Friday, September 26, 2014

What a crazy week!

It has been a crazy weekend! A couple of weeks ago our school decided to start a secret pal program with our entire staff from bus drivers to maintenance to office staff, teachers and administration. I chose to remain neutral since I already have some things planned for the entire staff for most of the year (gifts and encouraging things here and there). It has been fun to read everyone's information sheet, but a lot of work, too, organizing the information and making sure everyone turns in a sheet. Our superintendent wants everyone to participate. I ran around today handing out sheets personally to those who had not yet turned one in (though I put them in their mail box last week). There are some who are grumbling, but most everyone is cooperating. It helps that I tell them it is coming from the top dog not me. I started working a little more diligently on gathering my information for career cafe and lunch bunch.
I still have some students who list an 'I don't know' for a career. I solicited the help of the computer teachers to allow them to complete the interest inventory I suggested and get me the information so I could plug them in. I also gathered the names of all the new students so I could have a couple of lunch bunch groups next week to make sure students are getting plugged in with classes, teachers and students. We don't have many new students this year so I will have less than a handful of sessions for this objective then I'll move on to another type of lunch bunch.
I got a surprise visit from a college representative this week. She brought we some swag to give out as prizes for our college week that is yet to come for her university. We typically have many students attend that particular university and so I was excited when she brought in the prizes and told me she'd be here on Friday of that week to meet with students so they'd get first hand information! Today, in just a little while, I will go with the administration and help get ready for the school carnival, which is tomorrow. I help the administration run the bingo game. The bingo games cost, but have great prizes. Each class Pre-K through 12th is assigned a theme (holidays, golf, pet care, chocolate, movie night, family game night, etc.) Everything is collected into laundry sized baskets along with some gift cards and donations/services the administration has also collected. There are multiple games and styles of bingo. Each winner picks a basket as their prize. The final game is a black out game and I believe the prize is a $500 gift card! It's always a lot of fun and serves as a wonderful fund raiser for our school.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Girls Night Out

We had our first (and hopefully annual) Girls' Night Out last night. It was a huge success. I took my cues from Scrapbook of a School Counselor - She had so many wonderful resources! I tweaked the signs and the power point just a bit to meet our needs. Other than that, what she has posted on her blog as resources made it so easy! After discussing it with the elementary principal, I decided to make it an event just for the sixth grade girls. Every girl but two from that grade attended! One said her mom was going to something else she'd bought tickets for several months ahead of time and her grandmother also had something to go to so she couldn't make it. The other little girl I don't think had a way to get back to our school for the event. I took a picture of the empty tables, but failed to get one with everyone present. Our PTO supplied the pizza and pop. Our elementary had table decorations for us to use. They have a large variety so next year we can decorate differently if we choose. We watched the American Girl movie and it was perfect. The girls loved it. A few had already seen it, but said they didn't care, they loved it anyway. I invited the elementary principal and the classroom teacher as well. We went quickly over the discussion points after the movie. Then everyone went home with a goody bag. I bought the cookies for dessert and the contents of the goody bags. I'm a huge couponer, so I'd been doing this little by little for quite a while. Some girls received a leather wrap bracelet, others elastic head bands, still others some bright nail polish. I spoke to the classroom teacher today who told me there was a lot of positive chatter about the evening. I heard from several moms, too, about how much they enjoyed the evening. Included in the resources on the other blog was an information sheet for the parents to take home. It is full of discussion points for home and ways moms can help their daughters with social situations. Again, I tweaked it just a little to meet our needs, but it was, for the most part, complete upon downloading. I'm relieved the event is over and that it was such a success. Several moms stayed after to help clean up so I was able to get home a little earlier than expected. The next big thing I have on the agenda is junior/senior parent night where we have various college representatives come in to meet with our students along with their parents, on a more individual basis. That event is done annually here and I've done it before, so I'm not nearly as nervous about it though it is a lot of work behind the scenes. After that night will come Red Ribbon Week. I am planning a Boys' Night Out for the sixth grade boys, too, just so they don't feel left out. I've already purchased and previewed the movie. That one will have to wait until second semester.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Elementary Lessons

After struggling for a while about what to do for my elementary lessons, I remembered I had the book, "7 Habits for Happy Kids". I read the first story and discussion questions and skimmed the rest. This weekend I have spent a great deal of time online searching for various grade level activities to go with each habit.
I think I've gotten a pretty good grasp on my 7 Habits journey with the kids now. This is a great book that teaches so many things that seem to have fallen by the wayside. I have the book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens", but have never made it through the whole thing. I love it when I can use a story book to teach a lesson. I think the kids remember more.

