Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Drop It [To Me] Like It's Hot


While planning my career interest inventory implementation, I realized I needed a back up plan for printing...

I was planning to have students print their career inventory results, but I wanted to have a back up plan in case the printers weren't working. This happens a lot at my school... so I wanted to be prepared.

I went in search of a fast and easy way for students to send me files. Students at my school do not have school email so I needed a solution that would not require email.

I discovered DROPitTOme a great FREE tool you can utilize in conjunction with DropBox to securely receive files from anyone!  I wrote a post yesterday encouraging readers to Think Outside of The USB Drive by utilizing DropBox for FREE online file hosting and file storage.

DROPitTOme is quick and easy to use. After you register for a FREE DropBox account and a FREE DROPitTOme account, you can use DROPitTOme to receive files from anyone via a password protected upload page. The uploaded file appears in a folder in DropBox titled "DROitTOme."

I used DROPitTOme today for 8th grade students to send me their career interest inventory results. I had them save their career interest inventory results to a Word Document using their first and last name as the title.  For example, my file would have been danielle_schultz.docx.

I gave students the link to my DROPitTOme upload page and the password so they could upload their file.  Students caught on really quickly to using DROPitTOme when they realized that it was "just like uploading a picture to Facebook." They thought the title was funny and said it was like, "Drop It Like It's Hot!"

I can now log in to my DropBox account and view all of the students' career interest inventory results in the folder titled "DROitTOme." I transfered the files to a different folder once they were uploaded so that I had enough space for more uploads.

I love that DROPitTOme gives me the ability to keep digital versions of students' results without utilizing email. I can now view students' results and print them anytime!

Check out the video below for step by step instructions on how to use DROPitTOme.




How will you utilize DropBox and DROPitTOme in your work as a school counselor? What other file sharing websites or programs do you use? Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, 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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Think Outside of the USB Drive! (FREE File Hosting and File Sharing with DropBox!)

Are you sick of toting around a USB flash drive? Do you find yourself searching through your inbox to find files you sent.... to yourself? Do you wish there was a quick and easy way to access your files from anywhere? DropBox is your answer!

DropBox is a FREE file hosting program that you can download on multiple computers, access online, and access by smart phone.

My daD told me about DropBox a long, long time ago. I was an early adopter, but I did not really understand how DropBox could be beneficial to me as a school counselor until the beginning of this school year.

Let's compare USB flash drives to DropBox...

I have a million USB flash drives... Ok, so maybe that is an exaggeration. I have waaaaay too many USB drives.

USB drives are easy to lose. You have to keep track of USB flash drives. You have to plug a USB flash drive into a computer's USB drive.

DropBox allows you to access files from anywhere you can connect to the Internet, offline via the downloaded program, and even on your smart phone! With DropBox you can even SHARE files or folders with others!

USB flash drives cost money. (Ok, some are FREE if you get them at a conference, from colleges, or from the Army).

DropBox is FREE for 2GB of storage.

Here's how I am using DropBox...

This year I made a folder of all of my school files on the desktop of my laptop. I then dropped the folder into my DropBox file on my laptop.  When I got to work I downloaded DropBox for my school computer. After the download was complete, I logged in and opened the DropBox file. Voilà! Like magic my folders and files were there!

No more emailing files to myself. No more endless searches through my inbox.  No more searching all over (my house, car, office, etc.) for my USB flash drive.

Now I can quickly access all of the files I need from home on my desktop at school, online, and on my phone! All of my files are right there at my fingertips!

DropBox truly is amazing! Check out the DropBox to learn more and watch a video!

Join DropBox by clicking on the links within this post and you will get an extra 250MB of FREE space!

Once you join you can invite friends and earn even more space up to 8GB!

How will you use DropBox in your work as a school counselor? What other file sharing websites or programs do you use? Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, 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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

I'm Presenting at the Montgomery County Counselors Association (MCCA) on Oct 10th

I am so excited to present "Essentials for Becoming a Tech Savvy School Counselor" on October 10th at the Montgomery County Counselors Association (MCCA) Fall Workshop.

