Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm writing my post today letting everyone who follows me know of the changes I've made. When I wrapped up the school year in May I also made the decision to resign as counselor for the school in which I worked for two years. The main reason was time. It was a very hard decision to make and came after much prayer and thought of consequences. As the only counselor P-K - 12 I had a huge role. Everything from individual and group sessions, small and large, classroom guidance, college and career guidance also fell on my plate. Along with most assemblies amd all district testing, I had lots of administrative duties. I started three new programs my second year there and had three more in the works for this new school year about to start. I had a very active role in our school. None of this was a problem in and of itself and most everything I welcomed, initiated and loved. However, I live 45 minutes away from the district. Therein lies the problem. I might arrive at school anywhere from 6:30 a.m. to 7:50, the earlier the better. I could never arrive too early or stay too late. Most days I could leave at 4. However, if there was a ball game or after school activity I always felt I needed to be there to better understand the families with which I dealt or to learn about the students outside of the classroom/school setting. When I did stay after school I always felt the need to be at home taking care of things there. Things at home fell horribly behind in the two years I was employed so far from home. So, I made the decision to resign without previously finding another counseling/teaching job. School starts in just over a week and as of right now, despite my efforts, I don't have a job. After much heartfelt prayer and reflection, I believe, for now, this is what the Lord wants for me. So, until that time that I go back to work as a teacher or counselor I will be staying at home during the day, continuing on Pinterest and the internet to find resources for the future. I will continue teaching my cake decorating class at the tech center in the evening as well as making and decorating cakes. I won't be posting much since I want this to be more of a professional journey blog. I appreciate all those that follow my blog. I welcome any questions. You may follow me on Pinterest where I have a counseling and classroom board. I hope everyone has a great school year!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Break

Summer is finally here and my first official week off it has been cooler and raining nearly every day. I'm not complaining about the rain or the cooler temperatures, but it makes spending time in the pool come to a stop. I've been spending lots of time on pinterest, pinning, adding new boards, organizing pins and scrolling through blogs, trying to make sure I'm current on things and prepared for whatever the next school year holds. After a year of not working out due to spending lots of time at or preparing for work paired with being on and off the dieting wagon, I've been trying to get back in that groove. Having everything here at the house, and no work this summer there is no excuse to not get back at it. I'm hoping to take off some of the weight I gained in the last year. I will not be posting much this summer as this is a counselor's (work) blog and I'm out for the summer. I didn't really want my blog to be so much about me and my personal life. I will be teaching 3rd/4th gr. boys next week in VBS. The last few years I haven't taught at VBS. One reason is I teach 1st/2nd gr. Sunday School every week, teach kids church once/twice month and fill in some in classes at work. I haven't wanted to teach at VBS on top of that. Another reason, and probably the most important reason, or my favorite reason, for not teaching is that when I'm just a helper in a classroom, I get to deal with kids during the classroom invitation and have had the blessing of leading so many kids to the Lord, taking them through the verses and praying with them as they get saved! LOVE IT! I seemed to forget that when it was time to sign up for VBS jobs and simply signed up to do everything, thinking they'd plug me in where needed. I know I will receive so many blessings throughout the week by teaching the class. Tomorrow, I'm off on a small shopping trip to find insects to decorate my VBS classroom. The theme is bug zone and I need lots of insects. I'm going to make some butterfly nets with embroidery hoops,hula hoops and tulle. I hope you all have a wonderful summer and have plenty of time to rejuvinate, refresh and relax before school starts again in the fall!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Break is Almost Here!

It seems so long since I've posted! Things have been very busy with the spring testing wrap up (and I'm still not finished!), end of the year wrap up, Mother's Day and just life in general! I had two wonderful weekends in a row where I went out of town (Frisco, TX, specifically). The first weekend, a girlfriend and I went down Fri. a.m. early since we were both out of school that day and stayed until Sat. evening. We talked, laughed, shopped and ate. We didn't get very far through the city because we were stalled by a huge shopping center with so many stores! Other than the food and laughs we had two goals: IKEA and The Container Store. We made it to both! The next weekend, Fri. before Mother's Day, my husband surprised me with an over night stay - to the same town, same hotel and same couple of destinations! He loved it as much as I did and I didn't get tired of seeing the same things all over again! I still discovered things I hadn't seen the previous weekend! Students are now officially finished and the teachers checked out today if they were finished. Administration stays until May 31st, however, which means me, too. I've had this nagging back/shoulder/neck/arm pain since sometime in February or early March. I'm finally taking the time off to go to the chiropractor. I just couldn't spare the time with testing going on and then there was so much to do in preparation for the end of the year (8th grade graduation, awards assembly, senior graduation, scholarship checks). So, now the pressure is (almost) over, I can spare a little time. Of course, no one goes to the chiropractor just once. They told me I'd be going two-three times a week for a few weeks, so I am taking off three different 1/2 days (chiro. office is nearly 2 hrs. away). I have gtreatly missed interacting with the younger kids. I would pass them in the hallway the last few weeks of school and they would ask me why I hadn't been going in to read to them. I told them I had to work with the big kids for a while doing a lot of testing stuff (trying to use words they'd understand). One even came to me the very last (two hr. short) day and said, while pointing his finger at me, "You better come read to us today." So cute coming from a first or second grader. Next school year I hope to working with that age group (elementary) more throughout the year and hopefully complete some short lessons in addition to reading to them. The next few days I'll be concentrating on double checking transcripts, our state financial aid data sent in for senior students in that program, teacher certificate numbers added on to testing data, adding the three or four new students to the testing data,uploading it and finally, hopefully, organizing my office for the summer so it is good shape when everything picks back up in August.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Caine's Arcade

