Wednesday, May 30, 2012

School Counselor Spotlight: Great iPad Apps for School Counselors

Are you looking for great iPad apps to utilize with students as a school counselor? Andrea Burston, an Elementary School Counselor in Raleigh, North Carolina and author of jyjoynercounselor, has the spotlight and will be sharing some of her favorite apps she utilizes as a school counselor.  


Great iPad Apps for School Counselors
by Andrea J. Burston, Raleigh, NC

Many of us are now getting and using iPads in our schools.  They certainly make a great addition to our programs!  I now find that I use mine fairly regularly (some days more than others, it just depends on the day).  I'm often asked about which apps that I recommend to school counselors and how they are used.  So here's my list (in no particular order).  Most of these apps are free, however,  for the few apps that I bought, I used an iTunes gift card (put that on your school wish list for next year). 

Scribble Press (free): Story creating app that students really enjoy!  The stories are pre-made and the students can fill in the blanks with their info.  Can be used as a getting to know you activity in both individual and group settings (in a group setting this would be great to use for those of you that have school sets of iPod touches).


Puppet Pals HD (free but there's a paid $2.99 version): My students LOVE this app, another story creation app where students can take pictures of themselves from the iPad camera roll and insert themselves into a story.  There was so much interest from the students in this app that I purchased the $2.99 version.  It was well worth it.




Dragon Dictation (free): Need a break from typing on the smaller (and sometimes difficult) iPad keyboard?  Just speak and dragon will transfer your voice into written text.  I know of counselors that record notes and reminders for themselves using Dragon. You can edit, save & email those notes.  When I taught computer applications classes, we did a unit on using Dragon and it has come a LONG way, it's so much better now.


iRewardChart Lite (free but there's a paid $3.99 version): I've used a sticker chart during my groups to keep track of behaviors of students and offered a reward once they earned a certain number of stars.  Well just imagine that being kept track on the iPad.  You can take their picture, set up each student and easily keep track of their stars.  This also is great to use for groups using iPod touches, because the iReward app can be synched on several devices.


CloudOn (free):  Awesome app that allows you to open, edit, create and save Microsoft office documents.  CloudOn also synches with Dropbox so you can easily access your files.


Pulse News (free):  This is one of my favorite apps!  Read all your favorite news feeds, tweets  and blogs in one spot.  I use Pulse to read all of my counselor blogs that I follow.  I can't say enough about this app. 


Dropbox (free):  If you already have a Dropbox account, another way to access your files.  For those of you not familiar with Dropbox, it's free online storage for pictures, files, documents.  I use Dropbox every day.

Blogger (free): Many us are blogging (or are planning to blog).  This is the app to do so.  I'll admit that I don't actually type my blog posts on my iPad (I like the keyboard of my laptop) but when I take pictures I usually use my iPad and I can easily upload the picture to the blog using this app.  There's also an app for those of you that use WordPress.


TeacherPal (free):  This is great to organize groups and keep track of who's in which group.


Breathe2Relax (free): Neat calm app that helps students inhale and exhale with their breathing to relax or calm down.


You Can Handle Them All ($1.99):  Great tips on how to handle children's inappropriate behaviors.  This app is so popular/helpful that all the school psychologists in my district have iPads and this app is on each one! 




For more apps and info on using the iPad check out the school counselor iPad wiki.


I own an iPad and I absolutely love it!  I jumped at the chance to have Andrea share iPad apps that she uses in her everyday work as an elementary school counselor! Up until this point I have really only used my iPad for personal use... I love using Flipboard to keep up with my social networks. I am looking forward to using the iPad apps that Andrea recommended in my work with students! 

I also love that Andrea's iPad app recommendations are free or inexpensive, which makes them totally budget friendly! 

What iPad apps can't you live without? How do you use iPad apps in your work as a school counselor?

As a side note I am so excited to present the Web 2.0 Technology Smackdown with Andrea and a panel of tech savvy school counselors (Julia V. TaylorDr. Erin Mason, and Dr. Russ Sabella) at the ASCA National Conference on June 25th


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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Diva's Day Out!: Tear Down the Negativity!

It was a pretty awesome sight to see 50+ 4th and 5th grade girls circled up in our school gymnasium for our Diva's Day Out program!

