Saturday, March 31, 2012

School Counselor Tweet Chat: Effective Professional Development for Professional School Counselors

The next School Counselor Tweet Chat is Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 8pmEST!

The topic of School Counselor Tweet Chat this month is Effective Professional Development for Professional School Counselors. Jenn Grossman (@MSCAJennifer) will be our moderator for the #scchat!

Join us and share ideas about professional development for professional school counselors! Participating in #scchat is a great way to build your own professional learning network!

For directions on how to participate in a School Counselor Tweet Chatclick here.

Join School Counselor Blog and SCOPE for #scchat the first Tuesday of the month @ 8pmEST!  View the School Counselor Tweet Chat schedule for dates and topics!

Click here for a list of past School Counselor Tweet Chats and full transcripts.

If you are interested in moderating a School Counselor Tweet Chat, direct message me on twitter!

Erin Mason is a former Middle School Counselor, now Counselor Educator who manages SCOPE, a group blog dedicated to chronicling the positive impact of School Counseling professionals. Connect with Erin via email, follow her on Twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the SCOPE 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 emailTwitterPinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

School Counselor Spotlight: Student Created Test Taking Tip Bulletin Board

I am excited to announce a new feature on School Counselor Blog - School Counselor Spotlight!

School Counselor Spotlight is a way for you to share your innovative ideas, creative lessons, and quality resources with School Counselor Blog readers!

After reading about my To Proficiency and Beyond! Test Taking Tip Bulletin Board, School Counselor Blog reader Kristin shared a test-taking tip bulletin board she created with the help of her students!


Hi Danielle, 

I have been enjoying your school counselor blog most of the year. It helps to inspire me for activities and bulletin boards.


I wanted to let you know that for my test taking bulletin board I actually work with 4th graders and have them brainstorm test taking tips that they would give 3rd graders (who are taking the State Assessments for the first time).. This makes the 4th graders the teachers and the 3rd graders love to see the 4th graders work. After each group of 4th graders has a tip then I take a picture of them acting it out (so if the tip is to eat a good breakfast then they are pretending to eat, if it is get a good night sleep then they are yawning or have eyes closed) then I print the picture out and hang it over the test tip that they have written out and decorated. everyone has fun.


Thanks, Kristin 


Oh, BTW I am a k-6 counselor at an elementary school in Fairbanks, Alaska.


Below are pictures of Kristin's student created bulletin board!



She had students share the tips and "act out" the tips in the pictures.



Here are some close up pictures of the tips that students generated.  Tips included eat a good breakfast, arrive at school on time, stay positive, think your question through, get plenty of sleep, Hakuna Matata (no worries), and take your time.


I was so excited when Kristin shared her idea with me. It inspired me to create the School Counselor Spotlight so I can share her idea and other ideas that readers send me with everyone who reads School Counselor Blog! 

I love that Kristin made a student created bulletin board. She gave students ownership and introduced them to the younger grade as "experts." Students felt great to be "experts" and teach younger students something!

Having a visual representation of each tip was a great idea! Having students act out the different tips is also a nice touch! It looks like the students had a lot of fun acting out the various tips!  

Thank you Kristin for sharing this great idea and being the first School Counselor in the School Counselor Spotlight! 

What do you think of this School Counselor Spotlight? Have you ever had students help you create a bulletin board? What test taking tips do you share with students?


Do you have an innovative idea, creative lesson, or quality resource you want to share with other school counselors? Have you done something to make a positive impact on your students, your school, and yourself? School Counselor Spotlight is a way for you to share your innovative ideas, creative lessons, and quality resources with School Counselor Blog readers!

Send your stories, ideas, creative lessons, and/or resources to danielle@schcounselor.com with School Counselor Spotlight in the subject line. Please include a description of the idea, lesson, or resource, including costs, inspiration, pictures and how it impacted your students or school!
**Photos must be of good quality and unedited.** 

Chosen ideas and stories will be featured in the School Counselor Spotlight on School Counselor Blog!

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 emailTwitterPinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 2

Wow, time has flown by since I wrote the Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 1 post! Since I wrote the post I have facilitated the Bullying and Bar Graph: Part 1 in six classrooms and have facilitated the Bullying and Bar Graphs Part 2 in three classrooms. Students love seeing their results and having a conversation about what the bullying issues are in their classroom.



Preparing for Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 2

Bar Graph Paper
I used Post-it Self Stick easel paper. Using eight pieces of Post-it Self Stick easel paper, I wrote one of the eight questions on each sheet.  I then created an x and y axis for students to use when graphing each question.

I also cut sheets of Post-it Self Stick easel paper into four pieces and labeled it "solutions" sheet for each question.