This was our last four day week before the end of the year. Thursday, the last day for UPS to pick up our testing data, the driver didn't pick up the box so I had to call and make additional arrangements for it to be picked up on Friday. Thankfully, our supt. secretary was working that day so no one had to make a special trip in to school. I just had to leave a big sign on the door to direct the UPS driver to the other office. Thursday night was our awards banquet for grades 7-12. Students who were on the principal's or superintendent's honor roll during the school year were invited with their parents or others to attend, eat and receive a medal with certificate for all their hard work. I stayed after school to get some much needed work completed inbetween school and the banquet. Since we (and several other schools in the area) were out on Friday, me and a friend decided to take one more little trip to help us get through the last few days of the school year which are always so hectic. (LOL) Together we drove down to Frisco, TX for lots of laughs, good food and shopping (IKEA and The Container Store were the most imporant, but we also hit up lots of nation wide chain stores and the mall). There's nothing like two worn out educators together at the end of the year finding even the simplest, ordinary things so incredibly funny to the point we were laughing almost the whole time. Going on these little trips by ourselves is always so much fun, too, because we stop when we want, as often as we want, where we want and stay as long as we want (as opposed to traveling with our husbands who hurry and get there ten hurry to get back). This week coming will wrap up our spring tests with all the students who missed the regularly scheduled test sessions. Due to baseball games, speech contests, FFA conventions and several other things we had qite a few students not testing. We'll be testing every day this week, two sessions each day, Tuesday through Friday. Monday, I need to get everything ready to mail so I'll be a little ahead of the game. That leaves one more week with students which for me will be full each evening as well. I'll teach a cake class Monday night, help with 8th grade graduation Tues. night, Wed. night is church, Thurs. night is 7-12th regular awards and Fri. night is senior graduation. I'm still gearing my brain up for that week! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

We had a short week this week with the day off as an unused snow day today (Friday). I got nearly all the middle school and elementary spring tests boxed and ready to go. We use Pearson (some of you may be familiar), so the scoreable tests are boxed one way and shipped to one location while the non-scoreable items are boxed and shipped to another. All my non-scoreable boxes are sealed and ready. I need to make copies of my security forms and once placed in the box the scoreable will be ready to seal. I received my copy of the newest "Fill a Bucket" series. The kids really caught on to this as I was reading throughout the elementary. I hope to find some cheap buckets to purchase for each classroom next year so students can fill and review them independently. I ordered a t-shirt to go with it. Tonight is our h.s. prom. I'm missing it due to an injury I received this morning. I kicked at our fat (21 lbs.) cat this morning in an effort to be silly and shoo her on her way. I wasn't trying to kick her or hurt her, (I think she's a precious kitty and call her that all the time) just make her move. Being the graceful person that I am when I did this I wound up kicking the oversized chair. The outside of my foot is swollen and two of my toes horribly bruised. I tried to put on a shoe, but couldn't put much pressure on it and the shoe itself caused great pain. I'd planned on getting a pedi today until this happened. No pedi left me with ugly feet which meant no flip flops, too. I stayed home and missed all the girls in their pretty dresses and boys in their finest. :( Next week we continue with online testing for high school and four middle school studens who missed their scheduled tests. I will be taking down my door (Git R Done) decorations. I discovered students are removing and stealing parts of it so I have to take it down before I lose any more. So far three of the paper boots and the bandanas have been taken. This makes me sad and angry at the same time. I can't believe it will be May 1st on Tuesday! The year is almost over and there is so much packed into the last couple of weeks it's unbelievable. What a great year it's been. I have learned so much and continue to learn (from the many blogs I've discoverd, from friends, other counselors I know, my coworkers and even the students). I can't wait until next year to put some things in place that I've been holding off on and become more involved with the students.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Second Week of Spring Testing

