Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rockin' in my Career Shoes- Responsibility and Careers

*From Pinterest from

October is Career and College Month at Cleveland Elementary, one of my favorite school-wide activities of the year!  There is nothing I love more than linking what students are doing each day to their future education, career success, and happiness.  I feel like I have hit the lottery each day when I go to work loving what I am doing, and I want my students to feel the same way in their chosen fields.

At the very end of September, I sent home this flyer to parents so they would be clued into all the activities we are doing this month.

This Friday is our first college team shirt day so I have been promoting it on the morning broadcast and have been having fun showing examples of what students can wear.  Next week, we will kick off our college door decorating contest with teachers showing school spirit for their alma maters.  It is a great way to get college conversations started and create awareness of different higher education institutions that students can attend. Teachers also have a chance to win prizes for the best decorations if they finish in first, second, or third place. My PTA President, my co-counselor, and I are judges and will be following a rubric to assign points....this contest is no joke! Here are some of our submissions from last year......

Later in the month, we will incorporate Red Ribbon Week into our Career and College activities by having Career Dress Up Day with our daily theme, "Love Your Future, Be Drug Free." My co-counselor and I are also linking the character trait of responsibility to career-focused lessons in all grades K-5 and are gearing up to start our Virtual Campus tour lunches and Career Cafes again.  As you can see, it is quite a busy month! I have written about previous classroom guidance career lessons  in my Life on the Fly posts here and here, and I have added several career lesson plans and activities to my Life on the Fly TPT store here (Budgeting, Hats for Ivan, Pete the Cat, etc.).  Check them out for some FUN, ALREADY MADE career ideas!!!

If you are looking for more professional development on career awareness activities or resources, check out   I had no idea that CFNC had a Wednesday webinar series prior to being asked to share my ideas as a presenter.  I hope you will find this link helpful in seeing upcoming professional development opportunities that  may be of use to you in planning career domain activities. The PDF handout from my webinar presentation can be downloaded here and is a modified version of the career presentation I gave at the NC School Counselor's Conference last year.

Last, I was extremely excited to try something new this year and incorporated everyone's beloved book character, Pete the Cat, into my second grade career lessons. After introducing the lesson by showing them real shoes as a "hook", I asked students how they could apply the character trait of Responsibility in their jobs as students. Then, I showed a Pete the Cat "Rockin' in my School Shoes" YouTube video, which really got their attention! If you have not seen students dance and sing to Pete the Cat, it is quite an entertaining sight. A brief trailer is below:

We discussed the video and listed Pete's responsibilities as a student.  Next, we completed a Smartboard activity where students brainstormed names of future jobs while putting different types of shoes on Pete.  This activity could also be done in a paper version if you do NOT have a Smartboard.  

Finally, we linked these possible jobs to interests in a cooperative learning activity. Students began to make the connection between things they love to do and jobs they might choose.  Their finished work products included decorating their own rockin' shoes, listing their high school graduation date, and writing the name of the job they are interested in.  

It was a really fun lesson and one I will definitely do again next year. Check out some of my work samples below!  How are you promoting college and career awareness at your school??  

Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Coffee with the Counselors: School Counseling PR

*Image from School Counselor Connection

Well, it is now October, and the image above might perfectly express how you are feeling now that the hustle and bustle of the year has really started.  Or, maybe you are still perfectly in control.  I saw a picture of a school counselor's desk the other day that made me laugh because it reminded me I need to clean my own! Between the pre/post surveys, DUKE TIP applications, lesson plans, behavior referrals, my own "to do" list, and small group permission slips, there is not a lot of empty space where I can work.  However, cleaning is low on my priority list when I think of all the other direct service activities I want to get done while kids are in the building.

Teachers are feeling the same way, so  I decided to try out an idea I had heard about from another school counselor this year- a meet and greet time with teachers to discuss student concerns.  My co-counselor, Nicole, and I  named our event "Coffee with the Counselors." It seemed like a great way to connect with my classroom teachers and get information on student referrals now that they have worked with their classes for over a month.  Nicole, made this lovely invitation...she's awesome!

We decided to have half of the grade levels come in the morning before school started since we were offering Dunkin' Doughnuts coffee, juice, water, and goodies to eat.  The other half of the grade levels have planning before lunch so we invited them for the first 20 minutes of their planning time (this invitation went to that group).

I set out a binder that had a page for each grade level so they (or I) could write down student names, concerns, and any other notes that would be helpful when discussing student referrals. It ended up being a pretty successful event, although the grade levels who came during planning had better attendance than those who were scheduled before school (we will schedule it on a different morning next year, NOT Monday!).  All of these positive interactions with staff help promote the school counseling program, and I will definitely try this again next year!

I have also been working on school counseling PR in other ways.  This past week, I presented to the elementary school principals about the ASCA National Model along with my fantastic school counselor colleague Amanda Allen.  It was a great experience, and we will do two more rounds as we present to middle school and high school principals over the next two weeks.  Also, I am scheduled to present my 2014-2015 school goals to my staff next Wednesday and have created a Prezi to organize my thoughts. You may remember I did the same thing last year and talked about it in my blog post here.

Finally, I have been helping to organize the school counselors in my PLC as we work on taking the next steps to RAMP and completing more ASCA paperwork this year.  We will be completing the annual calendar, Closing the Gap Action Plans, Smart Goal Worksheets, and Management Agreement as our minimum documentation for 2014-2015, and I could not be more excited!  We had a kick-off event for professional development, and I was able to present the following PowerPoint presentation to my colleagues. I also had the pleasure of presenting this same information to my Harnett County colleagues last week to promote the National Model.  I hope this presentation will be helpful to my blogger friends as well.  Make sure to check out the hyperlinks within the presentation to see how I collect some of my data and share it with my stakeholders throughout the year.  There are also links to the ASCA templates for National Model documentation.

                     Enjoy and  Happy Counseling! ~ Angela

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