Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Secret "Pass" word for Testing is P.I.R.A.T.E.S. Shhhh!

Aye, I just can't get enough of me hearty pirates lately. Testing is on the horizon and I have created another version of my P.I.R.A.T.E.S. Test-Taking Strategies Smart Board lesson.
Gather ye crew and listen closely, because when I say pirates what I really be meanin' is remember these strategies! For our upcomin’ testin’, all ye need to remember is we are P.I.R.A.T.E.S.! And that pirates stands for what ye need to do while takin’ the test. We are goin’ to be talkin’ about each letter so ye know what to do.”
P – Prepare to Succeed:
Know what you will be tested on.
Dress comfortably.
Be on time.
Think positively
I – Inspect all Instructions:
If you do not understand the directions, ask the teacher to explain.
Look over the entire test so that there are no surprises and you’ll know how to budget your time.
 R – Read, Remember, and Reduce:
Read each question carefully.
Remember what you studied.
Reduce the answer choices by eliminating obvious wrong answers.
A – Answer or Abandon Questions:
Answer all the questions that you know the answers to first. 
Abandon those you are unsure of and come back to them later.
T – Turn Back and Answer All Questions:
If you skipped questions, go back.
Never leave questions unanswered.  
You always have a chance to get it correct if you make your best educated guess!
E – Eye it Again:
When in doubt make your best educated guess…
S – Stay Calm:
Take a few deep breaths to relax.
Unless you are positive, do not change your answer.
Remember: It’s OK not to know everything

Next we play Buccaneer Battle!
Divide the class into two teams. To win this game, students try to find the most pirates for their team by taking turns answering true/false questions correctly and then revealing (touching a square of the map on the Smart Board) to see what is hidden behind the square. Find a bomb and you get to move the other teams player to pirate jail. Find a key to free your own team pirates from jail! Watch the video below to see more of this lesson and game in action!


*There is no music on the lesson. I just added it to the video.

If you are interested in purchasing this lesson, you can visit my TPT store, here.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Calm the Standardized Testing Sea!

Ahoy there Mateys! Avast all ye pirates who are about to start the standardized testing mayhem! Are ye crew threatening mutiny? Are ye pirates threatening to make you walk the plank? Landlubbers and pirates alike will settle down when they learn some test-taking strategies.

I'm a huge pirate fan! I love to dress-up and talk like a pirate! A couple of years ago, I created a pirate themed classroom guidance lesson to get students prepared for standardized testing. I dressed up like a pirate, got the kids to sing along with me some testing cheers to the tunes of pirate songs, and shared tips and tricks to do well on the test. Standardized testing can create panic and fear, but your crew can be ready and have some fun too! Recently I updated my questions and created a pirate themed game to get my students onboard for standardized testing. Students navigate 25 questions about testing to collect doubloons for their team.

Directions to play the Pirate Treasure Challenge:
  • Divide the class into two teams
  • Take turns having one player from each team stand on the side of the Smart Board that represents their team
  • Read the question and all answers BEFORE students choose their team's answer
  • Students touch the answer on the side of the board for their team
  • The first team to get the question correct can add a doubloon to their treasure by sliding a coin down to their person
  • Go back to the question or forward to the next question by selecting the question number on the message in a bottle
  • As questions are answered, spend time discussing how this will help your students do well on the test. by playing this Smart Board game reviewing common test taking strategies.

Here is a video of the game. The music was added to the video, it's not on the game.

If you would like your crew to sail through testing on calm seas, you can purchase this Smart Board game, 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Do you know a Mon "STAR" student?

I often hear school counselors say study skills is their least favorite subject to teach because it's boring. I actually love teaching study skills. I get a kick seeing students excited to try new strategies to bring up their grades.
Students aren't exactly thrilled about study skills either. So I try to make it fun and exciting. Giving the lesson a theme and a fun game allows students to learn about their own personal learning style while having fun.
One lesson I created was How to Be a Mon"STAR" Student. We start with taking a Learning Styles Inventory. Students enjoy taking surveys and comparing results.

I have a tips and tricks sheet for each of the learning styles that I give students to take home and share with their parents.

Then we play a matching game. This is a game I created to help students learn study tips for the different learning styles. It's called Monster Mix Up. Break students into groups of 3 or more. Give each group a set of Monster Mix Up cards and a Study Tips Answer Key for the Fact Checker. Have one student assigned as the Fact checker. That student does not participate in matching cards, their job is to use the Study Tips Answer Key to determine if a match has been made. All other students in the group may play to make matches.
Students take turns flipping over two cards (1 monster top & 1 monster bottom) to make a match. A match is made when the Study Tip card can be used for the Learning Style card that is also flipped, then the student collects those two cards to make a silly monster. The game ends when all cards have been matched.

So the kids demonstrate knowledge of study skills for the different learning styles while having fun making silly monsters!

If you would like to purchase this lesson, visit my TPT store here!

You "Mustache Me" about Brag Buttons!

One of my favorite things to do is to brag on my students. I love it when they take initiative and show their leadership. I also love when students figure out a way to solve their problems. To let the students know how proud I am, I have made these brag buttons. I give them to students who have shown they deserve it. To make these brag buttons, I buy the "make your own" plastic buttons at Michael's for $5 (use a coupon and get them cheaper!) and then print and cut the sayings to go inside the button. I love seeing the kids smile when I give them a button, but the most awesome feeling is seeing the student wearing the button days later! I tell the kids to put them on their book bag when they get home so they can remember how proud I am, but sometimes I see them still wearing them on their shirt the next week :) Another option is to print them on cardstock, laminate, punch a hole in them and add a string or lanyard! Or print them on sticker paper and give them a sticker to wear for the day!!!

