Monday, December 30, 2013

Let's Go Camping

Not only is Bess Turner a 3rd grade wonder in the classroom, but she's an incredible artist. So it's not surprising that she's featured today as I continue to share the classrooms I love. I am sad to say that I didn't get many pictures of her classroom, and the ones I did really don't do it justice. I would encourage you do check out her artwork and think about having a few custom pieces made for your room. Find her on Etsy!

The Busy Beavers know exactly what job they need to do today.

I love that you kind find hilarity in every corner.

Cabin Leaders- look at that impressive use of Modge Podge and scrapbook paperwork.

Whoo needs to go to the bathroom?

Blogs you should be reading!

Look at this very exciting post featuring not only yours truly, but the best school counseling blogs out there. Thank you Career Counseling Guide.

Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Best Bulletin Board Ever

Our music teacher did this today.

I really need to step up my bulletin boards.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Just one more page...

I need to make more money, because tonight I ended up at Barnes and Noble with our librarian and I fell in love with these books:

"Fraidy Zoo"- This book is too funny. It's about a little girl and her fear about an upcoming trip to the zoo. Why? Well I can't spoil the ending, but let's just say I busted out laughing. Her family in the story comes up with the most creative ways to help her face her fears, something I would love to share with my small groups and use in the classroom.

"Digby Differs"- It's hard to tell in this picture, but this book will be a centerpiece in your office. It's long and eye catching, like a fine piece of art work. I just have to have it. The story is heart warming and will make every student smile. Digby, the adorable sheep, feels different because of his red strips and goes on an incredible adventure to find a place where he fits in. In the end he discovers that he was in the right place right at home. The illustrations are beautiful and I love spotting the red and white object in each page. My self esteem groups are going to love this. The perfect holiday gift for your favorite counselor, teacher, or librarian. 

"Bad Kitty Christmas"- I have actually wanted this book for over a year, but every time I see it I love it even more. It's use of the alphabet is just brilliant. 

"The Gift of Nothing"- Not only is this book perfect for the holiday season, but it's fantastic year round. A sweet, touching story about a cat who can't decide what to give his friend that has it all. A story about gift giving, selflessness, and the true meaning of friendship. LOVE it.

Book Sale

One of my favorite days and favorite ways to see friends is at the annual Scholastic warehouse book sale. It's a must attend event. Imagine a warehouse of all your favorite books on sale for 20-80% off, plus a $10 off $50 spent coupon. I always go over my allotted budget and this year was no different. I did however score 15 books for about $45. I didn't find "Flora the Flamingo" or "Mustache Baby" but hopefully I'll get a good deal on those soon. Here are just some of the books I did get today (almost all of which were under $9 and some were only $1):

Book Sale Scores

"Mirror Mirror" by Marilyn Singer- to use to discuss different point of views.

"The Sandwich Swap" by Her Majesty Queen Rania- great book about friendship.

"How To Talk So Kids Can Learn At Home and in School" By Adele Faber and Eliane Mazlish- this series is my all time favorite for parents and teachers so I always grab extra copies when I can because I lend them out so much. It was only $5 so I had to get it.

"How To Handle A Bully" by Nancy Wilcox Richards- great to read with my older grades.

"Someday" by Eileen Spinelli-A MUST have career day book. It was only $2.50 and I just can't get over how excited I am to have this book.

"My Dog Is A Hero"- a book about working dogs with amazing jobs- perfect for career day since I have always wanted to do a careers of animals day.

"Silly Dog" by Adam Stower- A book about a little girl who finds a bear and mistakes him for a dog. So sweet.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Grrr and Brrrr

Well today we got a few unexpected flurries.....brrr. It also means it's 6pm and I am already in bed.
I really dislike being cold, which brings me to today's post.

Two weeks ago during my anger group we started with a classic: draw how you feel when you are angry. While it started it ok, it morphed into so much more and I ended up making up a new lesson and adding on to the lesson on the spot (some of the best lessons are done that way I think.) Anyway here's what we ended up doing:
The blank is where they drew themselves getting angry. 

After we drew how we felt when we were getting mad, we added what words we say and/or thoughts we have. Then I asked them to do a "Mad Libs" type fill in the blank at the bottom, stating in one adjective how the different parts of their body felt.