During my presentation I will be sharing tips, tricks, and techniques for utilizing Google Docs and social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter, Blogger) to enhance your professional identity as a school counselor and your school counseling program.

Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop for this interactive workshop!

Check out the MCCA Fall Workshop Flyer to register!

You must return the registration form to Julie Hamel by October 3, 2011 to attend.


Will you be attending the MCCA Fall workshop? Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Are you interested in having Danielle present at your local or state school counselor organization? Contact Danielle!

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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Red Ribbon Week Ideas 2010

Penn State Nittany Lion posing with our
Red Ribbon Week Drug Free Pledge
Red Ribbon Week is Monday, October 24th through Friday, October 29th. Red Ribbon Week is a week to raise awareness about the importance of being drug free.

Last year our theme for Red Ribbon week was "Believe, Achieve, Succeed - Drug Free!" All of the events we planned for Red Ribbon Week were related career to reinforce the school to career connection and the importance of students choosing to be drug free for their future.

Below are descriptions of the theme days and events we hosted for our Red Ribbon Week last year. 




School Spirit Day
For School Spirit Day we are asked all students, faculty, and staff to show school pride by wearing school colors.

Our school colors are black and gold. We had a good level of participation in this day, especially because so many of our teachers are Steelers fans!

College, University, Trade School, and Military Day
For College, University, Trade School, and Military Day we are asked students to show pride for their future by wearing a favorite college, university, trade school, or military shirt. Faculty and staff were also encouraged to participate.

I loved that teachers and principals really got into this day. One of our assistant principals wore his Temple hoodie with his suit pants!

We contacted local colleges, universities, trade schools, and military recruitment agencies to get giveaways, such as shirts, pens, pencils, stickers, pins, and pennants. We used the giveaways as prizes for our Positive School Wide Behavior Intervention and Support Plan (SWPBIS).  This year in addition to the giveaways we are asking for a pennant to display!

We also had a special guest appearance by the Penn State University Nittany Lion! Students were so excited to meet him! The Nittany Lion even got his picture taken with our drug free pledge:"We want a future as bright as can be... we are making it our goal to be DRUG FREE!"

Dress for Success Day
On Dress for Success Day, students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to dress their best and look ready for success. Students and staff wore professional business attire! Everyone looked great!

Dream Career Day For Dream Career Day, we encouraged students to answer the question: What is your dream career? Students were permitted to wear clothing that matched their future career dream. For example, if a student wants to be in the army, they could wear a camouflage outfit. If the student wants to be a nurse or a doctor, they could wear scrubs)

We had great participation in Dream Career Day! We had students and teachers dressed up as doctors, lawyers, football players, actors, scientists, construction workers, and much more! I dressed up as an FBI agent and even made my own badge! :)

Wear Red Day
For Wear Red Day we are encouraged students, faculty, and staff to wear red and pledge to be drug free for their future! Our theme that day was: “Celebrate Red Ribbon Week –not just for a day, but for life!” During the week students could sign our "We want a future as bright as can be... we are making it our goal to be drug free!" pledge in the cafeteria during student lunches.

Our school was a sea of red on Wear Red Day! So many classes had full participation with every student in the room wearing red. We gave away pizza parties to the classrooms who had full participation!

Also, check out the other posts I have written with Red Ribbon Week Ideas:

Red Ribbon Week Ideas 
BEE Drug Free Grocery Bag Decorations
College Pennant Display
Career Day Costume Idea - Vet

Red Ribbon Week 2011*  I will be continuing to add more posts to this list this week!

College Door Decorating Contest and Spirit Day
College, University, Military, and Trade School Day
Dress for Success and Drug Free Pledges

Wear Red Day

How are you celebrating Red Ribbon Week this year? What themes are you using? Where do you find Red Ribbon Week ideas? Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, 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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

"The Indiana School Counselor" Magazine Interview

Over the summer I had the exciting opportunity of being interviewed by Sarah Altman from Indiana for an article in The Indiana School Counselor magazine.

