Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Party!

WHEW! Friends, it has been quite a while since my last post. No excuse will do justice, but I do have some fun to share about the last month of life:)

I feel one of the major roles as a counselor in a school is to be the cheerleader. Our school is compiled of a few different committees. I am a co-chair of the school climate committee. Our big responsibilities include Red Ribbon week, winter and spring luncheons for the faculty, and spirit week. I feel like these activities fall under my job- so I might as well help with the committee!

Our committee planned for weeks to make a great winter luncheon for the faculty/staff who have worked their tails off during the first semester. In addition to the paper invitation, our PE and art teacher went "door to door" to staff members dressed up at the Polar Express conductor and the homeless man on the top of the train to deliver "golden tickets". The staff laughed long and hard- a memorable moment for sure!  I hope you can use some of these ideas for next year! While getting high test scores, good grades, efficient/effective lesson plans are important, it is also crucial to actually TALK to the people we work with, and know who they are outside the 4 walls of the school building.

Invitation in each mailbox!
Place settings for each person

My amazing co-chair and I dressed up for festive sweater contest!

Gift certificates from the principal to the storeroom!

Did someone say dessert? 








Well friends, I promise to be getting back to speed in the next few days as I recap the last few events that are worth sharing! I wish you and your family a very merry and happy new year and cannot wait to see what 2014 brings for all of us!

With a very full Christmas cookie belly,

Your Floridian Chick

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A one in a million kind of afternoon

Usually in my week, there are a few great moments that I walk away with thinking- "THIS is why I do what I do". This post takes the cake for events though. Big Brothers Big Sisters tutoring started at school, and it was out of this world. High school students from our neighborhood came over on a bus for a part of their afternoon and tutored some of our struggling students. Not only was this an educational event that will be happening every other week, but it was beneficial from a social and emotional aspect as well. To see the elementary student's faces and how excited they were to be with "someone so old" and learn from there- was an amazing experience as a fly on the wall. BBBS is a phenomenal program that we are very fortunate to have and I cannot wait to see where this year takes both sets of students as they grow and prosper academically, socially and emotionally.

With tons of love and happiness today,
Your Floridian Chick

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving lunch!

Well I have to admit- I was wrong! I bring my own lunch every single day. I thoroughly enjoy my vegetables, fruit, and sandwich. Yet the district offered a "full Thanksgiving meal" so I took a leap of faith and went for it. IT WAS GOOD! And shockingly full! 

Moral of the story-go out on a limb, that's where the fruit ( or in this case-turkey) is! 

With thanks, 
Your Floridian chick 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A patriotic, donut kind of morning!

If you have been following my blog over the last few years, you might have noticed that I shared information last year about donuts with dudes and our flag raising ceremony for Veterans Day. Yet this year was better than the last and I wanted to share what we did differently to make it better. 

This year, we had over 300 people attend our donuts with dudes breakfast where we bought 45 dozen donuts and 10 gallons of orange juice. Yes, you read correctly, 45 dozen donuts-450 donuts, and surprisingly only had 5 dozen left! Last year, we only had about 200 dads and thinking about what we did differently, we marketed our event like this:

1. We used the announcements each morning for 2 weeks to talk about the event. 
2. We sent home flyers 10 days in advance instead of just 7.
3. We reminded teachers to put it on their front board as a visual reminder to the students. 
4. We put flyers in ether main offce so every parent/guardian that came in, saw our note!

We encouraged our dudes to stay for the flag raising ceremony and Veterans Day celebration and many did! By having the 2 events go right after each other, it made it easier to have everyone at school at one time instead of two. 

Since we live near a naval base, we had men who currently serve in the Navy share their experiences of where they had been, their jobs, and where they were going next. We were also able to talk about our character of the month, patriotism, and why we celebrate our country. 

It was moving to see how much they did for our country, and I feel fortunate to live in a country where people are willing to serve. 

Enjoy the pictures and thank you to all the people who have served and currently serve this great country!

