Sunday, July 9, 2017

ASCA 2017: DAY 1!

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) holds their annual conference each summer.  I have the privilege of attending the conference this summer as part of my duties as the ISCA (Iowa School Counselor Association) Immediate Past President.  I want to share what has been going on since I have arrived.
July 6-7 was LDI (Leadership Development Institute) which is for the state association leaders.  This is a time for learning how we can best lead our states' association.  We also get to help set policy for ASCA which is really exciting to be a part of.  The part I love the most is networking with counselors from other parts of our country.  It is interesting to find out what issues and challenges they are experiencing.  It also gives our own Iowa leaders time to collaborate on what we need to bring back for our ISCA board and members.  This was my final year for LDI as I roll into the past president position and I have to say I have learned A LOT!!!!

Now....on to conference!
Day 1:
It was announced at our opening session that this is the largest conference ever with over 3200 counselors representing all 50 states, DC and about 20 different countries!
Here I am getting Capt. Kelly's autograph in the books I purchased.
Our keynote speaker on our first day was Capt. Mark Kelly who has completed 4 missions as a NASA astronaut to the space station.  He shared an incredible story about his life and how he pursued his career in space exploration.  He also shared the story of his wife, Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, being a victim of a shooting which changed her life and how not giving up and being committed to work hard has been a life changer for them.  Incredible story to hear!  I purchased both of their books---have read Capt. Kelly's which is a childrens book and can't wait to read Gabby Giffords.  (Stay tuned for book reviews on both of these!)

The first session I attended was called "Me, My Selfie and I".  If you aren't sure what a selfie is, then you have either been living under a rock or haven't been reading the new entries in the dictionary the last few years!  Amanda Winburn and Amy King both of the University of Mississippi, discussed various aspects of selfies.  I'm sure I have questioned why people take so many selfies many times.  AND, yes, I have taken a few of my own.  They explained how using selfies with students can serve as a tool to help increase facial emotion recognition.  Very important skill for our kiddos to learn as they relate to others.  I talk about this to kids in school when they tell me about situations of misunderstandings with another student.  Selfies could also use a selfie to identify how they express emotion with their facial expressions.  What kinds of messages do we send to others with our faces? 
They also pointed out potential  benefits of using selfies:
1) Increase self-awareness
2) Increase in recognizing emotions
3) Help students portray a version of themselves
4) Can help a student better understand they are part of something when done in a group activity
5) Better understand motivations behind images
6) Boost self-esteem
 Great session and can't wait to use some of the techniques presented!

The next session I went to was "School Counseling Group Interventions for Students with Anxiety and/or Depression", presented by Carey Dimmitt from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
One of the interventions included using a resource called "Coping Cat".  I was especially interested in part of this resource which identified an acronym FEAR
Feeling frightened---recognizing physiological signs of anxiety
Expecting bad things to happen--identifying anxious thoughts or cognitions
Attitudes and Actions that can help--coping strategies
Results and Rewards--contingency management
Also used was homework which includes STIC (Show That I Can) tasks.
This method showed results of a decrease in anxiety symptoms for up to 7 years in a significant number of the subjects who took part in the research.  I'm looking forward to checking out this resource.  I really found this session helpful because I am seeing a rise in the number of students we see with anxiety issues.  No wonder this session was filled and had standing room only when we got started!

The only thing left for this day was a dropping my entry in for the rebuilt car that Wyotech is GIVING AWAY this year to one lucky counselor!  Okay, so last year I decided to play a trick on some of my Iowa colleagues and told them I had won the car!  The Wyotech guys at their booth went right along with my little prank and a bunch of my friends fell for it!  Loved it!!!   The funny thing is the group running the Wyotech booth this year remembered me!  They do agree that if (I mean, when) I win the car this year, that it will make a great story for ASCA.  Below you will see me with the Wyotech car!  (Which I hope will be in my name on the last day of the conference!)
Here I am getting a feel for the Mazda!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shirt of the Day!

I love seeing positive messages on t-shirts!  It makes me feel so good that kids can be walking billboards to share good messages.  I decided to start Shirt of the Day! at school.  This was my first choice.  AND it is this little gal to a tee!  She always has a smile to share and spreads happiness.
So, check out what you have on your shirt.  Are you being a walking billboard for positive messages?

