Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fundraising with friends

I can't think of a better way to start summer than with a night at the beach. The Monique Burr Foundation recently put on a phenomenal event to raise money and awareness for their organization. The event was held at a great restaurant at the beach, Roy's, and they even go Roy himself there, to prepare and make the most delicious food I've had in years!  The best part was, facilitators of their Child Safety Matters program were invited for FREE! It was a great opportunity to the counselors to get together, and celebrate a wonderful partnership that our district has with the MBF Team. It's hard not to love these guys- they give us simple safety lessons to implement, support school counselors, and to top it off, they feed us! 

Here's to great nonprofits, the start of summer, and a few good finger foods:),

Your Floridian chick who loves food a little too much! 

Reading celebration

Blogging friends, 

I am embarrassed to be posting this so late. It seems that the spring and end of the year got away from me, and I have not been posting weekly like I usually do. With that said, I am here to share an annual activity that our school does at the end of each school year. 

The reading celebration is for those students who have read 25 books or more during the school year. This can be a great activity for you to implement next year as you start to plan over the summer. 

We have every home room travel with their home room teacher to different activities throughout the school. These include:

2 story telling rooms
Sidewalk chalk with the art teacher
Relay races with the gym teacher
Dance in the cafeteria with the music teacher
2 jumpy houses
Food station with popcorn and snow cone maker

Each station is 25 minutes long, and the classes are paired up,so everyone is involved in something at some point. The classes then get lunch and have a movie in the afternoon in their classrooms. Around 2pm, the entire school was invited to the cafeteria where the leadership team was pied in the face by the top reader from each grade. Yes, I was pied, yes the whipped cream was everywhere, and all over parts of my body that I didn't know got hit, and yes, it was as sticky as you can imagine. 

This was not an expensive day, and we did not need a lot of extra hands to make it happen. The resource teachers did their part, the reading coach and myself were story tellers, and we have 2 PTA Members do the food stations. 

This is a simple day that the students loved! Hopefully you can do at your school next year!

Whipped (cream),
Your sticky Floridian chick 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

What a wonderful week to feel loved and appreciated. My belly is a little more full than usual, and that goes for my heart as well. Our administration did a great job of celebrating teachers and making us feel special last week.

Here is how our week unfolded:

Each day, our students were asked to give presents to their teachers. Out halls were decorated with a Movie Theme, and we were given lunch from our PTA on Tuesday,and administration on Thursday.

All in all, a great week. Please take these ideas and make your staff feel appreciated as well!

Fully... FULL,
Your Floridian Chicka!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Intern needed:)

After 3 years of working in this district, I was offered the opportunity to attend our Certified Educator Training (CET). 2 days, and a few friends later, I can now be on the hunt for a school counseling intern for next year.

I love what I do, and part of me feels a little selfish not wanting to give up any part of my role, BUT when I look at what my internship supervisors did for me, my hope is to give a little advice and show my intern what this role entails.
  • To my previous supervisors- I have HUGE shoes to fill. Yes, I will be calling you for advice and yes, I will be thinking of you consistently as I give feedback.
  • To my future intern(s)- let's have some fun, and learn together how to be better each day! 
  • To current supervisors out there: Any advice? What does this role look like in your building?

Summer is creeping in...,
Your Floridian chick 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Celebrating Admins

 Happy Admin Day! This past Wednesday we managed to get some of the busiest people in the entire building into ONE room for a FULL hour! To be honest, I'm shocked it actually happened but what a great hour it was!  Administration provided lunch, dessert and a little present to the wonderful people in the front office and clerks around the school who help our building stay afloat each day.  I incorporated a little guidance into this wonderful lunch by playing a game where each person drew a question from a hat and answered it.  Some of the questions included:
conference room decorated
  • What is the hardest part about your job?
  •  If you had to have another job in the building, what would it be? 
  • What is one thing people might not know about you?
  • Present from our Principal!
  •  what career did you want to be when you where in elementary school?

So silly, but it started some good (and hilarious) conversation. My principal is very good at making people feel accepted and needed, and I was thankful that I got to be a small part of it.

With lots of love for help,
Your Floridian Chick!

Nom, Nom, Nom:)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Yoga + counseling

I love when I meet someone and am immediately impressed by their poise, leadership skills, and authenticity. The trainer at the Trauma Informed Yoga was all this and more. She shared great information about the benefits of yoga and how to actually implement it at our school.

Here are some of her hand outs shown below. What I love about a good training is when I can actually TAKE something away with me when I go- and I'm not talking about paperwork. I took away tangible lessons on what to do in a yoga group, the postures, the movements, the names, and then the research behind it that proves it can be effective. 

