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.