Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Morning meetings making a BIG difference

Morning meetings take time, I will be the first to say it! Teachers have so much on their plate, and the work continues to trickle down from administration to grade chairs to the classroom. When I first learned about morning meetings, I have to admit, I wasn't sold. Teachers spending 15 minutes each morning with their students not doing true "academics"? I don't think so...

BUT then I sat in on a morning meeting and saw the difference it makes. Each morning the students gather in a circle on the floor and begin their day. While each classroom is a little different, they all share the same 4 components:

  1. Greeting Students and teachers greet one other by name and practice offering hospitality. They may use an object to pass around as they speak. Some teachers use funny accents, high fives, fist pumps, etc. 
  2. Sharing Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions. They may also ask a question and have the whole class answer:  How do YOU show the character virtue of the month at recess?
  3. Group Activity Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills: dancing, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social skills. 
  4. Morning Message Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they'll do in school that day. They might go over the schedule or say what special class they have today. 

What was most shocking to me was how engaged the students were and how much they look forward to this every morning. It is the highlight of everyones day because it gives the students an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. 

Even if your entire school does not do morning meetings I encourage you to share it with a few teachers and start seeing the results! 

Learning social skills every day, 
Your Floridian chick!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Character Education: Ideas to make your program grow!

One of the bulletin boards in our school
The foundation and tag line for our school is "Nurturing minds. Building character." While some organizations/companies have a tag line, but rarely enforce it--this school is the real deal! I feel like it's a building FULL of school counselors!
Each month we have a virtue of the month the entire staff and students work on. In each classroom, a bulletin board and other signs hang all around the room that focus on our character education program. Each morning, they speak about the character trait of the month, and its importance during morning meeting (another post about that in the weeks to come!). An assembly is held every month for the entire school, and one grade is responsible for running it. 
FULL House at character ed assembly!

This month was our early learning team-ages 3-4 year olds, they made a movie clip of how they demonstrate the trait in their classroom (SO cute, I couldn't stand it!). 

The student council starts the program and does the pledge of allegiance, followed by singing a birthday song to all the children who celebrated a birthday during that month. This is a great way to make people feel special!

It is an opportunity to get the whole school together, and I have a strong feeling it will be my favorite day of the month! 

What does your school do for character education? Would love to incorporate more and more of your great ideas!

Building character every day,

Your Floridian Chick

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Public Speaking Tips!

Back to school night can be a knee shaking, teeth chattering, scary night for some teachers. Administration asked me to share a few tips and tricks on public speaking and ways to help teachers make the most out of their Back to School Night!

I did a Prezi on Public Speaking that you are more than welcome to check out! The tips/tricks are as follows:

The real deal: Statistics: 74% of people are scared of public speaking, it is the greatest fear that people have, even more than death!

Before the hellos: 
  • Play Music to ease the otherwise stale environment.
  • Stand by the door and greet people before they approach you.
  • Use name tags! Everyone feels more welcome when you call them by name.
  • Proximity Control with your audience
  1. Involve your audience (using technology or a game).
  2. Use your strengths, play to them, and move away from your areas that need improving. 
  3. Command control & power of the room. This can happen through a variety of ways- what we wear, our tone, our body language. 
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Take-aways are important, for some reason, people like leaving with a tangible object. 
  1. Use too much text
  2. No agenda
  3. too much detail. Parents are there for the overview, not every detail. 
Please feel free to use this Prezi with your staff as they prepare for their back to school night! 

Publicly speaking away,

Your Floridian Chicka!

Monday, August 31, 2015

New office!

As you may have read from previous posts, I moved schools! Here is my new office and I am adjusting quickly to my new digs! I was given the choice of what furniture to have in my room, and I shared that all I needed was:
1. A desk for myself.
2. A table for lunch bunch and parent meetings.