Question Bags
I found these mini purple canvas bags over the summer before school started this year in the dollar spot at Target.
They were sold in three-packs for $1.00, but they were on sale for $0.25 (75% off!). I wasn't sure what to use them for at the time but I purchased them anyway. I couldn't pass up a price like that! I got lots of feedback on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page of ways I could use the mini-canvas bags.

I was excited to finally use the mini canvas bags for this lesson!

I decided to use the mini-canvas bags to accompany each question.


I printed the 1-8 cards on to a piece of AstroBrights hot pink cardstock. I then used a Fiskars Scalloped Squeeze punch that I recently purchased to cut out a tag for on each bag. I stapled the tag to the front of each bag.

I then filled each numbered question bag with the student response cards from each question. I also added few markers so students could write solutions on their solution sheet. ***Note: It is very important to check the results of the survey and compare that to the student responses. Some of the response cards did not match the survey results and I had to fix the bags before the lesson to make it accurate.

Facilitating Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 2
Armed with my question bags and pre-made graph sheets I headed to the classrooms.  My intern and I stuck the graph sheets and solution sheet on the walls throughout the classroom. We then did an example of what we wanted students to do.

I explained that they would open up their question bag and take out the orange and green response cards. They would then affix the cards to the graph sheet.

We then explained that as a group they would need to look at their graph and try to figure out what the graph was saying. They then would try to come up with solutions for the results of their graph or ways they as a class could combat the problem.

***Note: We walked around and put lines of adhesive dots on each student's graph sheet so they could easily stick the response cards on. We used this instead of tape so that we could reuse the cards and the graph sheets. The adhesive dots come off easily when rubbed. Another way you could do this is to laminate the graph sheets. Our laminator at school isn't working so I didn't have that option.  I divided students in to seven groups by having them count off.

I divided students up into seven groups by having them count off. I gave each group a bag and instructed them to find the graph with the same number as their bag.


Here is an example of a completed graph sheet with student responses. The question was "Was someone mean to you because of how you look?"  15 students responded "Yes" and 12 students responded "No." We can see from this graph that over 50% of the class has experienced someone being mean to them because of how they look.

Students came up with solutions for their questions that included "telling an adult," telling a teacher, counselor, or parent," "walking away," "ignoring the situation," etc.

I am planning to help students to come up with more proactive and preventative solutions through providing classroom lessons on various topics related to bullying.

Facilitating this lesson and using the student responses were great way to help me determine what follow up lessons are needed in the grade level and what problems are most prevalent in each class. Out of all of the classes name-calling was the number one problem.

So, it looks like I will be doing a follow-up lesson soon on name-calling!

How will you use the results of the Bullying and Bar Graphs lesson? Have you ever facilitated a lesson that integrates another subject? 

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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

M.I.A.

I feel like I have been M.I.A. (Missing In Action) from School Counselor Blog this week and wanted to check in with you!

First off... I must share that school has been crazy lately.

A former student died recently. He touched so many students' and teachers' lives.

Thankfully, my intern, co-school counselor, the school social worker, and the school social worker's intern were all available to respond to students' needs.  This was definitely an example of why it it was a good choice to move to the student services suite. We were all there to support students and utilized all of our space.  We also had the support of a school counselor from another building (who happens to be my best friend) and a school psychologist from a different building.  I was so grateful that we had so many people able to help and support students. It was a very sad and trying day; it made me feel so much less alone to have them all there.  

Last Tuesday we started our state assessments. My role this year has been different than in previous years... I have not been involved in any of the coordination but I have been testing students and doing make-up tests. Unfortunately, testing and doing make-ups takes up lots of my time that I could be meeting with students individually, in groups and facilitating classroom lessons.

My intern and I worked out a plan to try to start some more groups. This year it has been challenging to start groups and have them be consistent because of how different things in the building have been.  We are working on it though!

I have also been working this past week to recruit speakers for Career Cafe. We have hosted three so far this year and my goal was to host more than we did last year, which was eight.  So... I have a little ways to go, but I am hopeful that I will make it happen.

Last week also was my first week serving as a coach for Girls on the Run! It has been so much fun so far. I love that it combines a group counseling feel with physical activity! The girls really love it and so do the assistant coaches and volunteers. We are running two groups at my school a younger elementary group and a Girls on Track group for middle school aged girls. I can't wait to see what progress we will make by May when we run our 5K as a group! I am sure I will update you along the way!

I have also been taking random and festive pictures of my cats. They are not amused. ;)

I also have some other exciting things coming up and in the works right now...