Monday, February 6, 2017

National School Counseling Week 2017!

I love National School Counseling Week because it is the week I really focus (more than normal) on all the ways school counseling can help students.  I start my year off with lessons telling students what my role is and how I can help them.  This week is that "reminder" for them as well as our staff and parents.  So for this week my "buzz word" is ADVOCATE!

I am sharing this video from my "archives"!  Made this one a few years back and since I couldn't come up with a new parody for this year, get this one!

It is easy to focus on the STUDENTS because they are our primary goal!  We also see them every day so it would be pretty hard to forget what we need to do for our kiddos!

Supporting staff is what I love to do most for them.  It comes in many forms:  helping a student, special request on a topic they need addressed in the classroom, problem solving on how to help a student, just being a part of their school team!

I try my best to keep my administration informed of what I am doing in the counseling program.  There is always that list of wants we have for our program and it is hard to justify it if they don't know what we are currently doing.  One thing I have done this year is to start using SCUTA, which has been a great way to show how my time is being used.

It just so happens that TpT is throwing a sale in conjunction with my sale---which means you can save 28% off your purchases on February 7th-8th!  Stop by Mrs. K's Good Stuff and see what you can use with your students and save some $$$ at the same time.  
Be sure to use the code: LOVETpT to capture your savings!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Little Linebacker Virtual Book Tour

I am so excited to be a part of The Little Linebacker Official Virtual Book Tour!  What an awesome book to share with my students!  I first introduced the word "determination".  We talked about what that word meant and decided it went well with another word that we learned this year, "perseverance".  For first grade students, the theme of WORKING HARD and NEVER GIVING UP really seemed to resonate.  What were the things they have had to work hard to achieve:
riding a bicycle
learning math concepts
riding a skateboard
These were just a few of my fave's---especially "listening"!

My next question was "Who writes books?"  Of course they named some of their favorite authors.  I asked them if football players could write books.  Some said YES and others said they didn't think so.  I told them I was going to read them a true story about a boy who grew up to be a professional football player and that the book was written by him and Maria Dismondy (one of our favorite authors)!  They thought that was pretty cool.  They loved the part where it would say "A few years later...".  We would make predictions about what was going to happen.  What happened when the coach said they only practiced once a week?  We made predictions about how Stephen could still get some practice time in and they came up with great ideas.  We made predictions about what he could do when he scored poorly on a test.  We talked about how Stephen was a great example of using growth mindset and having grit!

Great story to read and talk about with your kids.
Watch the book trailer here:

If you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment how you would use the book with your own kids or students. 
Thanks for the great story Stephen and Maria!

Friday, April 15, 2016

1, 2,3 Switch!

I love working on team building with kids.  There are so many different activities to do with them that really get them engaged and having fun.  The best part is that when they are having fun, they don't even realize that they are learning how to be a team player!
Last week I introduced our kids to the TooBeez Baton Pass.  I love using our TooBeez which you must check out if you don't know what I am talking about.  We have built with them and now we needed to do something else.  So....after doing some research, I found the Baton Pass activity.  
We first talked about leadership and what qualities a leader has.  After this I divided the kids up and gave half of them red tubes and half blue tubes and we formed a circle with the tubes alternating in colors.  Next, I told the kids that the tubes needed to be passed around the circle but they could only touch the tube with their right hand, so the lefty got put behind their back or in a pocket.  At first it was total failure.  Everyone was dropping the batons and talking at the same time.  CHAOS had erupted.  So, I decided to stop and ask them 2 questions:
What is working?
What is not working?
This seemed to help.  They came up with a plan and things slowly got better.  Unfortunately our 30 minutes came to an end rather quickly, which meant putting off our hope for success to next week.
Well, today was next week and we had some success.  Each of the 3 sections were able to get the batons passed 4 consecutive moves without dropping.  AWESOME SAUCE!!!!

The best part was some of the comments I heard:
We can do this!  We have a growth mindset!!!
Let's work as hard as the Beatles!
( I got a real chuckle out of this one!)
Focus People!