I am thinking of incorporating yoga into its own small group. Right now, I use yoga at the end of small groups and we do one or two positions (stances, movement-what are they called yogis?), but to have an entire small group dedicated to yoga could lead to more calmness in the students, coping skills, and more control of their actions.  The trainer also talked about "journal-ing" after which I LOVE personally and professionally to do.
I hope this channels your inner yogi to drop a mat, and get your students to yoga with YA! If you aren't sure how powerful yoga is, check here:)  to see for yourself!  A HUGE thank you for The Children's Commission of Jacksonville for allowing us to visit- I will definitely be back soon!

Namaste (see what I did  there?!),

Your (more relaxed) Floridian chick

Monday, April 13, 2015

Building teacher self-esteem

Outside my principals office is this board you see to the right.  She created it to show off great things that are happening all over our school. I have loved seeing teachers reactions as they see their work presented- almost like students! There 2 major results that come from this little board: 1. It shines light on great things that teachers are doing. 2. It builds self esteem in teachers, because after all, they need it too!

 I think it's interesting that it is coming from the principals perspective. This sheds a lot of light on what is important to her- clearly the teachers self esteem, but also that she is proud of what she is helping to foster here at school each day. If this board had come from me/ the school counselor, I think it would mean something different to the teachers. When it comes from the princiapl- AKA THE BOSS- it shows that she is taking the time to care. 

I hope you can easily implement this board at your school- it takes a few minutes to make, and has helped spread the positive vibes that every school needs.

You're never too old for a self esteem booster, 
Your Floridian chick

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Well it all started with an idea and a BIG closet...

Ladies and gents,
She has done it again! Our wonderful paraprofessional, Ms. Riley dressed up every single day of March for National Women's History month. I don't know which to be more impressed by: her creativity or the size of her closet?!

Some of the outfits she chose included Hillary Clinton, Bessie Coleman, Margaret Thatcher, Coretta Scott King,... the list goes on and on but I learned a thing or two about how important women are to our history,  and I am thankful for her passion and vision for our students.

My father referred to her as a "true educator" and I couldn't agree more- Ms. R- thanks for doing.... YOU! 

Sad to see March go and wondering what she will wear in April?!,
Your Floridian chick 

Monday, March 30, 2015


Spirit week has come and gone but what a week it was! Our theme this year was SEALS: Students Everyday Achieving Learning  and Success.  The dress up days are listed above,and we had a midweek pep rally in order to pump up the kids.

Our local high school came over with their band and cheerleaders, and our kids sat wide-eyed watching their every move. We also had some connections with the Navy and had a Lieut. General come and speak to our students! 

On Thursday morning, the leadership team made breakfast for the whole staff including waffles and (turkey) sausage...attempting to save a calorie here and there:). 

We can't control the testing but we can control our attitude! It was a great week and I'm thankful for camaraderie! 

I should've been a cheerleader, 
Your Floridian chick!

Our Head Chef!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Break Chronicles

The one and only!
ALERT: Annie Update!

For my friends who have been following this blog, you may remember my friend Annie , who had a brain aneurysm in August 2013 and survived! I am moved by this person on so many different levels, I want to share her story  with anyone and everyone. She continues to see different specialists who help her with her language and vision. I had the chance to go to her therapies with her last week when visiting and she is progressing so well- each day is a new opportunity for her brain to soak up new information.

I know she has nothing to do with school counseling, but I feel compelled to share the perspective I walked away with and how I will be finishing out the school year and hopefully longer than that!

Seeing her re-learn how to read, how to tell time, how to see- puts life in perspective for me. She never complains and is thrilled to be alive each morning.Can you imagine if you lived even one day of your life with 100% optimism and excitement for every interaction you had!? I can honestly say I do not usually jump out of bed at 5:45AM each morning excited to: take a shower, brush my teeth, do bus duty, sit in meetings, email, do laundry, take the trash out, etc.

That being said- Annie's perspective each day is my new goal: To truly LIVE this LIFE and be thankful to wake up each morning and do the best job in the world- help people.

So readers- thank you for your commitment to what you do, to who you are, and to excitement in your life. I wish you a happy, healthy week and a new perspective on how great life is and how much we have to be thankful for. Sharing her story is so therapeutic for me and I appreciate your willingness to hear my heart.

