Thursday, December 14, 2017

Last minute holiday lesson ideas

In need of some last minute holiday lessons? Here are a few quick ideas:


Activity Idea: Partner with a Santa application (like this the one a co-counselor and friend made).

 Or partner with a first resume like this freebie from TPT or this freebie for younger grades or this vocabulary activity. There are lots of options on TPT. 

Read or watch:

Activity Idea: Partner with this acceptance activity from Counselor Keri.


Activity Idea: Partner with this feeling lesson from Counselor Keri.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Scholastic Book Club- it's where I get a lot of my books

Every wonder how I manage to get enough books to fill my office or am able to give students and staff over 755 books each year?

Scholastic Book Club!

1) I asked teachers to volunteer to let me run their book club. Each year I have at least ten teachers willing to do this. Why? It's less work and time for them.
It allows me to provide books school wide. They don't have to do anything.

2) Next I created an account and listed all the different grades who I was serving.

3) When flyers come in I separate them into two piles: classrooms I am serving and teachers doing it on their own. I put the flyers for classrooms I am not serving directly in teacher boxes.

4) I have a library volunteer help me get the flyers ready. It's simple- you just pull them out and I staple a letter with my class code and ordering details to it. It's the perfect job to do while watching Monday night TV. Scholastic even creates the letter for you. I simply copy and paste and make 3-4 a page to save paper.

5) Put flyers in teachers boxes.

6) Wait for the orders to come in. Most parents order online. Some return checks to me and I enter the order myself.

7) Get the benefits! August and September are big months. You earn triple the bonus points, which means more free books. So, I really push the orders early on. This year I got over 30,000 bonus points and ordered books for every character education winner and classes that completed the attendance and anti- bullying challenges.

8) Deliver the books. When all the books arrive organize and deliver them. I've become known as the book lady. As I deliver books I do check in's with kids so it's a win win. Insider tip: when you submit an order print it out. When books arrive check them off. Books don't arrive all together, so you may get parts of orders. This helps you track what still needs to arrive.

9) Celebrate!!

10) Extra perks: send books recommendations to parents that partner with program topics. For example, in Sept. I recommended books about school and in Oct. books about Kindness. You can also start a classroom wish list!

Bullying Prevention Month


Newsletter sent to teachers

Here’s the school wide challenge I set up for my teachers:
K-1: Being kind is so sweet! Help students differentiate between a "sweet" friend and a "sour" friend with the activity from Counselor Chelsey. Next have students write one they can be be a sweet friend on a watermelon seed. Turn the seeds into your counselor for a “sweet” wall display and win a friendship book for your class library. Also, check out a book from the counselor on being a sweet friend to add to your lesson, morning meeting, or for students to read independently.

2nd-3rd: We stand up to bullies! Borrow any book on bullying to read to your class. After reading the book have students sign the anti- bully pledge (I got these from the Dollar Tree.) If you turn in your pledge cards to the counselor you will win a book for your class library.

4th-5th: Choose Kind: Become A Certified Kind Classroom.  Read Wonder or borrow the picture book We’re All Wonders to read as a class. Visit to become a certified kind classroom. Share your success with the counselor and win a Wonder series book or related title for your class library.

Attendance Awareness Month

September is Attendance Awareness Month!

It's been a busy month, but here's how we celebrated:

1) School wide challenge:

Our PTA theme this year is "sweet." This made me think of pop rocks which lead me to our "attendance rocks challenge."

*Each class with get an attendance rocks sign and letters to spell out “rocks.” I used Savvy School Counselor's Attendance Rocks Packet to get us started. I used her cover to make signs for classrooms and then I gave them each cut out letters to spell "rocks." 

*If a class had perfect attendance that day they stuck a letter on your sign. When the class spells out the word “rocks” they let me know and they won a book for their classroom library or other prize. 

*If they got "rocks" they had a second challenge, focusing on tardies.

Just like before they added a letter each day they had zero tardies. When they spell out “rocks” they got a book prize. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Interland by Google- Internet Safety meets Minecraft

Have you guys seen Interland by Google yet? I am really digging it for lessons on tech safety. 

It's a game that students can play on their computer/iPad and tackles internet safety in a super fun way. The graphics remind me of Minecraft, so instant buy in right there. 

Each part of the game map has questions the student must answer to successfully answer to navigate on.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Throw Back Thursday Update

I can't believe i originally posted this on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015! wow how time flies. 

I recently got to visit some of my favorite 4th grade teachers who also used this book for their back to school lessons. Here is how I used it and here's how they used it:

"What If Everybody.."

I love this story for so many reasons:

1) The illustrations really engage the students.
2) You can introduce so many topics with it:
           - Character Education Traits like responsibility, respect, and citizenship.
           - The importance of classroom, school, and community rules/laws.
           - Rules and consequences
           - Cause and effect
3) It works for a variety of ages. It's always hard to find a book that appeals the masses, but I've used this book for grades 2-5th and they all love it.

In fact I love it so much I made some discussion cards for students and FREEBIE activities here: You can use the cards to help facilitate discussion as you read or as a game (Quiz Quiz Trade) at the end of the story. You could also use the cards as writing prompts!  Get them at my TPT store.

These discussion cards are a companion for the book "What If Everybody Did That" by Ellen Javernick. You can use the cards as you read the story or as a discussion/review game at the end. This 20 page packet includes: 80 question cards, directions to play Quiz Quiz Trade, and connections to Common Core and ASCA Mindsets. Some of the cards ask similar questions, but they are differentiated for your grade and reading level of your students. There is also a blank card for you to create your own question.

I also like partnering the book with A Perfectly Messed Up Story to talk about how you can take care of school supplies? What if everybody ate snack while reading library books? 