I also previewed a movie for our Boys' Night Out. I found it and a free discussion guide to go with it online. It's the movie, "Hoot". There are so many great lessons in this story. The one we're going to focus on is bullying.

My first college week is this coming week. I have one planned every month for the next few months. This month it is the same week as homecoming week. Unfortunately, this couldn't be prevented as the week coincides with the day and time that particular college representative could be at our school. Our first set of activities are as follows: MONDAY, bring in a mascot representation; TUESDAY, do a website scavenger hunt; WEDNESDAY, find the eight staff in our MS/HS that attended the university and THURSDAY, tell how the mascot got his name. There are no activities for Friday because the representative will be at our school.
All students participating in activities MON-THURS get their name in a drawing and while at our school on Friday, the rep. will draw a student name and that person will receive a larger prize from the university. Some weeks we'll have different activities. Some weeks a few of the activities will be the same as listed above. Activities will all be Mon-Thurs and Friday the university rep. will be at our school and conduct a student drawing for a larger prize.

I love my job and impacting so many students in so many ways!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Missing Pictures

Here are some pictures that have been missing on my blog lately.

I used Mrs. Potatohead along with a coloring sheet as my introductory lesson in the lower elementary grades. For the upper grades I just printed off some pictures of me and my family/interests as a way to introduce myself and then spoke to the kids about my job and what they could expect.

First set are pictures from my sidewalk drawings and writings for the first day of school.

These are the treats I prepared for teachers and staff for the first day with students.

This is the movie we're getting ready to show for Girls' Night Out.

Below are a couple of bulletin boards I've made. The Bee board is in the elementary and the SWAG board is in the high school. I missed getting a picture of the board from the beginning of the year in both locations.

This is the location of our new pantry. It is just a closet with shelves. The food shown is our first month's delivery. The boxes contain pasta, cereal, juice, apple sauce, various canned vegetables, soup, raman style noodles, pancake mix, jelly, crackers, peanut butter, tuna and some bath products. It will grow each month as I order new things and replace what has been used. I'm very grateful to the food bank in our state who makes this possible to our school and many others. It is completely free. We just provide the space and gather information to provide the food for our students in need.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Up and Going

I have been burning up my keyboard lately emailing college representatives left and right. I have decided to host a college week each month. A different college will be promoted each time. I've been contacting college representatives to see if they would like to come to our school on the Friday their school is represented. Many contact me and want to meet with seniors and/or juniors anyway. I've also requested, for those possible, to provide us some small prizes (pencils, pens, stickers, etc.) so that I could conduct some activities throughout the week and participants receive a prize along with their name going into a "hat". At the end of the week a name is drawn from the "hat" and the winner is given a larger prize (mug, pennant, t-shirt, just something bigger than the previous prizes). Since it will be on Friday, the representative will potentially be at our school to do the final drawing and award the prize. I hope this is something that grows with each passing month. I've scheduled at least seven college reps already along with their school's week on the calendar!

The second thing I've been woring on is an assembly for our school. Since the cost is significantly more than our school can afford, we're going to coop with two other schools. The assembly group will meet with the individual schools, but all in one day since we are so close together. We are all quite a long distance from their home base. By cooping they are only traveling the distance one time.

In less than two weeks we will conduct our first Girls' Night Out. We chose to only include 6th grade girls and a significant adult female for each girl. I handed out the invitations for students to take home today. While in that class the boys started asking about a boys'night out. It's already in the works. I ordered the movie Hoot and will preview it this weekend to see if it is useable. I think I can adapt the power point from the girls program to fit the boys' movie.

As of today I have been to every class and grade in the elementary. I used the Mrs. Potato Head lesson for grades P-K through 2nd. I found a plain Mrs. Potato Head color sheet to use with it. For grades 3-6 I copied off pictures about my interests and family and integrated my job duties along with what to expect into that.