Monday, September 22, 2014

Bulletin Board Advocating

It's true... My advocacy has taken on a new levels his year
 of getting the school counseling name out there.. This bulletin board is just outside my room, and in he the past, it had been used by the teacher across the hall. This year, the board stood empty long enough for me to jump on the advocacy train and just be plain blunt: I AM A SCHOOL COUNSELOR AND I CAN HELP! 

As you can see, a 5 year old  could read this- it is plain, simple, and to the point. I posted my daily tasks, my brochure, and my name.. That is about it... Hopefully as parents walk by, they think one of 2 things: 1. "oh ya! I know her, she's our school counselor!" Or ( hopefully not) 2. "They have a school counselor? Oh wow I didn't know she helped with...."

Counselors- find a board, put your information on it and get your name out there like crazy! 

Bluntly said, 

Your Floridian chick!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Organizational tips!

While the title of our job says school counselor- we know that we do a lot more than counseling.. between duties, RTI, attendance, testing, section 504s, classroom guidance, the list goes on and on. I have found that without organization, we would sink into dysfunction in a matter of minutes. I wanted to share my strategies with new and old counselors looking to revamp their style of documentation.

I keep these little slips in the front drawer of my desk- ANY time I talk to a student or parent, I document the conversation with a few details to help trigger my memory.

I then make a beautiful little pile in the back of my office, and put them in alphabetical order based on last name and file them.. I would like to tell you that I file them as soon as I get them.. but honestly.. I wait until I have a big stack- then file.

In order for me to keep track of phone calls, this little (free!) notebook has helped me more than I could have ever imagined. I document ANY time a phone call occurs.. I write the exact time, date, and name of the person. I write the child they are talking about and their email/phone number. I have been able to reference this on MANY occasions and I do not know what I was thinking not doing this the minute I got to this building.

On the back of the notepad- I document any time that I have given out paperwork. I write the child's initials and how it got home. Then I can track who has gotten what and when.


Hopefully this helps and can get you organized, out of the office, and back in the classrooms with the kiddos!

Documenting away!

Your Floridian Chick:)



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cool Down Zone

With a new school year, I have been spending most of my hours in and around the school... and neglecting my virtual counseling friends. SO here is something one of our 5th grade teachers set this up in her room and it seems to be working. This is what the sheet says:





Cool Down Zone
What happened?




What can you do different next time?




o   Circle any emotions you are feeling:
Frustrated  angry                   sad    discouraged        grumpy      annoyed     disappointed
Confused   jealous       embarrassed       worried      afraid

Are you calm?  ______
Are you focused?  ______
If you said yes to both, you are ready to join us J

If you would like Mrs. _________ to read this put it in the envelope.  If it’s only for you to read then trash it & forget about it!


She has an area in the back of the room just to cool down. We are very lucky to have a teacher that cares about our kids emotional learning as well as academic. 

Love this lady and all she does,

Your Floridian Chick!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Here we go-14-15

And just like that.. summer is over, the school year is beginning, and the halls are crowded again. This year we have new leadership in the building, and as they say- the only thing constant in this world is change. We have had a pretty good amount of change to the building over the summer and I feel that it is crucial, now more than ever, to play cheerleader and rally the troops. In high school I was never a cheerleader, but have learned a few "moves" over the last few years:

1. Be Positive. If you start to complain, others will think it is OK to follow..

2.Things will go wrong from time to time.. figure out at least one take away from it.. you must  have learned something from the experience, and share it with your team/faculty.

3. Have a sense of humor.. This picture is posted outside my room (Mean Girls joke), and when people walk by after a long meeting, I can hear them laugh in the hall when they read it.. a little humor each day is a sanity saver!

4.Plan events outside of the classroom for your faculty. I think the better rapport we build, the harder people will work for one another. This could be exercising after school, a welcome back party, eating lunch together, etc. DO something fun!

Who knows what this year will bring but I feel optimistic for great things and I wish you the best as you start back to school!

Ready for fall,
Your Floridian Chick!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A year in review!

As the school year has now come to a close, it is crucial to reflect back on the year: what went well, what did not.. and what things need to change for next year to improve. This year we got a lot accomplished, but there are definitely things that I need to work on.

What I loved this year:
1. Organization through my GMAIL- Google Docs account. I was able to keep a detailed list of important dates, students testing schedules, attendance lists, etc. Since these are working documents, it was great to constantly go back in, change, and keep moving.