Then last week we started talking about cool down strategies (taken from Julia Cook's "Soda Pop Head"- although I always leave out parts about hitting the pillow) so we went back and added in our favorite strategies for calming down.

It was simple, yet fun and effective. You could easily make your own or if you want to save some time I added very simple and free version to my TPT store.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I am not angry at West Virginia...

in fact I am more than glad for their Department of Education.

Our social worker shared this amazing resource with me yesterday from the West Virginia Department of Education.

It has small group lesson plans for anger (which is what we are using it for), career, divorce, self control and study skills for K-12th grade.

The lesson plans are very easy to understand and follow:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Best Behavior

Behavior seems to be taking over my life. Literally.

At home we are working on Brooklyn's constant anxiety and I am even more focused on learning more after reading this incredibly insightful article:

At school, well it feels like that's all I do. Almost all of my consultations with teachers are behavior based, I am on the behavior support team, and I feel like most of my lunch time conversations are now about so and so's behavior. So, it's no surprise that I am always looking for more behavior resources. Here are two new websites I can't live without.

First is Intervention Central, a wonderful RTI resource.

This year we have been talking about behavior tier, 3 tiers in fact.
Here's an example:

One thing I love about this site is that it allows you to create you own intervention checklists. I think it's perfect for helping teachers incorporate Tier 1 strategies into their classroom. It also helps me know if the teachers have tried things such as daily schedules, changing seating arrangements, etc. before I go in. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

I think you might like....


What on earth made you think that? Haha.

Well it's true I love having a dog themed program. So I thought I would share some of my other favorite dog themed rooms, ideas, resources, etc. I'll try to update this often so keep checking back.

First, my newest crazy dog idea.

I asked each teacher at my school who is a dog owner to help me choose a character education trait and somehow capture their dog(s) showing off that trait. One of our teachers is an amazing photographer, as you will see below, so I am batting my eyes at her to help us capture each scene. I will then use the images we capture on bulletin boards, in my new classroom, and if we are successful create a calendar for the teachers for each trait of the month.

Here's what Mrs. Jackson came up with for "wisdom" featuring her dog Taylor. The competition for most creative is on don't you think.

Taylor. Image by Kristen Jackson
I know what your thinking, I want to hire her! I did and you won't regret it. If you are in middle TN just ask and I'll send her your contact info.

What do you think of these for endurance?

Gracie girl

Our character education traits from:

More websites, inspiration, and dog themed stuff I love:

For the classroom:
Teaching Pawsitively- this teacher just has adorable written all over her. I am definitely adding her to my Feedly so I can follow her.

A pug themed classroom!- I adore the "attitudes."

School Girl Style- single handily my favorite classroom for dogs ever. Literally ever. I wish I could hire her to recreate this in my room.

Doggie Decor- Schoolgirl Style also has some adorable products on her TPT Store. It makes me want to redo my entire classroom and buy, buy, buy.

DOG- as in the Daily Organization Guide- My friend Mrs. Richardson simply has the best organization guide for her 1st graders. Her classroom is pretty cool too.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting Crafty

A sweet, dear friend of mine recently started her own business, Lei Harbor. She is a crafting genius and I love to see what pin-worthy ideas she'll come up with next.

The other day I saw these adorable thank you cards. Wouldn't they be so cute to give to our firefighters and local police after they visit for fire safety day or career day. I love them!

What I really did to prevent invisibility......

So I finally got to do my lesson on "The Invisible Boy!" Like all good lessons I started out with one plan, changed it, changed it the morning of, and then during my observation changed it again. Ha!

Well here's a rough draft of how I used this incredible book. Also, here's how it connect to Common Core Standards.


I started having the kids gather around for a "science experiment."
Here's how it works:

        1. In a plate/flat container that's full of water I pour in pepper. I ask the students to think of the pepper as people. We call them our "pepper people." I ask them to notice that the pepper is floating together, almost like a family or a community This is a good place to discuss people coming together in the community, at school, etc. You can ask them to think of all the different ways people work together.

Just pour pepper into a plate filled with water.

        2. Then I introduce the "soap." Put the soap in the middle of the pepper. In previous lessons I have introduced the soap as a "bully," however this time I asked them to just think of the soap as a person.

