Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hmmmm...worth a look!

I came across this time analysis program from called TEARS (Time Elapsed Analysis & Reporting System) and thought I would share. I have only watched the tutorial, I have not purchased it or used it yet. If you use Microsoft Outlook for your calendar, this program add-on will export your calendar into a time analysis report. The cost is $3.99 which is nice! If you are required to turn in reports for your time spent, this might be a good program for you.

If you haven't visited, it is a great resource. Click below go to the site.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Updated Electronic Notes

I talked about keeping notes electronically previously in the post Electronic Notes. I am constantly tweaking things as I go to best meet my needs.   I no longer keep 2 different types of notes. Really I just want notes that I keep on my students. Here is the latest version of my electronic notes.  Play around with what works best for you!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Counseling Referrals

I don't know about you, but I am in and out of my counseling room all day every day. There are many times that a student or teacher will come to my room to talk or to request counseling time and, much to their (and my) dismay, I am not there.  Sometimes, I do not make it back to my room for an hour...or several hours. When I am finally able to get back to my room, I may have a handful of notes in my mailbox requesting counseling time. There are many times that I do not make it back to my room until the end of the school day which results in missing a student or two.....or 5. Plus, students are spending a lot of time outside the classroom when they come down to see that I am not there and write me a note. (They really like to take their time getting back to class.)

This is what the outside of my door currently looks like. Cute, but inefficient. My focus this year is to be more efficient and more available to students and staff.  Sooooo.......

I am trying something new (fingers crossed). 

You are probably sick to death of me talking about Google Forms by now but, I LOVE GOOGLE FORMS!!!! So here we go again! 

I created a "Student Referral" form that students fill out IN THE CLASSROOM without taking the time to walk down to my room. I have put the link on the computer desktops and iPads of every classroom in the building. If a student needs to see me, they click on the link, fill out the form, and submit. Within a minute or two, I get a notification that a Student Referral form has been filled out. I can check immediately, wherever I am, to see who is requesting counseling time and how immediate the concern. AWESOME!!!

Below is what the Student Referral form looks like. Extremely short and easy to do. If you notice at the bottom of the form, students can choose, "I need to see you....RIGHT AWAY, Sometime today or Sometime this week." I am able to prioritize the students I need to see first and then work my way through. I am SO excited, I can't even stand it!!! 

So then I got to thinking about the amount of times a teacher has come to talk to me about a student and says, "I have been wanting to talk to you for days/weeks but forget every time I leave my classroom."  Let's face it, if something is not in my calendar WITH a reminder that pops up, it does not exist in my world.  Everyone has so much on their plates that we forget or don't have time to accomplish everything.

In order to help the teachers, I created a "Teacher Referral" form and put it on all of their laptop desktops for quick and easy access.  It works the same way as the student referral.  

While I'm at it, I might as well create a "Parent Referral" form, too!  This one was a little more tricky because I wasn't sure how I was going to share this with parents.

I give a newsletter at every classroom lesson for students to give to their parents, so I created a QR code with the link and put it on the newsletter (I put the student one on there, too). Parents and students can scan the QR code and go directly to fill out the referral form.

To create a QR code, click the picture below.  It is so easy and took me 2 minutes to create.  
(This is just a picture of a QR code, not the actual QR code I made.)

I am really excited to give this new referral system a try. I will keep you updated on how it goes.

What do you think???  I would love to hear your feedback!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Empathy - Part 1

I really love this definition of empathy...
Seeing with the eyes of another,
Listening with the ears of another,
and Feeling with the heart of another.

Empathy is a really hard concept for children to understand. I think this definition explains it well in kid terms. 

I started a 2-part lesson on empathy with 3rd graders this week. In the first lesson we discussed that empathy means to be able to understand another person's feelings and emotions. To help us understand peoples feelings, they give clues and cues of their feelings with their facial expressions and body language. We need to be able to "read" those clues and cues. We also have to appreciate another person's perspective/point of view (I put on giant glasses when talking about perspective). 

To practice reading facial expressions and body language, I used the "Expression Arcade" iPad App (see below). The app has a spinner that shows an action and a feeling that must be acted out. I had students get into pairs. One of the students in the pair had their back to the SMART Board so they couldn't see the spinner (I used an apple TV to mirror my iPad on the SMART Board). The other student was facing the board to see the spinner.  The student facing the board had to demonstrate the action and feeling that was displayed. The other student had to guess how they were feeling based on the clues and cues their partner gave. When they guessed correctly, they shared what clues helped them determine the feeling and then they switched places. 

We discussed why it is important to read other people's feelings and emotions in order to empathize with them. Understanding the other person's point of view/perspective is equally important. Everyone experiences things differently and understanding their perspective will help us to have empathy for them.  

We will continue in Part 2 of this lesson in a couple of weeks when we will practice our empathy skills.  Stay tuned for that post.

I give a newsletter after every lesson so parents know what we discussed and how to reinforce concepts at home. The newsletter for this lesson is shown below. I realize that I haven't been posting about lessons much so I will try to start sharing more of my lessons in the future.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Aha Moment!

As I was reflecting on a Social Thinking Group (stay tuned for more about this)  I met with today, I started thinking about the group dynamics and everyone's participation, or lack thereof. I have one student who rarely talks about his difficulties and I am having a hard time figuring out if he truly doesn't see how his actions affect others or if he is just embarrassed to talk about it in front of the group (who have NO problem talking about themselves). So I got to thinking about how I could get into his brain.

I am having teachers complete rating scales about these students. I talked about this in the post, Counseling Group Effectiveness. My Duh Aha moment came when I thought about the students doing the same rating scale but as a self-assessment.  I changed the wording a bit and voila, a self-assessment! I have a few chrome books and iPads in my room so I am going to have the students do the the quick Google Form before we start the group each session.  I will be able to gauge how they view their own behavior compared to the teacher's point of view.  Plus, I will have some talking points at each of our sessions that are specific to each student. I will be the only person who will see the results so hopefully I can get them to be completely honest.

I have a younger group working on self-control and school skills that I thought I could do the same thing only simplify the language on the form.  I have a picture of both self-assessments below.

If you have any great ways that you are using Google Docs, please share!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Counseling Group Effectiveness

In an effort to become more strategic and effective with my groups, I have created a questionnaire using Google Forms for teachers to complete.  Three times per week, teachers will score their students using a rating scale.  I can now track how my students are doing "generalizing" the skills I have taught them.  Below is a screen shot of one of my questionnaires. When the info is sent to the spreadsheet, I can quickly see the kiddos who are "getting it" and those who need more support. I can also determine which area I need to work on the most. I use the data as criteria for graduation from the group. Plus, having data during meetings is a bonus!

We use Microsoft Outlook so I created an invite, copied and pasted the link inside and set a reminder. A reminder pops up for the teachers at the end of the day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  All they have to do is click the link and complete the 4 question survey.  Easy Peasy!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I have been using yoga a lot this year with a wide variety of students. The benefits are wonderful. Not only are you teaching valuable skills, like calming, but you are making students aware of their bodies. I particularly like using it with my counseling groups that are focused on self-control. It takes self-control when you are doing yoga to do the poses correctly.

I found a site that has a huge array of yoga videos (and other movement videos). The videos can be using to energize the tired kiddos and calm the energized ones.  Click on the link below to check it out!