I am fortunate to have a closet in my room, so I am able to hide all my files, and extra materials there, leaving me space in the room for actual counseling:). Having a window has been great for getting my name out there, but also, for my own mental health! There are large bushes outside the door so people cannot see it,BUT I can see out:). I hope this room brings me as much happiness as my old office did- but so far- so good!

Happy New Year! let's get a movin'!

Your Floridian Chick

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The "guidance counselor" has left the building!

I wrote this in our school's weekly newsletter hoping to get the word out on our name and why we should be called it! Advocating for ourselves is a huge part of our role, and I am very thankful for a administration that supports me. 

The "Guidance Counselor" Has Left the Building

No, the title is not a typo. The "guidance counselor" is gone and the "school counselor" is here! The term guidance counselor implies that I am the only person "guiding" our students.
This couldn't be farther from the truth! I help guide students, but so does every other adult in this building. The American School Counselor Association changed the name of our title a few years ago to appropriately call us what we are: counselors who happen to be in a school. Hence, the school counselor was named!
The role of the counselor is a unique one; I do not have a homeroom, I am not administration, and I do not have "direct reports." I have the opportunity to work with every student, every teacher, every person in the school! 
As adults, we would never talk to a counselor about our life whom we did not have a relationship with. I feel that way for students too. If the students do not know me, they will not want to talk to me about concerns, life struggles or what  they are going through. I try to develop relationships with every student through a variety of ways. 
Inviting the students to lunch bunch is a great time to play games, eat (one of my favorite things to do), and chat about their passions. I also go in classrooms to conduct lessons on character education, academic skills, conflict resolution, and more! In addition to those touch points, I have small groups for specific issues, such as changing families, self-esteem, being a boy groups, and effectively coping. 
I am meeting your children in the cafeteria, at arrival, dismissal, and in the hallways. The teachers have been very kind in helping me get acclimated, and have invited me to their rooms to get to know their students. 
I look forward to working with families from every grade as I continue to get to know them. Please introduce yourself when you see me around campus. Knowing faces and names is a top priority of mine and my goal is to know every face in this beautiful school. 

Amanda Sheroff 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Marketing your school counseling program 101!

Stand here- they have to see you!
Tri-fold #1: Welcome Station
Even though our degrees might be in psychology and counseling, it feels like I should have gotten a minor in marketing as well... The role of the school counselor can sometimes be hidden in a back office, off the beaten path, and have a negative connotation, or NO connotation at all!

 Example A: Yesterday a parent asked if he could come talk about his dreams so I could psychoanalyze them... A smile and a laugh later, I informed him that I would NOT be able to do that... on the basis that I am not a psychic, nor am I Freud... 
Plan yourself HERE: The Welcome table!

Tri-fodl #2-in the car tag room,
where EVERY parent HAS to go:)
I use this silly example to show how little people know about our role. We HAVE to market our program, or else it will be marketed/interpreted for us.

Here are my top 3 Marketing Tips to get your foot in the door, your name on peoples mouth, and your presence KNOWN for all (teachers, admin, parents, and most importantly, students!):

1. Meet EVERYone and ANYone.. from the Principal to the custodians. I would argue that the custodian is the most important person you need to know, but that is for another time. Go to each room individually, with a notebook, and introduce yourself, and learn ONE thing about that person. Write it down and then go home and STUDY! If you do not make connections with the staff, there is NO way you will get to know the students.  Write a thank you card to each staff member.. Yes that means you go to the dollar store, buy a pack of thank you cards and get writing! I didn't write a novel in each card, but I DID write about a personal connection in each one. "Thank you for letting me come to your room, I loved your bird theme... Thank you for sharing with me about your husbands job... etc."