Here is how my 4th grade teachers used it:

Listen as I read.
Model expectations for materials.
Discuss in small groups.
Create a class chart.
Independent Work.

You can get all the worksheets here on TPT.
Check out more back to school activities from Jillian Starr here.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

You are enough!

All week I've seen counselors and creators share their newest TPT creations. I've beaten myself up about not making more or being better at it. Then I heard this on today's #supersoulsunday. It was exactly what I needed to hear!! Friends I might not be able to create the cutest and newest TPT activity or game, but I can share with you my favorite book titles and I can also tell you how I've used some of those TPT finds. So if it's ok with you I am continue to blog about my dog theme, my book finds, other counselors creations, and the amazing things my interns and friends are doing. I am uniquely good at sharing (unless it's food and then get your own fries 😉)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Help I'm overwhelmed by TPT!

Do you ever feel this way? I do! In fact sometimes when I go back through my purchases to find something I find 20 other things I forgot I had purchased. So I thought I'd share my favorite purchases from TPT- the purchases I use the most and of course the books I'd pair with them.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dear Readers, we are about to get personal.

Here's what you may know about me:
*I am in love with pitbulls.
* That love is thanks to my two babies, Brooklyn and Boss.
* I have an entire instragram (@brooklynandboss) dedicated to my obsession to them.
*I'm a school counselor.
* My love of pineapples hit 100 thanks to HIMYM and Psych (counting down the minutes to that return).
Brooklyn and Boss
* I love working with students more than anything in the world.
* I was born in England.
* I am a tv addict.

Here's what you may not know about me:
* I actually love cats equally to dogs. In fact, until I got Brooklyn I was a die hard cat lady.
* My first career was actually in health and fitness (so many jokes associated with my last name).
* I struggle with depression...

Brooklyn keeping up appearances
Mental health, oddly, seems to still be a bit taboo. I still struggle with pretending I have my life together - the "keeping up appearances " pressure is real. (Side note: that's an excellent tv show).
This summer I am studying for the ASCA anxiety and trauma certifications. Trust me, the irony is not lost on me. I study and read and investigate, and I still can't seem to understand why this topic is so taboo. The stats and studies all tell me I'm not alone, yet I feel so alone.

So tonight I write this post, because I know I'm not alone.

Rooted in Reading- Attendance Small Grps

This year I got to work with Tiffany Buckles (not Buckles for too much longer 😊 ), an incredible intern from CNU. Attention all HR departments- if she ever applies to your district hire her immediately.

We called ourselves the "counseling girls" (an ode to the amazing Gilmore Girls) and I gotta admit I think we were an amazing team. We combined my addiction of children's book/biblotherapy and her wisdom/love of owls and thus the "Whoooo Loves School" small groups were formed. I can't brag on these groups enough, but the data speaks for itself!

Read more about our "Whoooo Loves School" small group.....

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Books galore

This holiday weekend I got lost in a sea of heaven- aka I went to a bookstore. Union Street books on Market Square is my dream. I want to own a small book store like Union Books one day, but until then I'll draw attention to myself walking around taking pictures of books and sitting in the kids section reading (no wonder I'm single!).

Here were some books that got added to my summer reading list (I need a 2 month extension on summer):

This book is going to on my "to buy" list because it would be a great way to introduce choice theory or the connection between feelings, thoughts, and actions. It'll partner perfectly with the Counselor Keri Interactive Notebook. 

I mean what parent can't relate to this! I know I can (see embarrassing pictures of how I slept last night below):

It's like Page Six in a book!
I loved Girl On A Train and Gone Girl, so I am pretty sure it's a given I'll love this too.
Synopsis thanks to Google: A father coming to terms with his divorce and custody battle and his new life with his boys. I am intrigued.
Named one of the 9 Most Addictive Books of 2017 (So Far) by Kirkus, a Happily Ever After read by USA Today, and one of Entertainment Weekly's Best New Books. - Wow that's an impressive amount of peer pressure to read this book.
Award winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson is one of the best YA adult authors of our time (in this bloggers opinion). I bet you already own her book Each Kindness (no you don't- stop reading for a second and get it here.) "The book was written as an adult book, unlike many of the author's previous books and titles. NPR wrote that the book was "full of dreams and danger."
I am a former dancer so enough said!
Plus it's a graphic novel! "Mood swings"- oh Josephine I feel ya!
Adding this to back to school reading list! 
A little golden gem. 
Synopsis (thanks Google) "This debut novel from US cartoonist Terri Libenson follows two girls who could not seem more different: shy, observant, wallflower Emmie; and loud, popular, cheery Katie. What both girls do have in common are their strong feelings for the same boy, Tyler Ross. Then Emmie's very private, very embarrassing scribbles fall into the wrong hands ." I mean what YA can't relate to this! I remember losing too many notes, because they were folded into tight little envelopes and thus tiny. I didn't need my crush to know that we are getting married- yes huh MASH said so- sheesh. 
I am that adult that watches "Pretty Little Liars" and "Riverdale" proudly.  So when described it as  “Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club” I knew I was in.
I am sucker for books about unexpected friendships!
Did you know I love children's books? I know right?! Well here's some even more shocking news- I like dogs too. Ok kidding aside, I can't wait to get my hands on a book about John Newberry and the birth of children's books.
I've seen this book floating around Instagram and FB a lot lately. I wish I was a classroom teacher so I could host a shark week like Mrs. Lemons from  Step Into 2nd Grade or even partner this book with some cool STEM activities .
Jackie O- enough said.
How fun would it be to do a book tasting with this book and then ask students to create a story about "how to be a super student?"
The original is a favorite among my ELL students so this is also on my must buy list. Maybe we can read it and then take a siesta.
Enjoy friends: