We went on public assistance.  Yep, welfare –we didn’t want to do that, but that is what the social safety net is for.  They kicked us off welfare because I had 3 jobs and made too much money, which is what we wanted.   I figure we paid that back many times over the years. Many, many times over.

Having kids when you are a kid is tough.  It’s tough to relate.  I want to talk about deep, meaningful things and Danielle wants to play with dolls.  I work a lot.  Really a lot.  I finished 3 undergraduate degrees and a Master’s degree.   Debbie manages to make sure I don’t miss anything important.  First day of school, wow how did we get here so fast?

He wasn't kidding about
the Ninja Turtle phase.
Danielle had a ‘Ninja Turtle’ phase.  I watched a lot of Ninja Turtle cartoons.

Things didn’t always go so swell.  Pickles.  Apparently when Danielle and I are on our own I discover she doesn’t like pickles on her hamburger.  Messy.

Riding a bike.  I teach her to ride a bike without training wheels.  She falls off and breaks her wrist.  I am the model father.

I realize early on that Danielle and I needed to have our own time together – special time, reserved, you can’t move it for anything time.  Saturday mornings it’s her and I for a trip to the donut shop.  Every. Saturday.  It is our time, we spend 30 minutes to an hour together.  She is always ready to go.  We continue this until she is driving.  She will do this with her children I feel certain.

Danielle had 2 part time jobs (at a time I might add) when she was in high school.  I can’t help but think she saw her parents working hard and thought this is what she should do too.  This continues as she is involved in many projects while in school and in college.

Debbie goes to school, becomes a teacher and teaches elementary school children.  She gets her Master’s degree.  Danielle finishes her undergraduate and goes on for a Master’s degree and manages to pull off an assistantship.  That saves us a bundle.  See, I told you being your daD was easy. 

My parents and I at my graduate school graduation.
We continue to fund education.  Will we ever get a break?  Three master’s degrees and son Jordan is working on his as a Physician’s Assistant.  We are getting a raise when he is out next year.  Probably in time for grandkids.  Will we be grandparents before we are 50?  Five more years – we’ll let you know.

Luck.  It’s not luck.  How many times have I said that?  Danielle repeats me, I see my words and my lessons learned in her writing and in her.  It’s hard work, it’s showing up.  It is making time and being reliable.  It is being consistent and understanding and knowing that every little bit matters.  There are so many examples, like Danielle and her crashing her car 2 weeks after getting her license.  I showed up at the scene of her fender bender and calmed her down.  I didn’t yell at her.  She expected me to be mad.  My words – “You had one in you, now it’s out, so you have that out of the way”, meaning that she had one accident and had to get over that hurdle.  She didn’t have another.

My daD and I on my wedding day.
That’s not to say she wasn’t geographically impaired.  When she first got her license she only knew how to get to places from our house.  Home to school – check.  Home to work –check.  School to work – nope, had to drive home first.  As a daD you just have to let some things go.  She called, frantic one night, she was driving and didn’t know where she was.  It was foggy.  I hopped in the car and drove to find her.  Down the street.  Blocks from our house.  Showing up and being there – my ongoing advice as I repeat myself.

Blogging.  I told Danielle that she needed to start a blog.  “What’s a blog”?  Right, exactly my point.  Get out there and be first.  You have to DO, you can’t just talk about it.  Ideas are meaningless.  I am sure this all sounds familiar.  Now look, she has a fantastic blog.  She did it.  She had to DO.

Marriage.  Danielle got married last summer.  I had to give her away.  I cried.  Noah is a great guy.  Bright and a hard worker and most certainly a geek.   Geeks are cool.   Best I can tell she married her father.  Daughter’s do that.

Wait, it’s Father’s day.  Shouldn’t I be getting a break?  Shouldn’t someone bring me my coffee and my paper.  Being a father isn’t any of those things – it’s the reward of raising children and leaving a lasting legacy that lives on.  I am lucky.

Danielle’s daD

Adam is Vice President of Sales for a home health care software company and a professor of Business and Entrepreneurship. More importantly, he is a husband to Debbie, (Danielle's mother), and a father to Danielle and her brother, Jordan. He lives in Pennsylvania with Debbie, Jordan (now that he is doing rotations), their dog, Chase, and cat, Lucky. You can contact Adam via email.

I hope you enjoy this father's day guest blog post from my daD as much as I did. 