Patriotically yours,

Your Floridian chick 





Sunday, November 3, 2013

#FSCA13

It seems like it is that time of year for PD! Over a 3 day period, I traveled to the gulf coast and got to spend some serious time with over 300+ counselors from all over the state. We shared ideas that we love, lessons that worked, and therapies that helped change our kids from struggling to superstars. I could easily go through and write a novel on each session I attended and  the 10 take aways that I will be bringing back to school, but lets be serious,- I  will narrow it down to a few overall take-away themes during my FSCA weekend:

1. School Climate: working from the inside out, not the outside in. While it is great to hire a security guard, tint windows, and lock doors, it is also important to do the following:
  • Make your school relationship focused, student centered, with restorative consequences and increased student voices. When our school climate is positive, our academic achievement is improved. 
    • How do we do this: Say hello to student as they walk through your door. Ask them how they are, create those relationships so that the student respects you and KNOWS you. Listen to the words they are saying, and try to understand how they might be feeling. These might seem like simple, little ideas, but they WILL make a difference. Connections count!
2. Create a college/career going culture. Not every career needs college, but all careers need some training. Prior to this conference, I was putting career topics on the back burner. "My students are in 3-5 grade, they don't need to know about college/careers yet.." WOW, was I wrong! There are amazing elementary schools doing week long career weeks, teaching their students about how their interests, abilities, and strengths can take them to careers they will LOVE!  A huge take away from this conference will be implementing career topics into my classroom visits, and hopefully having a career week in the spring.

3. I don't know what I don't know! Just when I thought that I was getting the hang of what is going on in my district, how the state looks at school counselors, and what our expectations are, I get a reality check that I have SO much to learn. THIS is why it is crucial to attend conferences, seminars, webinars, etc. so we can learn and develop not only as a professional, but as a person too. I met dozens of people this weekend that are polar opposites from me; they bring so much to the table that I would have never thought of, and it is amazing to me to see how generous and kind people are to share their views on how to improve.

This weekend was so much more than  2 speakers, 5 breakout sessions, and a few meetings. It was learning about what kind of counselor I am, what kind of counselors I want to be, and a the steps I need to get there.

Until next time my friends,
Your Floridian Chick



RAMP it up!

One of the sessions I was fortunate enough to attend during our county conference was about getting your own program RAMP certified. In the counseling world, RAMP means your program would be a Recognized ASCA Model Program. This is a HUGE deal and is incredibly difficult to attain. 2 of our counselors from a nearby elementary school received RAMP last year and were willing to share with us what the process is and how much work truly goes into it! This is something that I am looking into and felt very lucky to hear from current RAMP counselors about their trials, errors, and successes during their application.

 I am curious though, what is the difference between RAMP certification, NBCC certification, and NCC certification? I would love some advice on pros and cons of each and how to decide on which to pursue.

Any counselors have any expertise?

Excitedly pursuing,
Your Floridian Chick

Monday, October 28, 2013

Walk the Walk, Talk the Walk for RED Ribbon Week!

The annual red ribbon week has already come and gone this year, but I wanted to share with you our exciting week and how it went!  We had a 4 day week so we day we dressed up to "fight drugs". Our theme this year was "Walk the walk, talk the talk" and our decorations showed it!

Here are some ideas hopefully you can use for future dress up days:

Monday- Follow your dreams, not drugs- Pajama Day!
Tuesday- Career Day! What do you want to be when you grow up?
Wednesday- Team up against drugs-wear your favorite jersey
Thursday- Red Ribbon Celebration- Wear as much red as possible!
  • I am no fool, I intentionally put pajama day on Monday- who doesn't want to wear sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a robe to work on a Monday?
  •  As for career day, I went for comfort again and dressed up as an Olympic Athletic runner! I had a medal in my office from the Disney 1/2 marathon, so I wore my sneakers, running shirt, work out Capri pants, and my medal! I taped "#Runner #9887" to my back and off I went!
  • As for Wednesday, I had to represent my college, and went with a JMU football jersey.
  • Lunch for our winners!
  • Thursday was full of red, with a red shirt, hair accessory, and bracelet. 
As for activities, the students could submit posters and one page essays promoting our theme of Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk and why drugs are harmful. Each grade had 3 winners for each contest. We ate a very fancy lunch tomorrow consisting of pizza from a local restaurant!  As you can see from the pictures, this giant train was hung in our cafeteria with the children's picture in each bubble. Teachers gave students the opportunity in class to make these so they could be hung up to promote unity against drugs!

