Monday, July 30, 2012

New Free Spirit Publishing Blog Post: Small Gesture, Big Impact

I have a new post on Free Spirit Publishing's BlogCheck out my post Small Gesture, Big Impact about how a simple gesture can make someone's day. I give some fun low-cost ideas in this post! 
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, July 28, 2012

Career Café: Inviting Students

Career Café is an opportunity for students to learn about careers from individuals in their community. One of my biggest success as a school counselor has been starting a Career Café at my school. Students absolutely love Career Café, it is a blast to host, and it meets ASCA Student Standard in the Career Domain. Career Cafe can also be geared toward any level - elementary, middle, or high school!

I have gotten tons of inquiries and questions about hosting a Career Café. I am creating a series of posts to explain Career Café in greater detail and provide you with the tools you need to start a Career Café at your school. 



Selecting Students to Participate 
One the most frequently asked questions I receive about Career Café is "how do you decide which students you invite?"

This answer may be different for everyone who is reading this post! We all work in different size schools with different grades and different populations of students. We may serve elementary students, middle school students, high school students or even college students! We may have 300 students on our caseload or 3,000! 

I must reiterate the best part about Career Café is that you can make it fit YOUR needs and YOUR population! 

If you are planning to start Career Café for the first time ever I would recommend targeting a specific population or group at your school. Starting out with one grade level or group will be much more manageable. If I had to do it all over again I would have made Career Café for specific grade levels instead of trying to do it for every grade I served. My original goal was to serve as many students as I could. More is not always better. When you are trying to create a program from the ground up you want to be purposeful about what group you want to serve.

Once you decide which group you will be pulling students from, you can use career interest inventories to determine which students to invite to specific sessions. You could also use a Career Café sign up sheet for extra spots or for students or for other students who express an interest in a specific Career Café. Click on the image below for a PDF version.


*If you want some specific advice of which students to select, catered to your school and needs, leave a comment below or contact me!

Inviting Students to Career Café
Now for the fun part! Inviting students! 

Career Café Passes
Students absolutely love to be invited to Career Café! To manage this, I make sure to give invited students passes.  There are a few different ways you can create passes for Career Café. 

Create Passes a Word Processing Program
I used a Microsoft Word postcard template to make the Career Café pass below. You can download a printable PDF version of this pass and use it at your school! 


You could also make a generic pass without a specific date and time and laminate it so you could re-use it for each session.

Create Passes Using VistaPrint
I love using VistaPrint to create items for school! I created postcard size passes and business card size passes for my Career Café.  The VistaPrint Career Café passes I created look professional and give the feel of a cohesive theme. 
BACK
You can create your own Career Café passes on VistaPrint or order them from the School Counselor Blog store

I delivered passes to students on the morning of the Career Café. I wanted to make sure students were present so I accounted for the correct number of students. I wrote the students' names on the top of their pass. (Some students wanted to go to Career Café so badly that they would take other students' passes! Writing names on the passes curbed that problem.)

How do you determine which students to invite to Career Café? How do you create passes or invite students?

This post is the fifth post in a series of how to host a Career Café at your school. 
Career Café: Location, Location, Location!
Career Café: Setting a Schedule
Career Café: Career Interest Resources Elementary, Middle, and High School
Career Café: Recruiting Speakers

Read other posts about Career Café:

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, July 26, 2012

Career Café: Recruiting Speakers

Career Café is an opportunity for students to learn about careers from individuals in their community. One of my biggest success as a school counselor has been starting a Career Café at my school. Students absolutely love Career Café, it is a blast to host, and it meets ASCA Student Standard in the Career Domain. Career Cafe can also be geared toward any level - elementary, middle, or high school!

I have gotten tons of inquiries and questions about hosting a Career Café. I am creating a series of posts to explain Career Café in greater detail and provide you with the tools you need to start a Career Café at your school. 

Since starting Career Café I have hosted 13 speakers (8 the first year and 7 the second year).  I was worried at first that I would not be able to find speakers, but in the words of Kevin Costner from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come!" 


