Thursday, December 20, 2012

I LOVE my job!

There are times that being an elementary school counselor can be very stressful.  There are times that we may feel pulled in many directions.  There are times that we wonder if we are making a difference.  There are times that we question our effectiveness.

Even through the midst of doubt there are numerous times that make everything worth it!  Here is my "Christmas List."  Instead of making a list of things that I want to receive, I have made a list of why I absolutely love and treasure my job!

Top 10 Reasons I LOVE my job:

  1. I work with EVERY student in the school.
  2. I help kiddos calm down when upset.
  3. I am able support teachers during stressful situations.
  4. I get the reward of watching kiddos grow from kindergarten to 5th grade.
  5. I am able to provide a safe place for students, parents and teachers to talk and share.
  6. I work with AMAZING people!
  7. I work in a community that embraces and supports anyone and everyone.
  8. I still get to teach!
  9. I get to advocate for kids.
  10. I have the privilege of organizing our "Adopt a Family" program and see the joy on the faces of the parents who did not know if their kids would get to have Christmas.

This Christmas will be horribly difficult for many due to the recent events in Newtown, CT.  I hope everyone takes a minute to reflect on why they do their jobs, especially those who work with children.  Being a counselor and former teacher has its ups and downs but I cannot imagine a more rewarding career!

Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sexual Abuse Prevention

My school district has been very proactive in the education of our staff and students about the subject of childhood sexual abuse.  There are several lessons taught by the school counselors and community agencies who come into the schools for sexual abuse prevention programs.  There are trainings for counselors and teachers on mandated reporting and warning signs of physical and sexual abuse.  Most recently, the district has asked the counselors to read Off Limits: A Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse.  I am reading this book as both a counselor and a mother.  It is certainly not easy to read this type of book because of the graphic nature of the content.  With that being said, I feel that it is important for EVERY parent, teacher, counselor, school administrator and child care professional to be educated in preventing childhood sexual abuse. 

Below is the book description.  The cost of the book is $20.00 on Amazon but I would be more than happy to lend out my copy if anyone is interested.  

"Sexual abuse of children is a very real danger, from big cities to rural towns. But by following the practical advice in Off Limits, parents and teachers responsible for the safety and welfare of children - from toddlers to teens - can make their children's worlds much safer. The book, written by two leading experts on sexual abuse prevention, gives an understanding of what child sexual abuse is; who sexually abuses children; how to recognize warning signs that someone may be sexually abusing a child; how and where abusers gain sexual access to children; now abusers keep their victims quiet; how to help a child who has been sexually abused; how to help a child who is abusing other children; and how to keep children safe from abuse."

Monday, December 10, 2012

3rd Grade Lesson

Third grade students played character bingo as a way to explore positive character traits.  Below is the newsletter that I sent home.

4th Grade Lesson

Fourth graders explored differences of others.  They partnered with another person in class to discuss what they had in common and what their differences were.  They had a great time getting to know someone better in their class.  Here is the newsletter that was sent home.

5th Grade Lesson

This week my 5th graders learned about positive self-talk.  I often worry about kiddos with all of the advertisements out there.  Kids are bombarded with images of "perfect" people.  Too often, children are faced with growing up feeling that they don't quite measure up.  I hope that this lesson at least gets them to think about the positive qualities that they possess.  I have attached the newsletter that I sent home with each student.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Motor Lab

Thanks to the help of a few district Physical Therapists, our Ready Bodies Learning Minds motor lab is up and going! We are so excited about all of the positive benefits for our students! We are hoping to see an increase in task focus, hand-eye coordination, reading comprehension, motor strength, and overall academic success. Stay tuned for updates as we explore this program!

Friday, December 7, 2012

2nd Grade Lesson

Second graders learned an important skill for making and keeping friendships (Cooperation).  Below is the newsletter that I sent home with each student.

1st Grade Lesson

First graders learned how to identify different types of feelings.  Here is the Newsletter shared with each student.

Kindergarten Lesson

Kindergarten students learned how to be good friends this week.  Below is the newsletter that went home with students.

Monday, November 26, 2012

5th Grade Bullying Lesson

5th grade students listened to the book, My Secret Bully by Judy Ludwig.  Each student wrote a letter to one of the characters in the story to give her advice.  Below is the Newsletter I send home after the lesson.

Monday, November 19, 2012

iPad Apps I love!

I have listed a few of my favorite apps that I use on a regular basis.  This is by no means a complete list, just the ones I felt worth mentioning.  I will continue to add to the list as I explore more.  Please leave a comment with your favorite apps.  I am always looking for things to help me with my work with students.

I made my first iMovie tonight.  I recorded myself reading a book for a 5th grade Bully lesson.  It turned out great!  If you have not checked this app out you really should!  The kiddos really like to use it to make movie trailers, too.  I have seen teachers use it in the classrooms and it is awesome!