Overall, it was a great week and I am thankful for all of YOUR ideas that you share with me!

Sincerely yours,
Floridian Chick








Sunday, October 27, 2013

2nd annual County Conference

I think I am still on a high from this past Friday and have been dying to get to the computer to tell YOU all about it!  Our county had it's second annual counselor's conference at a local university. The conference consisted of counselors from our entire county in elementary, middle and high schools, all coming together to share ideas and strategies to help our students. Our day started off with a message from our superintendent, followed by great keynote speaker! Between the hours of 9-2:25,over 200 people spent 4 sessions with 8 different speakers each time slot, to share their expertise and knowledge about a variety of topics (32 choices is a beautiful- but difficult thing!).

After 2 sessions, we stopped for lunch and resource fair. Check out the list to the side- we had so many different organizations share their information and I know I am not the only one already plotting ways to get their organizations into our schools!After some wonderful Jimmy Johns, we headed back to the classrooms and got to enjoy 2 more sessions before calling it a day!

I was fortunate to be a very small part of this day, helping on the committee. I really enjoyed the "behind the scenes" aspect and would definitely recommend to any new or tenured counselors to join in on the next conference you attend.  Well that is all for now, I will keep you posted about more conference material I come across later in the week! Thanks for stopping by!
Special thanks for all the counselors who helped make today possible!!
 









Any suggestions on what makes a conference great? Let me know!

Soaking up the knowledge,
Your Floridian chick!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Inexpensive Finds!

5 years ago if you had asked me to be a scavenger in a Goodwill or thrift store, I would have politely declined the offer. I cannot say that I used to do my regular shopping at these stores, but times have changed and they are my new favorite place.

During a recent visit to a Goodwill store, I came across tons of games that I could use for counseling.  Candyland and Operation do not exactly scream counseling services to me, but with the right imagination and tweaking, these $1.99 games have changed up my brief counseling sessions for the better and gave me a little more to work with.

I highly recommend checking out these places to find great deals on games and toys that are normally 10x more $$ in the Toys R Us.

Saving money as we go,
Your Floridian chick:)

Monday, October 14, 2013

My perspective of teaching

After seeing these teachers each and every day, I have come to the conclusion that when they get their teaching degree, they should also get a degree in drama as well.

Yes, I said DRAMA.


These teachers get on their "stage" each morning and for 7-8 straight hours; they talk, share, demonstrate, and lead their students on their specific subject.  They are on their feet, moving 100 miles a minute trying to hold the attention of 25 students who EACH have their own wants and needs.They essentially are putting on a day long play for their "audience", and do everything they can to get a their standing ovation at the end of the day (this comes in the form of high test scores and conduct grades).

This job as a teacher is so much harder than one would think. They spend hundreds of dollars of their own money each August to make their rooms beautiful and bright. They spend hours prepping for the class as a whole, and then spend hours prepping for specific children who have special accommodations.

I go into each classroom for 30 minutes each week and "perform" my guidance lessons. I might do 5 lessons a day- at most- and even after that- I feel I have exhausted my energy.

I don't know how you do it, but you do it. So thank you for being a wonderful actor/actress and putting on a phenomenal show each day! YOU are appreciated!


Monday, September 30, 2013

Creating Community

A few posts ago, I shared I was out of school because I was sick. Being that we are counselors, relational people, who love exchanging  information, I might as well share with my "online counseling family" that I have been out sick with my first attack of Multiple Sclerosis.  I missed 6 school days but heading back to work is a beautiful thing!  I have had some serious time to reflect on the loving, empathetic staff I work with. 

