Sunday, August 26, 2012

From Air to Sea....Back to School

This school year is bringing big changes for me.  I have moved schools for the first time in eight years, and although I am staying in the air with my new mascot, a STAR, our theme for the year is "Riding the Wave to Success".  In between setting up my new office, introducing myself to new staff, and getting to know the policies and procedures that accompany any school change, I found out I was in charge of a string of bulletin boards on one of our main school halls.  I must admit that even though I LOVE being creative and consider myself artistic, bulletin boards are not my forte.  However, I happened upon some fantastic luck when I realized my neighbor had some decorations at her house from a summer activity that would work with my school's new theme.  I thought I would share some of the pictures, and I will add more this week so you can see the details more closely.  The wide view does not do them justice, in my humble opinion.

Ocean themes can be used in lots of different ways at school so you might be interested to know that the fish are made from plastic 2-liter bottles that were spray painted and decorated.  The jellyfish are garbage bags spray painted purple, filled with paper, and tied under the head.  I also stapled on green art supply store sea grass and some sea flowers made of feathers and green straws.  The effect of the boards all together side by side is fantastic!  Throughout the year, the board with "Caught You" will recognize the students from each grade level classroom who earn the character trait award each month.  The "Going Fishing for Good Character Board" will remind students of the different character trait words, and the "Swimming Along" board will highlight classroom work that is created during classroom guidance lessons.

I also have a "Rainbow Fish" bulletin board in my new office that reminds students of prosocial behaviors and showcases some more of these great ocean decorations. I will share those photos ASAP along with all the ways I hope to make the transition to my new school go smoothly!  Until then, I hope everyone's first few weeks of school go "swimmingly".


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Skyping: Part II

I am finally able to post the results of my Skyping activity with the The TASIS American School in England.  It was such a fun activity and was a lot easier to organize than I originally thought it would be.  We chose 9:20am EST (2:20pm England time) to Skype with the international students. When I got to Ms. Liberto’s classroom to prep the students before our Skype appointment, we handed out the ten question cards the students had brainstormed the day before.  I set up my laptop with a chair in front of it so the international students would be able to see and hear our students easily.   We could see their class on Ms. Liberto’s Smartboard, which worked well in allowing everyone to see.  

We directed the students from Ms. Liberto’s class who were asking questions  to introduce themselves before beginning their question.  It was  so cute to hear the first student say, “Hi.  My name is Willy, and this is my question.”  The students had a great time discussing recess
 games, playgrounds, classwork, uniforms, cereal and snack food, and so much more! My second graders gasped when they realized the international students had read some of the same books as them this year.  They were also amazed by the description of a “treehouse playground” at the international school.  The similarities among the two schools and student far outweighed the differences overall.

Afterwards, my students enjoyed discussing the similarities and differences at their tables and created “Friend Venn’s” as a final product for the activity.    What a fun way to learn about diversity!

Discussing the Friend Venn’s (left) and showing
   the final products (below).            


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Globally Aware....If You Dare!

My school has been focusing on global awareness activities for the last month in all of our grade levels.  Our teachers have done amazing lessons, which have resulted in many creative and visually stimulating products in our hallways.  I decided to get in on the action and am so excited about Skyping with one of my old friends from graduate school tomorrow morning.  She is a school counselor at the TASIS American School in England.  After working out the technical difficulties, we decided to pair a second grade class at my school with a second grade class at her school.

Today, I went into Ms. Liberto’s second grade class to show her students the school website, as well as some video clips and pictures of the TASIS students.  After learning some general information about the international school, the students formed teams to  brainstorm additional questions they would want to ask the students in England.  Ms. Liberto and I stressed the importance of including ALL the questions students had brainstormed and emphasized we would choose ten questions from the lists that would help us get the most information about the international students.
After reviewing all of the lists, we will be asking the following questions tomorrow morning:
  1.  What are you learning about in second grade?
  2.  Can second grade students sleep at the school as boarders?
  3. What kind of uniform do you wear? What color is it?
  4. Do you have recess? If so, what games do you play?
  5. Do you have a cafeteria in your school? What kind of lunches do you have?
  6. How old were you when you moved to England?
  7. What countries have you lived in?
  8. What are your most popular sports in England?
  9. What do you do for fun? Do you play video games or do gymnastics?
  10. How many students are in your class?
 Following the Skype session, the students will be creating “Friend Venns”, an idea I found via Pinterest at
 It will be a great opportunity to discuss similarities and differences between our students and those who are attending the international school.  I can’t wait to see what the students learn and the products they make.  Some of these students might never leave the United States, or even North Carolina, but through education and the power of technology, we can expose them to life experiences that will broaden their minds.  That excites me, and I hope it will excite them!
                                       ~ Angela

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Middle School Registration

 It is that time of year again…middle school registration for our fifth grade students!  It is such an exciting time for these students.  I love hearing them discuss the electives they want and how they can’t wait to have lockers. It’s also a busy time for school counselors as we get all the paperwork and necessary information to our families.  I thought I’d share two fun ideas that I use to communicate with the fifth grade families at my school.  A couple of years ago I adapated a fabulous idea from another school counselor and created a “Moving to Middle School” brochure.  It is a cute way to let parents know important deadlines, websites, and “transition  tips” that will be helpful to them over the summer and at the beginning of next year.  You can open the example of my middle school brochure here:  Middle School Brochure[1].   Before giving the information to parents, I make a two-sided copy and fold it into a brochure.

