Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September news

August has passed and now, September is about to follow suit. It was a great month. I started my elementary lessons the week after Grandparents' Day, which is the week we celebrate that day with different elementary grades inviting grandparents to eat on different days and everyone doing special projects to decorate our cafeteria. Our school also hosts a book fair during that week. I thought I'd add to it by starting lessons, too! :D The first lesson is always a meet the counselor type lesson. The early elementary grades get to see Mrs. Potatohead as me. The older grades get to see various pictures and play a game. I realized mid-lesson that I really need to update my pictures! This year the game was a jeopardy style game on the smartboard reviewing some of the things I mentioned, plus some extra school related questions. The kids loved it. Last week was also celebrated Constitution Day. The JH/HS history and social studies classes made some great posters to decorate our hallways along with what was done in class.
I love the bill of rights for our school that students came up with. There is a place for everyone to sign, which was cut off in the picture. My next lessons in the elementary I will be using "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' and "The Rainbow Fish". My book club for 7th gr. girls is rocking right along and I'm starting one for boys as soon as the books come in. We have been in school just over a month now and our first College Week of the year is going on this week. Kids have been answering trivia questions daily and getting prizes. At the end of the week the college representative from that school will be here. I already have two Career Cafes scheduled for October and plan on getting more together soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Starting the new year!

It has been a great start to the new year. We have lost some students to other schools, yet gained others that are going to fit in very well. I am looking at getting some new curriculum for my PK-6 lessons. I used my favorite last year with every grade. I'll be starting my book club with seventh grade girls soon and the first lunch bunch is about a week away. I wanted to share pictures of my beginning of the year bulletin boards. the elementary board is from Pinterest. One of our MS students helped me with it and I think it turned out great. The MS/HS board is from a book I have called, "Counseling on the Walls". There are many bulletin board themes in it and varying grade levels. It comes with a CD to print things out. I have only used it a couple of times, but so far I found it to be a great resource! I hope everyone has (or had) a great start to the 2015-16 school year. Just remember we're only a few weeks away from Labor Day (break).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Testing Season That Never Ends

This has been the longest testing season ever! It's the last week of online testing. We already had our regular testing schedule and this week was saved for any students absent on those regular testing days. Well, little did I know that some of those absent during regular days would also be absent during the 'make up' days. Tonight is 8th grade graduation. I managed to finish the morning testing session in time to be a part of the rehearsal. Friday is our senior graduation. I hope to not still be testing by then so that I can go over for rehearsal for that, too. I don't have a huge part of either ceremony. For the 8th grade I figure out the valedictorian and salutatorian, figure out the 7th grade escorts, order diploma covers, get the names for the diplomas and proof the speeches all ahead of time. Then during the ceremony I read the names off so the principal can hand diplomas out, shake their hands and pose for a picture. Senior graduation is very similar. This year I am reading off the scholarship information because the superintendent is not going to be in attendance. The principal asked if I wanted to be on stage or off. I chose off. However, there are steps and I can see myself tripping while going up or down them. I may rethink that. I am 45 minutes away from school, so tonight and senior graduation night will be long nights since I don't go home in between. Next week for awards assembly, it will be the same. Even though we have less than two weeks left, I made bulletin boards for both buildings.
I love how both of them turned out. I am so proud of our elementary staff. They won a $40,000 technology grant that will put six iPads in every classroom and provide a new buzzer system for the academic team. That building received an award in Washington, D.C. last year as a Blue Ribbon Certified School (or something like that). Their accomplishments are nothing of my doing or contribution, I am so proud of them and to say I work here and with them. Soon it will be summer break and flip flop season. I have several books to read this summer, most for school. I won a gift card to Half Price Books recently. I can't wait to use it to find more. I forget how excited I get about books until I go to the bookstore and see them all. I hope everyone has a restful summer break.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Wow, I can't believe where we are in the school year! We are in our 2nd week of end of year achievement testing. Everything I do for the elementary (through 5th grade) is behind the scenes. I order, affix labels, inventory, separate documents and compile boxes with tests, security sheets, class roll, pencils and scratch paper; I take it all back in and send it off when everything is finished. The teachers do all the testing unless there is an absence and the student needs a test made up at a time when others are unavailable. The elementary prepares the schedule. For the middle school and high school it's a little different. I do all the same as above, plus I make the schedule and help administrate everything. EV-ER-Y-THING! From the first week in April through the 2nd week in May, I am in a computer lab, morning to lunch then after lunch to end of the day, administering tests. Ugh. I don't get to go to classrooms for elementary lessons or do much of anything else. We don't test on Mondays. That helps since I still have administrative duties and senior scholarships, transcripts, ACT reports, etc. to do. On one hand, testing seasons makes for some pretty mundane days. After all, the testing script has to be read to every group of testers. I should have it memorized by now. After the script is read and students begin, of course, everyone knows, you watch the kids. While I don't recommend playing on phones or doing some handy work (such as crocheting or knitting), watching a movie on a tablet or anything similar, I do find it ok to read. I get so much reading done. Sometimes I research vacation and have it all planned by the time the season is finished, then we're ready to book about the time school is out. We don't take vacation until late July, but it's all taken care of by the end of May when I do this. Sometimes I just catch up on things I've wanted to read for a while. That is the case this year. I have getting so much Bible time, reading much more than my usual 3-4 chapters at each setting. I've also been reading "How to Hug a Porcupine".
I've been wanting to read this book for a while and wished I'd known about it when my own daughter was that middle school/pre-teen age. I've just gotten in to it and already have found it so good. I highly recommend it. I have other books that I plan on reading later, in the pool, during the summer. I thought about next week how we will be turning the calendar from April to May and how much I enjoy that one calendar turn. However, I realized I enjoy the turn from May to June oh so much more since I officially start summer break at the end of the day on May 29th.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I just came off of spring break. It was wonderful to have the time to relax. If you knew me personally, you'd know I'm all about my grand baby, who is now 22 months old. We see him almost daily and we willingly change plans if something comes up and a sitter backs out of some evening or weekend plans with them. Well, surprise, surprise, I didn't watch him during the day at all throughout the week of spring break. We maintained our evening 1 1/2 hr. time, but I didn't even mention anything about the day time. I knew if I watched him once, it would lead to two or three days. I knew if I watched him at all I wouldn't get things done around the house that I intended. These were things that had been needing done for months, such as clean the craft room, wipe down the walls (cobwebs and dust collect on the texture of the walls, who knew). There were more tasks throughout the week, but I need not to bore you with my activities around the house. The entire first semester we took trips during every holiday or long weekend. This time at home was greatly needed as was the time without my grand baby to get things done. I think things are now in good shape to get by until summer break.