We got through our second week of testing. It was another five day week. All of the elementary grades completed their tests, as well as middle school grades. I was right in the middle of it all! One of our staff had a death in the family. With so many coworkers attending the funeral (as they all should have) we were left short of administrators and proctors. Therefore, we had to move two testing sessions. Since we're so early in the testing schedule we still had time to get those completed. Monday we had another career cafe. Our Pre-K teacher came over as the presenter. She was GREAT! She read a book that she reads to her class at the beginning of each year. Two of the students attending CC had this same teacher when they were in Pre-K. I am always amazed at how wonderful my coworkers are. Not because I go through the year thinking they are less intelligent or that they aren't doing a great job teaching and interacting with their students. But, from time to time I get to see or hear about their other talents, skills, hobbies, life in general, and more often than not I learn so much about them that before I had no idea! Wednesday we had a meeting after school with three teachers, a parent, the principal and a student. It lasted almost two hours. This made for a very long day since two of us at the after school meeting had attended a meeing at 7 a.m. between our district committee leaders and administration. I was just short of an 11 hour day. We normally don't have any spring tests on Fridays. However, this week we tested Friday instead of Thursday. I got so much done in my office on Thursday. It was a much needed office day. Friday, after I arrived I prepared the two computer labs for testing and made a couple of phone calls. I was then administrator for one middle school session which took almost three periods. I gathered up all the left over scratch paper, pencils and got the computers back to testing settings. I grabbed a quick lunch (snack bar) and went right back to the computer labs. I readied them both with scratch paper, pencils, stress balls, testing tickets, administrator books and seal codes. Once finished I called the next group in for testing. This session took over three periods. By the end of the day I was worn out. I didn't get to meet with any groups or classes for story time. While on cafeteria duty Friday morning the elementary kids were asking me over and over why I hadn't been in the last couple of weeks and when I was going to be back. It was very reassuring to know what I'm doing with them, even though its less than ten minutes one time a week, is having an impact! Next week will be the same as we get through more of our high school sessions. The next two weeks are four day weeks. We're all very thankful for that.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The week is FINALLY over. :) After having a couple of short weeks it's always difficult to go back to a regular five day week. This was the first week of our spring testing season. It is always very stressful and very tiring. It gets easier, though. I'm trying to keep myself out of the testing process as much as possible so that I can continue with elementary story time and working with the kindergarten class on impulse control in addition to my administrative duties. However, every test session we've had I've wound up as administrator or proctor for at least part of the time. Today was an exception. I was able to excuse myself from today's session and get some much needed office time. I work on the weekly eligibility list, which takes me no less than 1 1/2 days. I was a little behind on this and today, though it was a little longer than usual, I got it completed! I didn't get to have any story time this week, which I didn't really like having to skip, but being only one person, I have no choice. Thankfully all the elementary teachers are very understanding! Earlier this week I was able to get the 8th grade and 12th grade diplomas and honor chords ordered and just in the knick of time. I had the opportunity earlier in the week, too, to give the 6th grade class the reading portion of their spring test. I thought this was a great opportunity for me to have some experience with the younger group and what their tests are like, as well as what they go through. All tests at the high school level are online, except for English writing, and almost all middle school tests are now online. There is a push in our state to have more and more tests moved to online format. Next week we continue with tests Tues. through Fri. Monday is Career Cafe'. The guest is our Pre-K teacher! She's very nervous about it. I don't know why, she's a veteran teacher and very good at what she does! I know she'll do a great job in Career Cafe, too!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bulletin Boards

It's Wednesday, but tomorrow is my Friday due to it being Good Friday and we scheduled it as a snow day (which we didn't use). I made two bulletin boards over the last couple of weeks in preparation of state testing. One I saw on the School Counselor Blog. I made it for our elementary just going from memory of what I'd seen on the blog. The other I made last year for our hs/ms. I just changed up the colors but, kept the theme and wording the same this year. I had to do a western theme being we're here in the south. The elementary was very excited over their rocket display since I didn't get to do anything for them last year. The western board is actually my outer door since I don't have a b. board. I have an outer and inner office. Both doors I keep open when I'm there. It's a steady stream of students past my door.
I've dealt with lots of drama from students this week. I've had parents call, board members call, parents visit, and students visit, all over the same issue. Hopefully this will be resolved by tomorrow. I've been going through Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control with the kindergarteners and it's been really good. We worked on rewind and should today. They've got the channel changer and pause down so I'm sure the others will fall in to place, too. I worked on entering 8th and 12th grade names into a list this week for graduation and diploma orders. Friday I'm going fabric shopping, to the cake decorating store and out to lunch, all with a friend! It's a short break but still a huge blessing!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another work week comes to an end. I got to read My Mouth is a Volcano to several classes this week and enjoyed it equally every time. I hope to get to use some the activities to go with it soon. I'm partically in charge of eight grade graduation and we had a class meeting to begin the process this week. Two girls came and 'auditioned' in my office to sing. They're doing a duet and they sang beautifully! Two other girls came in to audition a poem they had written about their eighth grade year. It was a great poem (such talent in all those kids). I prepared the first couple of lessons for the kindergarten class. I'll be using Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control. I hope it is as amazing as everyone has said. I am tweaking it just a bit for the younger group. Since I'll be working with the entire grade I won't be seeing the individual student each week that I normally see. We received a new junior girl this week though we are into our last quarter of the year! Thursday I had a check up at the doctor so I was out of pocket. It was a great day because I had a few minutes ahead of the appointment to take care of a few things in one place and after the appointment I had some time to take care of others in another location. I still managed to get home ahead of time and throw some laundry in the washer (yep, ahead of the weekend)! Today I played catch up at work from being gone. A couple of parents had called and left messages for on Wed. which I didn't have time to return. Before I could get to them this afternoon one of them called very upset. I can only get to so much in one day as everyone knows and I really feel I have to work in order of things received unless it's an emergency. She left a message for the principal instead of me this time, letting the front office know I didn't like to return her calls. Since she decided to take it up with the principal I left it alone. I did go ahead and meet with my boys' group today. We didn't get very far into the lesson as I was a bit late. I didn't get to my girls' group at all. Hopefully I can see them on Monday to make two in one week for them. I don't have a lot of plans for the weekend. I'm decorating our classroom at church for a month long promotion we're having - Operation April Advance - military style. Sunday there is an award for the best decorated classroom. Next week we start our spring testing sessions for elementary and middle school. Busy, busy, busy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Break comes to an end

