Saturday, January 30, 2016

My latest book splurge

"I'll just go to McKay's for one specific thing" and 89 books later..... Target and bookstores are without a doubt my weakness. Lucky for my students I picked up a few great books.

The "One" book I came for - no pun intended.

I LOVE this book. I love it so much it's our character education book of the month. Each month a "mystery reader" films themselves reading the book and the kids get to watch it and guess who it is. I think someone gave me away as the mystery reader this month. Check her out here:

My book splurge didn't end with "One" book though. Here's what else I picked up.

So I picked up:

Here's the Amazon description: "Mutt Dog is brave and fast and gentle and loyal and smart, but he's also hungry, and he doesn't have a home. Then one day his luck changes, and he at last finds a family--and a cozy, loving place to belong."

How I plan on using: I love this book to talk about fitting in, finding a home, and caring for others. 

"Just the message overscheduled families need in today's frantic world . . . delivered with humor and terrific artwork." — John de Graaf, national coordinator, Take Back Your Time

How I plan to use: to talk about scheduling, organization, work habits, and doing your personal best.

"New York Times bestselling author Melissa Gilbert makes her picture book debut with this fetching story about a shy little girl and her spunky dog, Josephine!" -

How I plan on using: to address shyness, friendship, loneliness, perseverance, and more

Check out this amazing description from Amazon: 
"Martha has a new favorite word.
And that word is MINE!
Martha has officially mastered apologizing. Unfortunately, she still has a lot to work on when it comes to sharing. And while she doesn't learn to love it, she does discover that having her toys to herself means having to play with them all by herself, too. Not so fun! 
This hilarious follow-up to Martha doesn't say sorry! shows readers that sharing isn't all that bad when you take it one (small) toy at a time--like Martha does. It gets easier every day. Well, almost every day."

I bet you can guess what topic I will use this book for!

This is such a sweet story about a mother's dream for their child.

How I plan on using: I am going to let my teachers borrow for morning meeting and talk about their dream for their students. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Work Habits pre and post test

It seems like forever ago I was posting about my work habits, organization, and responsibility lesson.
Today I finally found time to update my pre and post tests. Check them out:

Pre Test

Post Test

National School Counselor Week 2016

It's almost time for National School Counselors Week- a week we can advocate for our programs, share with stakeholders how we can help them, and celebrate our awesome jobs. Here's my plan for 2016. What are you doing?

Me and my AMAZING practicum student

School wide weekly events and contests:

Monday- Teacher Treats
Here’s the scoop:
It’s National School Counseling week. Stop by the work room for a treat.
I found this cute treat on Pinterest that I'll recreate for my teachers.

I love ...
I love being a school counselor because my students rock. Why do you love having a school counselor? Complete the sign and take a picture with your class/grade level team. Every class that sends me a picture or shares with me will get a special treat.


K-2 Contest
Don’t forget to watch the Character Education mystery reader video. Teachers have your students guess and vote on who they think the mystery reader is for February. E-mail your guess (1 per class) and I will put the correct answers in a drawing for a prize.

*Each month we film a teacher or staff member reading our character ed book of the month. The students will guess who this month's mystery reader is.


3-5th Contest
What is bullying? We often confuse bullying and conflict- ask your class to write the definition of bullying and e-mail your guess (1 per class).  I will put correct answers in a drawing for a prize.

*We've been learning a lot about bullying in recent months. I am looking for three parts to the winning definition: 1)it's negative, unwanted, aggressive behavior 2)it's repeated 3)there is an imbalance of power

Counselors encourage students #reachhigher! Wear your favorite college gear and take a #reachhigher selfie. Learn more about this amazing initiative at

*This idea comes from the ASCA Photo week challenge. I will also be doing the photo week challenge.
Get the signs and ideas here:

Daily announcements:

I created daily announcements based on the ASCA suggested announcements check my announcements out here:

To kick off the week I created a newsletter for my teachers and staff. Check out the entire newsletter here:

 It gives an overview of events, explains why we have school counselors and explains that the week is designed to share about the program and is not an "appreciation week," includes an about me section, and fun things in our cooking theme.

Get more ideas here:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Promoting Character Education Books

This year we started doing class meetings school wide. Several of the teachers decided to use the time  to read to their students and discuss character education and life skill topics. To help promote some of my favorite books I set up several books in our conference room so teachers could browse them when they met for their weekly PLC. On each book I put a post it note with ideas for topics, discussions, and activities. I was very excited when several teachers borrowed the books to read with their class. What a simple and effective way to promote literacy and my counseling program.