The article is titled Let Your Creative Juices Flow. You can read the whole article and interview in the online edition of The Indiana School Counselor magazine online.

You can also check out the rest of the articles in The Indiana School Counselor magazine. There are articles on bullying, high school school counselors, graduate school, and more!

The digital format of The Indiana School Counselor magazine is great because you can click on the links in the article and they open a new page!

My state, Pennsylvania, also has a digital edition of their magazine, The Pennsylvania Counselor. You can read a pdf version of the article I wrote, Serving Up Career Standards with Career Cafe, in The Pennsylvania Counselor magazine.

What did you think of the interview? Does your state school counselor association have a digital magazine? Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, 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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

FREE Career Interest Games and Inventories on VA Career View

I have been searching for fun and interactive career activities to facilitate with students this year. I rediscovered Virginia Career View, which has a wealth of computer based and printable career activities. I have used this website many times, but each time I visit I am surprised by how truly awesome this site is.

In the K-5 Section of Virginia Career View there is an interactive game called Career Town! I used the Career Town game with some 5th grade students last year and they loved it. Career Town has three levels with different games to learn about jobs on each level. 

The Career Town has an educators guide for each "level' of the game. The educators guide has ideas of how you can utilize the game to meet standards and includes ideas for extension activities. 

In the 6-8 Grade section, there is a career cluster assessment activity called "Who R U?" There is a web-based version and a paper based printable version of "Who R U?"

 In the web-based version of "Who R U?" students check boxes of activities they are interested in. At the end their items are totaled and they can click on links to jobs in those cluster areas. 

The paper based printable version of "Who R U?" allows students to total their own sections. 

I plan to use Career Town and  "Who R U?" with  fifth and sixth grade in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Career site PA Career Zone

I plan to use FREE web-based career assessments My Next Move and Education Planner with seventh and eighth grade. My Next Move and Education Planner are great for middle and high school students!

I wrote a previous post about using Paws in Jobland for younger grades.

I will be using the results from the career interest inventories to invite speakers for Career Café. I will also be including in career portfolios I will be making with students this year.

What career assessments do you use with students? What are your favorite VA Career View lessons or activities? Comment below, tweet, or contact Danielle, 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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Smaller Space... Bigger Potential

Remember my before pictures of my 2011-2012 office space? I was just about ready to share after pictures with you, but then I decided to change my office location!

After much thought and consideration, I determined that it would be better if I moved to the "Student Services Suite," where the K-4 school counselor and the school social worker are located. As much as I loved my big space on the third floor, I saw this as a huge opportunity to re-vamp the common space in the "Student Services Suite" (pictures of that to come!)

It was definitely frustrating to have my space all set up and then have to move everything to a different office, but I really think it has great potential to be better. The space is much smaller than my other space, but once the common space is up and running we should be able to share the common space for groups. I will be moving a U-table to my office so that I can meet with groups in my office too.

So here is my progress so far. It is by no means finished... but I wanted to share my progress with you! ;)


Before picture of my NEW office!


Entrance to my NEW office! (You can kinda see a peek of the common area)
I hung up my "Where's Mrs. Schultz?" spinner on my door.


My desk. I even got a new computer this year! Woooo hooo! I am so excited because my old computer was SOOOOOOOOOO slow! I have lots of storage underneath my desk!!! I still need a file cabinet... but it's getting there!


Lots of my stuff on display! ;) I brought in two storage containers on wheels to store all of my art supplies, toys, and games. I have one stored under my desk and the other is behind the green chair. I love that I still have space to display books on my window sill!


I put my "How Can I 'Chill Out' When I'm Feeling Upset?" display on my curtain.
My bully hat is also on display! ;)


This is the area that still needs lots of work...
I need the file cabinet moved out and another one moved in. I haven't been able to work on this part because the file cabinet is in the way.

What do you think of my new (smaller) space?! I look forward to hearing your feedback! Comment below, tweet, or contact Danielle, 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. Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.