To kick off our Diva's Day Out program we spoke to students about relational aggression.  We asked for examples of how girls bully other girls. We received lots of examples, including rolling their eyes, talking behind her back, spreading rumors, not letting her join your group or hang out with you, etc. We explained relational aggression includes ways of being mean or hurtful to someone with by damaging the person's relationships or social status. We talked about different types of bullying (including physical, verbal, emotional, and cyber-bullying) and how relational aggression plays a role.

Get Out the Negativity!
One of our goals for the day was to help foster positive peer relationships among the girls. We also wanted to do an activity to get out the negativity and reward students for positive interactions. We instructed girls to brainstorm a time when she experienced relational aggression or participated in using relational aggression against another girl.

We used a large piece of purple roll paper and instructed girls to use markers to share instances in which they experienced relational aggression or participated in using relational aggression against another girl. We thought this would be cathartic to get it out and tell what they experienced.

Students writing about their experiences with relational aggression.
Here are some examples of some of the things girls wrote:




Tear Down the Negativity!
After all of the girls recorded an instance of relational aggression, we hung the poster on the bleachers.
We explained that during the day the girls would be able to "Tear Down the Negativity" when they experienced a positive situation with another girl.  For example, they could tear down a piece of the "Negativity" if they gave a compliment to someone else or received a compliment.  They could also tear down a piece of "Negativity" if they helped someone do something or someone else helped them.  In order to rip a piece of "negativity" down, they had to find an adult facilitator and explain to them the positive interaction they had.

The girls loved "Tearing Down the Negativity!"
Students tearing down the negativity from the posters
I printed out signs for around the poster (shown above) on AstroBrights card stock. Click on either of the images below to download a printable PDF version of signs.



This post is part of a series on a Diva's Day Out program my co-school counselor and I hosted for 4th and 5th grade girls. During Diva's Day Out students participated in activities focusing on fitness, nutrition, self-esteem, relational aggression, and body image.

Posts about the Diva's Day Out Program:
Diva's Day Out
Diva's Day Out!: Tear Down the Negativity!

Have you ever hosted a Girls Night Out, Boys Night Out, or single gender event? What types of activities did you facilitate?

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.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Diva's Day Out!

Life has been crazy for me lately (in a good way!) and I have been trying to play catch up. There are so many things I want to update you on, but I don't know where to start. Diva's Day Out seemed as good of a place to start as any... so... here we go!
On May 16th my co-school counselor and I hosted a Diva's Day Out for 4th and 5th grade girls. Diva's Day Out was a big success and girls are still talking about how much fun they had and how awesome it was! Yay!

We scheduled Diva's Day Out on a day where we had a half day and received parental permission for the girls to stay after school from 12:30pm - 3:00pm. We had approximately 50 4th and 5th grade Divas in attendance! (Side note we also required all of the girls in our Girls on the Run and Girls on Track programs to participate... more about GOTR later!)

During Diva's Day Out students participated in activities focusing on fitness, nutrition, self-esteem, relational aggression, and body image.

We made up an acrostic for DIVA and what students would learn by participating in the Diva's Day Out activities.


This post is part of a series on a Diva's Day Out program my co-school counselor and I hosted for 4th and 5th grade girls. During Diva's Day Out students participated in activities focusing on fitness, nutrition, self-esteem, relational aggression, and body image.

Posts about the Diva's Day Out Program:
Diva's Day Out
Diva's Day Out!: Tear Down the Negativity!


Have you ever hosted a Girls Night Out, Boys Night Out, or single gender event? What types of activities did you facilitate?

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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You Deserve to be in the SPOTLIGHT!


I want to put you in the spotlight!

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Used Textbooks = $$$

If you know anything about me, you know I love a great deal!

This weekend while my husband and I were doing some spring cleaning I stumbled upon text books from graduate school and my undergraduate studies. I decided to list them on Half.com because they have been taking up precious space and were not being used. That's when I discovered Instant Sale on Half.com!

It has been awhile since I bought or sold a text book and I must tell you I was pretty excited when I found out I could instantly sell books back on Half.com. I was so excited to find out that my books were actually still worth something. One of them was worth $20! Shocking!

