Monday, February 24, 2014

Dollar Spot

It is no secret that raises have been hard to come by for educators in the great state of NC over the past six years. Even if you are fortunate to be in a better economic situation, we all know that money doesn't grow on trees! I pride myself on being a thrifty shopper whether I'm buying clothes, shoes, home accessories, or SCHOOL COUNSELING supplies.  So, I love it when I can find useful items for cheap to use with my students!

Be sure to check out the $1 spot at Target, (although some things are $2 or $3 even though they call it that), any Dollar Store/Dollar General, and arts and crafts stores....the $1 bins at Michael's are my  new favorite; they have been getting some really good stuff lately!

Recently, I found these chalkboard mini signs at Michaels (4/$1) and bought two packs....Winning! I have already used them in a small group to rate anxiety and during a mediation so that students could rate how they were feeling or how things were going between them. I had the students write down their own number without letting anyone else see and then counted down for everyone to show the group at once to start our discussion. I typically use 1-5 (5 being the best) in those situations, although my "Miracle Scale" for ongoing individual counseling does go up to a 10.  Each pack came with one stick of chalk.

I also bought this twine clip string for $1 at Michael's.  I am going to use it in my office d├ęcor, although I may cut it in half.  The string is about 15 feet long and there are 12 evenly spaced mini clothespins.   I was given so many great pictures for School Counseling Week, and I think it would be great to display some of them for the rest of the month. Then, I can rotate them out for other pictures students make during individual or group counseling or work products from classroom guidance lessons.  Cute, right?!!! I also have a fun idea of how I can use it with a perspective-taking activity I use with kids in individual counseling. I will post a pic of that in action later!

What dollar finds have you found?!!! Please share!  Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fairness: Go for the Gold!

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I had snow days last week and two optional teacher workdays, so I was able to do another fun bulletin board that normally wouldn't be a priority with students in session.  I wanted to share it, especially for those who may be including the Olympics in upcoming lessons or those who emailed me about my Olympics PDF from my last post. 

I think the staff really gets a kick out of being incorporated into my bulletin boards, and the kids think they are hilarious.  This time I was able to include my principal, an assistant principal, a receptionist, several classroom and specialist teachers, and some teacher assistants.   In case you are wondering how I do the bobble heads, I just take pictures of staff members on my iPad and email them to myself. Then, I open them in one of the picture programs (Photo Gallery usually) on my school computer. I copy and paste it in a Word document, enlarge it, and print it in color.  It's super easy and doesn't require any special equipment (a real win-win!). 

You'll notice I included the Guidance Essential Standards taught during the lesson at the bottom of the bulletin board, and I integrated some technology by adding a QR code.  Anyone who scans it is directed to for an updated medal count sorted by country.  Pretty fun!  Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I'm A School Counselor......What's Your Super Power?

I know I already wrote about School Counseling Week here and here, but I had to post these final pictures from last Friday. My part time co-counselor was able to come back to end our week-long celebration, and we continued our Superhero theme.  My kids happened to get a bunch of superhero costumes for Christmas this year (lucky for me!), so I "borrowed" them for the day.  The students, and staff for that matter, LOVED IT! We even went on the morning show to thank everyone for the cards, posters, and other treats we had gotten during the week.  It was really fun!

We also finished our cooperative bulletin board (see below) that most classes pitched in to help create.  We asked each class to draw pictures or write words of things they have learned at school that make them a "SUPERHERO."  It didn't necessarily have to be something students had learned from the school counselors; It could be anything! We got some great examples back that incorporated character traits, career information, and friendship skills among many other ideas.  Can't wait until next year! 
                                Happy Counseling!  ~Angela

Monday, February 10, 2014

Finding Your Inner Olympian.....

The other night my daughter and I were watching the slopestyle snowboarding event at the Olympics. All of a sudden she looked at me and asked, "Mommy, why aren't you in the Olympics?"  After laughing out loud and explaining to her that I didn't know how to snowboard, she boldly proclaimed, "I am going to be in the Olympics." It quickly brought me back to the now famous story of the Seahawk's quarterback Russell Wilson whose father used to say, "Why not you, Russell?"  I get chill bumps every time I hear that story and think about the goals that could be reached if every child had parents who saw limitless possibilities for their child and urged them to dream big.

