Sunday, November 4, 2012

SCSCA Presentation: Cool Tools for Counseling in Schools

Click here to view the presentation
As School Counselors, we are always trying to find ways to reach our students.  My favorite way is engaging students through technology.  So this weekend I presented at the South Carolina School Counselors Conference on Cool Tools for Counseling in Schools. I know I have shared some of these with you on this blog before, but I thought I would share my presentation and some new sites that I have discovered.  You are welcome to download a copy of my notes and links through this Google Doc.
Below are the Cool Tools shared at the conference:

  1. Glogster
    1. Glogster is a free online learning tool that can be used for many purposes.  It allows you to create a digital, interactive poster.  Glogster allows you or students to be creative, engaging and excites learners.  Since it is on the internet, you create a free teacher account and it can be saved on Glogster and shown anywhere.  We have created glogs as part of classroom guidance lessons and parent newsletters.  But it can also be used as an activity for small groups to share what they have learned.
  2. Mp3 Cutter
    1. With free services provided by the "Mp3 cut" website, the mp3 cutting process has become much more simple, fast, and convenient. You will face no difficulties. First, press the "Upload mp3" button, choose the desired file and wait till it is uploaded and ready for processing. As soon as the file is available for editing, (it depends on the speed of your Internet connection) the track will become pink slightly below the indicated button and the play button will become red. Now you can crop mp3. You have two sliders, which indicate the beginning and the end of the song fragment. Got it? Then, press the “Cut mp3 and Download” button. The download will start immediately. Save the file and use it in any of your presentations. Don’t forget the copyright rules of no more than 10% or 30 seconds maximum length.
  3. Pinterest
    1. Pinterest is a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos, and other objects to a pinboard.  Imagine the old cork board that we used to pin up pictures, notes, or memories.  This is a digital version that allows you to save lots of ideas and organize them into multiple cork boards. I save tons of ideas and then when it is time to develop a lesson, I have a bank if visual ideas that I can quickly see and remember. Click here to see an example.
  1. Edmodo
    1. Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for you to connect and collaborate, share content, post polls, calendars, etc.  It looks and acts like Facebook, but is much more secure.  To access any content on Edmodo, a group has to be created and an assigned pin number is used for others to join the group.  We have used Edmodo to create groups for the counselors in our district.  It offers a way to request and share information.  We have also used Edmodo to create small groups for students to participate in discussion about the current topic.  The neat thing about Edmodo is that when a student joins, a parent can also have access to see what their child is posting.  Edmodo allows you to share files stored in a library, share a calendar with assignments due, or create quizzes and polls.
  2. Blogger
    1. A Blog is a personal web site where anyone can write about anything.  They can write as frequently or infrequently as they choose, add pictures, videos, links, and comments.  There are many good School Counselors’ blogs and they share lots of ideas for counseling, lessons, programs and activities. Click here to see my blog.  See a list of other school counselors blogs below.  
  3. Smart Notebook Express
    1. SMART Notebook is a collaborative learning software that not everyone has.  It is not a free resource, until now.  With Smart Notebook Express, you are able to view, save, and interact with SMART Notebook files online, at no charge.
  4. Tagxedo
    1. Tagxedo turns words into a visually stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text. With Tagxedo you can make your word clouds into different shapes, using different colors and save them as a picture to use later.  See example to the right that we created at the conference using examples of “How does your body feel when you are angry?”
  5. Storybird
    1. Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. Read them like books, play them like games, and send them like greeting cards. They’re a fun way for students to share what they have learned. Click here to see a Storybird.

  1. Prezi
    1. Prezi is a cloud based presentation software and storytelling tool for exploring and sharing ideas on a virtual canvas. Prezi is distinguished by its zooming features, which enables users to zoom in and out of their presentation media. Prezi allows you to insert images, videos, and hyperlinks to websites. Take your Powerpoint to the next level! Click here to see an example (this presentation).
  2. Ipad
    1. iPads have lots of free apps that can be used in the educational setting.  As a matter of fact, you can view this Prezi with an app called a Prezi viewer.  Two great apps are Doceri and Nearpod.  Doceri essentially turns your ipad into a remote desktop that can control what is projected on the screen.  By scanning a QR code, Doceri allows you to control your desktop from the freedom of your portable iPad.
    2. Another great app is Nearpod.  By creating a Nearpod account, you can present lessons from your iPad and students can join the presentation with their iPad to see the presentation as you control what is seen on their screen.  It is interactive and allows students to interact with on screen assignments and share their answers with others. To see a video of the demostration from the conference presentation, click here.
    3. See list below for more great apps that can be used by counselors.
  3. YouTube
    1. Youtube has many videos that can teach, motivate, or reinforce lessons.  Be careful that you watch the videos all the way through before sharing with children.  Some may be edited and replaced with inappropriate material. Here is a link to the Youtube video shown at the presentation of the Momma and baby squirrel.