When selling your book through Instant Sale, you have the option of getting a half.com gift card (with a bonus 15%) or PayPal funds as payment. Another perk is that is FREE to ship your books to Half.com. Once you get a price for your book you get a printable shipping label to mail your book.

Using Half.com Instant Sale was quick, easy, and profitable! I can't wait to sell more textbooks that are taking up space!

You can also instantly sell textbooks, books, electronics, and other items to Amazon.com's Trade-In program in exchange for Amazon.com gift cards. Amazon.com sends you a free printable UPS label to send your items.

Between Half.com Instant Sale and Amazon.com Trade-In I was able to receive $75 dollars for my used textbooks! I still have more to sort through, but I think this is a pretty lucrative start! :)

What do you do with your used text books? Where do you purchase textbooks?

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.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Free Spirit Publishing Blog Post: Engaging the Disengaged Student

I have a new post on Free Spirit Publishing's BlogCheck out my post about making school more meaningful for disengaged students: Engaging the Disengaged Student


I started blogging for Free Spirit Publishing's Blog in April of 2012! I love Free Spirit's books and I am so excited to contribute to Free Spirit's Blog, "a springboard of ideas for teachers, counselors, and anyone who cares about kids!"

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.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

School Counselor Gift Idea: Portable Sand Tray Gift "Basket"

When I give new school counselors gifts, I want them to be fun and functional! I want to give them something they will actually use in their work as a new school counselor or school counseling intern.

Last year, I gave my school counseling intern a gift of a portable sand tray.  Instead of just giving her a container of sand I wanted to make a gift "basket" of things she could use to get her started as a school counselor.

In addition to a storage container and sand (see the portable sand tray post for more details) I used colorful tissue paper to wrap some fun items she could use.

First up, BUBBLES! :) 
What school counselor doesn't love bubbles.  There are so many ways school counselors can utilize bubbles in sessions with students!

Squishy Ball!
I got this Squishy Ball at the Target dollar spot (have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Target dollar spot?!).  Balls like this are great for students to fidget with when they are anxious or feeling angry.  You   can give squishy balls like this a good squeeze and relieve some stress!

Sand Toys!
Students love to dig in the sand. Sand Toys like these ones are easy to find this time of the year! 

Army People
Army People are a sand tray must have! They get used VERY often in my sand tray at school. Many battles and conflicts take place using Army People. It is great if you can find them in multiple colors because one color usually ends up being "good" and the other side is "bad." You can find Army People at Dollar Tree, Target Dollar Spot, and most toy stores!

A chick... in an egg?!
Ok, so there's a story behind this one. 




My intern saw this comic in 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. She loved this visual image of changing your perspective or pattern of thinking.

So, I searched far and wide to find her something with a chick and an egg to symbolize the "paradigm shift." This Eggbert the Chick Beanie Baby couldn't have been more perfect! It is something she can have in her future office and use as an example for students!

There are lots of other items you could add to a Portable Sand Tray gift "basket." What other gift ideas do you have for a school counselor intern or new school counselor?

Here are some previous posts I wrote about gift ideas for school counselors:

Gift Ideas for School Counseling Interns, Graduate Students, and New School Counselors

Relaxation Basket

School Counselor Survival Kit

Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote (Giveaway and 10% off your order ends 5/13/12 at 11:59pmEST!)

My office tours also feature lots of great items that any new school counselor would love!

My 2010-2011 Office

My Current Office

I'd love to hear your 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 emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Never Too Late to Appreciate! Water-Bottle Gift Idea and FREE Printable

Today is the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week. One week just does not seem like enough appreciation for any educational professional! We need encouragement and appreciation all year round!

Way back in February, my co-school counselor and I made decided to make water-bottle gifts for staff during National School Counseling Week. My co-school counselor saw something similar on Pinterest.

We purchased bulk packs of water bottles and individual drink mix packets in a variety of flavors. We printed the message "Together we help  'quench' the 'thirst' for knowledge! We appreciate you!" on yellow card stock. We then punched a hole in the top and tied the cards on with embroidery floss.  We used glue dots to affix the individual drink mix packets to the cards.

The water bottles turned out really cute and the staff loved them!  They were inexpensive, simple, and quick to make. I love that they look so bright and cheery!


