Monday, December 28, 2015

Are you RECHARGING??!!

AAHHHH.....winter break! In my case it is Christmas break, but no matter what holiday, if any, you celebrate, I think we can safely say it is truly "the most wonderful time of the year." I took this silly pic below and posted it to Facebook the last day of school (tongue in cheek), but it pretty much captures the excitement I felt at having 16 days off of school.  

I haven't even thought about school the last 7 days, which has been wonderfully refreshing, and I hope you have also had time to recharge, relax, enjoy the ones you love, and put a little sparkle back in your step during this vacation.  Last year, I closed out 2014 with this post, a look back at my top accomplishments and moments of 2014.  I loved reminding myself of the good I had done for myself, my school and students throughout the year. I could do the same this year:  achieving RAMP designation, giving my second ASCA presentation in Phoenix, surviving a huge move to a new home, school system, and way of life; however, I'm more interested in looking forward this year.

                                          Quote from Oprah Winfrey, Image found at

I recently read this blog post at The Sunday Chapter, and it really resonated with me.  We talk to our students all the time about ways they can change their thoughts or change their feelings when faced with challenges.  I have my groups role-play calm-down strategies and positive self talk all the time, but do we have our list ready when things are starting to go downhill for us? We may not need 25.  In fact, I think my "go to" 10 below are plenty to get me back on track. No matter how many you have, the important fact is that you have them written down, tucked in your mirror or wallet, taped to your computer screen, or whatever visual reminder you need to actually use them.  

Burnout is one of the top concerns for the school counseling profession. Those of us in our first, second, and third decades of the profession know this is a legitimate concern, and my goal for 2016 is to take more moments to pause (and use the bathroom..ha!), cut myself some slack, and enjoy each day.  Life is short. So, here are my TOP 10 instant mood lifters.....what are yours?!  ***Be sure to include at least a few activities you can do at work.

1.  Spend time with family
2.  Run (Still not sure about this one, read this post)
3.  Arts and crafts. Usually I do these with my daughter but have you noticed the adult coloring craze?! I love this book.
4.  Curl up with a book (or even club + wine = magic)
*5.  Pray or meditate...whatever your perogative. I do both.
6.  Call a friend or family member.  Don't text. Don't Snapchat. Physically pick up the phone and connect with a loved one for at least 20 minutes.
7.  Plan something fun on your calendar.  There is nothing like having something fun to look forward to that instantly brightens your mood. It can be planning to try a new restaurant, go to a movie, get away for the weekend....anything!
8.  Snuggle with one of my kiddos (a partner, dog, or other animal would work too!)
*9.  Listen to a TED talk.  There is nothing like perspective to make you feel better, and these are so short you can listen to them while getting ready in the morning, driving to work, or eating lunch.
*10. Breathe. It is simple but true. Taking deep breaths relaxes my body and helps clear my head. I have learned all too often that a stressed brain cannot make good choices, and I try to practice this one often.  

So, school counselor friends, may 2016 be your best year yet.  Enjoy each day and Happy Counseling!
~ Angela

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Career & College Wrap Up!

My final weeks of December are winding down and Career & College months will be coming to a close.  It won't be the end of career and college talk, though; Career Cafes with my fifth graders will be in full force through April. In the meantime, I wanted to round out my career posts with an updated version of one of my favorite lessons that connects what students are learning at school each day to future careers.  I have written about the lesson before here, but I now have a pulled together resource, "Career Connections: School Subjects to Careers", for my readers. Check it out at my TPT Life on the Fly Store! The best part is that it is only $1 through Friday evening as part of my DOLLAR DAYS December promotion!

For this lesson, third grade students worked together in teams with Chromebooks to research jobs matching their assigned subjects on this awesome KIDS SEARCH portion of the VA Career View website.  Each student was instructed to choose the job they liked best within the subject category, research the job, write the name of the job on their subject sheet, and draw a picture clue so others could get an idea of what the job does. Examples of the student work product are below....

The pre-selected jobs and kid friendly research describing the job makes this activity entirely possible in a 45-minute time block, unlike a lot of other research projects.  It is a great activity for third, fourth, and fifth grade students.Check out this bulletin board I made highlighting student work from this career lesson and others.

I  also wanted to brag on the staff at my school who did an excellent job in our first ever college door decorating contest.  All of the doors were fantastic and a few examples are shown below (the NC State one was our first place winner!). Creative and college focused....#priceless!

Enjoy and Happy Counseling! ~ Angela
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