School Counselor Blogs:

iPad Apps:
Nearpod - allows teacher to control student’s iPads, very interactive & engaging
Prezi - zooming presentations
Doceri - control your desktop from your iPad
Socrative Teacher - students can answer quizzes from their iPad
TeacherKit - allows you to create groups/classes, pics of students, keep attendance
Noteshelf (not free) - great for keeping notes organized
iMovie (not free) - great for students to teach/share with others
Stop Go! -young childrens’ timer
Spin the Bottle - Great for selecting students sitting in a group circle
Stick Pick (not free) - for picking students
Sock Puppets - great for younger kids to make puppet plays
Moody Monster - great for younger kids to understand feelings
Fluid - helps students calm down and relax
Scribble Press - create a digital book
Educreations - interactive whiteboard for the iPad
Word Salad - create word clouds on the iPad

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Student Orientation - You are O 'fish' ally Awesome!

It's that time of year again, when we welcome our new students to our school.  To introduce the students to our school, I came up with this fun little mystery to tour our school - New Student School Tour QR Scavenger Hunt.
Typically I meet with the new students, a few at a time.  We go back to my office, meet and greet each other, and learn about our school.  Afterward I ask, "Who would like some Goldfish crackers?"  I pull out the basket and...uh oh...our fish have swam away! But he has left a clue:

I pull out my iPad and we scan the QR code on the fish to find the following clue:

The kids get so excited and I ask, "Hmm, where is a place in our school with a lot of books?"  The library!  This gives me the opportunity to explain that the library is now called "The Learning Commons".

We then review our hallway procedures before our adventure begins.  As we walk the halls of the school, I am able to point out murals that signal the different grade level halls.

Once we reach the Learning Commons, we find another fish with a QR clue leading us to another important place. The hunt for our little treasure continues throughout the school.  We learn the names of people and places that are important to the new students.

The tour ends back at my office where they find the Goldfish have left them a basket of treats!

Each treat has this poem on it...

A New Circle of Friends
We've joined together
as the new year begins...
A year full of learning
while we become friends.
We'll share and be kind
as we work and play.
And our friendship will grow
with each passing day.

If you would like to download this New Student School Tour Scavenger Hunt, please visit my TPT store: Creative Counseling Resources.  Included in your download are:
Full color fish with QR codes already linked to the school scavenger hunt clues - Ready to print and hang.
Digital, rhyming clues to the following places around every school:
Library/Media Center
Main Office
Health Room
Art Room
Music Room
Lunch Room
School Counselor's Office

In addition to this 14 page packet, you will need a mobile device with a QR code scanner app. (You can download these apps for free:)

New Student School Tour Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rock the Test Pep Rally

After a week of pretending to be a Pirate and accepting volunteers for me new crew... if they followed me Test Taking Strategies, I am plum wore out.  But the Test must go on and so we planned a PASS Pep Rally.    It went over great and the kids are psyched for the test!

Here is our ROCK the TEST Pep Rally....We started off with Kindergarten through 2nd grade creating encouraging posters and marching through the Pep Rally, onto the stage, and around the older students while playing the video below.  I made this video using Michael Buffer's Jock Jams Remix and these Test Taking Tips Posters from Ashleigh's Education Journey .

After a welcome to the Pep Rally from our principal, the kids sang along with this video Rock this Test by Dallas Thompson and the students of Centennial Arts Academy.  A very well, put-together music video singing about test taking strategies.

Then it was time to let our teachers have a turn.  We have some very enthusiastic teachers and they love to perform when given the chance.  The following Music Video was written and performed by the White Knoll Elementary 5th Grade teachers, sang to the tune of Mean by Taylor Swift.

For our final act, we played Are You Smarter Than Your Teacher?  Game Show.  This is a Power Point I found on the internet and adapted, originally created by Florentine Purdy.  We had 2 teachers from each grade level and 2 students from each grade come up to play our game show.  The teachers had to ham it up and could never quite figure out the right answer while our students would huddle and figure out the right answer each time!  It was a lot of fun and the students now have a wealth of test taking strategies!