These water bottles are a simple gift you can give any time of the year! They would especially be a great end of year token of appreciation for school staff!

I created a pdf printable version of the cards you can use to appreciate staff at your school! Click on the image below to download the printable.
What message would you write on water bottles to staff?  What other tokens of appreciation have you given or received 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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Free Spirit Bully Free Bundle Giveaway! (Ends 5/8/12 at 8:59am CDT!)

Free Spirit Publishing is hosting a Bully Free Bundle Giveaway!  The giveaway ends Wednesday, May 9th at 8:59 CDT!  They are giving away some of my FAVORITE items in two different bundles! Don't miss out on the opportunity to enter this awesome giveaway!

To enter the giveaway, visit the Bully Free Bundle Giveaway Post or click on one of the pictures below.

What are your favorite Free Spirit items?

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.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

{Giveaway!} Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote with FREE Personalization


As you know I love to share great finds with you and reward my readers.  With graduations and the end of the school year coming up I wanted to do a giveaway that any school counselor or aspiring school counselor could benefit from.

I recently became a Thirty-One independent consultant! I absolutely love that Thirty-One products are both fun and functional! There are so many great products that would be perfect for school counselors, which is why I was drawn to the items in the first place!

There are so many great Thirty-One items that would make great graduation gifts and gifts for the end of an internship!

I am hosting a giveaway of a Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote with FREE (optional) Personalization! *THIS IS A $37 value!*  The Organizing Utility Tote is 10.25"H x 15.5"W x 6.5"D with a 12" handle drop.  It features durable laminated nylon and seven exterior pockets (two of which are mesh).  It currently comes in 14 different patterns and one booking bonus pattern.


As an added bonus for School Counselor Blog readers will also receive a discount when ordering from the School Counselor Blog Thirty-One Party! You will receive 10% off your order before shipping and sales tax! Feel free to share this great offer with your friends and family! In addition to 10% off your order through the School Counselor Blog Thirty-One Party you will also receive a BONUS entry for the Organizing Utility Tote! :) All orders will be submitted on May 14th at 12:01am. To place an order just visit:  School Counselor Blog Thirty-One Party. *** Although this contest is now closed you can still shop my Thirty-One Store!


Thirty-One is having a great customer special for May right now! For every $31 you spend in May you can purchase a All-in-One organizer for just $5!  You can view the full Summer Catalog here.

**The 10% discount will be reflected after order is submitted and your card is charged.

View pictures of my Organizing Utility Tote in "Circle Spirals" below.

Here I am with my Organizing Utility Tote. It's helpful to see how big it is ;). 

The Organizing Utility Tote in "circle spirals." 
Personalization is my initials in style 34 and embroidery in 12 (brown). 

Organizing Utility Tote view of the inside.

Back view of the Organizing Utility Tote. There are three pockets on the back.

Front view of the Organizing Utility Tote. There are two pockets on the front.

Side view of the Organizing Utility Tote.  There is a mesh pocket on each side.

For this giveaway I am utilizing a Rafflecopter. See below to enter!
 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

#SCCHAT Transcript: Basics of Legislative Advocacy

May's #SCCHAT was held on May 1, 2012 at 8pmEST.

We chatted about Basics of Legislative Advocacy.  

Check out the full chat transcript! Note: In the tweet chat we used PD to stand for Professional Development and PSC to stand for Professional School Counselor (this helped us save valuable characters!)

To access all of the tweets with the hashtag #scchat, click here.

We are hosting a BONUS #SCCHAT on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 1:00pmEST during the Rhode Island School Counselor Association State Conference! We will be chatting about Setting Realistic and Measurable Goals.

The next School Counselor Tweet Chat is on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at 8pmEST. We will making plans for the school counselor Tweet Up in Minneapolis, MN at the ASCA National Conference.

View the 2012 School Counselor Tweet Chat schedule and transcripts here.

For information on how to participate in a future School Counselor Tweet Chat, click here!

Click here for transcripts of the 2011 School Counselor Tweet Chats.

School Counselor Tweet Chat is a collaboration between School Counselor Blog and SCOPE.

Did you participate in the School Counselor Tweet Chat? What did you think about it? What new ideas did you learn? Comment below or share via twitter #scchat!

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