2. Call Log- this was amazing! I had tried to keep track of it through slips of paper before, but it was more of a hassle than anything else. This year, I took a spiral notebook and recorded parent calls by date, not name! I write down 4 things: parent name, student name, time/date, and phone number/email. I have referred  back to this  list more times than I could have imagined, and am very glad I did this!

3. Parent drop-off  Duty: This made my life so much easier! I got to see parents, they got to see me, and I got a little fresh air each morning! I was in a hallway previously and did not get to see parents who I had been trying to get a hold of, we were able to have small conversations here and there, and I could relay information.


Things to change:
1. Stop planning my schedule back to back.. to back! I got myself into more issues this year because I planned things on my calendar that were impossible to be at. Guidance lesson at 8:45, parent meeting at 9:15... clearly- that is not going to work! Next year I need a 5 minute buffer in between events.

2.Have a session of small groups between Thanksgiving and Winter break. I did this the last year but did not make time this year.. I am putting it on my yearly calendar and making this happen!

My list is definitely longer but I won't bore you with too many details. I hope you enjoyed your school year and take some time for YOU this summer!

Summer time is here,
Your Floridian Chick!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Volunteer Breakfast



This is the first school I have been at where they have a huge end of the year event for volunteers who have helped throughout the year. Recently on a Friday morning, we invited over 40 volunteers from the community to a beautiful breakfast prepared and donated by our staff members. There was more food than anyone could imagine, but it was a wonderful opportunity to thank them for all their hard work. Each volunteer got a certificate, and two individuals were awarded Volunteer of the Year (male and female).  We had each grade do a small performance/skit for the audience and everyone left with a happy heart and full stomach.

Love these events to share the happiness that this place brings! What do you do to honor your volunteers?! We can always use new and fresh ideas!

Thankful,
Your Floridian Chick!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Coffee with the 6th grade counselor

I had the counselors from our zoned middle schools come over and visit our 5th grade families. It has been interesting to how each is different and what they have to offer. By inviting the counselors in, the children are meeting their new counselor in a comfortable setting they are used to. We took field trips to each school as well so students could see where they would be. I am always looking for new ways to smooth their transition, but would love more! Please share here:) 


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mother's Day Celebrations!

I wanted to incorporate Mother's Day but since it falls in line with Teacher Appreciation week, I often feel that it gets left behind.

This year for Mother's day, I made a poster for our work room with every moms name on it- the staff seemed to enjoy it and put a spot on their for furbaby moms- they are important too! 
We held our "Donuts with Darlings" Event from 8:00-8:30AM. It was a great event and I want to thank Krispy Kreme Donuts for all they do to help organizations/schools that are on a budget. They usually charge $5.62 per dozen, yet their fundraising cost is $3.75 for 25 dozen or more donuts ordered. You better believe we ordered 25 dozen and somehow hey were all gone by the end of day!

The job of a mother is probably the hardest job out there, so THANK YOU to all the moms out there, for all you do each and every single day to raise your children and put them first.

Donuts galore,
Your Floridian Chick!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Teacher Appeciation Week ideas!


May is a wonderful time of year for teachers: no more state tests, field trips, warm weather, and the best of all:Teacher Appreciation week! Here is our week and how it all went down:
Bucket of goodies!

Media Center set up for Pancake Breakfast!
Personal Chef!
Clearly, I have been busy working for the last decade!
Leadership team chefs!







What a great week to let teachers know we love them! Please share all your ideas here so next year we can give our teachers new presents and show our appreciation!

Loving our teachers,
Your Floridian Chick!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lunch Bunch Game

Now that state testing is done, I am back on the map with doing lunch bunches and classroom visits. I have been trying to find some old games to make new and since cards are an easy toy to manipulate, I created C-UNO- "Counselor Uno".

 Here is the only new rule:
When you put down a card, or take a card, you answer the question based on your color.




C-UNO LUNCH BUNCH GAME!



Green- Ask the person to your right a question about themselves



Blue- tell the person to your left a complement



Red- Share something you are proud of



Yellow- Share what you want to work on as a 3rd grader



Wild Card- Ask anyone a question.

This is a simple way to get people talking and to learn communication skills. The kids seemed to like it and we learned more about one another- a win win for me! 

Uno Love,
Your Floridian Chick

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pep Rally!

520+ student- 50 staff members-1 cafeteria- ready to Tackle the Test

Here is the itinerary of the Pep rally and how it all unfolded!