Spring Break is coming to an end and I've come to the conclusion that I NEED ANOTHER WEEK! Why is it that no matter how much we love our job and all we get to do with it and no matter how much time we have off, it's never enough? I've been quite sick during my week off but, I've tried pushed through. I rested on the couch quite a lot in my pj's while sick, I did some shopping with a friend and to see her first (and only) grandbaby another day while giving an individual cake decorating lesson, I completed some spring cleaning (though I need to do more), and prepared some lessons for my new Level Four Cake Decorating class. I still need to do more cleaning, more visiting with friends, more reading (for pleasure and work) and get back to doing some routine things around the house. Oh well, I suppose those things will wait until summer. Right before I left for the break I ordered My Mouth is a Volcano.
I also got the activity book to go with it. It is such a cute book. Funny thing is I started reading it to my friend and kept thinking, "I feel the SAME way." We laughed and laughed! I also ordered Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control. However, it was sent to the wrong address and is being resent. I found one of the Katie Couric books for $2 at an antique/junk flea market/booth type place (score). I also bought a couple books at a half price book store. I found another knock off Jenga game and have it labeled and ready but I didn't get any questions ready for it. I think there are some changes in the future so I'm holding off getting any more books for my office. It's truly an exciting time! I now have a bucket decorated for summer and a summer bucket list inside. I have actually written some things down on it! Tomorrow is another Career Cafe. I'm excited because one of our female weekend news anchors is coming as a guest!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Day of Groups

Today was the last day of the week. Everyone was excited because next week we are out for Spring Break. There were quite a few teachers out throughout our district this week for various reasons. The flu is still going around. We managed to squeeze in three storm drills to wrap up the quarter. Friday is my busiest day of the week for groups and individual sessions. I've been using Classroom Guidance Games with my group of 5th and 6th grade boys.
I have found many activities in this book that really work for this group of boys. Today we worked on emotions. We learned and discussed various emotions, some they didn't even know existed or what they were (distraught). We also worked on various levels of emotions (agitated, mad, angry, enraged) and how some emotions were good at different times and other emotions we needed to try and keep in check or work out with some help. I wrote out a list of emotions as suggested, but color coded them red, blue and green to help the boys visualize them. I used A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Trouble with the 5th and 6th grade girls. Like the previous book, I've been using this with great success with this group of girls.
Today we worked on the respect lesson and not only could I see some wheels turning inside the girls' heads but, they also had some great input. The successes in these two groups were a great way to end the week! I've been doing a lot of research to find lessons on impulse control for a kindergarten class. I'd been reading so much about Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control that I finally decided to order it. Now I can't wait to get it. The teacher for whose class this is will be great to work with and maintain some of the language in it! I also ordered a couple more books.
I've had great success using books to have guidance lessons with students and still not take up much of the teachers' class time. We are on the threshhold of testing season so I know they appreciate this! I read The Paperbag Princess today to third graders just for fun. I joked the the boys that they were going to have to step it up after I read this book because the girls were not going to let anything they say get past them. We had some great laughs with this book! This week, while on spring break, I hope to get many projects accomplished around the house. It desperately needs me (there is a thick layer of dust on some of my curtains!) I also plan on having some fun by running around and shopping with a friend a couple of days, going to play with her first and only grandbaby and conducting a private cake decorating lesson. I hope everyone has a fun and productive week, too!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Homemade Penny Stones