Another idea that I came up with this year is an instructional video or “videocast” for parents on how to fill out the middle school registration form.  I referenced the videocast in the middle school brochure so that parents would know about the resource.  I created the videocast in Photo Story, which is a free program that I have used for a TON of different projects (I’ll share more on Photo Story projects in another post).   The videocast is linked to my school’s main website at .  Scroll down to the bottom left side of the page and check it out!!  Although it isn’t the most visually stimulating video, it provides necessary information so that parents can fill out their child’s form CORRECTLY, saving everyone time, which makes me happy!    

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Starting A Book Club

One of the most fun groups I have done this year is a fifth grade boy’s book club. I had been wanting to start a book club for a couple of years but hadn’t been able to find an appropriate book that I thought was a perfect fit for my kids.  I “previewed” several books, but each one seemed to have inappropriate language or an inappropriate theme for elementary kids. After attending an NCCAT (NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching) seminar in Cullowhee, NC that was focused on themes of diversity, I finally found the PERFECT book:  Gifted Hands by Gregg Lewis and Deborah Shaw Lewis.  The book is a Zonderkids biography of the famous neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson.  Along with highlighting Dr. Carson as a tremendous role model who showed PERSEVERANCE, SELF-DISCIPLINE, RESPECT, and RESPONSIBILITY, the group is working on improving literacy.  Each student is in charge of specific information such as biography timeline, characters/setting, page number tracker, and plot summaries (2 students).  I also consulted with one of my fabulous Title I teachers who gave me some reading strategies to incorporate into our sessions.  I always read aloud while the students are eating lunch, but we have a silent hand signal that serves as a cue for choral reading.  This reading helps the students practice their fluency without being singled out.  I often have students who volunteer to read paragraphs and want to read aloud, but I don’t want anyone to feel like our group is another class or that there is any pressure to read.
I am also enjoying bringing special treats to share with the group, although I do not bring something each time we meet.  Next week, I am bringing special gummy worms, which is an idea I found on Pinterest.  Check it out:
I don’t know if my fifth grade boys will think they are as cute as I do, but I’m sure they will enjoy eating them either way!
For all of you who are about to go on spring break, enjoy! I know you deserve this break and hope it is restful for you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taking An Interest in "Pinterest"

Most people have discovered Pinterest by this point, an online visual pinboard  that covers everything from home decorating to fashion to EDUCATION resources. I have been on Pinterest since last spring but was mostly using it for home projects until the end of the summer.  Then, I began to discover what a great resource it is for my job as a school counselor.  I am now officially obsessed and am finding fun and helpful ideas for all aspects of my  job:  classroom lessons, Student Support Team ideas, behavior management tips, and  the list goes on and on.  Here is a brief glimpse into some of the ideas I have been using recently.
In first grade, I am teaching a classroom guidance unit on being a successful student.  My first lesson focused on the character trait of Perseverance.  The students inferenced about what the word Perseverance means by discussing different characters from popular movies:  Flynn from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Winter from a Dolphin Tale, and Bethanny Hamilton from Soul Surfer.  After they had a solid definition, we applied the character trait Perseverance to not giving up at school, even when learning something can be difficult.  The students then created a project that I found on Pinterst, which had been pinned from  — so cute!               
This picture is from her project, and she used it to discuss lots of different character traits that students used.  My students created “Perseverance Frames” and wrote all the different academic skills they have been able to learn in first grade by NOT GIVING UP. I plan on applying this idea in lots of different ways next year.  That’s why I love online collaboration because you can put your own twist on great ideas!
I also borrowed behavior management ideas from and, which I found on Pinterest.           
The sticks each have brain break ideas on them like “Do 10 jumping jacks” or “Stretch”. I gave them to a teacher so that she could direct students to them when they needed a brain break after finishing classwork.  The idea is to take a couple of minutes to have a movement activity so they can refocus for the next lesson.  The stop sign is a visual reminder to refocus.  I laminated a whole sheet of the stop signs and then gave them to teachers.  They cut them apart and are placing one stop sign on the desk of any student who is in need of the reminder.  It is inconspicuous and also saves the teacher from interrupting their lesson over and over to redirect students verbally.
Blogs and other online resources such as Pinterest have truly taken educator collaboration to a new level, which brings nothing but GREAT things to our students. I hope I will also have ideas that others can use as I move forward with my blog and other professional development.  Feel free to follow me on Pinterest at Angela Poovey and happy pinning!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...