Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Match Made in School Counselor Heaven: Donors Choose & Amazon

Budgets ain't what they used to be.  Educators everywhere have to be creative on how to obtain needed items to help keep our students stay engaged and learning.  Donors Choose is a fantastic resource that allows the public to donate money toward teacher projects.
Luckily Donors Choose does not limit eligibility to just teachers as school counselors can post projects, too.  Since starting my career 4 years ago I have had 5 projects fully funded from Donors Choose (see my completed projects here).  It's super easy to do and there is no better time to try than now as Donors Choose has added Amazon as a vendor.  Previously you were limited to vendors that catered to mostly classroom teachers, but with Amazon the school counselor project opportunities are extensive!  I encourage you to check it out and post some projects of your own.

Do you know of any other grant type resources for school counselors?  Share your comments below so we can spread the word and help fellow school counselors get more tools in their toolbox!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Take a Chill Pill!

OK so perhaps school counselors shouldn't go around promoting the use of drugs, but that didn't stop me and my fellow school counselor, Jenn, from handing out "Chill Pills" to our administration and office staff on the first day of school!  The idea for this back to school treat came to me while waiting in the check-out line at Trader Joe's.  I spied an old-fashioned-looking box of candy called Trader Joe's Candy Coated Licorice.  For $0.99 a box I thought it would make for a cute, inexpensive treat to give.  The illustration of the candy looks like pills and for some reason the old saying "Take a chill pill!" came to mind.
To: ____________________

Here are some Chill Pills for when you need
 a moment of Zen during the first week frenzy.

From Your School Counselors,

We covered the portion of the box with the name of the product with construction paper.  We use double sided tape to attach the saying to the construction paper.  And voila!  A little something to make someone smile during the stressful high energy filled first week of school!  Our staff is too big to do something like this for everyone so we focused on administration and office staff only for this project.  Do you do any special "treats" at the start of the school year?  I would love to hear about it!  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Move That Bus!

My school has a fantastic theme this school year based on the book The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.  Check out the book here:  The Energy Bus for Kids.  It's all about positive energy and creating a positive vision for the future.  This school-wide theme fits right into our guidance standards that are centered around academic, personal/social, and career development.  To exemplify the concepts of the book all staff members were asked to decorate their doors with The Energy Bus theme.  Check out the door my new school counseling partner in crime and I made for our school counseling suite...

The book is based on 5 rules:
1. Create a positive vision.
2.  Fuel your ride with positive energy.
3.  No bullies allowed.
4.  Love your passengers.
5.  Enjoy the ride.

There is also an adult version of the book that was required reading for our teachers and staff.  The book is a great reminder to stay focused on creating a positive vision and to avoid negativity AKA Energy Vampires.  What a fantastic lesson for our students!  Check out lesson ideas on this website:  The Energy Bus for Kids Resources.  Is your school on The Energy Bus?  I'd love to hear how other schools are implementing the book's concepts.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Operation Cute Office: Part Deux

Prepping for a new school, new district, and new student population has made for a few busy summer days.  I've been making progress with converting and revamping my lesson plans from ActivInspire Software to Smart Notebook Software.  It's all coming together as summer is winding down.  Today I got to spend a couple hours working on my office with my Aunt-in-law who worked her magic, once again, on my new office space.  I am super excited to get to know my new students in my spiffy new office.  Check it out!



I can tell already that it's going to be a GREAT year!  But there are still a few summer days left to enjoy and I will be sure to make the most of them :-)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Changes Ahead

Clearly I have been slacking in the blogging department.  Now that summer is here I hope to be more active on my blog and share exciting ideas with you all!  To start I want to share an update on my professional status as I have recently accepted a school counselor position in a different district.  I will be leaving the comfort of the school I started my professional career at 4 years ago.  Big changes ahead include a MUCH shorter commute (7 minutes compared to 40+ minutes), adjusting to a huge school of 1400+ students, and working with students in a much more affluent population.  Luckily I will be one of two counselors at my new school.  I am super excited to have a fabulous school counseling partner to help me dive into the school counseling program and learn the ins & outs of my new school and district.  One of the challenges ahead will be switching my Promethean lessons to Smartboard lessons so I will be quite busy this summer preparing.  I will be moving into my new office this week so look out for some before and after pictures in an upcoming post:  Operation Cute Office Part Deux!  

Leaving behind the school I've come to love so much with wonderful administration, staff, and students was difficult, but I am looking forward to what lies ahead.  I came across the following quote by author Jeanette Winterson on Pinterest and it really resonated with me:

"When we make a change, it's so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision.  Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth.  This is normal.  This is change."

I know in my heart that I made the right decisions and I also know there will be days I question myself and this decision.  If anyone has any suggestions about how to make a smooth transition into a new school, please leave a comment below.