School Counselor Reward Buttons
If you don't have time to make your own, I sell these on TPT. You can find them here:
School Counselor Brag Buttons Set 1
School Counselor Brag Buttons Set 2
School Counselor Reward Buttons

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission Possible: Meet the School Counselor

**Cue the Mission Impossible Music**  What kid has not dreamed of being a secret agent? My newest Meet the School Counselor Lesson takes the fun of being a Secret Agent and combines it with learning about the role of the School Counselor. I figured my third graders would love this lesson!

Secret Agents start by listening to a Welcome message introducing them to what they are about to do. They will be engaged in breaking codes on each slide to figure out what a School Counselor does. The Smart Board allows students to manipulate the clues such as wiping the steam off a bathroom mirror to uncover that School Counselors are caring.  

I also had my son, who has an awesome British accent, record one of the clues. Students have to listen and follow 12 different directions to uncover that School Counselors are confidential. One slide requests students to slide the magnifying glass around the screen to uncover that School Counselors are
Problem Solvers. On another slide they have to use a code to decipher that School Counselors are Listeners. Of course with each of these slides comes discussion and sharing how to let the School Counselor know when you need some help. After all the clues have been decoded, there is one more slide with a flashlight that the Secret Agents shine to find out we have a game planned!

Our super sleuth game of Discover the Secret Agent! starts with the Students applying to become a Secret Agent,
but first they must come up with a code name using the Code Name Generator.
Once all students have applied to be a Secret Agent, I will use the applications to play our game. To play Discover the Detective, I will read the Secret Agent's code name and the two facts they wrote about themselves. Then I will allow students to guess who the Secret Agent is. I can't wait to see how they like my newest lesson!

Watch the video below to see it in action!

If you are interested in purchasing this Mission Possible Lesson, please visit my TPT store by clicking this link. You must have Smart Notebook Software to open this file. Please note the Mission Impossible Music is not on the actual Smartboard. I just used the music at the beginning and end of this movie I recorded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My School Counselor is a Superhero!

Well of course we all know school counselors are here to save the day! Last year my co-counselor and I used a Superhero theme to review our program with the faculty and start off the year. We dressed up as super heroes with plastic capes (made from Dollar Tree plastic table cloths) and superhero masks. Below are a few slides from the slideshow for our faculty.

On the first day of school we dressed up once again and delivered teacher treats during planning times. We gave out bottles of water wearing capes with a Have a Super 1st Day message and popcorn. The teacher's were very appreciative! We also included any other faculty and staff:)

To continue the theme, I created a My School Counselor is a Superhero introduction lesson for the students. 

The slide show shares all the super powers a school counselor uses to help students.

 After the slideshow it's time to get to know each other better by playing Spiderman’s Web: Roll a ball of yarn to a student.  When they catch the ball, they share something about themself. Some examples are…”
  • Family “I have 1 sister.”
  • Interesting jobs “I feed my dog.”
  • Favorite foods “I like bananas.”
Make sure they continue to hold on to the yarn as each student catches the ball of yarn and shares. At the end, the students will have a Spiderman's web!

Another 'Get to Know You" Activity that we do is a Personal Shield. Students personalize their shield by coloring:
  1. In the first, outer ring,  favorite color.
  2. In the second ring, color of favorite food.
  3. In the center circle (behind the star), color of  eyes.
  4. In the star, draw a picture of yourself with a super power!” 

Finallly, I have a coloring sheet to leave with the students!

If you are interested in purchasing this My School Counselor is a Superhero Introduction Lesson, you can find it here.

Hope everyone has a SUPER year!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wii Talk - Wii Motivate

This summer I got to attend the  ASCA conference in Phoenix. While there, I attended some great sessions. One session I attended was School Counseling: Game On! by Christy Welch. Her message...help children by engaging them with what they like to do...play. When they are engaged, they will feel more comfortable to talk about problems. So why not use what they love the most? Video games!

Christy uses a Wii to help children open up by playing bowling, or tennis, or other Wii games. She has found that her students are much more at ease talking and she even has teachers who like to come and let off a little steam. 

So I want to incorporate a Wii into my school counseling program to provide students with a fun, interactive, engaging strategy to overcome social/emotional problems. Consider the "typical" counseling session of sitting & talking. Imagine how engaged children are in that type of counseling-NOT! Now imagine playing a game of bowling on the Wii. Children immediately are engaged & find it easier to talk while playing; versus sitting & talking to an adult. The Wii allows students to show their true feelings by creating a Mii. Students can relax doing yoga, release angry tension playing tennis, learn to focus & follow directions while playing Just Dance. Students even can be rewarded with a game promoting activity for meeting their personal goals!

There are so many uses for the Wii in counseling. Here is a short list I came up with:
Wii learn more about Mii (personal, divorce)
Wii open up to talk about problems (personal)
Wii learn friendship skills (getting along)
Wii listen & follow directions (ADHD)
Wii release anger & tension (anger management)
Wii understand rules (Behavior problems)
Wii use good sportsmanship (name calling)
Wii learn teamwork (cooperative learning)
Wii learn to set goals (academic skills)
Wii cess Recess (rewards)

So I submitted my project to Donors Choose. This is a great site to fund educational projects. My project is called Wii Talk–Wii Motivate. You can check it out here: goo.gl/cQum5c I
raised $400 to purchase a Wii system for my students. I actually did not have to raise all $400. If you get donations the first week, Donors Choose will match donations up to $100 per donation.
Feel free to use my proposal as a starting point for you to write one too :)