I had such a successful and productive weekend, in spite of my husband and daughter being sick with the flu and very strict instructions to not be around anyone w/out a paper mask! I don't normally share pictures and stories of things unrelated to my counseling journey. Today I am making that exception. I worked several days on a wedding cake and it turned out perfectly!
The flowers and topper/letters were provided by the bride. My husband was such a trooper over the weekend. He went with me to the delivery and guided me in stacking tiers. This weekend we also celebrated our daughter's 22nd birthday. She asked for a cake with the sandal on it. This is pretty much exactly like the cake she chose just in different colors.
I got some questions printed out for a new Jenga (type) game. This gives me two. I need another for younger students with three colors though, so I'll be on the search for one soon. I made my own version of Penny Stones over the weekend, too. I'd seen three versions in a store, Bridal, Religious and Home (?). I didn't like all the questions on the home version and each bag was $16! I went to Dollar Tree and bought a bag of the clear glass rocks. I found a package of clear contact paper in 8 x 11 sheets at Michael's for $2.70. I printed my own questions on a sheet of velum (free, I had it in my scrapbooking supply), cut them out and matched them up with a stone.
Then I set them on the sticky side of the contact paper, traced around the glass rock and then trimmed each one. The whole set cost me less than $4.00. I had several students in my office for first one thing then another, all unrelated to a session, all curious about the stones which I'd placed in a small basket on my desk. I can't wait to use these in a session. I left some stones w/out questions just for some variety! I did make it to both services at church, but other than that, I didn't get far from the house since I was playing nurse to my family.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday, Friday, Friday! I am glad the end of the work week is finally here. I love my job, but I go '90 to nothing' all day, every day. Come Friday, I am wiped out! I went with administration to a meeting on CCSS. When I got back to the office I worked on scholarship information. Our alumni scholarship application was due today. Of course, most everyone waited until today to bring their application by (kids). There was information needed by me for each application, which took a large part of the day. I managed to read to some of the elementary classes. One of the books was Just The Way You Are.
After reading the book I spoke to the kids about how they are all different, with different physical traits and yet, they all called themselves someone's friend and admitted they all had friends. I reminded them of how sad the animals spoke when comparing themselves to another animal, which we also do sometimes. It was a great book! I love that it comes full circle with the lion. Kids repeated the phrase, "I like you just the way you are." all through the book making it a lot of fun! I also read The Giving Tree to a couple of classes this week.
One of the students is on to what I'm doing. She asked me what the lesson was in this book. :) After school I attended a brief meeting for a student before dashing home to work on a wedding cake. My last cake (wedding or otherwise) for a while. Too little time and too many orders lately. I also received a phone call from my husband who has not been at work since Tuesday. He went to the doctor and learned he has the flu, Influenza A to be exact. The doctor told him he was highly contagious and he should wear a mask at home if others are in the house! He came home with three prescriptions one of which was over $100 for a five day supply. Tomorrow I'm delivering the wedding cake, attending another wedding and working on my daughter's birthday cake. I hope to make another Jenga game this week. I printed off tags earlier in the week, I just haven't had time to glue them onto the blocks. One of the kindergarteners I work with asked to play Jenga. I plan on making yet another with just colored dots and written questions as seen on another blog.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kids, kids and kids!

Today, our administrators were all gone to a workshop. That meant I was in charge, PreK-12th. Last week when the HS principal was gone a fight broke out. The elementary principal was on campus so she handled the situation while I was there for support, clarification and leg work as needed. Today, a student got disrespectful to two staff members while they were trying to discuss a previous incident with him. I had to put him in ISS and call home. Another staff member had to take their daughter to the hospital. I helped arrange a substitute bus driver and called maintenance to get them to 'chip in' a little extra work/time for that person who was out of pocket due to that. My office was full of high school girls today. By full I mean 2-3 at a time, most of the day. I didn't get any reading done with the elementary! We discovered two students have been skipping out on one of their classes. I took care of one student and left the other for the principal when he returns tomorrow. He will also have to make a couple of phone calls to homes with students having a problem with attendance. Tomorrow I have a third career cafe scheduled and am supposed to be gone to a meeting for a couple of hours. I tried to do something different today that failed miserably. I got some windshield paint and thought I'd write a different positive quote/message each week on the bathroom mirrors. Today I chose: "Be the person you'd like to meet." I had someone posted as guard while I went in the boys bathroom to make sure no one was in there and no one came in until I finished writing. Some (or one) of the girls scratched up their message and then smeared it horribly all over the mirror. The boys wrote an addition to the message with marker. I had to go in and clean them both up. I decided it wasn't worth trying any more. So much for spreading positivity! I'll have to try another way (perseverence). On a better note, it is our daughter's birthday today. My husband stayed home sick so they were able to spend the day together (she's now 22 years old). Though he was sick I think he enjoyed the time with her. Hopefully I will be able to make up story time tomorrow for those classes I missed today. I also received four boxes of testing materials that needs to be gone through and organized.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fun & Games