2. There is no way we can be in 10 places at once. This is where your brochure and tri-folds come in. Have your traveling bulletin board in places that have high traffic. I put mine at the welcome desk the first few days of school,  in the front office, and in the conference room, where every single family HAS to go. While I would have loved to be at all 3 places the first few days of school, I knew I couldn't. I traveled in between these places and let my board talk for me.  On the board I have the following:

    Tri-fold #3 in the main office
  • Name, about me, small groups, guidance topics, individual counseling information, counseling mission, vision, and where to find me. This helps to start the conversation about what we do, and who we are. 

3. Lunch bunch: Starting Day 3, I start the process of inviting EVERY student to lunch with me. I do this in small groups of 3-4 students, and make my way from oldest to youngest in alphabetical order. This starts the conversation of where my room is, about me, and then I get to learn a little bit about them. YES, this is marketing, YES, this is fun, and YES, it is the best part of my day- all wrapped in one 25 minute block. The students go home, tell their parent about our lunch bunch, and parents start knowing who I am and how I can help!

WHOO! That was a long one,BUT I hope it is helpful for our newbies and those trying to revamp their program.

Missing a minor,

This emotionally stimulated Floridian Chicka!

Back at it for 2015-16: Pre-Plan Tools

Pre-plan is a time for teachers to set up their room, meet the new teachers, and organize their summer brains just in time for the students to walk in the door.  It is great to have a burst of positive energy on Day 1 to set the mood for what the year will be like. We were fortunate enough to have the author Jon Gordon who wrote The Energy Bus come speak to our entire staff! He lives in our town and came to share about the power of positive thinking and living. Even if you do not have the author come to visit your school, the book is great for the staff! It focuses on 10 ways to approach life and work with a positive mentality. Each staff member was given the book, and each classroom was given the children's version of the book.

In addition to our positive burst of energy, we were given a wonderful breakfast by the Parent's association which gave us a little pep in our step as we got back into the groove of the school year. 
"Refuel Station"

I attached this to Kit Kats for everyone
On the second day of our pre-plan, we were given snacks (do you notice a trend here?!), that were set up in the faculty kitchen. I may or may not have stopped by a time or two to "check things out"... and was very appreciative of what the administration did to make us smile. I also left a Kit Kat treat in every staff member's box to introduce myself/my program, and start to build communication.

Lastly, I made an iMovie for my staff: Pre-Plan 2015-2016. I went around the school and took pictures so everyone would be able to the other rooms. This is a great way to show all the creative things that are occurring in just 5 days!

So in conclusion, here are my tips of pre-plan week:
1. Have a burst of happiness via a theme, a book, a speaker,  or idea.
2. Feed them well.... and often!
3. Document the great work your staff is doing!

If you do only these 3 things, I am sure you will see smiling faces, and full bellies. 

Bring it on 15-16, we're ready for ya!

Your Floridian Chick!

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Teacher Orientation

They says it's the little things that make all the difference, and this is no exception. I am starting at a new school this year and am one of a few new faculty members. The Friday before the entire faculty was asked to come back, we had a new hire orientation. They didn't waste any time giving us the most up to date information on the curriculum for each grade and subject. While school counselors obviously don't teach the reading, math, etc. components each day- it gave me a glimpse of what our kids will be learning and how it is incorporated into the resources (music, art, PE, library). This is incredibly helpful to understand the WHOLE child.

Presents each morning from my Buddy (Dunkin Donuts treats not shown:))
They also shared the history of the school, our branding, what the school stands for, and the central themes that run through each and every classroom. 

We stopped for lunch, which was when we met our "shark buddies"(teachers/faculty members who have been working at our school before this year). Each new person was assigned a shark buddy, and we had the opportunity to eat lunch together and spend some time getting to know one another. 

This entire day was so proactive; I was blown away session after session. I felt so much more prepared for the first day of preplan, and now I have a few familiar faces that I know:). 

This is simple to implement, and I highly encourage you to incorporate this into your new school year planning. 

