Saturday, March 14, 2015

Getting Rid of the "R" Word

Great article focusing on American Horror Story's Jamie Brewer and her campaign to get rid of the "R" word. Check out the article by clicking here on the link to The Charleston Prophet Blogspot

You will also find a link to sign the pledge for a very worthwhile cause.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Wow! It has been a long time since I posted. This year I changed schools and boy was the change something I was not expecting. Don't get me wrong, I love my new school and I have found that it does not matter what school you work in, kids are the same. They all have the same kinds of needs, just different little faces.
What threw me for a loop was the idea that I have been doing this 21 years so it would not be hard to move. We have computers these days, I have all my stuff in files. I'll just do my thing in a different place. Right? Boy was I wrong. My first indication was moving from a school where the Counseling offices were on their own hall. I could yell out a question to my co-counselor through the wall. I knew when she was in her office and not. I could depend on her to talk to my kids if they came to my office while I was teaching a class. Now, my co-counselor is upstairs on the other side of the school. We still talk, but we have to make appointments to get together or I have to call her on the phone. It's just not the same. And my office...well now it is a classroom! I do love having the space. It's great, but I had to fill it. That was a lot of work and as lot of money even refurbishing used furniture so it would all match. I still have not put up lots of posters for fear I will be bumped out of this room next year. I think the biggest thing, though, is I just can't use my saved files and all the things I have done in the past. They all have to be updated. For instance Career Days. They all have to have my new school's name, the new times that work with this schedule, my new phone number and address, my new co-counselor's name, my new principal's name, etc, etc, etc. And how many Career Day files do I have to update and proof to make sure I did not miss anything? Oh maybe two dozen. And that is just for Career Week. I have to do that for every file I have! It is time consuming. You see, it was not as easy as I thought it would be. So all of this was to explain where I have been - not on my blog, but revamping my program at my new school. And here are the pictures to prove it. This is my new humble abode:
This was my little office for the last 8 years.

Yep! That's all my 21 years of stuff all boxed up. It does not even include my furniture!
And now this huge classroom is all mine!

Great news! There is a nature trail behind the school.

Love the nature trail!

I made my welcome sign out of an old, oval frame and foam board.

My play area with a bookshelf of toys and magnetic board to display student work.
Another white board that I had to do something with because it was soooo blah. 

With a sand box and rolling drawer full of sand toys.
My desk and counseling area.

My small group table - I love having a place to work at a table!

Here's a cozy place to solve peer disputes with a huge bulletin board.

The right side..those are plastic plates with messages written in dry erase markers so I can change them!

A left over wreath re-purposed with my initial.
My Door.

The outside huge bulletin board!
That I never change!
Really i feel guilty for not changing it, but it is A LOT of work!
My FAVORITE bulletin board outside my door. It's interactive and I can change the message!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Here's a quick and inexpensive way to say "Thank You." I purchased these frames at the Dollar Tree.  Added a decorative paper on the inside, a monogram letter, bow and a pad of sticky notes with a personal message on top.  Could be used for so many days of the year - End of School Teacher Appreciation, Beginning of School with your phone extension on it, Gift for a friend to put in kitchen and write shopping list on, etc.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Renewing National Board Certification

The following blog entry is about what I learned as I renewed my National Boards and passed the first time in 2013.

2013 was the first year that School Counselors could renew their National Board Certification.  I was in the group who received National Board Certification the first year it was open.  8 years later, it was time to start the writing all over again.  So here are the things I learned:

Top 5 things to do before you even start:

  1. Don't procrastinate! Renewing is stressful enough.  If you have not even reached the 8 year mark in your certification, you can still be planning ahead.  Make sure you are continuing your education by taking workshops and then implementing what you learned. 
  2. Document the workshops and classes you have taken.  Really, I mean it!  We are getting older now and memory of ALL those professional development workshops and classes are sparse.  Have a file devoted to just this.
  3. Take pictures, save examples of how you have implemented what you have learned.  Even a video here or there is good to have on hand when it is time to start the process.
  4. Share with colleagues!  Offer to do workshops. Ask for examples of things created by others or examples of student learning due to a colleague using this information you have imparted.  It can show how you have impacted learning among your colleagues and other professional groups.
  5. If you have won awards or received emails of gratitude, put them or at least a copy of them away in a special file! You will be thankful that you saved them and know exactly where they are.

