Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snow themed party.. in Florida?

Who are we kidding?! It is NOT going to be a white Christmas anytime soon in this town.. but we can pretend can't we?  What a great event! As counselors, we get to interact with everyone in our school, and the holidays are a great time to celebrate all the wonderful relationships we have built throughout the year. We recently celebrated our faculty with an after school party. We had food, drinks, more desserts than I could have ever dreamed of, and a few games to top off the day. Please see below to see our fun!
With lots of joy and love for this season,
Your Floridian Chick!
Presents to the staff
Homemade decorations!

Desserts galore!
Our amazing art teacher did this!

If there is one thing we love, it's food!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seasonal Snack

The holidays are a great time to recognize all the wonderful people we work with. This week we recognized our cafeteria staff by having a little "seasonal snack" with them.We had cookies, dips, drinks, and a little goodie bag to express our gratitude.  They all came after their shift and enjoyed some treats while we shared how amazing of a job they do each and every day. Please be thinking about other groups we can recognize- it is not only nice to do, but it build relationships- the most important thing!

Snacking away,
All this was inside the goodie bag!
Your Floridian Chick!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bus driver Breakfast

There are so many people in our daily lives that we interact with as counselors. Big groups, little groups, and individuals who have no group, and more.. One group of people that have a very difficult job and do not get paid nearly enough or get the respect they deserve, are our bus drivers. We had a bus driver breakfast after the first 9 weeks, and it was more than I expected.

10 drivers gathered together this morning, along with our leadership team, to celebrate all their hard work and dedication to our students. We gave them these little gifts below and piled their plates with grits, biscuits and gravy, donuts, fruit, and yogurt. It was a great connecting point and I would highly recommend it! If you have other ideas for groups of people who make a difference,please let me know!

Full stomach, happy heart,
Your Floridian Chick

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Me recipe- Human Diversity lesson

During the month of October, I spent my time in 3rd grade guidance. The themes of my month long guidance lessons included human diversity, discrimination, bullying, and how to be a friend. Below is the first activity I did with the students. Our theme this yeas is cooking so I wanted to incorporate that into my lesson. My first lesson I discuss that we are all different and go over 4 categories: skin color, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status (how we spend our money based on our interests). After discussing this, I ask them to make their "ME ReciPE" in which they draw a picture of themselves, then write down the "ingredients" that make up who they are. Their recipes are hung outside their classroom and the students have the opportunity to see how each person is completely different from the other.

Easy lesson that they enjoy- hope you can use it too!

Adding ingredients each day,
Your Floridian Chick

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Red Ribbon Week Ideas 2014

We STOMPED out drugs for Red Ribbon Week this year and had a great time dressing up. Each day was different and we had a great turn out for those who participated. On Monday morning, we had our local police officer on the morning show. He talked to us about his job, Red Ribbon Week history, and what students can do to be safe from drugs. On Friday, we had a "Bobcats in Motion Day"- where students got donations to run laps around the track and raise money. We STOMPED our way to successfully destroying drugs and helped our school out too!

Each grade was assigned a specific time based on their PE schedule. We had people running laps throughout the day in their red shirts and sneakers!

Hope you can use these ideas at your school next year!

Rallying for Red,
Your Floridian Chick!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inspiration on wheels

OK.OK.OK... so this is my second post that is not exactly about school counseling, it is more a post about life, relationships, and a whole lot of love.

A few months ago, I posted about my friend Annie - who suffered a brain aneurysm, and I wanted to share an update on how great she is doing, and hopefully send a little inspiration your way when you are having a not so wonderful day- or when you are having a life is phenomenal- kind of day.

Amanda Sheroff, left, and Annie Leslie use the pedal power of two to complete a leg in the City to Shore Ride.
Tandem biking for two is the article that was written about her- it was in 12 newspapers across New Jersey. She is a breath of fresh air and truly an inspiration as I look at my life and the lives of those around me. There are times in my job [let's be serious, life], when I feel that things are frustrating, unfair, I am quickly reminded that it is a privileged to be alive, have a job, and not only that, but the best job in the world [bias much Amanda?].  I hope you enjoy the article and think about someone in your life that really pushes you to be a better person and think outside the box.

 It seems like mother nature threw a few curves, but those curves created a much more scenic route, clearly less traveled, but great in its own way.

Happy Healthy tandem for two,
Your Floridian Chick

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Back to School!

Now if this doesn't look like fun, I don't know what does!
My time out of the classroom existed for about 2.5 years. I have been getting a little itchy and felt that I really missed being a student. I have been playing out the different outcomes in my mind: getting another masters or getting a doctorate...

My bank account did not agree with either of these options and luckily living and working in a huge district has given me the opportunity to get different endorsements. I had a few to choose from, but after having some conversations with colleagues, and my principal, I decided to go in for the 300 hour reading endorsement.  I am starting off with an assessment class,and a foundations class to get my feet wet again. Since I spend a good amount of time with RTI each month, I feel that it will help our teachers and students to give them more resources and to give me a better understanding of their struggles.

I truly miss being a student and am excited to get back into the classroom with my buns in a seat and not in front of the room!

I am wondering- what do you counselors do after you get your masters in counseling? I LOVE learning and would like to continue my education- but where do I go from here?!

Reading away,

Your Floridian Chick

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!

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.


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