PBS: "Too Important To Fail" Video

My school principal just sent a link to this amazing video, Too Important To Fail, to our school staff.   The video is powerful. It is a MUST watch if you work in an urban school. 

You can watch the video below or on the PBS website.  There are also related clips and web extras

                                                     Watch the full episode. See more Tavis Smiley.


Too Important to Fail is about how schools are failing African American males and students of color and how schools can help them succeed.  

Tavis Smiley interviews children, teens, teachers and other individuals in education about what can make a difference for African American males and students of color. 

When talking to one of the teens, Smiley asks what kind of guys he hangs out with. The teen responds that he hangs out with other students who plan to go to college.  Smiley states,"The only way to get somewhere is to hang with people who are going somewhere." 

Something that really hit home for me was when teens in a juvenile probation were talking about traumatic experiences they faced at a young age such as parents being arrested, siblings or other family members being killed, and witnessing shootings. Too Important to Fail shows the importance of facilitating groups on topics related to grief and loss and incarceration.

Too Important to Fail has helped me realize how the groups and lessons that I facilitate can help empower and support African American males. Even our Career Café program supports these efforts by helping students see a connection between school and career. This video has also reaffirmed my desire to start a mentoring program at our school.

Too Important To Fail: Saving America's Boys is also available in an eBook format. It is $2.99 in the Kindle Store. I just purchased it and it is great to have all of the statistics and information in print! I can't wait to share information from this book with other educators I work with.

What ideas did you gain from this video about how you could empower and support African American males at your school? Comment below, tweet, or contact Danielle, 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.  Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.




48 Hours Movie: "Bullying: Words Can Kill"

48 Hours did a special on bullying called Bullying: Words Can Kill.  I haven't watched it yet, but I wanted to share it with you because I just found out about it!

You can watch the video below.



Also, check out the 48 Hours: Bullying: Words Can Kill website for tons of web extras and related videos.


What did you think of this video? What other related videos did you watch any on this site? Comment below, tweet, or contact Danielle, 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.  Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest 2011 Re-Cap

School Counselor Blog hosted a back to school contest with a different giveaway each day from September 1st to September 10th!

Below is a recap of all the giveaway items from the contest. Although the contest is now closed, you can visit the posts and get TONS of ideas of how to use each of these awesome resources!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the contest and congratulations to the contest winners!  Your participation in this contest will help other school counselors gain creative ideas to utilize these awesome resources in their work with students!

Also thank you to the sponsors of this contest, Free Spirit, Really Good Stuff, Research Press, and School Counselor Blog for donating the giveaway items!

Good-Bye Bully Machine Book and Good-Bye Bully Machine Card Game
Good-Bye Bully Machine
The giveaway for Day 1 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was the Good-Bye Bully Machine book and the Good-Bye Bully Machine Card Game by Debbie Fox and Allan L. Beane from Free Spirit Publishing

Good-Bye Bully Machine Card GameGood-Bye Bully Machine is one of my favorite books I use with students. I wrote a post about using Good-Bye Bully Machine for lessons with second, third, and fourth grade and creating an anti-bullying machine bulletin board.  I also used messages from Good-Bye Bully Machine to create another bulletin board.

I have used the Good-Bye Bully Machine Card Game with students in 5th and 6th grade.

Good-Bye Bully Machine and Good-Bye Bully Machine Card Game are great resources to use with students in grades 3-6.

For tons of great ideas on how you can use the Good-Bye Bully Machine book and the Good-Bye Bully Machine Card Game in your work with students, visit the comment post and comment section.

Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character

The giveaway for Day 2 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character Poster Set from Really Good Stuff.

There are eight adorable posters in the Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character Poster Set showcasing positive character traits: Responsibility, Caring, Acceptance, Trustworthiness, Fairness, Honesty, Citizenship, and Respect!

The Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character Poster Set comes with a corresponding activity guide that you can download for free even if you didn't win the item! The activity guide has ideas for how to use the poster set in your school and includes reproducibles you can use to teach students about positive character traits!

The Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character Poster Set would be a great addition to your school counseling office or to showcase positive character traits in your school!