Where to begin?

Start with the some great resources:

This is where I started my journey...

It's brief!

Profile of Professional Growth

This is the book with all the directions!  Print it out, highlight key words.  Make sure to answer all the prompts.  Definitely read it all the way to the end.  There are suggestions on how to how to video and where to put your camera when recording.  

This is obvious why you need it!  

NBCrenewal Yahoo Group Discussion Board

I can't tell you how helpful this discussion board is!  You need to experience it for yourself.  Even if you don't think you have questions, some of the discussions are good food for thought.  Here you have fellow colleagues going through the process; as well as, those who have already been through the process and stayed on to help the new ones.

In a nutshell, this is what you are required to submit:

Component 1 is where you are explaining to the reader what 4 areas you have focused your professional growth in. You will write about 4 different professional growth areas or experiences.  When writing about professional growth experiences, you will write 3 pages of commentary and provide 2 pages of samples for each professional growth experience.

Component 2 is where you show how you have applied one of your PGEs in the classroom. Submit 4 pages of commentary. Submit a 10 minute video that has been created no earlier than September 1 of your eighth year.

In Component 3, you will pick a second PGE to highlight. Write 4 pages of commentary.
For evidence you may submit a 6 minute video OR 8 pages of sample learner work.

This component does not necessarily have to be with a class. It can highlight your work with colleagues, parents, etc. as long as you can show an impact on student learning indirectly. The video in this component could have been recorded at any time since you achieved certification.

The Reflection is your time to discuss how you have continued your professional growth, the patterns that have emerged and your plans for the future.  It can only be 3 pages.

Here's a little rubric that I used, mainly because I can be OCD at times.  This is not required, but it helped me see that I was meeting all the requirements.

Tracking the Requirements Rubric

Lights, Camera, Action: Take Two!

I hope this blog entry helped clarify the requirements of National Board Renewal.  For more in depth information explaining the prompts, editing, and electronic distribution, you are welcome to view a power point - Lights, Camera, Action: Take Two! that I created for a workshop I presented in January of this year.

Feel free to ask questions, I will do my best to answer them.  I am also available to do workshops for large groups. 

See my "about me" page for contact information to discuss fees for speaking engagements.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tracker - Sniffing out the Many Careers in our Community

Scroll to bottom if you would like a copy of the Tracker program.

I wanted to get students involved in learning about the many different careers in our community so I came up with Tracker.  Tracker is our newest addition to our Guidance Department.

Tracker is actually a small case with a zipper pocket to carry small things!

Tracker loves to learn about different careers! Each week Tracker  goes home with a different student on a field trip to their parents' work and learns about the different jobs. He is interested in the many things they do and what fields of study he will need to think about in order to do these jobs. When Tracker returns from his field trip, the student presents a report with a poster including pictures of all the things Tracker got to learn about.  I videotape their presentation and then show it on our morning news show for the entire school to see.
Permission Slip

To take Tracker home for a week, students have their parents sign a permission slip stating they will take him to work to do some on the job training and will take pictures of Tracker doing those things such as driving a forklift at Lowes or flying a Fighter Bomber for the Air Force.


Once the student returns the permission slip, Tracker is loaded up with directions and a report form to complete before returning a week later.

Report Form

Finally, I made a huge display to share all of Tracker's Adventures.  Usually there are 5 posters hanging at a time. Each of the flowers below the posters represent the 5 Schools of Study: 1) Arts and Humanities, 2) Business Management and Information Systems, 3) Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technologies, 4) Health Science and Human Services, and 5) Public Services.  On the flower petals, I write the name of the job that Tracker has visited under each School of Study along with the name of the student who took him home for that field trip.  So when I change the posters out, the student and the job are still being recognized all year long!

Tracker has been to many places such as Atlanta Bread Co, American Red Cross, McEntire Air Force Base, Gamestop, and South Carolina Law Enforcement!

Here is one of Tracker's video's:

UPDATE: I have had several people email me and request this program. So I took the time to put together a package that can be immediately implemented or customized for your school including a Power Point Introduction for students. 

Available for purchase
Available for purchase

Personalize with your school's mascot
Or use the pre-made ready to go form

The Tracker program is available for $3.00 in my TPT store: Creative Counseling Resources