Excited for 15-16,

Your Floridian chick!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Child abuse prevention conference

VERY interesting statistics
Child abuse: everyone knows it exists, but the thought makes your skin crawl. I was able to attend the Crimes Against Kids Conference, put on by the Florida network of Child Advocacy Centers, The National Child Advocacy Center was there to represent as well, and WOW! Some amazing people with great research presented. The statistics are startling, and while it brings me anxiety to think about the safety of our children- I am resting assured knowing that we have very capable,proactive law enforcement investigators that  know what to do to catch those who are mentally unstable. 

I came away with two key points from this conference:

1. As mental health providers, and law enforcement, we truly passionate about helping others, especially children. We need to be very cognizant of our OWN mental health. We work with confidential cases that are heartbreaking to hear. How we deal and process this kind of information is crucial for our stability and lifestyle. 

Me & our favorite Mouse:)
2. Child (physical, sexual, emotional) abusers are smart- they know how to talk to children online, what to say to them, how to convince a whole school/town to think they are someone they aren't (i.e. Jerry Sandusky anyone?) while I want to trust others, I think we all need to be alert 110% of the time- in order to protect those we care about. 

The more conferences I go to, the more I interact with people of the same passion I do for education, mental health- the more I am learning about all the ways to unify the community to protect, grow, and hopefully help people be the best they can be! 

I'll leave you with a little hint of where I was:)

Gotta love those ears,

Your Floridian Chicka

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer jobs for school counselors

Our role is kind of weird isn't it? We don't have a classroom, and we aren't principals/administration either. We work with every population under the sun (kids, parents, grandparents), and are located in a school. When I started thinking about what I do with my summer months off, and my type A, hyper, extroverted personality, I started to worry... 8 weeks with no to do list...8 weeks with no paycheck...8 weeks with time to help, but no school in session... Well life hit me like a brick- as it always does, and I found a role that was perfect for my set of gifts. This summer I have had the amazing opportunity to see what the nonprofit world is like. I am working for a child advocacy organization. This organization does indirect services for elementary school age children, and gives schools lessons and programs to implement during the school year.

I am able to learn from well trained leaders in the non-profit world as we collaborate to streamline, edit, and improve their program to make it the best it can be. I am learning a ton from this group and feel very foruntate to be improving my own communication skills, and seeing the educational system from a  completely different lense than I do during the school year.

Hope you are enjoying your summer- weather you are relaxing by a pool, or working elsewhere:)

More work but more play, 
Your Floridian chick 

#SCin30: The inside scoop on this Floridian Chick

Now that we've spent the last few years exchanging information, I thought I'd share why I became an elementary school counselor. It's not a career I wanted (or even knew about) when I was younger,  the job found me it seems. If you are on Twitter, follow us on #SCin30 to find out more about school counselors. Here's the inside scoop on this Floridian Chick and how she got here: 

I wouldn't change my diagnosis or life events for anything, life has a wonderful way of always working out. 

Now, enough about me, what about YOU?!,
Your Floridian Chick:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ASCA15 Session Take-Aways

I am finally sitting down to write this, after a long day of starring at this computer screen for my summer job (posting soon about that one too!), but if I don't get this post out soon- the school year will be here and we will be spinning our wheels to get things moving!

SO- if you were not able to get to ASCA15, you saved your skin from burning (it was H-O-T!), and probably some money, but I can say from the girl who hates to be hot, and who has a tight budget- it was ALL worth it. While state conferences are great, having ideas/plans/networking from around the country, you are able to take your program to the next level and learn outside the (state) box. 

The following are the sessions I attended and 2-3 main ideas that YOU can USE at your school. While I love theory- I feel that at a conference, I am there for tangible, usable ideas that I can turn around the use the next day (in this case, that would be August... but you get the idea).