  • Starting in April I will be blogging for Free Spirit Publishing!  The blog is not officially out yet, but as soon as it is I will give you the link so you can start following! 
  • I mentioned this previously, but I am teaching an Introduction to School Counseling Course at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in May. I am very excited to teach this course and I have been working on creating a syllabus. I already have a Google+ hangout planned for the course with a class at Arcadia.  
  • I just booked my flight to Minneapolis for the American School Counselor Association National Conference in June! I will be presenting Web 2.0 and Technology Smackdown with Julia V. Taylor, Dr. Russ Sabella, and Dr. Erin Mason.  I am so excited! An additional reason I am excited is that I am traveling and rooming with Barbara Miccuci, ASCA's 2010 School Counselor of the Year. I love Barb and I can't help feeling starstruck! :)
So I am sure there are other things going on that I am leaving out, but I just wanted to let you know what I have been up to and let you know that I didn't fall off the face of the Earth! 

I am looking forward to sharing Part 2 of my Bullying and Bar Graph lesson with you soon! I also will be posting the March #SCCHAT soon too!

What have you been up to? I would love to hear from you!


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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"To Proficiency...and Beyond!" FREE PRINTABLES

If you liked (or LOVED) the To Proficiency... and Beyond! test-taking tip bulletin board I shared just in time for state testing, you are going to LOVE this post where I share FREE PRINTABLE PDF files containing the letters and words for the bulletin board! I have gotten lots of great feedback about the bulletin board at school and online! :)


I am so excited to provide you with FREE PRINTABLES of the words that I used on the To Proficiency... and Beyond! test-taking tip bulletin board so you can make your own!
The TO PROFICIENCY... AND BEYOND! Bulletin Board Letters PDF file contains the letters for "TO PROFICIENCY... AND BEYOND!" for the To Proficiency... and Beyond! bulletin board.


I printed all of the words and letters for the bulletin board on AstroBrights card stock and cut them down to the size I wanted with a paper cutter.

The font I used to create the bulletin board is Love Ya Like a Sister by Kimberly Geswein. I downloaded the font from the 1001 Free Fonts website, which has amazing FREE fonts! 

Will you be making a To Proficiency... and Beyond! bulletin board at your school? What do you do to prepare for state testing at your school?

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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"To Proficiency... and Beyond!" Test-Taking Tips Bulletin Board


I don't know what it's like in your state, but testing season is creeping up fast in Pennsylvania! I was so excited to finally get a chance this week to make a bulletin board to highlight test-taking tips!

First off, I have to give a  HUGE SHOUT OUT to Gail, a School Counselor Blog reader, who shared a great idea for a test-taking slogan! Gail found a cute rocket Valentine on Pinterest and thought of a rocket theme for state testing using the slogan "To proficiency... and beyond!" (Like Buzz Lightyear! Get it?!)  I immediately loved it and thought it would be awesome to create a bulletin board with a rocket theme for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test.

So, this week my school counseling intern, co-school counselor, and I got to work making "TO PROFICIENCY... AND BEYOND!" test-taking tips bulletin board.  It was so much fun to create and put together. I must say it turned out even better than I anticipated.

We used four large pieces of black roll paper to make the background for the bulletin board. We made the rocket using purple roll paper, blue roll paperAstroBrights card stock, and foil circles for the windows. We used yellow and orange tissue paper for the flames at the bottom. I also used some leftover yellow ribbon from another project as a finishing touch on the rocket!

I used my Cricut Expression to cut out stars using the Plantin Schoolbook Cricut Cartridge.

I printed the test taking tips and the "TO PROFICIENCY... AND BEYOND!" slogan onto AstroBrights card stock and cut them down to size with a paper cutter.

We made the test-taking tips to look like they were tails of shooting stars!


Here is a close up of a star that says "Do your best!"


Here are a few more test-taking tips we came up with.


Get a good night's sleep!
Relax!
Eat a healthy breakfast!
If you are feeling frustrated, take a deep breath!
Take your time!
Have a positive attitude!

I am made printable PDF versions of the test-taking tips and the "TO PROFICIENCY... AND BEYOND!" slogan that you can download! Visit my To Proficiency... and Beyond! FREE PRINTABLES post for details and to download PDF files!

Let me know what you think of the "TO PROFICIENCY... AND BEYOND!" bulletin board!

Also, check out "To Proficiency... and BEYOND!" items in the School Counselor Blog Store!

What test-taking tip or state testing bulletin boards have you made? Do you have a theme for any activities related to state testing? 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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Stop Stealing Dreams: (What is School For?)"

I am not sure if I mentioned this before on my blog, but I am HUGE Seth Godin fan. (Thanks to my daD!)  I am even using one of Seth Godin's books, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? as required reading for the Introduction to School Counseling course that I am teaching in May.

The other day my dad sent me one of Seth Godin's latest manifestos. This one is about school and is titled Stop Stealing Dreams: (What is School For?).  I am making Stop Stealing Dreams required reading for my Introduction to School Counseling Course too.