Recruiting Speakers
You can start with recruiting speakers from your own school.  Our first Career Café speaker was an art teacher at my school. Your own school is a great resource to pull from because there are so many different jobs in a school including:
  • Administrative Professional
  • Art Teacher
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Technology Teacher
  • Music Teacher
  • Custodian
  • IT Specialist
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Nurse
  • School Psychologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Principal
  • Social Worker
  • and don't forget School Counselor!

Think outside the box and look at the resources available in your community.  I have had speakers from the following locations:
  • Art Teacher
  • Bank branch manager from a local bank
  • Chef from a local grocery store
  • Worker from the local Humane Society
  • Basketball coach and Student Athletes from a local university
  • Lawyer/Law Professor from a local university
  • Cosmetologist
  • News Anchor from a local TV station
  • Detective from the City Police 
  • Marketing Specialist from a local Grief/Loss Center
  • Performance and Visual Art High School Program
  • Culinary Arts Program County Technical School 
  • Cosmetology Program County Technical School
  • Veterinary Assistant Program County Technical School
  • US Marine

The sky is the limit for recruiting speakers! Here are some more suggestions below. I am sure you have some great ideas so please share them in the comment section! :)
  • Hospital
  • Doctor's office
  • Funeral Home
  • Fire Station
  • Airport
  • Post Office
  • Grocery Store
  • College/University
  • Local Sports Teams (Pro or Semi-Pro)
  • Local CareerLink or Career Service Agency
  • Local specialty businesses
  • and many many more!


Inviting Speakers to Participate
Once I get an idea of who I want to invite I call or send an email.  Below is an example of how I typically explain Career Café to prospective speakers over the phone or through email. I also usually give them the dates we have open so it makes it easy for them to just pick a date.


Feel free to make a copy of this document and edit it to meet your needs!


Preparing Speakers
I do not have a set agenda for speakers but I ask them to talk about the following:
  • How did you become interested in your current field?
  • What education/training did you need for your current position? 
  • Describe a typical day at your job?
  • What advice do you have for students considering a job in your field?
I explain that they have about 15-20 minutes to speak to students including time for questions. 


Speakers are encouraged to bring props, actual items they use in their job, and/or giveaways with their companies logo.  The last 5 minutes I reserve for student questions. I ask students if they have any questions related to the individual's career journey or education.  


How do you recruit Career Café Speakers at your school? What questions do you ask Career Café speakers? How do you prepare them?

This post is the fourth post in a series of how to host a Career Café at your school. 
Career Café: Location, Location, Location!
Career Café: Setting a Schedule
Career Café: Career Interest Resources Elementary, Middle, and High School
Career Café: Recruiting Speakers
Career Café: Inviting Students

Read other posts about Career Café:
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, July 19, 2012

"What You Say in Here, Stays in Here" Banner

I have gotten tons of questions and comments about the "What You Say in Here, Stays in Here" Banner that I have in my school counseling office. 


Shown here in above the desk in the upper left side of the picture.

Also shown here above my desk.

I created the banner using VistaPrint.  I got the idea for the banner from a School Counselor Blog Facebook Page Fan. The banner is made out of indoor vinyl and is 3' x 1.6' in size.

VistaPrint is a great place to order personalized items. In the next few weeks I will be sharing some other great things you can order using VistaPrint

I have been trying to figure out an easy way to share this design with you so that you can reorder it yourself. Unfortunately, when I "share" a design, it does not come up complete with the words. I can share the link to order a banner with this same background, but not the completed banner.

The link below will allow you to design the banner yourself. You can change the font color, font, style, etc.  VistaPrint always has special offers and deals so be sure to google VistaPrint Coupons for coupon codes. Retail Me Not is one of my favorite places to look for coupon codes.

If you want to order the banner right away and do not want to add the text on your own, I have figured out a way that I can order the banner and ship it directly you! I created an online store where you can purchase banners and other items.  You can order the banner by clicking the button below or visit the School Counselor Blog Store for even more banner and product options.