This week was crazy busy. Monday I worked on testing data. When I wasn't working on that I was run out of my office some by visitors in our school who needed a private place to meet with a student or two. Tuesday I worked with a little boy on impulse control and decision making using a picture card game that were action/consequence themed. We practiced using complete sentences: If I ....then I will (or no one or my parents or others). I searched the ASCA site and other internet sites for impulse control lessons. I found some great things that I plan to use soon! Wednesday various students and teachers stopped by my office to share problems/situations/concerns. We are giving some practice tests to our 7-12th grade students next week and that needed to be scheduled and worked out. Thursday I worked on our 7-12th eligibility for the week. It was quite long. I had several story time sessions throughout the week with elementary students. This time has worked so well, I'm thinking about cancelling my minute meeting sessions. Students now come to me unafraid to talk and share their problems. Today, I was running a few minutes late. I don't know why, it was just one of those days, though to help prevent that I completed several a.m. tasks last night plus I didn't have breakfast or pack my lunch. I ran out w/out jewelry or a watch on. On the way my principal sent me a text to tell me his daughters were both sick and he needed to stay home with them. Once at school my building secretary told me she had to leave at 9:30 for a doctor's appointment. I took care of some scheduling issues and getting early morning info. to other staff. I completed a quick session with one elementary student using Jenga and then I made my way to the office to take over at 9:30, left at 10:20 to have a session with 5th/6th grade boys, went back to the front office and there I stayed until nearly 3! There was a fight in the middle school and I helped take care of that, chased work down for students who were absent, passed out testing info. to teachers so everyone would be ready for Monday morning. I didn't have time for lunch, something to drink or even a restroom break! At 3 I started calling another office to wrap up something I've had on my desk for two weeks (it's due Thursday). I finally checked my email for the first time. I didn't have any story time today since it was Dr. Seuss's birthday and the librarian wanted to read and work on some fun activities with them. It's a good thing since the day wore on like it did. I plan on making another Jenga game this weekend. One that is for a younger student with star stickers and questions. It's funny, Mondays are usually crazy and things don't always go as planned due to that. Fridays are becoming more and more like Mondays. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I am testing coordinator for our district. Data for testing 9-12 is due tomorrow for spring testing which is something our state does. I finished this afternoon (ahead of time) and I'm so excited I had to post. What is the big deal you ask? There are nearly 300 entries, each entry is a student's first and last name, school #, state testing #, grade, DOB, race, gender, subject tested, format, teacher's name, IEP, and so much more. I started this last week and have worked every non-session moment I had on it. I uploaded it several times and it came back with errors. This is normal, a name was entered as in our system, but it's different in the testing system something like that, usually minor, it just needs to be found and corrected. When there is an error, it just spits back the student number. The error has to be found from that # and corrected (PEARSON if anyone can relate). Anyway, after submitting several times today the upload finally came back 100% successful. Woohoo! I FEEL SO ACCOMPLISHED!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It has been a very productive week. Early in the week I began entering data for Spring testing that is due on the 29th. It's now almost complete, just a little tweaking on Monday and it will be ready for uploading to the testing site. We've had students come in to our school and a few preparing to leave. All of which gathering information either way falls on me.
I was able to read to nearly all my classes this week, hitting one for the first time ever! That makes me feel accomplished. I chose to read two books on bullying this week (different interest levels for different grade levels). I've been getting lots of reports from students on bullying going on in our school lately. So, in addition to all our assemblies and lectures on the subject, I decided to be even more proactive. I read and briefly discussed the subject with the lower grades.
I took the 8th grade class to a Tech Center and Career Expo. I always enjoy that day - getting to interact with the students in a different setting, observing their group dynamics and learning so much from the programs and presenters! So much work goes in to that and it is always well done. This year's expo was a little strange for me, for reasons I won't go in to here. I'm still mentally processing that (which is why I'm up on Friday evening/Saturday morning at 2:30 a.m.) I met with a couple of individual students this week and two different groups of girls to finish off the week. I used a new game in one of the individual sessions, a new 'for girls only' lesson book with one girls' group and prepared Jenga for another individual session next week. There were things left on my desk, undone. Those will have to wait until next week. Several days of coming in early and staying late still didn't get everything accomplished for me this week so I had to tell myself it was all good and call it a week anyway. Next week is another Career Cafe' with a nurse presenter! I can't wait. I'll have to wrap up the testing data and send completed tests off by Wednesday. I have some scholarships to upload onto the counseling corner website for fb as well. I'm off to a Friends of the Library book sale on Saturday (today). I've made my list of books and hope to find some good ones there! I, like the students, am ready for Spring Break. The closer we get the crazier my schedule seems to be. Once we return we will be in full testing mode. I've discovered a site with an activitiy that would benefit our community and help us as a school raise our score with the the state dept. of ed. reporting. However, I don't think I have the time to commit to it, at least not this year. I've also come to realize that our small community might benefit from an evening parenting group. It's something I'd love to develop, but again don't have the time for this year. I'll have to keep these two things 'on the clip board' for next year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness week

We are in the middle of RAK week and its going well, but not exactly how I anticipated it would. I read to the elementary each week, one time, at an appointed time. This is in lieu of lessons in the classroom. The books I read usually have a lesson in them. I really wanted to try to read to the different grades all on Monday and read one of the Fill Your Bucket books (I have three and all but one grade level only has one teacher).
However, I was tied up with admin. meetings almost all morning. Then in the afternoon I had to deal with issues among students in a particular grade. By the time I finished the day was just about over. I did some reading on Tuesday and used buckets along with some colorful pompoms to demonstrate examples of filling and emptying a bucket. I called students up with me to help. They loved it and the teachers commented how cute it all was. I didn't get to do any reading Tues. afternoon as it was Valentine's Day and parties were going on during my scheduled reading time. In one of the offices while dealing with a student the principal mentioned that it was Random Acts of Kindness week and gave the student some suggestions of things to do to prevent the same type of situation occuring again or to make a relationship better. I was thrilled that she mentioned the week's theme (randomly - ha ha) on her job as well. It was great team work I thought (I was in the meeting as well since it was a student that I'd been meeting with on other issues and there was some comfort in having me there). I love my job. I love interacting with the students. There are some students I do not meet with on a regular basis in all grades. There are even some students I've never met with other than minute meetings, but I am always present should someone need me. I have some difficulty in completing my counseling duties along with the administrative duties of my job, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