It got me thinking: How is community created? It will never be measured by test scores or a school improvement plan. It will never be given a grade and it will certainly not be measured by the state standard.  The role of community is created in between the lesson plans, the lunch breaks, and the hallway chats. It is created in times of crisis, great sadness, and in times of pure joy.
When I think of how my school community has been formed and how it is possible that after just one year, I can feel the pure love from these 50 individuals, I wanted to write a "how to love your staff" handbook and give it to every school in the district.There is no clear cut answer as to how to create community but I think there are a few things that can make a difference:

1. Go out on a limb- Go talk to someone, or join a committee that you do not know about.
2. Cover for your friends, and cover for people who aren't your friends. There will be a day when a colleague can't make their duty, or has a meeting. Help them! That 30 minute coverage you are doing for someone else will be remembered far longer than 30 minutes. It all makes a difference.
3. Complement others. It is easy to judge and say how you would have dealt with this student or that student, but everyone is trying, and a good complement goes a long way.
4. Empathize- Know that everyone has a different story to tell and a history that may or may not be written on their sleeve. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. My entire staff just found out on Wednesday I had MS. The number of texts/emails/conversations that went " BUT I had NO idea?!" are too many to count at this point.
5. Leadership is key- having a strong leader (principal) makes it easier. If he/she is promoting the love, others will follow.
6. Make cookies- I don't know what it is about a little brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla, but it seems to work. Bring them to your work room, put them in the teacher's mailboxes. People who have treats are usually happier- it's just that simple.

Well, I could be wrong, but I think community is the single most important part of work. I will be on Twitter on Thursday October 10th on #ESCChat (Elementary School Counselor Chat) on chat about how to create a healthy community in your school. I would love you to join and share your ideas too!  Tweet me-@SCfromAZ!

Feelin' the love,

Your Floridian Chick!








Reading Kick off!

We are going to hang up this sign outside the library !
Each year our school has a reading kick off to encourage our students to reach their reading goal. Our reading coach created an exciting environment to get students pumped to read a total of 33,000 books from the start of the school year through the end of May. If the goal of 33,000 books is reached, the principal, vice principal, and myself will get PIED in the face by over 500 students! Luckily I enjoy pie, so I will clearly be encouraging our kiddos!


In addition to the school goal, each individual student has an individual goal to read over 25 books.IF they are able to read 25 or more books, they will have a FULL day filled with pizza parties, bounce houses, games, and arts and crafts. I saw this come to life last year for the first time and was amazed by the hard work and planning that was involved by the committee.
Over 500 students, 50+ teachers, and a TON of energy!

 Dreaming of pies,
Your Floridian chick!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time Capsule!

It is funny how time works.. one minute you are the student, then the next you are the teacher.. or counselor in my case. When our school opened, I was still a student! The first "graduating" class of DBE are just a few years younger than me, but I feel very removed from the year 2002 and what life was like then. In addition to our reading kick off, flag raising, and retirement party dedication, we figured we might as well throw in another event to go along with our theme of the year "Learning takes you places". We opened up the time capsule to find hilarious objects, including a LARGE "cell phone"- which really looked like a house phone, a list of the top 10 movies, TV shows, and games of the year. Our school song was discovered, a newsletter from our first month of the opening of the school, and a price list of lunches offered.

In some ways, life has changed 180 degrees, and in other ways, it seems that time has stood still and that DBE is just as it was in 2002.

Does your school have a time capsule? We will be filling ours again this school year and I would LOVE some ideas on what to put in it! What do you think of when you think of 2013-2014?

Time traveling away,
Your Floridian chick!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Home.. SICK...

OH the plans we make for ourselves!

Each Friday afternoon, I create my calendar for the following week and post it outside my room, and then on the bulletin board in my office, so I can adjust throughout the week. Little did I know that I would be feeling less than 100% just hours later and my plans would not come into fruition.
 