Stop Stealing Dreams is a must read and a must share. Stop Stealing Dreams is FREE to encourage sharing and discussion.

I hope Stop Stealing Dreams: (What are Schools For?) start's a much needed national discussion about how schools need to move out of the factory mindset and prepare for the jobs of the 21st century.  This is of utmost importance because school counselors play a critical role in education reform and transformation.

I am interested in hearing your reaction to this manifesto! I encourage you to comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page to start a discussion! If you choose to discuss on twitter, use the hashtag #stopstealingdreams

Visit www.stopstealingdreams.com to download many different versions of this FREE digital manifesto.  There is even a PDF version if you prefer to print it out and read it hard copy.

As a side note... I would love to have a book club or book group over the summer discussing Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? and other books! Let me know if you would be interested in participating!

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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Group Ideas and Overcoming Group Challenges #SCCHAT


The next School Counselor Tweet Chat is Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 8pmEST!

The topic of School Counselor Tweet Chat this month is Group Ideas and Overcoming Group Challenges. Natalie Spencer (@nspencerlpc) will be our moderator for the #scchat!

We will be sharing ideas about groups and ways to overcome group challenges!

For directions on how to participate in a School Counselor Tweet Chatclick here.

Join School Counselor Blog and SCOPE for #scchat the first Tuesday of the month @ 8pmEST!  View the School Counselor Tweet Chat schedule for dates and topics!

Click here for a list of past School Counselor Tweet Chats and full transcripts.

If you are interested in moderating a School Counselor Tweet Chat, direct message me on twitter!

Erin Mason is a former Middle School Counselor, now Counselor Educator who manages SCOPE, a group blog dedicated to chronicling the positive impact of School Counseling professionals. Connect with Erin via email, follow her on Twitter, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the SCOPE 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 emailTwitterPinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 1

While planning bullying lessons for 5th grade classes, I found a great lesson, "Bullying Survey," from Teaching Tolerance. This activity not only starts a conversation about bullying, but can easily be integrated into a math class!

I facilitated a two part lesson based on the "Bullying Survey" activity from Teaching Tolerance. The activity includes giving the students a bullying survey and having students graph the survey results. Through this activity, students see what the problem areas are in their classroom and provide solutions for the problem areas.

I scheduled thirty minutes for each Part of the lesson.

Preparation for Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 1
Students respond to the pencil and paper version bullying survey and then use "tickets" to record their answers for the graphs.

I thought double sided response cards would make it easier for students to record their answers for the bullying survey.  I made two sets of cards for each student using AstroBrights cardstock. I made a neon green set of response cards with "YES" on one side and 1-8 on the other side and neon orange set of response cards cards with "NO" on one side and 1-8 on the other side.  I put a set of "yes" cards and "no" cards in a plastic zipper bag for each student.


On the first try I had kids pass out loose response cards to their classmates. Needless to say it was a little chaotic. Handing the response cards out in plastic zipper bags worked MUCH better.

If you are facilitating this activity for multiple classes back to back it is important to note that you will need to resort the cards after each class so you have enough cards for each student.  I scheduled the lessons so I would facilitate both parts of the lesson with one class before I starting the next set of lessons with another classroom.

You can download the template for the cards I created by clicking on the images or on the highlighted text. You will need to print the 1-8 cards and the document with the yes and no cards. Then, assemble them to print double sided.

Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 1
I started Part 1 of the lesson by handing out the bullying survey and a bag of cards to students. I passed the bullying surveys out face down and told them not to flip the survey over until I instructed them to do so.

I stated the following to students:

Each student has two sets of cards, a yes set and a no set.  The cards have numbers on the back for each question on the bullying survey.  While we are taking the survey, I want you to record your answer on your bullying survey paper and pick the card that matches your answer for each question.  


For example, if I am answering YES to question number one, I would take out the green yes card with the one on the back and put it aside.  The next question if I picked no for my answer, I would find the orange no card with a 2 on the back.


I am the only one who will see your personal answers. In order for us to see what bullying problems exist in your classroom it is important for you to answer honestly. 

After explaining what students would do while taking the survey, I read each question aloud to students.

After each questions I instructed students:

If you are answering yes you will pick the green yes card with the number _______ on the back. If you are answering no to this question, you will pick the orange no card with the number ______ on the back. 

When students completed the survey, I collected their paper copies and their green and orange response cards.  I asked students to put the cards they did not use for their responses in their plastic zipper bags so it was easier for me to come around and collect their responses.

In Bullying and Bar Graphs: Part 2 I discuss how I facilitated the second half of the lesson.

How would you use the Teaching Tolerance Bullying Survey with students? How have you integrated a school counseling lesson into a core subject?


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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.
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