Her Contact Info:)
School Counseling with heART with Julie Ford (Oregon): This woman was SO funny- you can tell she loves what she does. She had great ideas but here were my favorites:
  • Pre/post data-using students pictures, scales, circling how they feel before and after.  
  • Postcard to yourself- decorate the front, message on the back to encourage yourself. 
  • Goal setting- Vision board for long or short term goals, mind mapping (like a word web, but with pictures), shields,
  • Coping Skills- Mandalas, Zentangle/Doodle Art, Mad Sticks: Pipe cleaner and beads- put the beads on, and then take them off- count while you are doing it, helps to calm down students.
Career Exploration with Cartoons:
I never thought to use cartoons but it can be such a simple idea with YouTube!
Key Takeaways:
  • Use characters that mirror your population (This makes perfect sense, but I had not made the connection until they shared this.). 
  • Paws in Jobland- Free website, great for primary grades. 
  • Www.warmupsfollowups.blogspot.com- movie segments for class guidance. Bubble Guppies, Nick Junior STEM, Fairly Odd Parents, Boy meets World, Hey! It's Arnold- ALL of these have career episodes/segments you can use!
  • Connecting to the content: career days, Get everyone involved (music class can make a jingle for a new product, family consumer science can have a bake sale, art classes can do advertising, PTA can get donations from the community)
How to make your own Webinar:
Webinars can be great for any age groups- either for parents/community for elementary grades, or for your students in middle/high school. People are busy- if you give them an online option, they will be able to connect to your information at a time that is convenient for them. 
  • Google Hangouts- anyone can view these as long as they have the internet. This is what they recommended. You will need a Gmail account for this. If you don't already have gmail- I highly recommend it. 
  • Screen-cast-o-matic- records what you are doing on your computer for up to 15 minutes. If you are doing a powerpoint, you can have the audience look at your presentation and you can go to different screens/websites- all recording step by step processes. 
  • Educreations and sceenr are free as well
  • Padlet and Linoit are both online bulletin boards that people can write questions and you can answer them. 
Solution Focused Sessions- I went to two on this topic because it has so many tangible take-aways. One was strictly a list of activities to do, and the other was more macro/big picture thinking. 
  • Using scales: Thermostats, 1-10 Small-large, drawing a line. inflating/deflating a balloon. This can help us understand where they are coming from. 
  • Future thinking- what do you want to happen? What would you like instead of the problem? Write a letter to the future you. 
  • Drawing- picking colors that reflect each feeling, drawing your future. 
  • Using their hands/object to describe their situation. 

The other solution focused session focused on the big picture:
  • Moving forward- lets look for small changes, not big ones. 
  • Success comes in the CANS, not the CANNOTS.
  • The way you see the problem- is the problem.  Look at the times that the student has been doing a great job, not the times when the student has been getting in trouble. 

Blah to Blazing presentation skills: I loved this one, the 3 presenters truly have their heart in what they do, and did a great job sharing their information. 
  • Blah: unfocused presentation, no agent, trying to cover too much, overloaded presentation, reading the powerpoint (my biggest pet peeve!)
  • BLAZING!: Find your strength and build off of it. Command control- be powerful! Dress to impress- sometimes we think we are standing in front of your peers (faculty), so we don't need to look professional, but WE DO! The simple rule is to dress one level "up" from your audience. Use analogies   to communicate what you are saying. Speak slowly- even if it does not feel normal, we tend to get excited/nervous when we are in the spotlight. Finally- create a memorable quote- something to leave your audience with that captures your message. 
OH I could go on and on about more sessions but these stood out to me as a few of my favorites If you were at #ASCA15, which ones were your favorite? 

You better believe you will be seeing me in New Orleans for ASCA16!

Spiced up!
Your Floridian Chicka

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Life Lessons from Broadway

I will definitely be getting to the #ASCA session details soon, but the speakers just kept blowing me away. Sometimes it takes a different perspective (i.e.- a broadway dancer turned author?!), to see the gifts that life has given you.

