Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Personal Safety and Body Language with a furry twist.

I was so excited today to present on incorporating animals into school counseling programs. It also gave the opportunity to re-watch one of my favorite videos on dog safety. I love this video because it shares a lot about the body language that dogs try to tell us. It's short, fun and educational. I would encourage you to share with your students as you do your safety lessons!!

Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bstvG_SUzMo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I need a class in crafty

Seriously, I feel like one of my grad school classes should have been "how to get your craft on in an elementary school."

I'm not crafty at all, but I do know awesome when I see and I can click a camera and share it so here we go.

This year's theme at our school is "making masterpieces" and our teachers have really gone all out:

Our school is "Lotts" so it's not a misspelling. The caption is "Creating Lotts of Masterpieces in 4th Grade." Genius.
I love coming down the hallways and seeing these fun paint cans. The students names are in each color. 
It really brightens up the halls and makes them fun.

5th grade has some "Masterful Creations"

They covered the clothes pins with these cute paint brushes from a border. These little details make me so happy.

Tid Bit From My Day

By giving up my teacher chair I had exactly enough chairs for my 5th grade class today (which is a miracle bc I've been short for a lot of classes.) Anyway the kids kept fighting over them and spent at least 5 minutes upon entering my room sitting down, moving, sitting down, and again moving. Finally I couldn't take it so I say "guys let's not get all Goldie Locks and the 3 Bears up in here- its not too big, it's not too small, they're all just right bc they're all just chairs." Sadly the stares I got back meant my humor had been lost on them.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Brooklyn Barks at Open House

This past Friday we had our school's open house. I created a handout for parents and one for teachers. What do you normally do at your open house or to introduce yourself to teachers?

See teacher newsletter here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_6T4rR2pFj5eU1kQkJaV25wX0k/edit?usp=sharing
See parent newsletter here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_6T4rR2pFj5TU5UaGRIb0dWOWM/edit?usp=sharing

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My office is coming together! #classroomsetup2014


I am broke and I ran out of border! So… I used paint chips to make my own. What do you think?

The color scheme is black, white, and bright green in my office this year.

Tried to make my shelves look fun this year.

I am obsessed with these jars for storage. Every time I am in Home Goods I get another one.

Books and bookmarks.

I attached a binder clip to each fabric box that says what the topics of the book are. It makes for easy organization.

Individual counseling area.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Office Sneak Peak

So half way through the summer I decided I wanted a black and white office.
So I have spent many a day working on it. Here are some sneak peaks #classroomsetup2014

I'll post more soon!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Donor's Choose Project Update

Thanks to an incredible local Horace Mann Agency Owner I only need $153 to reach my Donor's Choose project goal to get technology in my classroom this year. TODAY is the last day to have your donation matched (using the code INSPIRE). So if only 8 of my friends/those of you that support education donate just $10 (and don't forget enter the promo code INSPIRE on the payment screen to have your donation matched) I will get my wish granted! Please share with everyone you know who supports education!!! I know my students would truly appreciate enhancing my classroom.www.donorschoose.org/msfiltness

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Year New Blog

Hi all,
In keeping with my dog theme I am changing my blog to "Paws-itive School Counseling". I will update the URL to: pawsitiveschoolcounseling.blogspot.com hopefully with in the next 48 hours so please get ready for the change and follow the new blog!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Donor's Choose Grant

I am thrilled to announce I have written my 1st Donor's Choose Grant for next year. I am hoping to incorporate a document camera into my classroom guidance program since I am in the rotation again.

You can read all about it here.


Please consider donating $1 and sharing with as many people you know. Give to my classroom by August 4, 2014 and your donation will be doubled thanks to DonorsChoose.org. Just enter the code INSPIRE on the payment page and you'll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100).

If you chip in to help my students, you'll get awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Some time ago I pinned this cute doggie birthday party idea. I am excited to mix it up and make it part of my program this year.

Adopt-A-Pet Program:

When a student is going through a very rough time (perhaps they have lost a close loved one, had an extended illness, had a fire at home, etc.) I will invite them to my office to adopt a pet. At first I was going to do all dogs, but here's a secret I adore cats too (shhh don't tell Brooklyn.)

I'll let the student pick out a dog, fill out an 'adoption certificate' and give them a  sheet on being a responsible pet parent. Hopefully it will brighten their day.