This week was National School Counseling Week. To show the staff, in a small way, how much I appreciate THEM, I passed out some goodies throughout the week. The first treat was a note to let them know they play a huge part in students' success. This is what the notes said: "Teachers, Administrators, and School Counselors work together for student success! In celebration of National School Counseling Week 2012, I would like to thank you for being one of the “3 Musketeers"!" I chose a cute font and placed the phrase on a larger, more colorful note card with a bite sized 3 Musketeer. Wednesday I gave everyone a certificate of appreciation. I just printed them out on regular computer paper. I hand printed our school name and the person'as name in a school style print. I rolled each certificate up and tied them with cute ribbon. The last and final day, Friday, I gave everyone a bag of orange slices with a label on top.
I included an extra note on the back about how they help make my job better and how much I appreciate them. For the past two weeks I've been dealing almost non-stop with student issues. I've been meeting with individual students almost continually and making lots of phone calls to parents inbetween. For the last two weeks I have also been battling a cold. Just when I thought, after 1 1/2 weeks, I was on the upswing and over it, I was knocked flat on my back again for yet another weekend. I finally succumbed and took a day off to rest and try to recover once and for all. I have not been able to focus on important administrative things (CRTs for 5th and 8th great less than two weeks away) due to all the student issues. I have also been going to many meetings with admin. team to learn as much as possible about common core. I see some late/long days in my near future or a couple of Saturdays! Next week I have an ongoing issue to address in a different way and hopefully finally wrap up with the help of admin. There will be a weekly admin. meeting at some point that I'll be a part of and the regular individual meetings for students. It will also be Random Acts of Kindness week. I have three versions of the book "How Full Is Your Bucket" to accomodate various grade levels. I will be reading these during the elementary story/library time instead of books on a variety of topics. I also have small buckets and colorful pompom puffs to use as a visual. I'm still working on coming up with some RAK I can do for others.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Career Cafe!

We had our first Career Cafe' yesterday. It was such as success!
The day before I went to the students I intended to invite and gave them their invitations. I told them what I needed them to do different than their usual routine (arranging lunch and being dismissed from class) and how things would work in the CC. I took some before pictures. The zebra theme and color choice was due to the cards I ordered to use as invitations. They're sort of a teal color with zebra stripes on the side. Of course I had to follow through with that.
I even made the center piece ("C" "C" for Career Cafe) and some zebra striped cookies as an extra treat for the students. Our first contributor was the head of the county DHS office.
She was amazing! She gave the students such good information, not just about her job and others in the office, but how students could get some volunteer hours through DHS. She advised students to go for jobs they loved, not just a job that would draw a large paycheck.
She said after 30+ years she still got up every morning, got dressed and looked forward to her job which she still loved! I can't wait until the next one! It will be end of the month with a nurse and a different group of students.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Many students with many problems today. Elementary, middle school and high school students with issues and all needing help. Some subjects were so intense. Kids should NOT be dealing with such things. It was a day in which I literally could have used a revolving door on my office. Before I finished with one student and one issue, another student was knocking or the phone was ringing with another. Upon opening my door several times throughout the day I discovered people had left messages or notes for me to address once finished. As I moved down the hall from one end of the building to another or from one building to another, I was stopped regularly with someone needing something to be addressed or to tell me there was another student in need of assistance. It was 3:00 and I realized I hadn't eaten lunch yet. It was a heavy day. I've had many days like today. These days are a double blessing for me. On the one hand I feel grateful for my job, very much needed and appreciated. I want to make a difference in the students' lives and impact them in a positive way. On the other hand I'm always glad to see days like today come to an end so there can be some relief of the burdens of others. Today just happens to be Wednesday as well. I am always uplifted by the end of the day on Wednesdays due to the church service, no matter what kind of day it's been.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Tools

I went to Barnes and Noble this weekend to see about a couple of new books to use in my office. I wound up getting nine! Tear soup is such a great story! I also found one for Pre-K/K about hitting and another about kicking. I found a couple on bullying for different age levels and a couple from the Fill Your Bucket series (lower and upper elementary) to go along with what I already have. I found one on being friends with a child with a disability. I had a Candyland game given to me by a friend. Thankfully I didn't have to buy that, too with all the books I purchased. I plan to start using the Candyland game within the next couple of weeks with a student. I've been doing lots of research the last few days on ASCA website and other places. So much info in my head right now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