Next take a bar of soap and place it in the middle of the pepper.
        3. As you will notice when you put the soap in the water the pepper immediately darts away from the soap. I asked the kids to tell me why the pepper would be running away from the soap. Some said that the soap was a bully, others said it might be someone who is scared, etc. This time I asked them to imagine the soap was not a bully, perhaps a new student or even a student they have known a long time. I then asked them again, why would the pepper run away?

    4. This was a good place to introduce our vocab. words of the day: exclusion and inclusion. I explained that the pepper were all off by themselves and the soap was left alone. We discussed the word exclusion here, when one student noticed that some of the pepper had stuck to the soap. She commented that if the soap were a bully perhaps they were joining the bully or maybe trying to stop him. I asked them to discuss why else the pepper might stick to the soap.

   5. Next we talk about inclusion and that it's important to include everyone and it just takes one "sugary sweet" random act of kindness to make a big change. As I talk about this I pour the sugar where the soap was and slowly you will see the pepper coming back together.
Lastly, pour sugar into the middle of the plate.

Lesson: Next I read the story, stoping frequently to ask the students to make connections between our experiment and the book; looking for pepper people, the soap, and the sugar. I also asked them to make text-to-life connections. Many of my students really opened up!

Game: Next we played Quiz Quiz Trade using the discussion questions in the back of the book. I had a student demonstrate with me how to play and model how to restate an answer. I asked everyone to show their listening skills by restating what they heard and repeating it each partner. They did a great job, I loved the "I heard you say that you think..." or "So you are saying that...." It was amazing.  I also added a few like: "What do you think exclusion is?" "Do you think exclusion is bullying?" and "What food have you tried from other countries?"

I don't have a Smart Board yet so I wrote the directions of how to play on the board. I had the students turn and talk with a neighbor to practice our level 1 whisper voices. They had to share one text-to-life connection using their level 1 voices. 
We discussed answering the same question again. I asked them to use high order thinking for repeat questions.

What if I don't have a partner? I asked a student to model with me how to ask for a partner before we began.
Get your game cards here:
Get the lesson plan with CCSS and ASCA standards here:

Exit ticket: To leave the room I gave each student a post it note and asked them tell me what stuck with them.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I spy...

This months trait is wisdom!
A Flat Stouie!

As an extension of my character education and Flat Stouie programs I have  partnered with the librarian for this fun game of "Where's Flat Stouie?"

Each month I hide a Flat Stouie in a book related to our character education topic of the month. The students that find the Stouie and check out the book get to keep the Stouie and get a sticker to wear.

Pumpkin Books

One activity our 1st grade teachers did this year was have the students decorate pumpkins to represent their favorite books. The results are amazing.

Each pumpkin was displayed in the hall for all to see.

Wouldn't this be fun to do with emotions as well! Can't you just imagine a devastated pumpkin, a scared pumpkin, and a proud pumpkin lining the halls?

Can you see me now?

So I started this entry a few times this week, but never finished. Then I was reading the "Corner on Character" and ironically she had the same post! Great counselors must think alike.

"The Invisible Boy" by Trudy Ludwig is one of my favorite new buys.

Not only are the illustrations gorgeous, but the story is very powerful. So many of our students feel lost in the crowd, feel like they don't fit in, or even that they are the only ones dealing with a specific issue.

I love the suggestions that "Corner On Character" had for this book and I plan on incorporating several into my lesson. I love the idea of looking for character education words in the book and talking about the connecting it to their own lives with the use of "I" statements.

Here's how I planned on using the book. First, the author included discussion questions at the end of the story. I plan on having my students discuss these questions using the Quiz Quiz Trade game.

Next I am going to write a letter to the students in a "Dear Abby" format. I'll create a few one will be about bullying, one about being new to school, and one about making friends. I'll have the students write their own letters back to this fictional student. You could also use these social situations to do a role play activity, depending on the time you have with your class.

I'll post more as I continue to develop this lesson.

Speaking of invisible. These two are not! No, no these two have no consideration for personal space, but I love them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Find the courage to stand out

Sorry I haven't posted in a while; I don't remember a school year starting out quite this crazy. Although, maybe they all do and I just mentally block them out each year to stay sane.

Needless to say one thing I haven't had time to do this year is update my bulletin boards, but a precious miracle occurred and the art teacher had a student helper that needed a few extra work hours and she volunteered to do my board. I think it's perfect!