"What You Say In Here, Stays In Here" Vinyl Banner (3' x 1.6')
Whether you design your own or have me ship it to you, this is a great banner to display in your School Counseling office to explain confidentiality to students.

Where do you get posters and banners to hang in your school counseling office? How do you let students know about confidentiality?

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, July 9, 2012

New Free Spirit Publishing Blog Post: Highlights of the American School Counselor Association Conference

I have a new post on Free Spirit Publishing's BlogCheck out my post Highlights of the American School Counselor Association Conference!  I had an awesome time at the conference and learned so many new ideas!


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.

Blouse Box + Creativity = Memory Box

I make memory boxes as an activity during my grief and loss groups. Memory boxes allow students a special place to keep mementos of their loved one. I also use the memory boxes as a place for students to store items we create during our group. At the end of the group students take their memory boxes home with them.

In the past, I have purchased photo boxes like the ones below for students to create memory boxes.  
Photo boxes make great memory boxes but it can be expensive to buy one box per student each time you facilitate a group. 

While searching for after-Christmas bargains, I stumbled upon blouse boxes that were deeply discounted. Blouse boxes are not as sturdy as the photo boxes, but they are a great size. They are blank which was a plus for personalizing them with art supplies. I decided to try them out as memory boxes. 

The boxes I purchased were $2.00 for 5. Since it was during an after season sale I was able to purchase them for 75% off, which meant each box cost me about 10 cents! 



Even if you are not able to purchase blouse boxes at a discount like I did, they are still a great cheap alternative. You can be on the look-out for these boxes at dollar stores and seasonally when they are marked down.

I created this memory box to show students an example of how they could decorate their boxes. 


I used Mod PodgeAlphabet Pasting Pieces, and sequins to decorate my memory box. 

I always explain to students that there is no right or wrong way to decorate their box. They can come up with a title, write their loved one's name on it, write their own name on it, etc. I make all of my craft supplies available so they can decorate their boxes with a variety of different things.

I used the blouse boxes for students in individual and group counseling to create memory boxes this previous school year. Students enjoyed decorating the boxes and filling them with memories of their loved ones and items they created as part of individual counselor or group counseling sessions.

Do you make memory boxes with students? What do you use to make memory boxes? 

Other grief and loss group activities:

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, July 7, 2012

DIY Happy Birthday! / Happy Un-Birthday Wreath!

This past school year I have implemented various ideas to boost staff morale.  

One day while perusing Pinterest, I came across the DIY Birthday Wreath pictured below. 

I thought creating a wreath like this would be a super cute, fun, and inexpensive way to celebrate staff birthdays. 

Creating a Happy Birthday! / Happy Un-Birthday! Wreath 

I did not see the wreath until around February when the school year was half way over. I decided to make the wreath an inter-changeable Happy Birthday and Happy UN-Birthday wreath. 

My intern, Christine, and I purchased all of the supplies for the wreath at the dollar store. 

We purchased 8 packs of curly ribbons, a roll of yellow ribbon, and a foam circle (which we did not end up using).

We purchase 4 solid color packs and 4 packs that had little birthday cakes on them! :)

We attempted to use the foam circle, but it just wasn't working out. It was soft and the staples would not stay in. So we improvised by braiding together pipe cleaners that I already had to create a circle. We stapled the ribbons to the pipe cleaners. Adaptability as a school counselor is key! 

Note: If you are creating this I would recommend getting a hard foam circle from a craft store. I may end up re-doing it with a hard foam craft circle in the future, but we were trying to do this quick and on a very minimal budget. The pipe cleaners still work fine, but a hard foam circle would be much sturdier and is what the original DIY Birthday Wreath maker used.

Close up shot of the ribbons stapled to the pipe cleaners. I love the little birthday cakes! :)

Once we were finished stapling the curly ribbons on we used the yellow ribbon to make a bow to hang the wreath.  I used a small suction cup to attach the wreath to the door.

Completed wreath hanging on my office door.