Game Show Power Point

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pirates Are Savvy Students

Pirate Test Taking Strategies Power Point Lesson
Aargh! We be a week out from PASS, Palmetto Assessment of State Standards, and the mutiny is on.  As the teachers try to get the last little bit of standards taught, me and me mateys are strategizn' a Pep Rally, it be next Monday.  Presently, we be hijackin' each of the classes to be teachin' Test Takin' Strategies.  This year we be usin' a Pirate theme and makin' a booty of a power point for our lesson.  

Me boys and girl always be a fascinated with pirates, so me hearties be keepin' plenty o' pirate costumes in our dress-up trunk.  Ol' Pirate Privette dressed up in me finest garb and be makin' up an elaborate story to introduce test takin' strategies:
  "Ahoy their mateys! I be lookin' for a new crew and made me way here to this land.  Are ye wonderin' where me crew went? Aye, me crew all abandoned ship and left me with nothin'!  Shiver me timbers if ye be believn' that story.  No, those scoundrels walked the plank 'cause they couldn' pass the test!  So I be lookin' for me  a new crew.  Who in here would be likin' to sign up?  Well first ye have to pass the test...what test ye ask?  Well some people like to call it the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards, but we all know what it really stands for......oh ye don' know do stands for: Pirates Are Savvy Students!"
Aye, me be a singin' pirate too!  The lesson be beginin' with an ol' pirate favorite:


Just so ye know, after me singin', I be sharin' the pirate code so students know how to be passin' the test.  They be learnin' lots o' strategies to be figurin' out the right answers!  Ye know testin' aint for the lily-livered, so I be lighten'n it up with a few pirate jokes too :) "Cept I be tellin' them if they don' know the answers, they be walkin' the plank!

I be leavin' them this here poster so as to not forget what I be teachn' them. 

"And after ye be finished passin' the test, I will  be back for me new crew!"
"Yo ho. Yo ho. A Pirate's Life for Me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Behavior Bucks and Behavior Modification

It's been hard to be creative lately because I am feeling so overwhelmed.  What I seem to be working on the most is helping students reach specific behavior goals.  So I thought I would share some things that I have implemented with a couple of my students.  Recently the girl drama in third grade has spiked.  Specifically, one little girl seems to be having drama with just about all of the girls in her class.  I've seen her individually, I've seen her with the girls, even the assistant principal has been called in as the girl drama is becoming a disturbance in the learning environment.  So I saw this credit card idea on Pinterest and decided to give it a go.  What girl doesn't like having her own credit card and going shopping?

So I met with the little girl and we discussed the many times that the girl drama has been popping up lately and together we came up with a goal and an incentive plan to reach that goal.  She realized that she needed to work on the what she said to others and how she said it.  I shared with her what it means to "THINK" before you speak (also found on Pinterest).  We then made her a credit card with the "THINK" image on the back.
 Everyday her credit card is "loaded" with $125 of behavior bucks.  Basically that means she gets 5 skinny sticky tabs worth $25 each, every morning.  Her goal is to keep those behavior bucks (AKA sticky tabs.)

If she gets involved in any girl  drama, a sticky tab is taken by the teacher - no discussion, no ifs, ands, or buts.    At the end of the day she gets to keep the remaining behavior bucks.  When she has earned $500 worth of behavior bucks, she gets to come shopping at Mrs. Privette's Shopping Palace Emporium (AKA my office filled with different cheap or donated prizes labeled anywhere from $100-$500.)  I got her credit card laminated and she LOVES it.  She has already been shopping once and the girl drama has had a dramatic decrease!

Another student I have been working with seems to have a problem staying in his seat. His teacher says he is out of his seat at least 10 times a day.  His grades are definitely not a reflection of what he is capable of doing.  His teacher feels if we could just get him to stay seated, his focus may be more on his work.  So I met with this student, reviewed his grades, discussed how many times the teacher is calling his name to go back to his seat and he agreed to work towards a goal of staying in his seat.
So this student starts out each morning with 3 "I can get out of my seat for no reason" coupons .  If he gets out of his seat when he is not asked to, the teacher collects one coupon.  His goal is to save up (not use) 10 coupons  Once he has 10 coupons, he can trade them to come spend recess with me.  We plan on playing a game together.  Everyday, after school, he seeks me out to tell me how many more coupons he has earned.  Looks like we will be playing a game together tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Goo Goo for Glogster

I love Glogging! If you don't know about Glogster, well go no further.  This is one cool website that allows you to create online multi-media posters that include videos, pictures, music and graphics.  I've used it for Classroom Guidance and Newsletters home to parents.  But Glogster can be used for other things as well such as student projects or a small group lesson.   The great thing about glogging is it is FREE to Educators!  Well as long as you want a private account.  If you plan on managing student blogs, it will cost.  I have been using the private account and when I create a Glog, I use the URL provided to copy and share with others.

