Friday, February 24, 2017

Squirmy

My counseling intern and I were brainstorming how to address some "squirmy" Kindergartner's who have a very difficult time staying in one spot and focused. We tried a lesson on self-regulation but that seemed a bit over their heads, and frankly not what they need. They need to practice being mindful - present, focused and relaxed. 

We have decided to introduce the concept of mindfulness by reading Squirmy Learns to be Mindful by Joree Rosenblatt, M.A. This adorable book helps begin teaching what mindfulness is and how we practice this skill. 

"Bella couldn't wait to become a butterfly! She soon earned the nickname "Squirmy" from her mother because of her squirmy, impatient energy. Even when she was a tiny egg, Squirmy was bored and restless. Her mother kept reminder her that constantly wishing for what's next makes it difficult to enjoy what is happening right now! The she learned little tricks that would help her become more calm, focused and grateful. Soon, Squirmy relied that being mindful was easy to do , but tough to remember to do. So she kept practicing. Later, Squirmy began a very beautiful transformation and being mindful helped her make it through with a big smile."


Each week after reading about Squirmy, we will be practicing being mindful. We will be using mindfulness activities from Cosmic Kids Zen Den on YouTube to help practice. I like the videos on Zen Den because they are shorter in length making it attainable for Kindergartner's to complete successfully. My hope is that over time, our little buddies are able to focus their bodies and minds on learning in the classroom.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interactive Resources

I am always looking for new ideas for classroom counseling lessons, groups, and individual counseling sessions. I get into the rut of doing the same lessons and using the same resources all the time so I was searching for fresh lessons/ideas. I came across an interactive SMART Board series called "SMART GUIDANCE." Even though I loathe the term "guidance," the series is great. The series is by Youthlight which also has a TON of other amazing counseling resources (I have purchased from this site a lot throughout the years).

I have had the "SMART GUIDANCE" Volume 1 in my collection for a couple of years and absolutely love it. My students are engaged because the lessons are cute and interactive. I have this one on CD but they now offer a downloadable versions which is how I ordered the others. Each program in the series is $49.95 which isn't bad for 10 or more lessons in each series. Youthlight also has each lesson available for individual download for those who only want a lesson or two in a series.


I downloaded the following programs which makes it super easy to use them right away. They send you an email with an access code to activate the download. One of my access codes was missing from the email but Youthlight rectified that situation after a quick email.  

            


I have yet to download the programs below but will be doing so in the future. 

       

So, for those of you who are new to the biz or you vets out there looking to beef up your resource library, I highly recommend these interactive lessons. Let me know what you think!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Body Regulation

There is an increased need to teach children how to regulate their bodies. Social/emotional issues are on the rise and mental health professionals are doing what we can to support students who are struggling, not only in the school system, but in their daily lives. 

One way to help students learn self-regulation is through yoga, mindfulness and guided relaxation. These exercises can help students with many social/emotional struggles, such as:
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Focus/concentration
  • Confidence
I have found that many children struggle with just sitting still or laying and relaxing. Many children are going a mile a minute and have not learned the skills of slowing down and just being with themselves. Let's be honest, many adults struggle with the same things. 

I have found some YouTube channels that focus on yoga, mindfulness and guided relaxation FOR KIDS!!!!! Jaime at Cosmic Kids has done an amazing job of putting together some exercises that capture the attention of children while teaching vital self-regulatory strategies. 

You will find links below to Cosmic Kids Yoga, Cosmic Kids Zen Den (mindfulness) and Cosmic Kids Peace Out (guided relaxation).  I highly recommend these activities for any children you work with. I love them so much that I use them at home with my own children! 

Check them out!

Yoga

Mindfulness

Guided Relaxation



Monday, October 17, 2016

T.S.C. - Tech Savvy Counselors

A wonderful colleague (Shannon Adam) and I presented at our district's annual Tech Fest last month. We did a presentation specifically targeting the counselors in our district. Our focus was all of the ways that Google Drive can be used for counseling purposes.

We explored each of the functions in Google Drive, from Docs to Drawings. There are step-by-step instructions on how to use each function for the beginners out there. We also listed several ways that we use each in our counseling programs.

Below is the presentation if you are interested. Oh, and at the end there is a little about the T.E.A.R.S. Time Elapsed Analysis Reporting System that I have blogged about in the past.

Huge Thank You to Shannon for presenting with me!!!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Honored

I was recently honored to be a guest blogger on "Online Counseling Programs." I was asked to write about using technology as an elementary counselor. I have blogged about most of the same things on my blog, but if you are interested in seeing my guest blog you can visit, Driving Elementary Counseling with Google Drive.


Interested in a career in counseling? Online Counseling Programs provides information for all states licensing requirements, as well as, obtaining a degree in counseling. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We make a difference!!

I came across this quote the other day and it really made me think about how important our jobs, as counselors, are when working with young children. We may not see the difference we make or the impact we may have on a child's life, but what we do IS important!!! This quote hits the nail on the head. It is essential that we work with children when they are young to help them grow into emotionally healthy adults. 

Keep this thought in your mind on those crazy days when you think you are not making a difference or don't feel that you are doing enough. I think I will post this near my desk so I can be reminded daily that what I do matters and makes a difference!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Previous Post Revisited - T.E.A.R.S.

I previously wrote a blog about the counseling program called T.E.A.R.S. (Time Elapsed Analysis and Reporting System) that exports your Microsoft Outlook calendar into a spreadsheet. I keep track of everything from my calendar to my notes in my Outlook calendar. I didn't use this Microsoft Excel Add-on until halfway through the school year and I am kicking myself for not using it sooner. I HIGHLY recommend using this add-on and starting from the beginning of the school year. Especially if you use Microsoft Outlook for your calendar.

I realized that I was doing double the work and taking a TON of extra time (at home in the evenings) inputting all of my information from my calendar into a Google form. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY GOOGLE FORMS!!! However, for this purpose, I was spending hours entering everything in when I already had it all in my calendar. My last blog post outlines how I use my Outlook calendar to help organize my counseling program. 

I have to keep track of every minute since I am working on my LPC hours and this is by far the best and easiest way to do it! I am able to manipulate the information in the excel spreadsheet just as in a google spreadsheet. The difference being only inputting information in one place and only one time.

I also have to report about my counseling program at the end of the year such as; individual sessions conducted, amount of groups, how many students participated in groups, number of counseling lessons, etc. This was so easy to pull up and have my numbers within minutes.

If you have to do any reporting or time on task analysis AND you use Microsoft Outlook, GET THIS ADD-ON. It is only $3.95 and well worth more than that.

I am putting links below for you to get more information and to watch a tutorial.