2014 FCAT Pep Rally Itinerary

1:50-2:00  Music playing while students enter cafeteria
(Curtains closed)
2:00  Welcome from Principal
(Curtains open to tape)
2:05-2:10  Play song "Happy”- Dancers begin to dance their way onto the stage
2:10-2:15  Dance “What Does the Fox Say?” play song
(Curtains close; Screen goes down; Lights go off)
2:15-2:20 Slide show plays
(Screen goes up; Curtains open; Lights come on)
Introduce the skit
2:20-2:30 Skit
2:30-2:35 Closing and Chants by Counselor
Play exit song as students leave cafeteria

Chants to use:
When I say TACKLE, you say THE TEST
When I say BOBCAT, you say PRIDE
When I say DON, you say BREWER


It was a LOUD but wonderful event! They can be a little crazy but when they are kept short and run with a specific itinerary, they are effective!


Ringing ears,
Your Floridian Chick!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tackle the Test Spirit Week!


It is THAT time of year again folks- testing that is.. In order to prepare for the test, we had an FCAT (Florida Comprehensive  Assessment Test) Spirit week to pump up our kiddos! Our theme was "Tackle the test" and we will filled each day with different dress up outfits, activities, decorations throughout the school, and finished it off with a pep rally (next weeks post)! Our week went like this:


·        Monday: “Tackle the Test” Dress in your favorite football gear

·        Tuesday: “Knock the FCAT Out of the Park” Baseball attire

·        Wednesday: “Color Wars” each grade level is assigned a designated color to wear (Red, White and Blue)

·        Thursday: “Sprint to the Finish” Wear your running gear

·        Friday: "Bobcat Pride" Wear school colors
I will be the first to say that I am definitely a t-shirt and shorts kind of girl and any chance I have to wear relaxed clothing to school- I am ALL for it!

     As the "school cheerleader", I feel that it is important to let the students know how far they have come, and all the hard work they have invested since August. So I sent out an email the week before to ask if any teachers wanted me to visit their room for a quick 20 minute lesson to encourage them, and to go over some test taking strategies, as well as ways to calm down and relax.  I made it to every room and the kids seemed to like it- my voice on the other hand.. was a different story. 

Here were the standards I focused on for this lesson:
American School Counselor Association Standards:
A:A1:3- take pride in work and achievement
A:C1:6-Understand how school success and academic achievement enhance future career and vocational opportunities.
PS:A1:1- Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person
PS:B1.2- Understand consequences of decisions and choices.
PS:B1.9- Identify long and short term goals. 

It was a great week and the kids were definitely feeling the love that their teachers had for them. Thinking about next year, I will definitely offer classroom visits again, and I would also like to make it a priority to be on the announcements each morning. I only made it a few mornings, but I think it is important to show my school spirit. 
I sent this out the week before our spirit week as a reminder!

RA RA!
Your Floridian Chick!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Generation W Conference #GenW

Wow! What a conference! Prior to the day, I had never heard of Generation W, but after participating in this event, I left with a huge appreciation for this organization and what they stand for. Below you will see the itinerary for the jam packed day- while each speaker/panel shared important information, I came away with a few key points:

1. Thinking about your own job: what are 3 adjectives you would use to describe your role? If someone was going to describe you in 3 words, what would they use? If these 3 words do not match up with the 3 used to describe your job, something needs to change. You want people to think that you were made for this job, when they think of a leader in that role- they should think of you immediately.  You can change what people think of you- consistency and authenticity are THE most important take always. Be YOU, and be consistent with your mission statement of what you want to do.

2. Social Media- How will you "brand" yourself? What are your pictures, quotes, comments, etc. say about the person you are? Before you post something, think:

It is approval seeking?
It this a fleeting emotion?
Is it kind?
Would I say it TO the person?
Is this a moment that I want to protect?

So often, we post things without thinking about the long term effects.. I want to keep this in mind when I am bored, and wanting to share a picture, or boast about something personal.  Is this the best way to use my time? Probably not. 

3. Finally, a speaker talked about ways to have more fruitful conversations. In counseling, we NEED this in order to be effective. We need to think of both parties, not make assumptions, think about diversity, and be willing to learn something new. This is very subjective, but I want to improve these skills, and I have the ability to practice everyday!

Below is the schedule, I highly encourage you to check it out!



Feeling extra inspired,
Your Floridian Chick :)