The PUT UPs are selling like crazy! I'm so excited about this! It took a few days for students to 'get it', especially in the elementary. However, now they have taken off! We're planning on continuing the sale of them into next week! I convinced the supt. he needed to buy one for each staff member by purchasing one for everyone myself. The elementary principal purchased one for all her staff. I told the supt. we were showing him up and he needed to step up to the plate! It worked! We have sold three times as many as I ever expected. I set up our first Career Cafe today. It will be the first full week in February with a head social worker from the county DHS office. I made several phone calls before I found someone willing to attend. The first dentist office just passed the info. along the office, thinking they were too small to participate. I have a back up dentist office I have yet to contact. I should be getting return calls from the pharmacy tech., mechanic and nurse I contacted. This is a new event in our school and a new concept to many business people. The word will have to get out about it so businesses will know what to expect and be willing to participate! It will be a bit of a slow start, but I'm sure we'll have success!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stand For the Silent

We just had our first Stand For the Silent chapter meeting. The information has been sent to the Smalleys (as required) for their approval.
We elected officers and class representatives along with choosing our mission statement. There were 91 students in attendance! That is 7th - 12th grade but, there are just over 200 students total in those grades combined! AMAZING! I was very excited to see that many showing an interest! In anticipation of approval by the Smalleys, we chose our first fundraiser as the PUT UPS. Word has gotten out about our PUT UPS and we've sold over 100 already. They're not officially going to be sold until next week! A PUT UP is the opposite of a put down. Instead of putting someone down or calling them a name, buy a put up and write something nice about them. The PUT UPS are a postcard, sold for $.50 and will be posted throughout our school. They can be bought by staff or students to be sent to staff or students! This is in conjunction with No Name Calling Week! So proud of the students spreading positivity!

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Professional Day

We had a professional day today. It was a great day to recharge for the remainder of the year. We watched a webinar on homework, a cyberbullying program was held along with a funny and motivational audio broadcast on humor and attitude. We threw in some information on Common Core and TLE evaluation changes to wrap things up. I had the opportunity to discuss EXPLORE and PLAN results with 8th/10th core teachers. Wednesday we are having our initial meeting for the Stand For the Silent chapter of our school. Earlier in the year we had an assembly put on by this organization. It was wonderful! If you haven't heard of them it is run by Kirk Smalley. Look them up! In our meeting we will elect officers, students will sign pledge cards and then we'll assign students to sell the Put Ups as our first fund raiser. We decided to sell the Put Ups for $.50 each. It's a postcard that students will buy and write who they are to/from and a positive message about the person for whom it was bought. They'll then be posted all over the school and/or classrooms. I encouraged teachers to purchase them for each other or even students, too. I sure hope this goes well! I have to start going through the data collected on the students' career interests. I hope to get someone chosen to speak at our first Career Cafe' at the end of the month and the letter to them out this week.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I started my minute meetings this week and they are going so well. A couple of classes had pull out students missing so I still have to catch them. After completing my questions with a second grader I asked is she had anything she'd like to ask me. She thought about it for a minute and then asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?". I wish I had a recorder during minute meetings so I could record the responses. You can't get any cuter than that! I am getting so many wonderful ideas from other counselors' blogs and counseling sites on the web. It will be No Name Calling Week soon and I didn't even know that week existed! I now have an activity planned that will carry us through the entire week. Next month there are two special weeks: National Counseling Week and Random Acts of Kindness week. I'm working on things for both of those weeks and can't wait!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This is a sample of the invitations to Career Cafe'! I got them from Vista Print. Aren't they cool? I can't wait to see them! They're not school colors but, I thought it would be easy to find things to coordinate with them to really dress up the cafe' time such as zebra placemats or a black table cloth and zebra napkins and placemats in the blue color. I ordered these yesterday while home sick.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today the first week of the new semester comes to an end. Reading time for the elementary has gone well so far. Teachers' classtime isn't interrupted since they're in the library already. Their library time now has the potential to be more valuable and I'm getting to interact with students I ordinarily wouldn't even see (bonus to me). I'm not doing this just for the sake of reading to the elementary. The teachers do a great job of this already. I have many books to deal with issues they may be struggling with (death, divorce, bullying, anger, courage, making friends, etc.). When the need arises I'll read one of those lesson themed books. Inbetween those times I'll read something else just for consistency and to help us continue to interact. I have met with some resistance to the new programs. Bummer. I'm forging ahead, though. I've had so much positive feedback from many coworkers I'm not going to let a select few get me down. We can't have change if everyone just keeps doing the same old thing. Yet, most everyone would say we need change. Positivity - my theme through the beginning stages of all this.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012 everyone! Today is a day with so much more potential than usual. I love mornings, usually any morning. I look at it as a new beginning. It's a chance to be better. There is so much opportunity ahead. It's the same today, but on a bigger scale. The first day of 2012, the year has so much potential, so much opportunity ahead! What a gift a new year is! I hope you all enjoy it and hold on to all it entails!