Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exciting Week!!

This week has been mind-blowing! So here's a recap:

Last Thursday: our family drove to Iowa to celebrate my sister's 40th Birthday :) She had an 80's theme party and it was fantastic! And what 80's party wouldn't be complete without a sweet 'stache...

It was hard shaving my goatee after having it for 11+ years... I (along with my wife) am now eagerly awaiting for it to GROW BACK
We drove back from Iowa on Sunday night and stopped in our hometown and stayed with my parents (our future home if we didn't find something before our move!)

Monday my wife had an interview and we stopped by my new school (my Alma Mater) to get my keys and some papers. Here are some pics of MY NEW OFFICE!

My desk and a bunch of junk lol

There's a window!... that overlooks a hallway... and a door lol

My new office!!
It's quite a bit smaller... but designed for a different reason. I don't have to have a small-group table (we have a conference room). I don't have to have board games (well, they're highschoolers). I don't have to have Mr. Potato Heads (pssh forget that OF COURSE I DO!)

On Tuesday we hung out with my mother-in-law who, in our desperate house search, decided to be old school and bring a newspaper Classifieds... like, who reads THOSE anymore?! Well, turns out our future house was in it! After talking to the woman and having my dad go look at it (we had already left to come back home) we filled out the Application and got approved on Wednesday! So we have a house!!! (yea, we've never actually been inside of it and only seen a half dozen pics... but it's our new home!!)

Tonight I went out and celebrated with my former Elementary Counseling Team. Two of them left after the 2012-2013 year, leaving me and the Social Worker and two new kids on the block. But we've stayed in touch and I couldn't ask for a better Elementary team! 

Look familiar? 
If that pic looks familiar, check out this picture from my post last July titled The Lone Ranger 

Haha not much changed :)
So today is Thursday. Next Tuesday and Wednesday we are moving and the following Monday (the 4th) is my first day!!! The HS Counselors work 5 days before school starts, to give us time for registration, class changes, etc. So I will be blogging pics of my office (once it's done) and to talk about how my first day went :) Plus I'll be changing my blog around a little to fit the new level so Stay tuned!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A BIG change is comin!

So I've heard about certain roads being paved with good intentions... But honestly these last few months have been CRAZY! There's a lot that's gone on that frankly I won't get into- but all I will say is God gives us these opportunities of growth for a reason.

Two years ago we left our hometown of 25+ years for a new town, new church, and new friends 120 miles away (basically from the W coast of Indiana to the E coast of Indiana). I had just graduated Grad School and accepted the Elementary position. It took a lot to leave our family but we knew things were happening for a reason. This has been a fantastic two years with the kiddos and I am so glad to have gotten to influence so many lives. Moving to this town strengthened our marriage, our Faith, and our independence. We had to depend on each other because honestly we didn't have anyone else. It's been hard... But it was SOOO worth it.

But, like with all things, God kept working and yesterday I was offered a position BACK IN OUR HOMETOWN!

And it's a High School counseling position! YIKES! But I am so excited for this opportunity to be closer to family and to rebuild some friendships that got put aside when we moved.

So what does that mean for this Blog? Not a lot. I want to keep blogging. I am still me. I'll still make fun signs and use Google Docs and have crazy-kid stories (only now the crazy kids will be older)! I am excited to see kids reaching their goals with graduation and I know it will be a rewarding transition. I'll probably change some pics and the tag line but I still like the networking that blogging gives! I'm still A Fellow School Counselor!

So here's my question for you... What should I know? What should I read/ learn first? Transitioning to HS is big and I want your input! I plan on blogging throughout the whole transition and I hope you come along on the ride with me :)

So hold on to your butts! Here we go!!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's the little things that count!

So today was my first day back after taking some time off for my daughters birth. And after taking some days to get some rest and relaxation... Rest and relaxation... Wait, what?? Oh yea, I forgot, I have a 5 day old daughter- so rest and relaxation are OUTTA HERE. 

