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.

So...do 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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Friendship Lesson on Making Small Talk

Have you ever had that awkward moment where you just don't know anyone in the room and would rather do anything else than talk to people you don't know?  Many times we have "junk food" thoughts that run through our mind such as "maybe they will not like me" or " maybe they will think I am not as good as them."  But learning how to turn those thoughts around and make those connections as a child will help us grow as adults.
 One of my Friendship Group lessons focuses on "Speaking Up and Making Small Talk."  This lesson is taken from Small Group Counseling for Children by Diane S. Senn. 


I used a Smart Board for the group discussion.  We started by talking about times we may not know anyone. What do you do?  I had students identify "junk food" thoughts vs "healthy" thoughts.  Students had to "✔" the healthy statements and "X" the junk statements, then explain why those are good or bad for you to think.  

We then talked about making "small talk." What is small talk? What can you say? How do you start?  Try looking for something in common.  Maybe they are wearing a shirt with a character you like.  Or maybe they are talking about a video game that you play.

We then practiced by making Virtual Character Comic Strips.  Students paired up and were given a prompt to work on cooperatively.  They were to use their situation to come up with "small talk".  Once they had their "small talk" written  on their speech bubbles worksheet, we typed it into the speech bubbles on the Smart Board.  To present their situation and how they conquered that awkward moment, students would stand on either side of the Smart Board creating silhouettes with speech bubbles.  

Here is a prompt I gave a pair of students:  Imagine you have been invited to a birthday party and when you get there, you do not know anyone.  Your job is to make some "small talk."

Here is a different prompt:  You have a new neighbor.  How can you meet them? 

Students had a great time making their virtual comics!