I am home.. It is a Tuesday afternoon and the hustle and bustle of life at school continues on with or without me. It has got me thinking about our role as school counselors:

There are millions of jobs that will allow the employer to work "virtually"/work outside the office. Yet with this job, it is ALL about face to face, being present, and being available. There are not many jobs like ours, and I am slowly learning how this can be a blessing.. and curse!

The blessing is that when you are not at school, your body has the opportunity to actually REST! Yet when I am missing our faculty, staff, and students, there are only so many emails and so much planning you can do.

ANY suggestions on how to keep up with the work when you're not there?!

Slowly but surely,
Your Floridian sleeper

Monday, September 16, 2013

Character Train!

Since our theme this year is "Learning takes you places" I decided to incorporate the theme into Character Education! Our Character Train will be growing car by car each month as we work on a different character trait.This bulletin board is in our front office, giving parents, teachers, students, and staff members the opportunity to see our train in action!

What are YOU doing for Character Education this year?!

Chugging along,
Your Floridian Chick!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting creative with ways to see our students!

It seems that each different quarter of the year has its own challenges and hoops to jump through. The beginning of the school year is filled with unfamiliar faces, scattered schedules, and meetings galore. With that said, Iit is difficult to see our students during the school day!

We have an after school program at our school called Extended Day (very creative, I know!).  I decided to sign up for this program to help my own guidance program out even a little bit. Each day I spend from 3:00pm-5:00om with about 120 of our students. During this time, I can meet with them individually, in small groups and in their classroom. It adds a little bit more to my day, but it also makes the regular school hours SO much less hectic, and gives me the opportunity to get to know our students even more!

What do you do to make your day less hectic?

A little less stressed,
Your Floridian chick!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

THANK YOU!

THERE HAVE BEEN OVER 50,000 VIEWS!!! THANK YOU FOLLOWERS! I appreciate you checking out my blog!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Attendance Bulletin Board

Happy NEW year!

It is a beautiful thing to be back at school, seeing old faces, meeting new faces, and getting back into the swing of things. With that being said, I have come back to school with a change of heart towards my attendance issue. I decided to have a theme for attendance this year "Thanks for "BEEING" here! I have a new plan in action and wanted to get the word out about the importance of attendance. Not sure if you can completely see see the details but we have listed all the attendance meetings dates, as well as the district policy for attendance! Hopefully this help help people SEE how crucial good attendance is!

Fingers crossed they'll be here!,
Your Floridian Chick 

Easy DIY #SCChat

For quite sometime, I've known that I talk with my hands... often. I know I am not alone in this, especially when It comes to students and young people. They need something to occupy their hands while they try to talk out their issues or concerns, I created " conversation clay" to offer to students who come to my room as a way to get them to start a new conversation.

Hope you link this idea and can use it in your room!

Chatting away,
 Your Floridian chick:) 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Grand Finale of Goals: Number 3- Academic



I am MOST excited about this one!

Goal:  For 4th grade retained students and have D’s or F’s in the first 9 weeks, have a small group for organizational skills.



Target Group:  The students with a prior retention in 4th grade who receive a D or F in reading or math at the end of the first quarter will decrease by 50 % at the end of the second, third, and fourth quarters based on their report cards grades.



Data Used to Identify Students: Report Cards

ASCA Standards:

1.A:A3.1 Take responsibility for their actions
2. A:B1.1 Demonstrate the motivation to achieve individual potential
3. PS:A1.2 Identify values, attitudes and beliefs

Activities:
Identify students who have been retained in the 4th grade, and are continuing to struggle in the first 9 weeks with D or F grades- meet with them each week to work on organizational skills for class work and homework.

Resources:
School supplies if students cannot afford or buy their own. 

Perception Data: personal teacher report and report card 


This will not start until the second quarter, but I feel that this will give me time to get acclimated to the school year before I bring on this project. 

As always: Any suggestions?

Excitedly yours,
Floridian Chick 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Staff treats!

As the school year starts, the staff has so much to do- between cleaning, prepping, scheduling, and more- I brought in a little treat for each person on our roster! 