P.S. Really Good Stuff has great items that school counselors can utilize. I love their Ready-to-Decorate Journals and use them for groups!

For more great ideas of how to utilize Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character Poster Set in your work with students, visit the Really Good Friends Show Really Good Character Poster Set post and comment section.

Girls in Real Life Situations (G.I.R.L.S.) 6-12 

Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades 6-12: Group Counseling Activities for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development (Book and CD)The giveaway for Day 3 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades 6-12: Group Counseling Activities for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development (Book and CD) by Julia V. Taylor  and Shannon Trice-Black from Research Press.

Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades 6-12: Group Counseling Activities for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development (Book and CD) is one of my most used curricula.  I have used activities from G.I.R.L.S. in groups on topics such as self-esteem, grief and loss, children of incarcerated parents and beyond.  I have even used activities from G.I.R.L.S with boys (gasp!)!

One of the activities I have facilitated the most from G.I.R.L.S. is the "Wall of Support" activity.  During the session students build a wall with blocks and then build a wall together. They then make their own wall using construction paper. We then made a wall as a group of people who support us. If you watched the tour of my office from last year or looked at the pictures of my office you will see the "Wall of Support" under my whiteboard. Students love this activity. I have also had students make their own personal wall in individual sessions with students.

For more great ideas of how to utilize Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades 6-12 in your work with students, visit the Girls in Real Life Situations, 6-12 post and comment section.

Girls in Real Life Situations (G.I.R.L.S.) K-5
 
Girls in Real Life Situations: Group Counseling for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development: Grades K-5 (Book and CD)The giveaway for Day 4 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was Girls in Real Life Situations: Group Counseling for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development: Grades K-5 (Book and CD) by Julia V. Taylor  and Shannon Trice-Black from Research Press.

Girls in Real Life Situations: Group Counseling for Enhancing Social and Emotional Development: Grades K-5 (Book and CD) is great for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The activities from G.I.R.L.S. are great for groups on topics such as self-esteem, grief and loss, children of incarcerated parents and beyond.  Some activities from G.I.R.L.S. would work with boys too (gasp!).

One activity my fifth grade students love from G.I.R.L.S. K-5 is the role play activities. There is an activity where students act out different forms of relational aggression. The students love getting up and acting with partners or using puppets. They also come up with positive solutions for the situation. I work with students in fifth through eighth grade and I have both the  G.I.R.L.S. K-5 and the G.I.R.L.S. 6-12 curricula.

For more great ideas of how to utilize Girls in Real Life Situations, Grades K-5 in your work with students, visit the Girls in Real Life Situations, K-5 post and comment section.

When I Grow Up

When I Grow UpThe giveaway for Day 5 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic.  In honor of Labor Day I wanted to give away a career related book. I was introduced to this book over the summer by Kelly one of my Pennsylvania School Counseling Association (PSCA) colleagues. Among the other great ideas Kelly shared with me this summer she told me about this great book by Al Yankovic. After hearing about it I immediately purchased it. (Yes, I was shocked too that "Weird Al" wrote a children's book!)

When I Grow Up is a fun and engaging way to teach career development standards to students.  When I Grow Up is about 8 year old Billy who has many things he wants to be when he grows up.  There are some real and some zany jobs that Billy wants to be. The illustrations are great and give incredible detail to Billy's wild imagination.

When I Grow Up opens the door to so many conversations and lessons about career. When I Grow Up could be used for a lesson about how interests influence career choice and success, the changing workplace, lifelong learning, and much more.  I plan to use When I Grow Up for a career lesson with 5th grade students.  When I Grow Up would be great for students K-5.

For more great ideas of how to utilize When I Grow Up in your work with students and to view the book trailer, visit the When I Grow Up post and comment section.

Talk to Teens About What Matters to Them

Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them: Ready-to-Use Discussions on Stress, Identity, Feelings, Relationships, Family, and the FutureThe giveaway for Day 6 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them: Ready-to-Use Discussions on Stress, Identity, Feelings, Relationships, Family, and the Future by Dr. Jean Sunde Peterson from Free Spirit Publishing.

Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them: Ready-to-Use Discussions on Stress, Identity, Feelings, Relationships, Family, and the Future is a brand new book geared for students in grades 6-12. I just received a review copy of this book from Free Spirit Publishing and I am excited to use it with the students I serve in grades 5-8.

Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them includes 75 guided discussions in six focus areas: stress, identity, feelings, relationships, family, and the future. Each section has background information, objectives, and session outlines.

Some of the activities in Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them I am looking forward to using with students include:

"Pieces of the Pie," an activity where students graph how they spend their time and how they would like to spend their time.

"Stress Boxes," an activity where students record stressors, determine how much stressor produces and determine whether the stressors are short-term stressors or long-term stressors.

"My Story," a sentence completion activity where students pretend to write a story about their life.

Although Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them is geared toward small groups, it could definitely be used for individual sessions and classroom lessons. It is evident that the activities are meant to spark discussion about challenges that are difficult for teens to talk about.

For more information and sample sessions from Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them, check out Free Spirit Publishing's website.

For more great ideas of how to utilize Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them in your work with students and to view the book trailer, visit the Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them post and comment section.

The Secret Olivia Told Me

The Secret Olivia Told MeThe giveaway for Day 7 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy and illustrated by Nancy Devard.

The Secret Olivia Told Me is one of my favorite books of all times. It has special place in my office and in my heart.  I learned about this book from an AMAZING artist and teacher, Alison Babusci, during one of my long-term substitute school counselor positions.

The Secret Olivia Told Me is about a secret between friends that turns into a rumor. The Secret Olivia Told Me is the whole package. The children in the book are multicultural, the pictures are engaging, it has a strong message, and it rhymes!  

I absolute love the artwork in The Secret Olivia Told MeThe children pictured in The Secret Olivia Told Me are silhouettes, which could be a great collaboration between you and the art teacher at your school! Another artistic detail I love is the balloon in the book. The contrast between the silhouettes and white background make the red balloon stand out. The string of the balloon comes out of the child's mouth when they spread the secret. The red balloon keeps growing and growing each time the secret is spread. Students absolutely love The Secret Olivia Told Me and are quick to point out these details.

I have used The Secret Olivia Told Me with 5th and 6th grade for a lesson I call Rumors and ToothpasteI often use this book during individual sessions and group sessions with students in 5th and 6th grade. 7th and 8th grade students tend to pick up this book too because the cover just draws you in. I would recommend The Secret Olivia Told Me for grades 4-6.

For more great ideas of how to utilize The Secret Olivia Told Me in your work with students and to view the book trailer, visit The Secret Olivia Told Me post and comment section.

Just Kidding
Just KiddingThe giveaway for Day 8 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig.

My school counseling intern, Courtney, introduced me to Just Kidding. We facilitated bullying lessons with fifth grade students by gender. We divided all of the 5th graders up and did a three lesson series with boys and a three lesson series with girls. (I plan to repeat this and I will share what we did soon!) We used Just Kidding for one of the lesson with all of the fifth grade boys. They absolutely loved Just Kidding!

Just Kidding is about a boy, DJ, who is bullied by his friend Vince. When Vince is mean to DJ he always says that he is "just kidding." DJ realizes that Vince's "kidding" has gone too far and asks for help from his dad and teacher.

We used Just Kidding to open up a dialogue about the difference between "kidding"and being mean on purpose.

I work in an inner-city school so it was important to use the language that kids use during our lesson.  We talked about the difference between "messin'" and "playin.'" Students explained that "playin'" is when both people are having fun. "Messin'" is when one person is doing something to make the other person feel bad or hurt the other person.

The boys liked coming up with examples of "messin'" and "playin.'" We also talked about who they could turn to for help if a situation when from "playin'" to "messin.'"

I would recommend Just Kidding to school counselors working with students in third through sixth grade. It may be a little young for some sixth graders, but Just Kidding was just perfect for fifth grade boys.