I plan on doing one, maybe two more college week type activities before school is over. I've started a girls' group with three elementary girls. We are using the G.I.R.L.S. book. It is really a great resource, though on the expensive side. Before the week is up, I will have scheduled the online testing sessions for our spring tests. We begin retakes next week. On one hand I dread testing season every year. It takes me away from classroom lessons, adds to my already incredibly busy schedule and fills my office with boxes. I have 30 boxes sitting in my small office right now. Sad thing is, at least 12 of those boxes had 1 book or 5-10 sheets of paper in them and were filled the rest of the way fill bubble wrap. I still don't understand why, being a small school, they couldn't combine some of the contents of the boxes so that there are fewer or just reduce the number of test manuals. I am the only DTC, I think one manual to use and one as a spare are plenty, instead we get 12. However, on the other hand, I look forward to testing, because I get a lot of reading done during that time. Since I'm in the room with students working on computers and it's a small group, after reading directions and between walking around, I read, a lot. It also means once testing is over, school is just about 2 weeks from being over as well. So, I'm looking on the bright side. Testing is going to go smoothly and I can almost see the end of things for the 2014-15 school year!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Threshhold of testing

We are not quite in the testing season, though there are many tasks that are now either complete or at hand for testing. All student data has been uploaded to the testing company. Wouldn't you know it, the day after that took place we received a new student. Those of you in education for any length of time at all know this is no surprise. What else can we do but chuckle. Today I conducted a second test administrator and proctor training. I was also able to finish the testing schedule. We start testing the end of March/first of April with a retest window. Then we move right to our regular testing window for two weeks. Afterward, we have one week to make up any tests for those absent. That will take us all the way to May. Wow, thinking of it that way makes me realize the year is so close to being over! Last week was my week in the elementary. Between that, testing duties, pantry, book club and seeing individual students, it was quite a week! Scholarships are coming in almost one on top of another. This is great, though I'm not sure our students are taking full advantage of the information. We are on our last official college week.
The representative will be here on Friday. Until then students will answer trivia questions for prizes and to be entered into a drawing by the representative. This week's prizes are a little different than what we've been having. Same or different, it's always wonderful when they send us things for our activities. I think I'm going to do some games (bingo and scavenger hunt)with answers that pertain to our staff here on campus. Hopefully I can come up with more games to make it a full week.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