Sugared up, 
Your Floridian chick! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Year Long Goals: Number 2!- Behavior focused



This goal focuses on behaviors of students:
Goal:    Decrease the number of 2.01 referrals coming from 5th grade boys by 50%.



Target Group: Based on 2013-2014 discipline report, 13 rising 4th and 5th grade boys reported to have gotten more than one referral, and having at least one referral as a 2.01 violation (2.01 violation is “Failure to follow directions relating to safety and order in class, school, school-sponsored activities, or on the school bus.).



Data Used to Identify Students:  Student Discipline Summary Report inputted by the CRT.

Standards:

1.A:A3.1 Take responsibility for their actions
2. A:B1.1 Demonstrate the motivation to achieve individual potential
3. PS:A1.2 Identify values, attitudes and beliefs

Activities:
For 6 weeks, a small group of students will meet at the end of the day at approximately 2:00-2:30 where we will increase the knowledge and skills for positive behaviors in the classroom. 

Resources needed:
Small group curriculum for positive behaviors in the classroom.
Incentive for completing group- May be tangible or intangible- depending on interests of the students. 

Who is involved:

Thirteen  4th and 5th grade boys broken up into 2 groups. 

Perception Data:
Pre and post Surveys of teachers asking about students behaviors, and student discipline  summary report


What do YOU do for your students who are having a difficult time in the classroom behaviorally?


Practicing Patience,
Your Floridian Chick








Friday, August 9, 2013

Love to our full-timers!

During our summers "off", there are a few  employees that work tirelessly to finish up the last year, and then do all the behind the scenes work for the upcoming school year. I visited school today to drop off some treats and check in. 

What other ideas do you have to share for the 12 month employees that you can give to make them feel extra loved? 

Blueberry loved,
Your Floridian chick

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Buy shoes to help your students!


 Getting ready for the school year means tons of shopping for supplies, setting up shop, and doing a deep clean of that office but it also can mean buying some new clothes/accessories to start your year off fresh.

I had seen this before made out of a cute little box, so I made it my own, put some pretty, calming paper on it, and  TA-DA! The worry box is complete.

Basically I HAD to buy the shoes in order to make the box ( yes, I am trying desperately to justify this purchase- go with me on this one).

 Students who are stressed or anxious about something can write down their concern, pop it in the box, and let go of their unwanted feeling.  Hopefully you can use some of your own retail therapy to help out students who might need to get something off their chest! 

Too hot outside not to shop, 

Your Floridian chick! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Year LONG Goals: Numero Uno- Attendance!

With the start of the school year JUST around the corner, I decided to share my goals. This is in part to share with the blogging world who might take some ideas away from this, but also to hold myself accountable. The more I post and share these goals, the more likely I am to be thinking about them throughout the year and trying to accomplish them.  I will be sharing one a week since they are filled with lengthy information!

1. Goal:    Reduce the number of absences by 50% for students who have 20 or more absences.

Target Group: Based on the 2012-2013 school year, there were 16 students with 20 or more absences. I will be focusing my efforts on decreasing the number of students with 20 or more absences by at least 50 %.

Data Used to Identify Students: The attendance records inputted by the CRT during the 2012-2013 school year.

ASCA Standards:
A:A2.2  Demonstrate how effort and persistence positively affect learning.
A:A3.1  Take responsibility for their actions
A:B1.4  Seek information and support from faculty, staff, family and peers.

Activities involved:


1.During planning week (August 2013), call the 16 families from the 2012-2013 attendance record, and explain that their student had excessive absences, and this school year, they will be closely monitored.
2.Monthly AIT (Attendance intervention team) meetings with guardian, parent, attendance coordinator, and student.
3.Attendance record sheet for each teacher to fill out for absent students.
4. Attendance treats every 9 weeks for students with perfect attendance and 2of less tardies.

 Resources needed:
1. Parent contact information
2. Record Sheet from Teachers
3. Money to buy incentive for each student with perfect attendance each 9 weeks. 