Anyways, while I was off I scrolled a lot through Pinterest and realized there was quite a bit I had pinned over the past two years and had never actually had time to implement. So today with my caffeine-induced energy, I did them! Simple little touches that my students were ALREADY intrigued with. And they cost NOTHING.

The first thing was a quote area. I've seen pictures of offices that have walls covered in quotes and I have some but I wanted them to be visible to ALL the students- not just those in my office. So today I borrowed one of the small dry erase boards I use for my small groups and attached it to the wall next to my door in the hall. Made a sign for above and am going to write an inspirational quote on it everyday.

Already sitting in my office I could hear students talking about the quote. I'm sure it won't effect 100% of my students. But hey, even if we change ONE child we have done our job!

The other thing I had seen on Pinterest was where a teacher had taken black so construction paper and made handprints. They were attached by her door and she would write vocab words on them everyday. Then, when the kids walked out of her room, they would "high-five" the hands and say the word. Well I thought- how powerful is a high-five?? So my small group made handprints and discussed how were all different but all the same. My handprint looked like this:

I hung it by my door walking out of my office.

Seriously, as we all know, there are some kids that just need a little bit of attention. Just some affection or encouragement goes a long way. I want them to walk out thinking that no matter how their day was or what's happening at home or whatever- that they still have the power to be AMAZING!

These little things are so important in the eyes of a kid. A positive word. And fun "high-five". And someone who cares enough to provide them! What have you done to encourage one another??


Friday, April 11, 2014

It happens to the best of us...

We all do it. We all have a situation come up..., a plan, a goal, a strategy- call it whatever you want to. We all, at some point in life, have a commitment we have set... And then we stumble. Maybe we don't "crash and burn" but we forget and then think "why bother".

Maybe it's keeping track of personal counseling student records. And we forget to write down who we saw or what we talked about. And then tomorrow we let it slide because "well, I didn't write down yesterday's". And then how long do we go before we finally say "okay! I have GOT to write these down!"

Or maybe it's organizing that lesson we need to take care of. Who cares if it's a week late... Or two. Or three. No one really notices.

Or what about that drawer (come on - you know you have that drawer). The one you throw papers in because you're going to file them tomorrow. Or the next day.

Well, it happens to all of us. So don't feel down if it happens to you. Because guess what... Last June I heard two AMAZING people speak at ASCA in Philadelphia about blogging. And I thought- I have a voice... I have concerns... I have ideas and Pinterest and cool lessons I do. I'm going to blog. And I'm going to blog every week.

And I did.

And then January happened. 11 snow days. Several delays. Family illnesses. Meetings. Clubs. Programs. More meetings. And I realized I forgot to write a blog post. But I have so many good ideas I want to blog about... I'll get to it next week. Then next week came and went and I thought... Well it's been this long. What does it really matter. Who really notices.

WE NOTICE! We are School Counselors and we notice. We care. We advocate for our jobs. We communicate. We do Professional Development. And we LOVE reading about new ideas and struggles and concerns and new ideas and office pictures and data. DATA!

So as I am sitting in the hospital because my beautiful baby girl was born yesterday... I open up Blogger and see my blog hit and exceeded 10,000 views. Exceeded it. And I was too busy thinking "who really cares".

Well, as I watch my little girl laying in her bassinet, I know who cares.

The people who are School Counselors. The ones who in six years will be counseling this future generation. And I LOVE IT!

So I will be blogging. Because that's who I am. I am A Fellow School Counselor. And I have ideas. And I fail. And I Pinterest. And I have students who I think "what else can I try". And how will I know if not for people like you reading this :)

So I sit here, on my iPad, and wanted to type out this message for all you reading this. For those of you who have messaged me and emailed me and commented on my Instagram pictures I say THANK YOU :) and I look forward to many more blogs to come!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Teaching To Give Back...

