Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Put it in the Piggie

Here's a little motivation I came up with for my younger students. We are always looking for ways to reward the desirable behaviors in Behavior RTI. Since some children are very tangible and like to earn money, I made a Piggy Bank to collect reward points/coins. This is how it works... a student who has an undesirable behavior has a goal to replace it with a desirable behavior. Say Little Johnnie, who doesn't like to do school work, will complete his work 80% of the time. The teacher will break his day into manageable chunks of time or  tasks and give him a paper coin for each time frame he has completed his work. He can then put the coin in the piggy bank! He can save those coins for a reward of his choice at the agreed upon time. When it's time to cash in, he can dump the coins out and start over.




So how did I create my piggy bank? First I printed a picture of a pig and glued it to card stock. (I guess I could have printed to the card stock, that would have been one less step.) Then I drew a coin slot and cut it out. Next, I used a plastic sheet protector to catch the coins. I cut out a square big enough to cover the slot on the back of the piggy. I placed the pig on top of the sheet protector with my slot centered over the cut out square. Sent all of it through the laminator. When I cut out the pig, I made sure to cut the top of the sheet protector so that it would open up and of course I had to cut the lamination over the slot so there would be an opening. Basically it's like a plastic pouch on the back of the pig.





Saturday, March 18, 2017

Reacting to "Reel" Rejection

Here's a fun activity that I did with my friendship group. We were talking about being rejected by our friends, how we feel when that happens, and what can you do. Changing our mindset can help us when dealing with these difficult times. After our discussion, we made a "reel."

Before the group, I used notecards to write places and activities at our school where they may be interacting with friends. For example, "On the playground playing kickball" or "At lunch eating." I allowed the students to pick a situation to draw on a sheet of paper with a dashed line across the middle. The top portion of the paper has a student asking if they can join and the others saying "no". Then the students picked a way to handle the rejection. Again I took notecards and wrote different reactions such as "I can find someone else to hang out with" or "I can survive this, it happens to everyone." On the bottom portion of the paper, they drew the same scenario with the student handling the rejection with the comment they picked.

As students finished their stories, I taped them together, added another sheet in between each story with "The Next Week..." By the time we were done, we had our Handling Rejection Reel. To show our reel, I made a "flat screen tv" from a black folder. I cut out a square from the front of the folder and a notch from the folded portion for the paper to slide through. As the scene came up, I had the students narrate their story and positive way to handle rejection. The kids loved it!













Sunday, February 5, 2017

WOW! I'm honored!

Wow! I was honored to receive the PSSCA Elementary School Counselor of the Year award at our most recent conference in January, 2017. I have been a school counselor for 23, going on 24 years. Being recognized for all the things that I do is a great achievement, but it's the students' smiles and hugs that are the biggest reward. Every day I go to school to make a difference. I never know what my day will be like, but at the end of the day, I know that my students are different because I am there to help and support them. I believe there is no better job than to be a school counselor. I look forward to representing South Carolina as the nominee for ASCA's National School Counselor of the Year.

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!








video

*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.
video

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