Here are some ideas:
Mr. Wuffles- check out the lesson here

Everyone Loves Bacon- popularity, jealousy, and friendship

Friendshape-  tolerance, friendship, resepct

Say Hello To Zorro- new student, friendship, getting along with others

Journey-  need a new spin on New Year's Resolutions? Talk about what personal and classroom 
journey the students would like to take in the new year. How will get there? 

Crenshaw-  this chapter books is perfect for the mornings, because each chapter is very short. Use it to talk about homelessness, perseverance, imagination, stress, struggles, and more.

Kid President's Guide To Being Awesome  - each week the classes can talk about and practice one way to be awesome

Clark The Shark- review rules, new student, skills for success

Numberlys-  team work, goal setting, imagination, journey, mindset, work ethic. This book also has a companion App for your teachers with iPads.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

3 Books, 3 Perspectives

A counselor friend of mine recommended the Weird! book series to me, and I am so glad she did. I could go on and on and on about this series, but the testimony really comes from my students. Each month I do a book giveaway for great behavior and after reading the second book in the series, one of my boys asked me if I could “please buy the books for the giveaway.” Even though he has a 1 in 900 chance of winning, he was that into them! He’s not the only one, even my most hesitant and challenging students are totally into these books. Why? I have my theories. First, the illustrations by Paula Heaphy are youthful yet mature. Second, the topic is totally relevant to every student. Third, they are so well written. Author Erin Frankel, who is also an educator, makes these books so relatable perhaps in part from her own experience of being bullied. Yet, for me the books are easy to read, catchy, and intriguing. Lastly, the series makes you want more. Like a great movie you can’t want for the sequel and feel sadness when the trilogy ends.

So let’s talk about the other “W’s”.

What: The Weird! Series is a three part series that focuses on bullying. The first book, Weird! is told from the point of view of the target. (*note: I think it’s very important to use the term target and not victim. Anyone can be a target, but not everyone has to be a victim.) The second book Dare! is old from the perspective of the bystander or the person witnessing the bullying. To wrap it up you get to hear from the bully in Tough!.

Where: The books take place in the school setting. At some point our students will be a target of bullying, a bystander to bullying, or the bully themselves.  As a School Counselor, I use these books in my classroom guidance lessons. Teachers can use them in their classroom when talking about respect, during a class meeting, or as a book/author study.

When: Don’t try to read these books in one sitting. I see my students once a month, so it’s taken us three months to get through the series. This really keeps them on the edge of their seats. You should really plan to spread the books into a 3 day, 3 week, or 3 month series. Don’t overwhelm- let it sink it, settle, and stew. I really believe that if you the students marinate with the books, it allows them to take it to a deeper level.

How: So how can you use these books? There are so much you can do with these books, but here’s what I did.
            Introduction: First, I showed the students the cover of all 3 books and asked them to make observations about each. I then read the back cover and we discussed how each book was told from a different perspective. This lead to a short discussion on point of view which included them making educated guesses on which book was told from what point of view.
            Reading the story: Heads up- have a chunk of time to read these books. My classes are 45 minutes and they used every second of that time. Some students even panicked shouting out that we only had 5 minutes and would we get to the end? Even though these picture books are short the student’s love making observations and connections to the story. I really started with three simple prompts:
1) “What do you notice about this page?” or “What did you notice about the illustrations?”
            2) “What connection can you make to the story?”
            3) “Tell me what you think will happen next” or “Make a prediction about what’s going to happen.”

The discussion was really student lead from there. Everyone, and I mean everyone, had something they wanted to point out, a story (with names changed to protect the innocent) to tell, or a guess about what would happen to the character. I didn’t write down all of  discussions and where they went, but I can tell you that each class really let it morph to where they wanted or needed to go.

Additionally, if you have taught your student's the Olweus definition of bullying (that it's repetitive, intentional/aggressive, there is a power imbalance,etc.) you can ask students to prove, justify, and explain how the example in this book meets the definition. 

Need more? You can also access the leaders guide here:

Follow up: With our few remaining moments I had them complete one portion of our bully triangle.  It's from the "Stand Up Against Bullies: Grades 3-5" work book by Marco Products. Since each book is written from a different point of view- I am having them fill in the triangle based on the point of view from the main character. When they were done writing we either did partner talks or whole class sharing (depending on time) to discuss their answers.

One more “w!”

What’s next: the dynamic duo of Erin Frankel and Paula Heaphy have also written Nobody!: A Story About Overcoming Bullying In Schools. It’s on my Amazon wish list, because I have no doubt it will make the perfect follow up.