A big part of what I believe students need to learn is how to give back... give back to their class, their school, their community, and to individuals they don't even know. I do this by participating in the Polar Plunge.

So what is the Polar Plunge and how does it work?Basically, individuals raise money to help support the Special Olympics of Indiana and then to show our dedication, everyone jumps into the City's pool one-by-one. Sounds nice, right? A dip in the pool, mid August, with some iced tea... Well that would be nice. Except the Polar Plunge is February 15th!

Now, as many of you know, Indiana and parts of the Mid-west are being hit with some cooler weather... i.e. -9 degrees. I thoroughly enjoy the winter MUCH more than the summer (the coolness in the air, the snow, scarves, sweaters, red noses, etc.), but do I love it enough to go swimming in it... YOU BETCHA!

But... I need your help. The main purpose is not to just jump into some water. But to raise money! And you can't jump for free! So here is an opportunity to give back to individuals less fortunate than us. Isn't that what we're always trying to teach our students?? 

If you would like to contribute:

1). I need your prayers! Seriously, the water is COLD!
2). If you would like to give monetarily, you can click here and donate to Special Olympics Indiana via my fundraising page:

I am also proud of my little girl for also wanting to give back to others. Her school is raising money for the American Heart Association and Jump Rope For Heart. 

It makes my heart swell at her caring for others and her drive to give to others. She is 5 and asked me if I would tell everyone on the Internet to donate to her school for "the little boy with a bad heart". If you would like to donate to her page, you can do so here:

Maybe you want to give in memory of a friend, family member, or student who has a Disability or Special Needs. Maybe your grandpa or aunt has heart disease or passed from heart failure. Maybe you and your partner want to forgo the roses and cheesy cards for Valentines Day and donate to a better cause :) Maybe you want to donate anonymously... Either way, would you help out and give back for a better cause? I hope you do!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spoon Full Of Sweetness is... SWEET

Sometimes, as an Elementary School Counselor, I see students and I think "yea, it's a little too late for them". When we have 6th graders shoving and yelling in the halls, it's hard to tell the 1st graders "hey, walk in a straight line quietly". We do what we learn and we learn what we see.
So how amazing is it when you're contacted by an author and asked to review a book targeted at young kids focused on... MANNERS!

Seriously, manners. It's term that we don't focus enough on! 

Bullying= check
Study Skills= check
Manners= ???

So, the fantastic Maria Dismondy has written a new book called "Spoon Full Of Sweetness" and it is truly sweet! 

Now Maria Dismondy will sound familiar because she wrote "Pink Tiara Cookies For Three", "Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun", "The Juice Box Bully" and "The Potato Chip Champ". If you have not read these... Please do yourself a favor and DO IT! :) 

One of my Elementary schools has a Pre-School built in and I was lucky enough to get to read the book to them and do a mini lesson (*spoilers*)... As well as my own 5 year old daughter (who is in Kindergarten) and my 3 year old son (who is also in Pre-School).

Here is what I loved:
- The Size: it's handheld... Not too small for little kids to see but not to big where it makes it awkward to hold. It is sturdy for little hands to hold and won't tear due to the materials.
- The Illustrations: Ronnie Rooney did a great job illustrating the book and really focusing on the manner being discussed. The bright pictures really kept my kiddos' attention and they seemed to understand what was going on in the picture.
- The Additional Resources: Maria's website offers a worksheet and additional Parent/ Teacher resources for her book.

Here's what I don't love:
- That EVERY Counselor doesn't have a copy to read and share!

But just wait... I am excited to announce I am lucky enough to get to GIVE AWAY A FREE COPY!

Here's what I want you to do:
~ Comment on THIS POST about how YOU could use this book in your school, home, or church.
~ Go my Facebook page and LIKE it and/or my Twitter and FOLLOW ME. You have to do one of these two things plus COMMENT to be entered to win the drawing!

Super easy!  I will be checking and announcing the winner on Monday, January 27th 2014.

