Sunday, July 6, 2014

#ASCA14 Top 10

Wow. It is hard to sum up the wonderful experience that ASCA 2014 in Orlando was for me! It was my first annual conference experience, and I left with my wheels turning about how I could get to Phoenix next year.  So, I will do my best to give you my "ASCA Top 10" from my experiences on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (I had to hit the road on Wednesday and wasn't able to do the final half day).  I am going to attempt to include as many practical, hands-on ideas, websites, and resources that I intend to incorporate next year but will inevitably sprinkle them through my blog posts over the next several months as I use them at school.

#ASCA14 Top 10

10.  Being with 2,000+ educators who either work as school counselors, educate school counselors, advocate for school counselors, or want to be school counselors was an inspiring and powerful experience. I got to meet new friends and introduce myself to people like Dr. Wong, ASCA Executive Director (bottom photo).
                                                                *Image from Phil Echols

                                  (L to R) Lauren, Dr. Wong, me, and Mona 

9.  Participating in the state roll call.  North Carolina represents at the ASCA conference every year, and it was so fun to be a part of the hoopla this year. I even got to hold one of the @NCSCA letters!  It's a little blurry, but that's me with the "S."

8. Catching "Tweet" fever.  Twitter was abuzz during the conference with the #asca14 hashtag.  Even if you were #notatasca14, you could get the latest news, photos, and online resources by following #asca14. It is crazy to think that two or three years ago this was NOT HAPPENING at the same level! I LOVED sitting in breakout sessions and tweeting out cool facts from my speakers while also reading about others getting pumped up in their sessions.  The energy and excitement was amazing!  I used Tagboard to follow the entire hashtag in an easy to view way, which can be used for any hashtag (#WorldCup2014 anyone?).

7. Great exhibitors with counselor SWAG.  The number and variety of exhibitors at this conference was overwhelming. As an educator operating on an increasingly tighter budget each year, I absolutely loved meeting the different vendors and getting freebies. Everything from career posters to pens to stress balls to magnets were available. I'm especially excited about a couple of companies that offer professional development and can't wait to see what we might be able to plan for my Professional Learning Community.

6. Girls' Leadership Breakout Session.  I attended Julia Taylor's (@juliavtaylor) Help Girls Unlock Their Leadership Potential session and came away with a ton of great resources.  She has already posted her session Prezi on her website for all to view here so check it out! There were so many powerful videos shared, as well as book titles and activity ideas to use with girls.  In fact, I have already watched the documentary Girl Rising (right) based on her recommendation, which can be rented on  However, my favorite video to use with my students is this one:

5. Stedman Graham Keynote Address. @OfficialStedman was an amazing speaker, and I especially loved what he had to say about perseverance, relationships, and making choices to be successful. My favorite point (paraphrased) is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. What are you going to do differently to make things happen? How are you going to create magic? Also, his challenge to use 60 minutes each day reading and learning resonated strongly with me.

So, I am going to start sharing the books I am reading that are making me THINK and LEARN....Thanks Stedman! Currently, it is the book Drive by Daniel Pink, which can be found here or at your local library.  It talks about motivational theory and how the "carrot and stick" approach  may not be the best to use, for companies or our students.

4. Solution-Focused Breakout Session.  This session by Dr. Carol Buchholz Holland from North Dakota State University featured 43 strengths-based activities and techniques to  use with students in individual counseling. I use this counseling theory for the majority of my students due to its brevity and solution-oriented stance and found this session extremely helpful.  It's difficult to sum up 3 hours in a Top 10 post, but I loved Dr. Holland's incorporation of art into her stratgies:  Drawing a picture of something you would like to change when focusing in on the student's goal, "Color Your Life" activity to indicate different emotions the child has, cartooning with superheroes to identify possible solutions, Power Hands activity that identifies the strengths that will help the child reach his goal (one strength written in each finger of the hand outline). She also shared some fantastic videos that could be used with staff or students in a variety of applications. This one was my favorite.

3. My First "Tweet Up". Danielle Schultz, @sch_counselsor, organized this get together for school counselors new to the twittersphere as well as those who wrote their first tweets years ago. I loved meeting new friends and introducing myself to counselors I have admired and respected online for years.  Check out Jan (@humbleofferings) and Kelly (@KellyHanscom) below with a future Miss USA and Jasmine (SeeJascounsel) and Rebecca (@schcslgbyheart from School Counseling by Heart) to the right.  Also, Susan (@SSpellman) gets creativity points for capturing us all with inspiring messages for the world (far right).

2.  My Wifi to Sci-Fi: Motivating and Teaching Students Through Literature and
Technology Presentation.  I must say, I challenged myself to present at the ASCA conference and 45 minutes before I began, I was kind of wishing I hadn't sent in that proposal...Ha! Seriously though, it was one of the highlights of my career thus far to be able to get up in front of my peers at this national conference and share my ideas. Afterwards, I was so happy I had done it and ecstatic about the positive feedback I received (see bottom right picture).  The handout shared through the ASCA conference app can be accessed here. As always, email me if you have specific questions.

1. Michelle Obama's Keynote Address:  I tweeted this about @FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) during her speech, and I feel even more strongly about it now. Her speech along with this letter to school officials released by Arne Duncan the day before her appearance showed the first lady "gets" how important school counselors are to the students and families we reach each day.

I hope these Top 10 Moments help give you a glimpse of  #ASCA14.  If you didn't make it this year, check out the future dates and locations for this unforgettable event below and put it on your BUCKET LIST.  
Enjoy and Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

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