I made the wreath a Happy Birthday/ Happy Un-Birthday wreath so that people could still be recognized a special day during the year even if their birthday was over the summer or had already passed.

I created a "Happy Birthday!" and "Happy Un-Birthday!" sign for the wreath by printing on yellow card stock. I glued the Happy Birthday back to back with the Happy Un-Birthday side. I then used paper edger scissors to cut around the edges. I used a hole puncher to punch two holes at the top of the sign. 

We affixed the sign to the wreath by pulling a piece of curly ribbon through each of the holes and wrapping it around the back of the wreath. The sign can easily be changed by pulling the curly ribbon out of the holes, flipping the sign over, and pulling curly ribbons through the holes. 


I made a printable PDF version of the Happy Birthday!/Happy Un-Birthday! sign you can download.



The whole project cost me $10 not counting the mini suction cup I already had.

Celebrating Staff Birthdays
I created a google form to ask staff for their birthday information. If you want to see what this looks like in real life click here. You can also make a copy of the Staff Birthday Survey and use it at your own school!

Here's a screen shot of what the Staff Birthday Survey I created looks like.

The results from the survey will come into your google docs account and you can download it as an excel file. 

Once a person completes the survey your form will look like this.

Student council members were a integral part in making this project work. Originally, I wrote a message for students to read on the announcements each morning there was a birthday. I was always rushing to get it done at the last minute in the morning. 

I decided to recruit two student council members to be in charge of the birthday wreath. They were so ridiculously excited to be in charge of it! It was a win-win situation! 

I developed a Birthday Announcement Template for them to plug in the birthday information into and let them pick which dates they would announce the Un-Birthdays. 
I printed a copy of the spreadsheet and a staff list for the student council members. They were able to use the spreadsheet and the staff list to determine whose birthday it was and where they would be taking the wreath.  

On the day of the birthday or un-birthday they would read the announcements and deliver the wreath to the person's door. At the end of the day they would pick up the wreath and put it on my door. It worked out really well to create a system and to have student council students be in charge.

Teachers and staff members were very excited to have a special birthday wreath on their door the day of their birthday. It was also fun for people to be recognized with the Happy Un-Birthday wreath on their door if their birthday was earlier in the year or over the summer.

How do you celebrate staff birthdays? What do you do to boost morale 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, July 3, 2012

*Winners Announced* Book Crawler App Review and Giveaway

During the last week of school I was trying to come up with a way to catalog all of my school counseling books. I have TONS of school counseling books! I wanted to find an easy way to look up what books I have. I also wanted a way to provide others with a list if they wanted to see what books I have. 


I was thinking of creating a spreadsheet when I decided to see if there were any iPhone apps that would do it for me. I was looking for something that would allow me to scan the bar code of the books and put them into a database.


I discovered that there are lots of different book cataloging iPhone apps available. After reading reviews and looking at screen shots I decided on the Book Crawler App.  I purchased the Book Crawler App from iTunes for $1.99.  The Book Crawler App can be used on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. (Note: You do not have to purchase it for multiple devices... once you buy it it works on all three!)

Below is a screen shot of the opening page of the Book Crawler App on my iPhone.

To enter a book, click on Books.


Next you click the New button in the upper right corner of the app. You are given the options to enter the book manually, use Google Books, or use the ISBN Scanner.


To scan your books in, click on ISBN Scanner and let the scanning begin!


Scanning Our Friendship Rules using the Book Crawler App

So cool how the little scanner comes up and scans your UPC!
(Note: You do not have to have your phone plugged in to anything to do this... 
I just happened to have my phone plugged in to my computer while charging it.)

The Book Crawler App uses information from the Google Books database to find information about the book including the title, picture, the author and illustrator.


Once you have scanned your books into the Book Crawler App, you can categorize your books, loan them, export the database to an excel file, and more. 

Screen shot of my books in the Book Crawler App
You can scroll through the list of books alphabetically by title, by author, by category, genre, and more.

You can also turn your phone sideways and flip through the books with your finger!

