Monday, June 11, 2012

Bucket Lists

Bucket Lists!

This summer I made a bucket list of fun things I wanted to do and make sure that I actually did them! From going to the zoo to making S'mores there are 20 pegs of fun summer activities. Each time I complete an activity I put it in the bucket.The first peg I wrote was cookout, mainly because we cooked out the night before and I really liked being able to put a peg in right away. I have always been this way- I put something on my checklists that I have already done. It makes me feel just slightly more encouraged and successful. I love the visual checklist and so far I have done six.

Although an incredible teacher friend of mine, who is now a successful assistant principal, pointed out that it reminded her of a behavior management technique she often used, I really like the idea of using this visual in my counseling curriculum next year.  So here are my ideas for incorporating bucket lists this year.

My personal bucket list!
Each year I brainstorm ways I want to improve my program, things I want to change, and create a list of personal goals for myself. I started brainstorming how many of these could be put on a peg and at the end of the year I could see how much closer I was to accomplishing my goals. At first my goals were broad, like incorporate more technology, but as we all know goals are better when they are concrete and measurable. So here is my bucket list for the 2012-2013 school year:
                   - Use the Smart Board for at least five lessons this year. This means using pre-made games or developing my own.
                    - Collaborate with my peers to team teach at least five times. I always do a lesson with my Kindergartners on keeping their teeth clean. Last year, I noticed that about a month after my lesson the teachers were doing the exact same lesson! If only I had known. So this year my goal is to collaborate with them so our lessons don't overlap. In fact, we could even team teach.
                 - Gather more data. As we all know our profession is becoming a data driven! This year I want to complete a MEASURE and gather more data. Often I feel like teachers don't realize just how much we do. If I don't see their kids weekly I get looks of "what are you doing all day"? By gathering and sharing data hopefully I can answer their question. This also leads me to my next goal.
               - Advocate and explain my position. Each year we get several new teachers and this year my goal is do a better job of explaining my role in the school. I know that is broad, but here is my more specific goal of how to do this: Talk to the faculty at one of our early in-service meetings about my role and follow up by handing out a brochure of my program. That is just a bit to long to write on one peg.
                 - Attend the state counseling conference.
                 - Have at least one parent at every parent workshop. Last year I had some sessions that were packed houses and some that had zero. This year I want one parent at each workshop and then next year I can set a goal of increasing participation.
                 - Have monthly BIONIC meetings and don't reschedule them! That means 10 meetings total.
                - Attend at least 75% of our school's data meetings. This number is ideally 100%, but you just never know when a crisis will arise. Attending these meetings is a great way to not only gather data, but get referrals for students that might have otherwise been missed.
               - Update my blog monthly! I am new at this so it's going to take me a while to start the habit of logging in.
                - Take members of Student Council to the Family Learning Center to help tutor younger students two times. Last year I took our students to an after school center to assist with tutoring and it was a huge it. The students loved it and many of our parents stayed to help out too. We must do this again!

There are a lot more ideas, but you get the idea. Some of the pegs I can put in the bucket as soon as I do them and some I will get to put in at the end of the year.

Small Group Bucket Lists
Ideally, each of my small group sessions should have a goal. Sometimes, especially around testing time, I find that I loose focus when running my groups and we have a session that feels more like social hour. Although the kids love it, each session should have purpose. So I like the idea of writing down goals we should accomplish my the end of our group so that we can put them in the bucket. For example, it could be learn everyone's name and at the end of the first session if we all know each others names in goes the peg. Hopefully this will ensure that we are putting a peg in the bucket every time we meet, thus staying more focused.

Individual Bucket Lists
At the beginning of the year I always do a goal setting activity with my older students. Wouldn't it be fun to have them create their own personal bucket lists for the school year? For example, it could be try out of band,  get at least 3 A's every report card, etc. I think this could be a cute, but costly.

To cut down on costs I could do a class bucket list. What things they want to accomplish with me during our classroom guidance lessons by the end of the year. Each student could write down one thing they want to learn (counseling related) to add to our bucket. Wouldn't it be cool if they wrote things like "learn how to react to a bully" "learn what to do when I see a friend being bullied" "learn what to do if a stranger approaches me" "learn one new fact about cyber safety." I wonder if my students could create these ideas themselves or if I would end up feeding it to them?

I also like the idea of the bucket list for individual members in a small group session. Each person could write down one thing they want to accomplish while in the group and we place all of them around the bucket. Then we spend the group helping each other accomplish our goals and making sure everyone get's put in the bucket. This would be a great for my study skills group. 

Ok, this blog entry got away from me and has ended up very long, but before I go I must share one more thing. I love this book and what a perfect way to introduce the idea of teamwork and helping each other fulfill our bucket lists.  If you haven't used this book before I would recommend adding it to your counseling library this year. In fact put it on your bucket list!


  1. Just so you know, my child ran straight to the kitchen to see if we had any clips! I love this idea! For old and young alike, it lets us plan some outside of the box activities and enjoy the excitement of completing them!

  2. Great job Laura! Wonderful information for all ages.