What are you waiting for- GO AND COMMENT/ LIKE/ FOLLOW!


Friday, January 17, 2014

How my Mother-In-Law helped brand my blog!

About 10 years ago, my then-soon-to-be-mother-in-law bought me a Mr. Potato Head as a joke. And it sat on our baker's rack in our Kitchen for the longest time. 
I really liked it!
So she bought me another... and another... and another. Soon I had over 20 Mr. Potato Heads in varying sizes, holiday garb, boys, girls, etc. And then I became a School Counselor. And I use these things ALL the time! Kindergarten through 6th LOVE to take them apart, put them together, make them Picasso, upside down, all arms, etc. 
And all of a sudden, after reading the SCCHATs, looking at ALL the fantastic School Counselor blogs, and looking at my own blog, I realized I had nothing that made my blog me. Nothing that branded it or made people realize what I am all about. 
So this week I really focused on what I do, what I utilize, and what I believe it.
And it's Mr. Potato Heads!
My entire "Intro Lesson" this year focused around Mr. Potato Heads. They're in both office, on shelves, in baskets, etc. 
I realized they're all different, with different features and different problems and all can go different ways. JUST LIKE OUR STUDENTS! 
If you don't have some, I encourage you to get a couple and try them out. Your kiddos with LOVE them. Even our Youth Pastor at our church has a TON of them in his office.
So, I hope you enjoy the new look :)


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BINDERS! ... but maybe too many?

So, I love binders. When I started in my career at the beginning of last year, there were papers and lessons and worksheets ALL OVER THE PLACE. Plus with having two buildings, I had some stuff at one school and other stuff at the other school. I made it my mission to, by the end of the year, have a binder at each building labeled for each topic (Bullying, Harmony, Excellence, etc.). Whenever I get something new, I make two copies, put one at each building, and I am set.
This bottom shelf has my binders for lessons, character education, etc.
I also have others binders that were maybe a better idea when I first started... I have several binders at each building with tabs for different committee meetings, faculty meetings, Elementary counselor meetings, all-district counselor meetings, etc. And now what I have is a stack of papers at each building because I don't feel like finding the right tab and filing all these things. 

So, in my attempt to become more paper-less, I have found this:

Now, maybe you've heard of Evernote, maybe not. I had but had never looked into what it is. In a nutshell, Evernote is a note-taking program. 
Did I just lose you? Hang in there, seriously this can help you! Here's how...

- Go to Evernote 
- Create a FREE Account (now, you can make a Premium account, but come on, we work in Public Education- who has $$ for that? Go get it free!)
- After that and after you log in, you will find this screen
I just started using it, so yours will look a lot like mine!
Now, if you're anything like me, you will have a LOT of different "hats" you wear... Luckily, Evernote can let you make as many "Notebooks" as you need to file your notes in.
These are just a few of the meetings/ committees I attend
So you have all these Notebooks, now what.
Well, on that main screen, it said "+ New Note"
Click it...

Then you just start typing. I am making the "title" as the date. I don't need to put what the meeting is since I can select what Notebook it goes in. 

So you've taken some notes, GREAT! But then tomorrow, the meeting "recorder" emails or hard-copies the actual minutes from the meeting to you. Now you have to print those off and file them. Or make a special folder in your email which is already bogged down enough...

With Evernote, all you have to do is Attach that file to the note and delete it from your email/ computer. Evernote stores it!

The good thing is also that the note automatically saves so you don't really have to worry about losing it. 

I was lucky enough before Christmas Break to get to order an iPad Air and guess what... THERE'S AN APP! So you don't have to lug your laptop into a meeting. It's just as easy from the app.

So maybe this will work for you and maybe it won't. Maybe you have a better way of keeping notes. One of my New Year SMART Goals (coming in a later post) is to do a better job of keeping track of meeting notes/ data. Either way, do what works for you but please don't be afraid to try something new!

I'd love to hear how YOU do minutes/ meeting notes.