For more great ideas of how to utilize Just Kidding in your work with students and to view the book trailer, visit the Just Kidding post and comment section.

No Kidding About Bullying

No Kidding About Bullying: 125 Ready-to-Use Activities to Help Kids Manage Anger, Resolve Conflicts, Build Empathy, and Get Along (Bully Free Classroom)The giveaway for Day 9 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was No Kidding About Bullying: 125 Ready-to-Use Activities to Help Kids Manage Anger, Resolve Conflicts, Build Empathy, and Get Along by Naomi Drew from Free Spirit Publishing.

No Kidding About Bullying is a wealth of lessons and information. No Kidding About Bullying is comprised of 125 mini lessons that can be completed in about 20 minutes or less. The lessons are engaging and empowering.

Lessons from No Kidding About Bullying is very flexible. You can go through the book chronologically or you can pick and choose lessons you want to facilitate with students on particular topics.

There are so many things I absolutely love about No Kidding About Bullying, but the sessions that stick out to me the most are "Session 8: Peace Tables," Session 15: Win/Win Guidelines for Working Out Conflicts," "Session 62: Basement vs. Balcony" and "Session 72: Using I-Messages and Reflective Listening in Conflicts." No Kidding About Bullying also stands out because the stories and anecdotes are from children and teachers Naomi Drew interviewed to write the book!

You can download the table of contents, introduction and 7 sample lessons from No Kidding About Bullying for FREE on Free Spirit's website.

I had the opportunity last year to interview Naomi Drew, author of No Kidding About Bullying. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview. After interviewing Naomi Drew got an inflatable globe to help students think about themselves in the context of a larger world.

I have used No Kidding About Bullying for classroom lessons with 6th grade students. I would recommend using this resource with students in grades 3-6.

For more great ideas of how to utilize No Kidding About Bullying in your work with students and to view the book trailer, visit the No Kidding About Bullying post and comment section.

The Middle School Confidential Series and Be Confident in Who You Are iPad app

Be Confident in Who You Are (Middle School Confidential Series) (Bk. 1)The giveaway for Day 10 of the School Counselor Blog Back to School Contest was the Middle School Confidential Series (Be Confident in Who You Are (Bk. 1)Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (Bk. 2), and What's Up with My Family? (Bk. 3)and The Middle School Confidential iPad App: Be Confident in Who You Are by Annie Fox from Free Spirit Publishing.

Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (Middle School Confidential)The Middle School Confidential Series are about tough topics middle school students face.  There are three books in the series, Be Confident in Who You Are (Middle School Confidential Series) (Bk. 1)Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (Bk. 2), and What's Up with My Family? (Bk. 3). The Middle School Confidential Series are filled with quotes from real students, tips, quizes, and resources. The Middle School Confidential Series are styled like a graphic novel which makes them fun and engaging.

What's Up with My Family? (Middle School Confidential)
Students absolutely love the Middle School Confidential Series I have used the The Middle School Confidential Series with students in 5-8 grade in individual counseling and group counseling.  I could see the potential for using the books for classroom lessons.

The Middle School Confidential iPad App: Be Confident in Who You Are is very cool. On the The Middle School Confidential: Be Confident in Who You Are iPad app page you can view screen shots of the app and a demo. The app can be viewed landscape or portrait, can be viewed zoomed in or full page, and has great sounds and effects. I haven't used the app with students yet, but it would be really cool to get a VGA adapter for the iPad and project it during a classroom lesson.

The Free Spirit website has tons of free downloads related to the Middle School Confidential series including A Leaders Guide to the Middle School Confidential Series, a Meet the Students of Milldale Pageand a parenting podcast by Annie Fox Family Confidential: Secrets to Successful Parenting.

For more great ideas of how to utilize the Middle School Confidential Series in your work with students and to view the book trailer, visit the Middle School Confidential Series post and comment section.

How will you use these resources in your work with students? Were you inspired by one of the partipants comments? Comment below, tweet, or contact Danielle, 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.  Connect with Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.
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