I love to have kids up and moving when we are doing activities.  Can't wait until we try out next TooBeez activity.  My suggestion is if you don't have the funds for TooBeez to get some PVC pipe and make your own batons.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

All Good Things!

Today was the LAST day for the knee scooter!  I was so excited!  I started the day at the elementary visiting our 3rd grade classes with advocates from the Family Crisis Center.  They spoke about teasing and bullying and did a great job connecting with the kiddos.  I actually had to "scoot" out a few minutes early to get to my 7-week appointment for my foot.  I have been sporting around on this knee scooter for 3 weeks which has gotten me where I am going much quicker than crutches.  The kids have loved it!  I have had many offers to take it for a ride.  We thought about turning it into a fundraiser for $1 a ride but opted out...always liability!
I loved one little gal from pre-school who seemed very intrigued with my scooter.  She would smile and just about drool looking at it.  She would tell me every day (and I mean that!) how much she wanted a scooter like mine.  My sister is actually her teacher and I suggested we let her go for a ride.  I was told NO, but being the mischievous person I am at times, I decided I couldn't stand it any longer.  I offered her the opportunity to ride it today.  WOW!  You should have seen those eyes light  up! When I told her she could take it for a ride.  It was PRICELESS!!!  The associates from her room were in on it with me and got her started.  I hope you enjoy the video that I had to share:

I really think if I hadn't rented it, I would have given it to her!  I'm going to miss her telling me, "I think tomorrow I will get one!"

I must be easily entertained or excited.  I have to admit I have experienced more feelings than are talked about it the recent movie "Inside Out" through this whole 'foot ordeal'.  I really had to practice what I preach!  Growth Mindset was not always easy.  I have felt:
 pain--literally, but it wasn't horrible!
boredom--sitting around in a recliner with your foot up isn't all it is cracked up to be 
frustration--losing some independence
 hope--when I could see improvement 
gratitude--for all the people who prayed for me and took care of me
anxiety--about stepping on my foot after 3 months of not being able to
excitement---TOTALLY felt this today!
I don't think the woman in the waiting room at the doctor had a hard time telling I was excited today when I WALKED OUT of the exam room WITHOUT CRUTCHES OR A SCOOTER!
As I sit here now I also think about things I was able to accomplish that I had on my "to do" list --- things I could do from a sitting position.  Like reading books, staying on top of my Bible study, sending cards or notes to people, Pinterest, and getting my TpT store open.
So, it wasn't so bad after all.  I still need to wear the fashionable boot on my foot but I get to wean myself off of that also.
Life is good---don't ever doubt it.
My mindset has improved, no longer fixed!
I guess the saying is really true,
And guess what?  I can actually see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Kind Encouragement: Priceless!

Today ended my first week back at school as my foot recovery continues.  I did half days and reconnected with my elementary kiddos!  It was so good to see every single one of them during the week as I visited each classroom for a counseling lesson.  I also had some referrals and started 3 small groups and signed up 3 kids for individual counseling.  It is great to be needed!  AND the kids have been so concerned about how I am doing:  "How is your foot Mrs. K?", "Do you need help Mrs. K?" and on  and on.  One of my 3rd grade girls has been filling my water bottle each morning.....she reports to me like it is her job!  How kind is that!?  

And MANY cards from the kids.  What a thoughtful gesture on their part....taking the time to create a card to give me.  
Today one second grade girl brought in the card she was working on Wednesday when I went to her classroom.  She told me she wasn't finished yet when I wrapped up the lesson and was ready to leave and I told her she could just bring it down when she was finished.  So, today, she came in and dropped it off as I was visiting with someone in my office, placed it on my table quietly without interrupting and then turned around and walked out.  When I finished my conversation, I started putting away the items on my table that I had used with a small group.  I noticed the card with the colorful carefully designed front.  I picked it up quickly to read it.  Wow!  My heart was touched!  I just have to share this "keeper" as I call them...the ones that will forever be in my "stash" of cards, notes and other encouragements I have received.

This is why I do what I's all about the kids!  Love them to pieces!