Name that Tune Game Glog
Creating a Glog is easy. Once you create an account, just start having fun.  There are many graphics to choose from, you can upload your own pictures, music, and even videos from YouTube. Glogging really allows your creative side to come out.  If you would like to check out some Glogs I have created, follow the links below.
To the left is a Glog I created for a Guidance Orientation Lesson. At the beginning of the year I always review the many things a Guidance Counselor does.  This year I decided to play a game,  so I created this Glog: Name that Tune Game "Do You Know What a Counselor Does?" I divided the class into 2 teams.  A student from each team would come to the front of the room and face off to see who can "Name that tune" first. As I clicked on the different graphics, a tune would play. Once a student named the tune correctly, they would then say why Guidance Counselors like these songs. I gave one point for each correct answer. If you would like to try the game click here.  If you would like to see the answers, click here.
August Newsletter Glog

Each month I send home an E-Newsletter.  I have created a contact list with the emails of all my students' parent emails.  I create a Glog and then send an email with the link to the Glog.  My newsletters are much more interesting and I have saved many trees since I started E-Newsletters.  Here are some links to those newsletters.

To introduce myself to parents, I sent home this as my first newsletter of the school year.

December Newsletter Glog

To the left is my December Newsletter.  On this one I included a video that I showed during Classroom Guidance to allow parents to follow up at home with more discussion on respect.
 you Glog?  Please share how you use this wonderful tool!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Windows of Opportunity

 Recently I was asked to work with a student who has been displaying inappropriate behaviors while waiting in the car pick-up area.  This student tends to be very impulsive in unstructured environments.  So to help this student achieve better impulse control, I came up with this idea - I would use his car tag to help him track his progress on a goal to control his impulsive behaviors.
  I wanted to give him an incentive to control his behavior each day, so I typed a joke that he would not be able to read completely until all windows were uncovered.  Then I used our die-cut machine to cut a paper fence.  I had the card with the joke under the fence die-cut laminated.  Then I added a "good job" sticker to each rectangle.  Using double stick tape, I covered up the 5 windows.  

Each day that he reaches his goal, he gets to uncover a window to read part of the joke.  The sticker he can pull off to wear home and show his parents he had a good afternoon. 
 The first week he had just one goal - to keep his hands to himself.  After one week, he was able to come to my office and pick a prize from my prize box.  We talked about adding a second goal.  I was so surprised to see how well this worked for him.  As one teacher stated, "It's like magic."  This child is now in control of his body and voice at car pick-up line, and even pulling out his homework to complete while waiting!  We will try this for three weeks to hopefully create a positive habit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Solving Friendship Problems

Conflict is a part of daily life and children sometimes forget that conflicts can easily be solved.  One of my Friendship Small Group lessons focuses on ways to solve friendship problems.  First we start off the group by talking about a time that we had a conflict with a friend and were able to solve it in a good way.  Then we discuss the different strategies that the group members used.  

On the Smart Board we review several strategies by clicking on the frog, of course some may have already been mentioned.  They usually know most of these strategies, but I explain Chance which means "we each have a chance to ..." by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors or playing Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum in a Dish.  Then students take turns revealing social situations and picking a problem-solving strategy to work out the problem.  We discuss that there can be more than one way to solve a problem.  This is a great opportunity to point out that using "I" messages work in almost every situation.
Then we make problem solvers.  You may remember these from when you were growing up.  Yes, kids still love to make and play with them.  Usually I have pre-cut these and in order to save time pre-folded them and unfolded them - just so the edges are straight folds and we don't have to waste time fixing their folds.  Finally students practice on each other using the  problem solvers  to pick a strategy to solve a conflict.   

