Favorite Posts of 2011

It was difficult to pick my 11 favorite posts of 2011 considering I wrote 108 posts this year, not counting this post! 2011 was a pretty great year. I had the opportunity to present at the ASCA conference in Seattle, WA, started School Counselor Tweet Chats, hosted lots of giveaways, made video posts, and much more! I have enjoyed connecting with you in 2011 and can't wait to see what is in store for 2012!

Below I outlined 11 of my favorite posts and why they made the list.

Serving Up Career Standards Through Community Involvement
One of my biggest accomplishments of the 2010-2011 school year was starting Career Cafe at my school.  It has been an amazing ride since implementing it.  Students are so excited to learn about careers first-hand from people in their community.  I am learning so much from the speakers too!

Career Cafe is one of my favorite programs I implement as a school counselor. Many School Counselor Blog readers have emailed me or tweeted that they are now implementing Career Cafe which is AWESOME!  This post includes LOTS of information and forms so be sure to check it out!

Here are links to posts I have written about Career Cafe:
Serving Up Career Standards Through Community Involvement
Serving Up Career Standards (original Career Cafe post)

Expanding Your Professional Learning Network with Twitter Chats
On a whim I started School Counselor Tweet Chats! I had been following other twitter chats and thought, "how cool would it be to have a School Counselor Tweet Chat?" I set a time and date and that is how the First Ever School Counselor Tweet Chat was born!

School Counselor Blog is partnering with SCOPE to have a School Counselor Tweet Chat every month! I co-authored the "Expanding Your Professional Learning Network with Twitter Chats" post with Dr. Erin Mason from SCOPE.

School Counselor Tweet Chats take place the first Tuesday of the month at 8pm EST. #scchat is the new hash tag you can follow to participate in future School Counselor Tweet Chats! Keep checking School Counselor Blog and SCOPE for updates on what the future chat topics will be about!

You can learn how to participate in School Counselor Tweet Chats and view past tweet chat transcripts.

Compliments, Self-Esteem, and Bucket-Filling
In the spring I ran a self-esteem group for 5th grade girls. I had an idea to have the girls give each other compliments and fill each other's buckets! This session became a bucket-filling extravaganza! The girls loved it and even wanted to fill a bucket for the group!

Compliments, Self-Esteem, and Bucket-Filling was a lot of fun! I highly recommend trying bucket filling in one of your groups! I am planning on doing this activity as a closing session for two different groups I am currently running. One is a boy group and one is a girl group!

Side note: If you act fast you can get buckets for 30 cents right now at Target in the dollar spot! All of the yellow dot items are on clearance for 70% off regular price! I just bought 20 buckets today for $6.00.

School Counselor Survival Kit 
The School Counselor Survival Kit is comprised of items I consider to be essentials for a new school counselor or school counselor intern. In this post I share items in the School Counselor Survival Kit how you can use them.

As a new school counselor or intern it is hard to figure out what you need or where to get started. Hopefully this kit will will inspire new school counselors and school counselor interns and help them on their journey!
How to Create a Question Ball with a Beach Ball 
Over the summer I wrote a post about 3 Ways to Have a Ball with a Beach Ball All Year Round.  After writing the post I decided to make a how to video about How to Create a Question Ball with a Beach Ball.  Using a beach ball is a simple, cheap and affordable way to make a question ball instead of paying upwards of $15 for a "therapy ball."

My favorite part of making question balls is that you can ask whatever questions you want! Students love spinning this ball and answering the questions. It is a hot item in my office! :)

Pictures from My 2010-2011 School Counseling Office
Writing about my 2010-2011 School Counseling office is bittersweet.

I love this post because of how I was able to use Prezi to give a tour of my school counseling office and share pictures with you all!  I was definitely lucky to have such a large space as an office!

I was disappointed to report that I had to move to a new office for the 2011-2012 school year.  I shared some pictures, but it has changed a lot since that post. I will be sharing more in the New Year so you can see what it looks like now.

It will never be the same as my old space though! It was pretty special and I miss it a lot!

I Made a Bully Hat!
Words cannot describe how excited I was when I found a black hat in the dollar section of Target!!!(Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE the Target $1 Spot!) I rushed home and immediately constructed a Bully Hat inspired by one of my FAVORITE books Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig.

In my "I Made a Bully Hat!" post I explain the bully hat and how to make one!

I have my Bully Hat displayed in my office by Confessions of a Former Bully. I get lots of questions about it and I love explaining it to students! I have even used it in classroom lessons! (I need to write a post about that!)

Career Dress Up Day: Red Ribbon Week 2011
I love using a career theme for Red Ribbon week! My favorite day of my theme week is Career Dress Up Day! This year I found inspiration for my Career Dress Up Day while at Ikea! I decided to go as a vet after finding an adorable stuffed dog and a vet kit. I bought a lab coat and borrowed a stethoscope from my brother to complete the look. I had a blast caring around my stuffed Ikea dog and vet kit.  The kids loved it!

For more ideas from my 2011 Red Ribbon Week check out these posts:

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

A HUG from Your School Counselor
I got the idea to give Hershey's Hugs to the staff at school after participating in one of the School Counselor Tweet Chats.

I printed out messages on card stock that said "Thought you could use a HUG or two!" I gave them out anonymously to the staff at my school by sneaking into the mail room early in the morning and placing two hugs and a message in each mailbox.

Giving out hugs was a simple, low cost way to give the staff at my school a little morale boost!

This post also inspired me to add some cheer to a bathroom mirror! :)

How to Make a 9 Patch Self Pillow
Self-pillows are a great activity for groups on the topic of grief/loss, self-esteem, and incarceration, and many more! I made 9 Patch Self-Pillows with my group for students experiencing the incarceration of a loved one. The students LOVED the idea of having their very own personalized pillow. I still have students from the group tell me about their pillows. They see the pillows as a source of comfort and an expression of themselves.

I am thinking of a way to make this a no-sew activity so that students can do this at school. I think it would be even more meaningful if they put it together themselves through sewing or another method.

Got a Minute?
Last but not least, I wrote about "Minute Meetings" in a recent post and have gotten lots of positive comments and feedback! "Minute Meetings" are a method of meeting with ALL students on your caseload.

In this post I provide a link to the template I used and the questions I asked!

If it seems unbearable to meet with ALL students try breaking it down into weeks or grade levels.  Just think... even if you had 600 students on your caseload you could take 1 hour out of your week and meet with 30 students a week. In 20 weeks you would have met with all 600 students!

RECAP of School Counselor Blog Favorite Posts of 2011
 1. Serving Up Career Standards Through Community Involvement
 2. Expanding Your Professional Learning Network with Twitter Chats
 3. Compliments, Self-Esteem, and Bucket-Filling
 4. School Counselor Survival Kit
 5. How to Create a Question Ball with a Beach Ball
 6. Pictures from my 2010-2011 School Counseling Office
 7. I Made a Bully Hat!
 8. Career Dress Up Day: Red Ribbon Week 2011
 9. A HUG from Your School Counselor
10. How to Make a 9 Patch Self-Pillow
11. Got a Minute?

Whew! That was a lot!

I hope you enjoyed my 11 favorite posts of 2011! Please share your favorite School Counselor Blog posts below! 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 email, tweet her on twitter, follow her on Pinterest, add her on LinkedIn or Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.http://www.schcounselor.com/2011/09/expand-your-professional-learning.html

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