TeacherKit is another app that I use all the time.  I manage my groups with this app.  I am able to create a "class" for each group so I can keep track of attendance for the group and I can take notes for each student after group sessions.  You can add a picture of them which the kiddos love!  I highly recommend this one.

The Super Duper Data Tracker is great for anyone who has to take data, which is everyone in education these days.  I the goals for each of my students and I can then keep data during sessions or during a classroom observation.  This app makes it so easy to take and maintain data.  To quote one of my special education teacher friend, Jamie Peasel, "This app has changed my life!"

"You Can Handle Them" is a great one for behavior interventions.  I have one complaint about this app.  I do not like how they name the behaviors (the blabbermouth).  I understand that in their disclaimer they are just naming the behavior, not the student.  I still have a difficult time with the names.  However, they give some really great ideas about a multitude of behavior issues.

The Serenity app is great for calming students (and adults at times).  There are a variety of pictures and sounds that can be used for relaxation.  There is a timer that can be set for those kiddos (or adults) who would love to stay with you all day.

Another app I use for calming is Breath2Relax.  This takes you through a series of breathing exercises teaching you how to take deep cleansing breaths.  This is great for the kiddos who are anxious.  They are able to practice breathing techniques in a calm environment so that when they become anxious, they know how to breath through it.

"Feel Electric" is one of the many apps I use to work on feelings with my students.  I find that it is very engaging and it really helps with recognizing that body language and feelings are connected.  The kiddos really like this one.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spaghetti Dinner Tonight

Please join us for a spaghetti dinner benefitting one of our Daniel Boone families.

Daniel Boone Elementary
201 W Hwy D
Wentzville, MO 63385
(in the heart of New Melle)

6:00 pm in the school cafeteria
Carry out dinners available
$6.00 for each meal 

This is a great opportunity to support a family in our community.  EVERYONE is welcome.  We would love to see new faces there tonight.  I hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thought for the Day

I work with some incredible people!  They are so passionate about the students they work with.  I am amazed every day when I see them working tirelessly to make sure they are doing everything in their power to help their kiddos be successful with both academics and behavior.  I am truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of people!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My office...I love it!

Welcome to my office!  I am so excited about my room this year!  I feel like it has really come together and is working really well for all the kiddos I see.  I really do not like overhead lights so you will notice that I have many lamps throughout my room.  I like the calmer light much better! 
Thanks for taking the tour of my office!

This is the bulletin board outside my office where I display all of my classroom lesson Newsletters.

My Door:
I have a small mailbox with little notes that say, "I came to see you" so students can
leave me a note if I am not there or my door is closed.

Right outside my door I have a magnetic board that shows where I am located (if I remember to change it.)

I have a "Quiet Area" inside my door for kiddos (or adults) to come in and relax. 
I always have quiet music playing for relaxation.

A small table for the little kiddos and baskets for all of my little things from
calming items to crayons and paper.

Rules for solving conflicts with others is posted because I talk with kiddos a lot about this topic.

My room is so big that my classroom lessons are taught in my room AND I have a SMART Board! 
I am one lucky lady!

A table for my bigger student friends to work.

My desk area.

Quote on the front of my desk.
"Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken."
~Oscar Wilde

Group/individual counseling area.

Group Expectations posted right by the group area.

Get your energy out area!  I have a can of "Wiggle Sticks" that kiddos choose from when they need a break.  The activities include: trampoline time, punching bag, weighted ball, theraputty, jumping jacks and a variety of other movement activities to help with reducing extra energy.

Monday, November 12, 2012


The Francis Howell School District has a resource page dedicated to the anti-bullying effort.  To access this page click on the following link

Missouri School Violence Hotline
he Missouri's School Violence Hotline accepts reports of bullying and then that information is forwarded to the District. Students and parents can call 1-866-748-7047 and receive a live voice Monday - Friday 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. with voicemail after hours. Reports can be made 24 hours a day on the following website

This year texts messages reports of bullying will also be accepted by texting "REPORTIT" to 84741.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bully Prevention Week

Next week is Bully Prevention Week.  We are doing some school wide activities to support this effort.
Nov. 12-16
MONDAY: Sweats Day
Preventing bullying is no sweat!

TUESDAY: Sports clothing
Be a good sport – DON’T BE A BULLY!

WEDNESDAY: Wear jeans
Bullying is not in my “genes!” 
THURSDAY: Crazy outfit
It’s ok to be unique!

FRIDAY: Twin Day
Be a friend not a bully!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Blogging Days Begin

I have decided to begin a blog to capture my exciting days as an elementary school counselor and share important information with the families and staff members at my school.  Thank you for coming along on my journey!