My dad has always given me love and support in every aspect of my life. He has taught me more than he will ever know and has helped me to thrive as a person and a professional. I don't think I will ever be able to thank him or my mother for all they have done for me. I celebrate him today for Father's Day, but I hope he knows how much I appreciate his love and support everyday. And what can I say... I will always be daddy's girl. 

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, June 16, 2011

School Counselor Blog is Looking for Guest Bloggers!

Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for School Counselor Blog? Do you have an innovative idea, creative lesson, or quality resource that you want to share with other school counselors?

School Counselor Blog is currently seeking Guest Bloggers in the following categories:

  •   Secondary School Counselors (Junior High and High School)
  •   Secondary School Counselor Graduate Students

If you are interested in these or future opportunities email Danielle with the subject line "School Counselor Blog Guest Blogger." Include a writing sample or link to your blog in the email.


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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Up, Up, and Away!: Closure for Grief and Loss Group and the School Year

The last day of school was a whirlwind of activity. It was a busy, balloon-releasing, pillow-stuffing, hug-giving, tear-wiping, last day.  (More about the pillow-stuffing soon!)

I am glad that students in my grief and loss group wanted to have their balloon release on the last day of school. It was the perfect way to have closure for our group and the end of the school year. 

My favorite part of the balloon release is watching the colorful balloons float up into the blue sky.  




We made our balloon release activity more environmentally friendly by using latex balloons, which are biodegradable and taking the strings off of the balloons before the balloon release

Another engaging activity my intern and I facilitated during this group was the Healing Heart

Other activities I facilitated during this group include:
  • Feelings Masks
  • Memory Boxes
  • Grief rainbow writing activity
  • Homemade play dough 
I plan to write about these activities this summer since I have more time to blog when school is out! :)

What activities do you facilitate in your grief and loss groups? What creative methods do you use for ending groups? 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.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Booming with Self-Esteem

My fifth grade self-esteem group ended with a bang today!  Students left group empowered and booming with self-esteem!

I used Firework to start a dialog about being proud of who you are and being true to yourself. I played Firework for students on my iPhone using my portable speaker. I gave them all a copy of the lyrics and asked them to pay careful attention to the words as the song was playing.

Afterwards Firework was over, we discussed the song and it's meaning. I asked students if there were any parts of the song that stuck out to them.

One student stated that "a paper bag drifting through the wind" feels "lonely and left out."

Another student stated that "a house of cards one blow from caving in" would be easily "put down" or "pushed down."

Students spoke of times when they felt down or when they felt like the did not have any friends.

Students were eager to come up with a message of what the song meant to them.  Some of the messages they got from the song were:

"Never give up! You should always believe in yourself"

"Don't let other people run over you because you are something inside."

"We are all something - don't let other people tell you that you're not."

One student stated that "even brighter than the moon" meant that "you are intelligent and bright - that should lift you up!"

After focusing on the lyrics, we listed to the song one more time, but this time I encouraged students to get up, sing, and dance around if they wanted. Students had a blast singing along and dancing to the song. They were even making their own "fireworks" by clapping their hands together and making a burst with their arms above their head.

They saw the song in a new light and really connected with it.  Some of the comments were "this song makes me so happy," and "I am going to sing this song when I am feeling upset to make me feel good."

The students' "fireworks" reminded me of when I worked at summer camp and we congratulated others by giving them a fire-cracker applause. I decided to incorporate it into the rest of the group session and allow students to give a compliment in the form of a "fireworks" to the group as a way of closing the group.

Students' "fireworks" were: "listening to each other," "sharing feelings," "complimenting each other," "everyone was respectful to each other,"and "saying positive things to each other."

Students shared that their favorite activities in group were listening to the Firework song, bucket-filling with compliments, acting out scenarios from the G.I.R.L.S. curriculum, making I'm Strong Smart and Totally Awesome (I.S.S.T.A) bracelets. (More information on the I.S.S.T.A. bracelets in a future post).

I am so glad I decided to end my group with Firework.  It was a great way to empower students. Using Firework also incorporated popular culture and summertime. I hope students will be reminded of group when they hear Firework in the future!

Listen to the full version of Firework using the Grooveshark widget below.



Listen to a clip of Firework by pushing play below. I also included the Firework (Glee Cast Version) in the Amazon Mp3 player. You are able to purchase an Mp3 version of Firework through Amazon.


Do you use any popular songs or media in your groups? Do you have a great idea of how to end a group? 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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