 I am itching for more advice and/or ideas on how to improve attendance. 
If you have anything- please share!

With love and attendance,
Your Floridian Chick!







Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How counselors can use Common Core

During this warm month of July, I spent some time learning about common core and how to was going to effect schedules, schools, and learning goals. Like many counselors, I run  MTSS: Multi-Tiered System of Support (YES- this is RTI- education loves changing names and keeping us on our toes!), and was intrigued to see how Common Core was going to change us as a state, county, and school.  The importance of differentiated instruction is crucial- even teaching guidance lessons. I came away with 3 "take aways":

1. Since Common Core is so objective: the standard of the lesson, the actions that students will do, the main idea and the learning goal are all listed. By writing the learning goal on the board, saying it out loud, and then having the students recite it back to me. Since their homeroom teachers will be doing this during their own lessons, it will be a good reinforcer for students to see it applied to subjects outside math, science, reading, etc.

2. Often we have curriculum for each grade as counselors and we tweak it to fit the needs of the specific grade. The "Unwrapping" technique will allow teachers (and counselors) to look at a particular standard for their grade,and see where their students were last year, and where they are going in the future. This is helpful for the differentiated instruction in lower and high students. 


3.When I think of Formative assessments, I often think of benchmark, and high stakes tests. This is clearly not the case! Surveys, exit surveys, open ended responses, polling, rubrics, journals, and and writing stories are all ways that counselors can see if our students are getting the information that we are giving to them. Since we do not grade our own students during guidance, we can use these tools to help us measure who understood the information and who needs some extra help.


I am definitely no Common Core expert in the least, but I did come away with a flavor for August and the changes that will be made.

Any counselors out there find out anything else about common Core?! 
I would love to learn more!

With Love and Common Core curiosity,
Your Floridian Chick














Monday, July 22, 2013

Class DOJO

I recently learned about this free (Wahoo!) program and fell in love. It is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior quickly and easily!

Living in a society with ever-changing technology, this program allows teachers to record information on their computer, cell phone and/or on their smart boards. Teachers are able to positively reinforce and negatively reinforce any behaviors they want to AND the best part is- they can tailor it to their class and their needs.
Why it is great for counselors: We can use it in our small groups, classroom guidance, and RTI.to can track the behavior of the students.

For parents: Parents and guardians can log onto the website and see their child's conduct grade on a day to day basis. 

For students: It's cool!  They create their own avatar and can make it unique to their interests. They also have the ability to track their own behavior and see what their conduct grade is daily, weekly and by marking period.

I encourage you to check it out for yourself and share it with your faculty! Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I would love your feedback! 

Sincerely,
your Floridian chick

http://www.classdojo.com/

Monday, July 15, 2013

Opening my eyes to attendance

I'm happy to admit it-I was wrong. 100%- without a doubt!

During the last school year, like most counselors, I was in charge of attendance. Our attendance is not horrible but at the same time, it can always be improved. After setting up meetings with families, calling families, and sometimes not getting a response, I was starting to feel a tad bit frustrated with students who did not come to school repeatedly.

A few weeks ago, I shared a post about counselor academy. I was able to hear from a lot of different counselors about what they had been doing to improve attendance and the angle they were taking on it. Instead of calling the families when they did NOT show up, they were positively reinforcing the students when they DID show up! Research shows time and time again how positive reinforcement is stronger than negative- I KNOW THIS! I have known this since psychology 101 freshman year. Yet my brain was so fixed on the negative that I could not see the positive.

In addition to these new perspectives, I was told to read the book, Breaking Night by Liz Murray.  WOW! It opened my eyes to a world I did not know about. Liz was a product of drug-addicted parents and a homeless lifestyle. Attending school was probably the last thing on her parents mind; she was truant throughout most of elementary, middle and part of high school before she was able to take control of her life. She not only finished high school, but went on to Harvard. If you have time this summer, I urge you to pick up this beautifully written story and see for yourself what happens outside the walls of a school and the struggles that this girl faced.