If the book does not come up in the data base, the Book Crawler App allows you to take a photo and upload it using manual entry.  This book, Rhinos & Raspberrieswas a free book previously available from Teaching Tolerance.  Rhinos & Raspberries was not in the database, but I was able to manually enter the information and provide my own photo. 

The Book Crawler App is so much fun to use! It is a little disturbing when scanning a book bar code with your iPhone is your idea of a good time. ;)  So far I have scanned in 135 of my books... and I am not done yet! I still have another box of younger elementary school books in my garage that I am looking forward to scanning. (I told you it was disturbing that I enjoy this so much!)


The Book Crawler App also works with the iPad.
Screen shot of my books in the Book Crawler App on the iPad.

My only complaint about the Book Crawler App is that the iPhone app and the iPad app do not sync automatically. It can be a little tricky to upload your Book Crawler App database to the iPad. Even after you do this you will have to continue to update one of the devices. There are instructions to transfer data to another device. I recommend using the DropBox method. My pictures did not show up automatically and I had to go back through and click on the information button to have the pictures to appear... which was quite a task for 135 books.

My tech savvy school counselor friend, Andrea Buston of JYJoyner Counselor, just did a review of the Book Crawler App for the iPad. (If you purchase the Book Crawler App it works on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad). I recommended the Book Crawler App her at the ASCA Conference after seeing her post about her book inventory process in which she created a Google Form to enter her books.  

Because I loved the Book Crawler App so much I reached out to the creator Jamie Stokes, Lead Developer and CEO, Chiisai App Solutions to see if she would be willing to give me a download code of the Book Crawler App as a giveaway. She far exceeded my expectations and gave me 10 download codes to giveaway! So, I invite you to enter the giveaway below!

For this giveaway I am using Rafflecopter. The giveaway will open on July 4, 2012 at 12:01am EST and close on July 8, 2012 at 12:01am EST. See below to enter!
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, July 2, 2012

Career Café: Career Interest Resources Elementary, Middle and High School

Career Café is an opportunity for students to learn about careers from individuals in their community. One of my biggest success as a school counselor has been starting a Career Café at my school. Students absolutely love Career Café, it is a blast to host, and it meets ASCA Student Standard in the Career Domain. Career Cafe can also be geared toward any level - elementary, middle, or high school!

I have gotten tons of inquiries and questions about hosting a Career Café. I am creating a series of posts to explain Career Café in greater detail and provide you with the tools you need to start a Career Café at your school.  



There are a number of ways that you can determine how students are selected to participate in Career Café. Students can be chosen based on results of career interest inventories, select which Career Cafés they would like to attend, or entire classrooms or grade levels can be invited to participate.



Selecting Students to Participate
The size of your Career Café location dictates the number of students you are able to select to participate in a Career Café session. I recommend creating a list of students who you plan to invite so you can determine if their are enough participants or too many.

At my school I hosted Career Café for grades 5-8. Last year, for grades 5 and 6 I used the Holland Code Career Party and had students sign-up for Career Cafés that related to their interests. 

For grades 7 and 8 I had all students take the My Next Move career interest inventory. I used their results to determine who would be invited to each speaker. If I had extra slots I would allow other interested students to sign-upIn the future I would probably use PA CareerZone since it has been recently revamped and includes a login for students. (I made a printable PDF Version of a Sign-Up Sheet for you to utilize at your school.)

Below I have provided links to various FREE career interest inventories and games. Most of these resources require computer access. 


I have also provided a list of books you could utilize in classroom lessons and activities with students in conjunction with Career Café.

Elementary Level

Career Interest Inventories and Games for Elementary School Students:
Career Books to Use with Elementary School Students:
Middle School and High School Level


Career Interest Inventories and Games for Middle and High School Students
Career Books to Use with Middle and High School Students:
I keep emphasizing this, but you can really make Career Café your own. If you are at a smaller school, it may be possible for you to invite a whole grade level or whole classrooms to Career Café sessions. You may decide you only want to host Career Café for a certain grade level. There are many different ways you host Career Café and choose which students to invite. 


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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