The closing keynote before we all drove/flew away from ASCA15, was an amazing Broadway performer, and author of the middle schools books, "Better Nate than ever!",  and "Five, Six, Seven, Nate!" Tim Federle. While he is a gifted speaker, and obviously talented performer, his message was worthwhile, honest, and inspiring. most of all. He gave us 7 life lessons that he wished someone had told him when he was young. I do NO justice to his words, but here is my recap:

" I wish someone had told me...":

1. The struggles in life help us define who we are.

  •  Think about a tough time in your life, how did you get through it? How did it make you stronger? When I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, who knew that would be the gift of a lifetime?!
2. Perfectionism is overrated. GRIT will get you where you want to go.

  •  If everything was easy, we wouldn't appreciate what we've got.  Thank goodness someone said this, I am about as imperfect as it gets these days, but I am willing to push up my sleeves and get a little dirty. 

3. The world has bullies, they exist in all ages, types, and forms. Build resiliency and coping skills to be able to work with these people. 

  • PREACH IT Tim! If he wrote an entire book with only this line, I would buy 10 copies.
4. Follow your dreams, but also follow your one line ideas- the wims- they can become something you never would have dreamed of. 

  • Try it all out, you never know where life will take you. I started to think like this when I got to college, but I wish I had started earlier. 
5. Be nice-to everyone, from the top of the totem pole, all the way to the bottom.

  • Character education at its finest! Let's be serious, everyone was at the bottom at some point (maybe some of us are still there:)). 
6. Everyone is always starting over. We are "growing ups", not grown ups. No matter your age, we always want to try something new, go somewhere different, explore those places, those things. You might find something new that sparks your interest.

  • You've never done growing. I tell my students this often, "when I grow up I want to be..." They look at me funny, but I tell them I am not done my career/aspirations. I hope I never will be.
7. You never know who will change your life. 

  • Go out on a limb, meet someone new- that's where you find the fruit. If someone has hold me in 7th grade, I would be marrying the guy across the room, I would've fallen off my chair. 
While he produced MUCH more laughter than I ever could, his message was from the heart. Using these ideas,  I think we can all come away with some new perspectives, ways of thinking, that we can then share with our students. 

Wow did I love this guy! Thanks Tim for who you are, where you've been, and where you're going. 

Lessons learned,
Your Floridian chick!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

ASCA for First Timers

When I say this was last minute, I really mean last minute. On June 1 if you had told me I would be going to a conference that would change my perspective on this career, I wouldn't have believed you. Yet little did I know, I would be offered the opportunity to go, and the rest is history.

 In the few shorts weeks.. well days..before this trip, I had preconceived expectations of what this week would look like. I figured there would be some good sessions, some slower sessions, and maybe I would get to meet a friend or two from my Twitter account. BUT when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong and this is a perfect example of why expectations can change our mindset. This conference fundamentally is about connecting, networking, building, growing, and expanding our knowledge base of counseling on the school setting ( too many verbs, I know....). 

As soon as I got to the Phoenix airport, the butterflies in my stomach, and the feeling of excitement took over. Starting with registration, the exhibit hall, and obviously the people- this conference is a well oiled machine and I commend the staff who worked so hard to make this as amazing as it was. Over the next few posts, I will be sharing the highs and... well highs of this conference, and give you my perspective of the take aways from this experience. So without further a due, I give you perspective 1: the opening session.

My first question: How do they get these speakers?! Everyone left me in awe of their passion for what they do. 

Opening session: Fredi Lajvardi is a long time teacher, and now famous movie star from "spare parts" who chose to take teaching to another level. Working in an inner city, low income school- he spent time with students outside of the regular school day to create and compete underwater robotics. The story goes on to tell that they beat MIT, and many other universities with their GRIT, perseverance, and ability to do what others thought they couldn't. 

Wow- what a way to start a this week- it got my mind thinking about what I can be doing to build GRIT and improve my character education program. Readers: Your ASCA15 post nĂºmero uno homework assignment: watch the movie, and pick up a copy of the book!

Just the beginning!

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