Thursday, April 5, 2018

Julia Cook Visits AGAIN!!! I can't get enough of Julia Cook visits.
It all started when I called her up about 8 years ago after getting my first Julia Cook book!
I actually got 3 at an ISCA Conference I attended.
Personal Space Camp, Volcano Mouth and Bubble Wrap Queen.
As I was reading them on the way home from the conference, I discovered that this author who I had never met was from Fremont, Nebraska.  So, I decided to call her up and ask her if she did school visits.  The rest is history!  That became a yearly 'thing' for our school.
And the best part, it became the beginning of a great friendship.

These kids were so glad to see Julia.  They met her when they were in kindergarten!  Now they are 8th graders and they are definitely not too "cool" for Julia!  (They were actually sad they couldn't come to the assembly today!)

I love how she teaches the kids through her books.  Here she is explaining the difference between listening and hearing.  AND why it is important to listen to their teachers and parents!  (I need a pair of those ears!)

I love ALL of Julia's books....but I think the one I was so glad she shared with our kids today was "The Technology Tail...A Digital Footprint Story".  I hear kids talking all the time about sharing on their social media....and it isn't always good.  Julia stressed to the kids that whatever they send through social media leaves a footprint digitally.  It stays connected to them forever!  Here are the points for parents and kids from her book:
1.) Go online with your children.  See what they are using for social media and what websites they are visiting.  
2. Monitor online access by placing the family computer in a central location and limiting the use of smartphones, tablets and laptops to public spaces in the home.  Setting time limit boundaries and content boundaries is essential.
3.) Unplug and recharge ALL digital devises during family routines, such as mealtime and bedtime.  If a child uses his or her smartphone as an alarm, replace it with an inexpensive alarm clock.
4.) Tell and continually remind children never to post personal information on social networking sites.
5.) Explain, remind and reinforce this safety rule:  Never meet face-to-face with someone you only know from the internet.  AND if someone asks to meet you, tell a parent, older sibling, teacher or trusted adult.

We are a Growth Mindset school at S-O so Bubble Gum Brain was a true hit!  This book talks about the difference between a bubble gum brain that stretches or a brick brain that just stays the same!  The kids loved the characters that depicted the difference between someone who has growth mindset and someone who has a fixed mindset.  I enjoyed working with Julia on an activity guide to go along with this book with great activities to help kids learn to use growth mindset thinking!

If you haven't checked out Julia's latest books, be sure to visit her website and see all she has to offer!  I always call her "The Book Machine" because she always has a new one or two ready to come out!  THANKS Julia for teaching us with your books!  
We love you!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Guest Post: Partnering for Leadership!

I love partnering with my community resources!  It not only gives our students a chance to learn from them, but it also helps their programming.
One of our partnerships is with ISU Extension and Outreach.  Our County Youth Coordinator, Ashley Peters, shared a blogpost and it really summed up the great work she does.  I asked her if I could share her post as a guest blogger on my blog.  Of course, in typical Ashley fashion, she obliged with a smile on her face.  So, sit back and read what Ashley has to share!

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, leadership is the ability to influence others in a positive manner to achieve a common goal.  As the Sibley-Ocheyedan fifth graders recently discovered, leadership is also fun!
I have spent the last six weeks delivering the Ricochet curriculum to the 5th graders.  Ricochet is a hands-on, game based curriculum that teaches youth five essential leadership skills: leadership attitude, leadership information, communication, decision-making, and stress management.  While learned alone, these skills are incredibly important, but together, they create a powerful combination, and more importantly, they create a refined leader.
This is the second time I have had the opportunity to interact with the 5th graders, as the ricochet curriculum is a 3 part program.  We have now completed the second portion, and even though I’m sure that they were not fans of losing some of the games, I can assure you – we all had fun (yes, kids too!).  These games were designed to make the youth dig deep to work together and break down social barriers and see that anyone can be a productive leader, as long as they are willing to work with their group in a positive manner to achieve a common goal.  Sometimes their goals were as goofy as typing a message on a giant, homemade keypad in less than 6 seconds, or playing my made up version of silent chicken football, but the one thing that they all had in common was a leadership skill.  Sometimes our conversations were insightful and poignant, talking about the difficult things like divorce, adoption, and familial deaths. During other times, we got silly and decided that we would much rather it snowed scoops of various flavored ice cream, than rain sticky apple juice.  Some days, tempers flared as we discovered that we do not always agree on minor decisions and that even though strong personalities may clash, they could actually complement each other when they decide to work together for the groups’ success, instead of their own.  Either way, there was a lot to be said and learned from these groups during our time together.
While I do not anticipate every single 5th grader that walks through the halls of S-O to become the CEO, CFO or COO of a major corporation, or the president of the United States, I do think that every single one of these students has the potential to do so.  They all proved to me that when challenged (and believe me, they were!), they are capable of working together and providing awesome leadership to each other.  Which, when I think about it, is much better than being the leader of a fortune 500 company.  Who wants to lead the country, when you could be a leader in our great county anyway?

See this crazy girl!  She will do anything for the students!
Thanks Ashley!  You help ROCK our program!

Using Leadership Skills to ESCAPE!!!

We just finished our second round of Ricochet.  This is a Leadership program from our ISU Extension and Outreach.  I love to use our local resources and the students and I have totally enjoyed having Ashley Peters, ISU County Youth Coordinator, come on board and allow me to co-teach this with her.  I like refer to the two of us as "The Daring Duo" because we seem to really mesh when it comes to planning and carrying out this program.  Ricochet has 5 components:
Leadership Definition
Leadership Attitude
Decision Making 
Stress Management

We started our year off with 6 weeks of Ricochet Part 1, doing activities in each of the 5 components.  The activities in Ricochet aren't your typical classroom type of learning.  We enjoyed in the beginning of the year being able to go outside to do many of our activities in the school yard.  Ricochet Part 2 has been equally awesome.

We decided to celebrate the ending of Part 2 with an escape room.  This  would require the students to work in teams and put into practice all the skills they have learned so far.  We have 4 sections of Leadership 101 (5th grade Counselor in the Classroom) so it was important to have 4 different escape rooms because they love to share with each other what they did in class.  Now that would just ruin the fun if they knew the answers!  I found some great escape room activities on Teachers Pay Teachers from Pathway 2 Success.  These fun activities were easy to assemble and get ready for my classes.  You can check them out right here.

Here they are trying to figure out the code so they could ESCAPE!  It was great to hear comments such as:
"This is hard!"
"I think you are on to something!  Keep going!"
"Don't get stressed!"
"We can do this!"
"This is fun!"

I loved seeing how hard they were having to think!  Problem solving as a team really made it interesting also.  They discovered how well they could use their leadership skills they learned during our Ricochet lessons.
The products I used are all in this bundle (click here), but can be purchases separately as well.  

THANKS TO KELLY from Pathway 2 Success! for the great bundle!

So....we had to say "See you later!" to Ashley.  She will be back though in April when we dive into Ricochet 3!  We can't wait!

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!