Love this life,
Your Floridian Chicka!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Darkness To Light facilitator training

Eight hours later and I am done! I am officially a facilitator for Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. If you have never heard of this program it is in all 50 states and going worldwide! The program is only two hours long but during that time you have the opportunity to hear from multiple sexual abuse victims as they come out and share their horrific stories of how these actions have changed them forever. You also have the opportunity to learn about five simple steps that you can take in order to prevent child sexual abuse. One of the great things about this program is that it is not geared towards only educators; it is designated for any adult who knows children and is willing to help. Now that I have received this training, I can facilitate the program to any adult who works with or knows children.

I urged those of you who have not heard of this program to check out this link and bring it to your place of work. It is so important to educate adults on the matter of child sexual abuse.The statistics are horrific and the stories are unbelievable: About one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. This was startling to me, and it reinforced for me the need for a program like this. 

D2L has partnered with YMCA, and
that is where our training was held. 
If you live in Florida and would like the training, I would love to facilitate this program for you! If you are not geographically close to me, please check out the website and see what days and times the program is held and who could facilitate for you!

Ending child sexual abuse one program at a time,

Your Floridian chick

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Black History Month #Parapower

February has come and gone- and I feel like each month moves faster than the last. In our district we have paraprofessionals that work with our students and staff. They are a huge asset to our school and without them, I don't think we could get through one day smoothly!
Long before I came to the current school I am now working at, Ms. Riley has been a paraprofessional- and EVERYONE knows Ms. Riley. She works at car loading, in the classrooms, in the cafeteria, and everywhere in between.

During the month of February, she dressed up and impersonated (truly and with passion! ) different people in history. Some of the obvious ones would include MLK, Aretha Franklin, and Rosa Parks. BUT keep in mind that there were 19 days in February... EACH DAY she impersonated a black man/woman in history and taught everyone something new to expand our ideas. 

Some of my favorites included Duke Ellington ( yes, good ol' Duke with an electric keyboard under her arm all day, playing tunes for everyone and anyone who walked by) and Ella Fitzgerald. She sang her way through the hallways- telling everyone who she was. Of the 19 people she impersonated, I probably only knew five- she taught me a ton this month- and I am sure she showed the kids a different side of learning. One without books, movies, iPads, or iTunes. Learning can be done in SEEING and DOING- and that is exactly what she did... 

Ms. Riley- you are one of a kind and we are lucky to have you- you're as crazy as can be and we wouldn't change ya for all the tea in China, or the all the money in the world- we love ya and thanks for teaching our kids something new:)

Teaching is doing, 

Your Floridian chick

Monday, February 23, 2015

Anchored in Success!

Agenda for the night!
School Board member
What a great event! The First Coast Counseling Association had our annual Principal Counselor Reception at Jacksonville University last week. We had one of our school board members, Dr. Constance Hall, share with us the importance of school counselors in education. She is a wonderful advocate for us and even told us to call/email ALL our school board members and advocate for ourselves as they go through budgets for future years! How crazy is that?! 
our Amazing team, anchored in Success

Photo Booth
 We had some great food, drinks, and even a photo booth for our counselors and administrators to snap a few shots of life outside school (wahoo!). We also give out 2 awards at this event- one for an exceptional administrator, and one to an amazing counselor. Each of these individuals go above and beyond to help our students every day. The administrator that was selected has their counselors have a caseload of 250 students each- the ASCA national model recommendation! I wish we could all have an administrator that would fight for us the way she fought for her counselors! It was such an inspiring night and it gave me a burst of energy as I think about the future of my program.

Here's to great people doing great things,
Your Floridian Chicka!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Giving color to our emotions

Since coming back to school in 2015 I have started a few groups focusing on expressing ourselves and our emotions. The lesson I did recently shows me the depth and creativity of children and how beautiful relationships and counseling can really be. I have been using bits and pieces from a program called "Seeing Red"... It's a wonderful jump off point for expression and emotion activities! 

The word of the day was anger. I asked them to use this puzzle and think about things that have ever made them angry. I then asked them to assign a color to each topic that made them angry.  I got some pretty intense and deep answers though such as "memories make me angry, my dead family member makes me angry, the thought of a certain classmate makes me angry". Once the kids started sharing, it was amazing to see how they related to one another. Sometimes I forget how powerful a small group really can be.  The other pictures show where they get angry on their body. I love self expression.. I do all the activities too, and I have to admit, they make me feel better every time!

Hopefully you can start a small group at your school soon and talk about emotions and expressing yourself. It is a skill that many adults do not have and I really feel like it can change relationships when we start really talking about how we are really feeling.

Feelin' gooood, 

Your Floridian chick:)