I grew up excitedly watching the winter and summer Olympics and even had the privilege of going to the 1998 Olympics in Atlanta where the indelible image of Michael Johnson's gold track shoes on the Jumbotron will forever be etched in my memory. I LOVE everything the Olympics stand for ---hard work, self-discipline, goal setting, perseverance;  the list goes on and on.  So, it was only fitting that I created a lesson incorporating the Olympics to go along with the character trait of FAIRNESS for my first graders this month.

 I started out with my multiple choice pre-survey to find out how many students already knew the definition of fairness.

HINT:  C is the correct answer!!! My big emphasis for this lesson is for kids to realize that FAIR DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN EQUAL.

After the pre-survey,  I made a big deal of showing a bag of M&Ms I brought and telling the class I was only going to give one to students wearing red (or yellow or just girls...whatever your whim).   You can imagine how quickly students started exclaiming that "it wasn't fair" that some kids got M&Ms and others didn't.  We then had a discussion about how no one had earned the M&Ms and how you didn't really NEED M&Ms to live so I was simply favoring some kids over others, which made the have-nots feel bad.  Then, I pulled out some Band-aids and asked if anyone needed a Band-Aid. If you have ever been in a first grade class, you know there is ALWAYS someone who needs a Band-Aid. After giving my "injured" child a Band-Aid, I started passing them out to every student and innocently asked, "Don't I need to give everyone a Band-aid just like the M&Ms?" Of course, the students said no because they didn't need them, and I re-emphasized that everyone doesn't always need the same thing.

We then applied these discussions to FAIRNESS at school, at home, at recess, and on the playing field and brainstormed specific strategies students could use to show FAIRNESS in these locations.  Every class had their own ideas but sharing, taking turns, including everyone, doing your job, helping out, and good sportsmanship were all recurring ideas among my first graders.

Next, we really focused on FAIRNESS in teamwork and I incorporated my Olympic theme. I had made a paper torch as a prop and embedded Bugler's Dream into my Smartboard slide (play it and you'll recognize it!).

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I had them brainstorm teams they might see competing in the Olympics who would have to use FAIRNESS.  There are a million, but I used this slide below:

Then, we watched and discussed two video clips showing different sides of FAIRNESS and TEAMWORK.  I took them old school on the second one! Unfortunately, I can't embed the actual Mighty Ducks clip I used because it was a DVD.  It was the part of Mighty Ducks where Coach Bombay tries to get Charlie to cheat, and he says he won't.

Finally, I gave the kids a written sheet I created for a work product. In teams, they colored in the Olympic rings and added hair and facial features to make it look like a person.  Then, they added the FAIRNESS strategies they had brainstormed earlier for recess, home, school, and sports teams inside the rings.  Each team completed one paper and  used teamwork strategies while working together. Once I'm done presenting the lesson to all my first grade classes I am going to make a bulletin board to share it with others.  Visit my Life on the Fly Store to get a copy of the PDF sheet emailed for free. Enjoy and Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

National School Counseling Week Linky Party


I wrote earlier in the week about tips you could use to have a successful National School Counseling Week.  Now that we are a couple of days in, I wanted to share some pictures that go along with the plans I outlined in my last post

My co-counselor and I kicked off School Counseling Week on Monday morning with a breakfast for our staff to say THANK YOU for everything they do to work with us day in and day out. We put an invitation in every staff member's box to get them excited (see below).  We decided to use a SUPERHERO theme as our take on the "Building Magical Futures" theme from ASCA.  Superheroes have their own kind of magic, right?!!!

                                                                          The staff loved our decorations and breakfast treats of "magic" muffins, "power" bars, and lemonade.  Here is my awesome co-counselor busy at work wrapping the power bars with our "BOOM" decorations.  I made them with my handy Cameo silhouette machine as well as the "POW" and "BOOM" decorations you see hanging from the break room ceiling.  Super fun!

 Today, we put treats in staff members' boxes to continue our SUPERHERO theme.  I downloaded a cape template from Pinterest (of course!) and wrote "Together We Are Invincible" on it. Then, I made copies and put them on Blow Pops to give the illusion of a superhero flying (see below).  They turned out very cute! We are still working on completing our interactive bulletin board with puzzle pieces from each of our classes. I will post that later in the week.    We also have some fun planned for Friday when my co-counselor returns to my school.  Happy School Counseling Week! ~  Angela
****See my update from the last day of School Counseling Week here.

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