My views of attendance have changed this summer and I will definitely be going back to school in the fall with a different perspective and a fresh look at how to improve attendance.

If you've read this book, let me know what you think! It was a game-changer for me, but... 

what about YOU?

Sincerely,
Your Floridian Chick


Monday, July 8, 2013

Counselor Academy

What a week! Being the twenty-second largest district in the country has its perks but I think this event takes the cake for counselors. 50 counselors from elementary, middle and high schools in the county got together for 5 days in June and went to town on learning new ways to improve our program!

The head of guidance pulled some serious strings and managed to get Mark Kuranz- the current ASCA director of Professional Development, and a past president of ASCA, as our main speaker. He shared his ideas on the ASCA model, how to implement it in our schools and what to look for when managing data. We even got these 2 books to help us out that I am able to reference often!

Some of the things we created were a month by month calendar of events and programs we plan to do and 
multiple "closing the gap" goals that we would like to accomplish for the next school year. We also talked about struggles that we all are experiencing and got to talk with others about how to try to fix those issues.

I am wondering if any other district/county does this? If so, what is yours like?
June Vs. August
Whole group Vs. Elementary, Middle and High
 Out of state speakers Vs. Using our own counselors as speakers

There are so many ways that this can be done, and I would love to hear your opinions! 

I will be posting later about specific goals I have for this next school year but until then, have a great week! 

Sincerely, 
Your Floridian chick 




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hey there Philly!

What better place than the city of brotherly love for the National ASCA conference to take place this year? The city will be filled with July 4th activities, concerts, food, and thousands of counselors all wanting to learn more about the worlds best profession (clearly no biased opinions on this blog...). Geographically located in the south, I sadly will be participating from afar, but am excited to hear about all the great ideas people are sharing and trying out. To get my feet wet,  I downloaded the ASCA app and started poking around at all the amazing speakers and their topics.

 Since I am in the blogging world, I wanted to see which technology sessions there would be so I jumped to one of my  favorite bloggers: Danielle Schultz- a PA girl- and look who she happened to give a shout out to?!?!

Danielle, thanks for thinking of me- I appreciate your drive behind counseling and technology and bridging the gaps that currently exist! Philly, I love you and I hope you all have a great week! I will be there virtually and can't wait for what's in store!


Love always,
Your Floridian Chick

Friday, June 7, 2013

Meet Ginger!

Dogs. Big. Small. Skinny. Not so skinny. I love them all. They are a man's best friend and have a 6th sense for emotions. When you need some extra love, they are always there to give a lick, a bark, or a friendly. tail wag. The Pawsitive Pets Program has recently come to our school and I cannot think of a better image than watching children read to a dog as she/he sits there, wagging it's tail, enjoying a little TLC. The program is put together by R.E.A.D. Program of North East Florida and the Pet Assisted Therapy Services and I am so thankful for their hard work and dedication to education and love for animals.

Ginger comes to school once a week and spends time with some of our readers that are experiencing some anxiety and frustration while reading. The best part about Ginger is that she never interrupts them, never makes fun of them for mispronouncing a word, or judges them for their reading abilities. Each student gets about 20 minutes to read any book they want to Ginger and practice their reading skills.


It is one of the most amazing programs that I have seen and the children are absolutely LOVING their time with Ginger.  Please check out the website and see for yourself how beneficial this could be for your students!



Monday, June 3, 2013

Donuts with Darlings

If you have been following me, you know that we did a similar event in the fall, "Donuts with Dudes". Since Mother's day was recently celebrated, we wanted to let all the wonderful women know how appreciated they are. We invited every student to bring their "darlings" to school for breakfast. In today's society, we know there are not just Moms anymore, there are step-moms, aunts, girl cousins, sisters, etc raising our students. We wanted to include everyone and let them get to spend a little extra time with their sons and daughters. It was a great event and we were thrilled to celebrate these amazing people. 25 DOZEN donuts later, it is safe to say- we had a good time:)

Still on a sugar high,
Your Floridian Chick