To make the Problem Solver

1. To complete the Problem Solver cut out along the outside solid lines.
2. Place the Problem Solver paper face down on a table then fold each corner into the center.
3. Turn the paper over and again fold each corner into the center.
4. Next, fold the paper in half with the numbers on the outside. Now open and fold in half the other way.
5. Place the thumb and pointer finger of each hand under the number flaps and close so the numbers show.
6. TO USE: Pick a number. Open and close the Problem Solver that number of times. Next, pick a color. Spell out the color by opening and closing the Problem Solver for each letter. Finally, pick a color and open the flap to read the friendship problem solving strategy. If that strategy doesn't work for the problem, try again!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mr. Potato Head Dresses for Success

It is Career month at my school.  We typically focus on Careers through Classroom Guidance and conclude the focus with a Career Week where we have a Dress-up Day, Vehicle Day for the younger students, and Career Speaker Day for the older students.  This year I made an interactive bulletin board to get the kids thinking about career exploration.

I'm not sure how many Potato Heads I have around my house, but I got to thinking...I love how Mr. Potato Head has increased his wardrobe over the years.  I think of the many different hair pieces and accessories we have such as Pirate Potato Head or Spider Spud.  We just may have more Potato outfits than Barbie outfits!

As I pondered about playing with Mr. Potato Head, I came up with an interactive, dress Mr. Potato Head in a Career Outfit Bulletin Board!

I started by cutting out a basic Mr. Potato Head figure out of brown construction paper.  I just drew these free hand. Then I cut out the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, mustache and hands and attached them all to the Potato body.  Next I cut out three different pairs of boots - brown, black, and white; as well as, one pair of flippers.  I decided to dress Mr. Potato Head with different career hats.  Each career also has one tool that they use.  For instance you could dress Mr. Potato Head as a Magician by giving him a top hat and a magic wand.

I made three suitcases and labeled them: Work Hats, Work Tools, and Work Boots.  After having all the pieces laminated, I attached velcro dots to the back of the individual pieces and stored them in their appropriate suitcase.  Now Mr. Potato Head has interchangeable career outfits! I came up with the following Career Hats and Career Tools/Hand-held objects:
  1. Astronaut - Space Helmet with microphone and a Walkie Talkie
  2. Chef - Chef Hat and a Pie
  3. Scuba Diver - Scuba Mask and Snorkle
  4. Detective - Shirlock Holmes Hat and a Magnifying Glass
  5. Magician - Top Hat and a Wand
  6. Construction Worker - Hard Hat and a Hammer
  7. Police Officer - Police Cap and Handcuffs
  8. Doctor - Medical Headlight and a Medical Bag
  9. Mail Man - Mail Man Hat and a Letter to Mrs. Potato Head
  10. Plumber - Plumber Cap and Plunger
  11. Fireman - Fireman Helmet and a Hose

As soon as the kids saw my new bulletin board, they swarmed it like a hive of bees!
I'm hoping it doesn't get torn up or I might just have to quote Mrs. Potato Head,
 "Don't make me get out my angry eyes!" 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't Be Caught Being Angry, Be A Smart Fish

I did not write this metaphorical story,The Story of the Smart Fish, but I do like to use it with my anger management group.  I found it at Counselor's Room. Basically the story goes like this...A fisherman fishes in the same spot everyday. The fish figure out the bait is not really a dinner, but brings danger.  They decide to become "Smart Fish" and not take the bait, day after day, no matter how much bait the fisherman uses.  Eventually the fisherman gets tired of not catching anything and moves on to a new fishing hole.

Students really understand this metaphor when compared to others who are "fishing" for a reaction.  After I read the story to the students, we go back through the story and compare it to what others do to make you angry.  The "bait" they use is mean words. And even if you ignore those mean words the first time, the people will come back and add more "bait".  It may take several times of ignoring the "bait" before the people move on to a new fishing hole.

I use a Smart Board to illustrate The Story of the Smart Fish and ways to ignore the bait and avoid the danger of getting angry.  1) Become a brick wall, students can push you, but if you act like a brick wall, and do not budge, they will not get what they want.  2) Remember that it takes two to play, if you don't join in, they will move on. 3)  Remember the truth, good feelings will protect you.

To culminate our group lesson, we made "Smart Fish" from old computer CD's.  (Our computer teacher had a stack of CD's of an older program that she was no longer using. So she upcycled them to me so I can use them for instances such as this.)  I printed the strategies to ignore on a CD label and glued them on to the CD.  Students then decorated their Smart Fish with fins, sequins, and markers