National School Counselor's Week 2015

Happy #NSCW15 everyone! I have been celebrating this week in two ways. Friday I left school after only being there for a few hours. I had to take our 20 mo. old grandbaby to the doctor. Monday morning (this week) we went back to the doctor. My husband was off work so he watched the grandbaby for the after noon while I came to work. Tuesday I stayed home all day. Yesterday I was back and hopefully will be the rest of the week. I scheduled a hot cocoa bar for the staff to celebrate #NSCW15. I sent out invitations and had everything planned - before the whole sick grandbaby issues.
It was originally scheduled for Tuesday. But, I wasn't here. So I had to reschedule it for today. It worked out even better because today is a much colder day and the hot cocoa has just made the day so much better already.
I've seen some posts from counselors around the country where schools and/or students have done things for their counselors. I've also seen many posts from counselors doing things for their staff. Either way, I'm glad to be in education and glad to be a counselor. I still feel like I make a difference in students' lives. I try not to think about the ones that give up, drop out, don't come for visits to my office for social, emotional or academic assistance or even listen to what I tell them when they do decide to check in. I try to focus on the ones in which I make a difference. Though I've not made a different in all, there are many I have. I'm grateful for everyone. I started this blog because of others' blogs I had been reading. Those blogs were such inspiration to me and what I do, I wanted to (hopefully) inspire others. Thank you all for what you do each day, reaching kids and staff in a multitude of ways. I will pat you on the back even if no one else does. I know you're making a difference!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Another College Week

Last week was full of lessons in the elementary. It was so much fun to get back to the 7 Habits lessons and those kiddos. While getting started in one second grade class, I mentioned that it seemed as if I hadn't been there for a long time when really it was just a couple of weeks ago. One little girl looked at me and said, "Yes, and you were wearing that same thing the last time you were here." I was laughing so hard I almost couldn't compose myself again. I guess I need to keep a list of what I wear the days I go to the elementary, or at least that class!

We have had two college weeks back to back. Unfortunately last week's college (university) didn't send any prizes, nor did the representative show up for the presentation that was scheduled last October. That happens occasionally. This week is another college and we have been given some wonderful prizes for the trivia questions each day.
The representative has confirmed her visit at the end of the week so we are good to go. I had students send their answers through Twitter and Instagram. It has worked beautifully. Instead of a stead stream of students in my office giving me answers and preventing me from getting anything accomplished (I love seeing them, though), they use social media. Then I give them their prize as I walk the hall on my way to something else or I stick them in students' lockers. It seems the number of followers for our account grows each day.

Seniors are rolling right along with scholarship applications and getting transcripts forwarded (something I do for them). Sophomores have been getting applications in to attend the technology center next year. Before I know it testing season will be here. I've already attended one test training and there are more to come. After testing season the school year will basically be finished. My how time flies!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's just the middle of the first week after Christmas break and I am exhausted! Monday, it was a steady stream of students and teachers in my office needing schedule changes and other things. I walked in to my office and didn't even get everything put down before it started. At about 1:00 I realized my lunch of cottage cheese was still in my bag, hanging on my coat rack. I managed to squeeze in making a cup of coffee around 10. It sat on the maker until about 11:30. I put it in the microwave to warm and had to run it through three cycles because every time I started it, someone came in. When it was finished it just sat inside there until eventually I ran it again. So around 1:30 I was drinking my first cup of coffee of the day. The good part of all this is that the day whizzed by. Tuesday was almost as bad, but since then it has slowed down significantly. Today, a representative from our career tech school came out to speak to the 8th and 10th graders. I've had lots of transcript requests this week by seniors.

While on a short trip over Thanksgiving I saw several framed chalkboards with the Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook icon painted on them (or all three). They were various sizes. The cheapest one was $25. I thought what a neat idea, to have a school account and post different hashtags for the student to tweet or follow. I know many schools have social media sites. I wasn't going to pay $25+ for a board so I found one for $5 and made my own chalkboard paint. I had lots of acrylic paint around. At first I was just going with the twitter icon, thinking students could hashtag and we wouldn't have to set an account up.
The icon was easy to create and I didn't want to paint the Instagram icon. The more I thought about it the more I realized a higher number of students have Instagram accounts than any other site. I gave in and painted the icon and set us up a school account. So far it is a huge success and I expect that over time more and more students will begin to follow it.

I still have to set up a 7th grade girls' group. We're going to start reading the book, "Wonder". I loved reading this book a couple of summers ago and I really hope the students get something out of it. We will keep it small, maybe four students. I also start back my classroom lessons next week and sessions with an individual student on Friday. The start of the second semester means we are that much closer to summer and warmer weather!