I got the basket at home goods, which I adore. The "pets" came from my local Good Will. I got 23 stuffed animals for $7!! Thank you Good Will!!

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


You know I love office decor and organization. I day dream of my next job being a classroom consultant/designer. If I did ever get to live that dream job I would partner with the AMAZING Angela Bunyi! Her combination of a little OCD and more energy than my Brooklyn, means that every year she creates the perfect classroom. So here is a little sneak peak (because I keep begging  her for more pictures) of her brilliant nautical themed room:

I LOVE her mood lighting.  I am always trying to recreate it in my office.

It's not actually wallpaper, it's contact paper from Target.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quiz Quiz Trade Cards

Hi all,

Many of you have asked the QQT cards. I am working on a better set for my TPT account, but until then I have uploaded a good icebreaker set here!


New Movie

Have you guys seen the trailer for "Rich Hill?" It looks very interesting. My favorite part is when the principal tells one of the boys the most important thing is his education and is quickly corrected that actually the most important thing in his life is family! I think it's important to find out what really matters  to our students and use that as a door into their lives, rather than force them down a tunnel we created.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My kind of therapy

ASCA 15- what to present in the desert sun?

                                  Apparently I can't stop buzzing from my recent trip to Orlando.

take me back!

So I am brainstorming ideas to submit to present at next years conference, but I need help. Here are my Top 2 ideas- read, critique, give me feedback, tell me what you think (you get it):

1) It's A Zoo In Here

Animals are more than adorable puppies and grumpy kitties.  Animals provide students unique learning and therapeutic experiences. Learn how to corporate animals into your guidance curriculum lessons as well as using animal based interventions in your comprehensive school counseling program.

2) Social Skill Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder:

Autism now affects 1 in 88 children, which means as counselors we will at some point work with a student on the spectrum.  ASD students have deficits in social understanding which lead to a tremendous impact on the child’s success across all settings.  This session will highlight the social characteristics of students with autism spectrum disorders and present evidence-based interventions to address these social challenges.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Welcome New Readers

Hi (hopefully new readers)! Post getting a Twitter account I felt like I should probably share this again or else your reading this blog thinking "who is this woman?" "why can't she spell?" "did she ever pass an English class?" "who is that adorable dog and can I snuggle with him/her?"

The adorable dogs featured are Brooklyn and Boss. We love making new friends! I also love seeing that people are visiting my blog, which is just a fun way for me to share/get ideas and of course display my mass amounts of puppy pictures. So if you new to my blog (thanks Twitter and ASCA) here is an updated old post that never really gets old.

5 Things You Should Know About Me:

Brooklyn hard at work in my office.

1) I have horrific grammar. English was my worst subject from elementary school through college, and it looks like things aren't changing. I started this blog as a fun way to share ideas I have had and the ideas I have begged for, borrowed, and stolen. It's also a fun way for me to write about what I am doing, so in many ways it's like a journal for me. Thus I tend to write my blog entries as if they were my journal entries, which means bad spelling and poor grammar. Worse I have moved away from the amazing E.S. (my former music teacher) who also assisted as a personal editor. So sorry in advance for the spelling and grammar mistakes!

Meeting new friends.

2) Much to the dismay of my friends I often compare working with my students to dog training. The comparison of my baby Brooklyn to our sweet Kindergartners has lead to many a head shake, but I just can't help it. For starters having a dog reminds me of having a toddler- they are always moving, they always need to go to the potty, and they are always learning how to treat others/follow the rules. I have spent hundreds of dollars in dog training and I want to put what I learned to good use. Most of all it connects for me. We are always looking to make connections with our students and ways to make what we are saying relevant to their lives. For me looking at a behavior/social problems the way I would look at working with my dog- well it just makes more sense.  For example I know that if Brooklyn 'leaves it' when I drop a Cheeto I need to reward her asap with a small treat and that if she 'leaves it' when we see a bunny we need to do an all night celebration. I know that she needs an immediate reward that can't be taken back and deepening on the situation and skill we are working on sometimes she needs just a small bite sized treat and sometimes she needs high value reward like a golf ball (don't ask.) Doesn't that sound like some of your students? It has really helped me re-evaluate the way I tackle behavior problems. Please don't take the comparison personal.

Which way are we going?
3) I love finding fun new websites! I remember in the summer of 2010ish I was sitting pool side and a friend of a friend said have you heard of this site "Pinterest".  Remember when you needed a .edu e-mail to get on thefacebook.com? Well at this time you needed an invitation to join Pinterest I thought "huh wonder what that's about." In the beginning it was the same DIY pins over and over again, but less than a year later I was addicted. 
I hope you will all follow me! (http://www.pinterest.com/sassyscounselor/)

ASCA Conference Tips for Newbies

Ok yes until 2 days ago I was the newbie so this entry may seem a little premature, but I swear I have a purpose. I want to write this now while these tips are fresh on my mind and then I can update and re-post in a year from now.

1) If you don't have/aren't taking technology (iPad, etc.) bring paper and pencil.

I didn't take my school computer for fear of a water plane landing and I would be paying the school district for a new computer and would loose the close to 3,000 pictures of Brooklyn and Boss on my computer. I felt alone being technology-less and spent the majority of the weekend sending my boyfriend some subtle* texts about my lack of an iPad. (*Does it count as subtle if I said- I am the ONLY person alive without an iPad…I MUST have one by Christmas, see attached link to Best Buy?) That being said the conference notebook had only 3 pages for notes and that meant I was out of writing room within the first two hours. I also couldn't find paper anywhere so I became resourceful writing on anything I could find (my bag, the program, napkins, toilet paper-ok I didn't go that far but I was tempted). This is another reason I blogged about everything I learned, because I am sure I will loose those scrap papers.

2) Take some business cards but not all 250.
I took my brand new business cards and I was happy I did, but I didn't give out all 250 (thanks Vista Print) so they just took up space. I am sure if I was presenting I would have. In a few sessions I heard people share great ideas so on the back of  a card I would write "please email me your bullying google doc" and then find them at a break meet/give my card/ask for xyz. I think it's helpful for people who have a short term memory issue like myself, plus your contact info is right there.

3) Don't be scared.
The conference was literally like being surrounded by counseling royalty and actual royalty (*Note: I am now referring to our First Lady as Michelle like we are suddenly best friends because Secret Service allowed me to be 50 feet away from her). I was nervous to meet people and talk and I wish I hadn't been. I mean I put my foot in my mouth daily so why not do it at Disney.
Me and Sandy Austin, School Counselor of the Year 2012 (if memory serves me). Note the panic in my face from meeting a super star.

ASCA #14 Reflections

Wow! What an amazing conference. How many newbie ASCA conference attenders can say at their first conference they heard the First Lady speak!!

I am writing this post for 3 reasons:
1) To share with you my highlights and lessons/knowledge learned at the best conference ever.
2) To help ADHD brain remember all the things I want to share with the other counselors in our district.
3) To help me go back and access the information. A online "storage space" for reference if you will.

So let's get started:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Middle School Advice

Have you guys seen this wonderful letter written by an exceptional mom to her daughter about staring middle school? I think the message applies for both boys and girls.

Take a minute to read it  and tell me what advice would you give a young student starting middle school?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teacher Organizers Aren't Just For Teachers

Thanks to my friend Chandra over at C Jayne Teach I am getting organized for the new year. My new Teacher Anchor just arrived and I am thrilled. #cjayneteach #teacheranchor

Here's how I am using mine (sorry the pics are blurry my camera phone just couldn't do the Anchor justice):

Connecting our curriculum to Common Core Standards seems to be a reoccurring theme at conferences and meetings I attend. I love that all the standards for K-3 are included in this planner and you can get the standards for other grades on her website. These easy sheets allow me to write down when I taught those standards, which will be easy to fill in as I write my lesson plans and then can use as part of my evaluation at the end of the year.
This fantastic page is at the end of each Common Core section and allows me to write down what lesson I did to meet standards. For example: 5th Grade- Socratic Seminar on fear or 3rd Grade- "Invisible Boy" lesson on friendship (see standards it met here.)

Instead of subjects I broke down my sections into the different parts of my program, including; Individual, Groups, Classroom Guidance,  Program Planning, and Other. Under other I will write down meetings, IEP/ 504 planning, parent conferences, collaborations, etc. 

I love that each day I can write down students I need to see or walk in.