I'm Torn

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Love Who You Are!

 One of my special guests, who comes to my class twice a week to share about alcohol prevention, shared with me after class today about what she had seen on Dancing With the Stars.  I had to go find it right away because it hits right home with Bully Prevention Awareness Month.  We visited about memories we had, both of being on the receiving end of mean behavior and also of making someone be on the receiving end of our mean behavior.  Bullying sticks with us either way.  I remember crying because of kids making fun of my last name, Hellinga.  You can about imagine what kids can say when you have "Hell" in your last name.  It hurt.  I think by the time I got to high school I had figured out some basic survival skills in dealing with mean comments if I heard them because I don't remember too much from those years as far as mean behavior.  

I often wonder about how I was to other people.  I wonder how many people remember me as a good friend or remember me as someone who teased or made fun of others.  I hope it is the good friend.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Noodle Breaks!

We all need to give our brains a break every now and then.  I love using Brain Breaks with classes.  It serves several purposes.  They can be used to energize a group after lunch or calm a class before a test.  They help get the blood flowing, stretch, increase flexibility, improve coordination and focus.   PLUS they are FUN!!  I love getting into the movement with the kids.  I found Go Noodle that has so many great brain breaks to share.   I also found some info Action for Healthy Kids site that tells the benefits of exercise and using brain breaks.  I hope you will check it out and give your noodle a break also.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ready or not! Here it comes!

I remember being a kid and all the excitement I felt about school starting.  We would go shopping for new school supplies and an new outfit for the first day of school.  Mom would always take our picture as my siblings and I stood there together holding our school bags with our "stuff".  We couldn't wait to get to school and meet our new teacher and find out who was in our class and if we were lucky enough to have a friend next to our desk.  
Some things don't change.  As an educator, I still get to experience the thrill of the new school year starting.  I get to take the pictures of my kids on the first day and even be a part of that picture!  (Maybe this year we will take "selfies".)  Even though I have a list of what I love about the school year starting, I do have a little sadness to see summer end.  So.....I'm going to focus on what I LOVE about school starting.  Here is my list:
1.  Seeing the kids return!  (My goodness how they change over summer!)
2.  The shiny floors in the halls at school.
3.  New shoes and a new outfit to start the year!
4. New markers!
5.  Seeing my teacher friends and sharing the excitement of the first day with them.
6.  Helping the kindergarten mom's say good-bye to their kids and reassuring them that they are in good hands at school. 

These are the things I love.  Oh, I could go on and on but I won't because it is time to call it a day and go home and spend the last night of summer with my family.

One of my teacher "peeps" shared this with us today and I thought it was worth sharing on my blog. I love this kid!   Hope you enjoy and hope you all have a great school year!  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Beginnings!

I apologize for taking a bit of a break from my blog.  I guess life took over and I had to take care of other responsibilities and obligations. 

I am so excited to be starting a new adventure in my professional life.  I am now beginning my term on the ISCA (Iowa School Counselor Association) board.  My position this year is president elect-elect, which means my responsibilities include being in charge of the conference breakout sessions at our conference in November.  I have now attended my first board meeting and WOW!!!  Here are a few of my thoughts:
*  I am learning A LOT!!!!
*I am making new friends to network with!
*I am able to serve our counselor association, which is a way to give back for what I have gained by being a member.
* I am going to be a better counselor because of what I am learning and all my kiddos benefit!

I am so glad I have been a member of ISCA.  I have made so many connections with other counselors which has been amazing!  I would encourage ALL school counselors who read this blog to join their state organization.  If you aren't a school counselor, check with your school counselor and see if they are a member.  If not, ask them why they aren't.  Tell them to check out the opportunities of membership and if it is the cost (which it shouldn't be in Iowa because we have a low membership fee), then gift them a membership (which is a great way to thank your school counselor for what they do).
Hope your summer is going as great as mine.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Friendship Selfies!

"Let me take a selfie!"
We talked in small group today about friendship and what is important in friendships.  My 2nd graders came up with so many great things they look for in friends...

We also talked about why those traits are important.
We were busy making our friendship booklets from Savvy School Counselors tpt store (check it out on SALE NOW!).  It was a part of the February Monthly Activities pack.
We decided to take a picture of us together for the page that you draw pictures of your friends.  AND when I mentioned taking a selfie these 2nd graders knew all about that.  It really opened up the conversation about why people plaster pictures of themselves all over and making sure they are appropriate and not hurtful.
Next week we will finish our booklets and finish up our discussion.
Can't wait!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Power of YOU!

Twenty-six 3rd grade girls signed up for a fun evening of finding out about their personal power.  Each girl is different and has their own qualities and traits which make them who they are (just like the fingerprints that are on our t-shirts).  We talked about the power they have and how it is their choice as to how they use their power. It can be in positive ways to make a difference in their lives or to impact others.  We can use our power to be a great friend and to show our character in a positive way.  We also said power can be used in a negative way.  We saw this in the movie we watched at the end of our evening, "Chrissa Stands Strong", an American Girl movie that shows the effects of mean behavior and bullying and how to handle those situations.

We started the evening with an icebreaker finding out who we
 have things in common with.  

Next we did a word find using words that would be great descriptors for us.....we called them our empowerment words.  We had to learn the meanings of some of the words too.

Time to eat!

Mrs. Schuller stopped by to check on her 3rd grade girls!

Subway party subs are soooo good!

Natalie (my daughter) and Miss Julie helped me out!  Couldn't have done it without them!

Time for making our "I am...." canvas.

Using the words from our Empowerment Word Find,
 the girls chose words that describe themselves.

They decorated up the blank canvas to state who they are.

Very creative girls and so many positive comments to each other!

So many cool supplies to choose from.

Giving their "crazy" look after watching "Chrissa Stands Strong".
Then it was time to go home!  What a fun night we had!

Monday, February 3, 2014

National School Counseling Week 2014--Day 1

Today my counseling partner and I decided to show our thanks to our AMAZING staff
by treating them to gourmet cupcakes.  We had fun creating 160 cupcakes! and wrapping them with a label "KEEP CALM.  A School Counselor Can HELP!"  
  When we were busy making the cupcakes we 
were counting up all the ways our staff works together as a TEAM to help our students
succeed.  Each person on the staff impacts students and we work with all of them!
Bus drivers:  They help set the tone for the day when they pick up the kids and greet them.  They also see things that can help us counselors out such as kids who always sit alone or have trouble getting along with others.  
Cooks:  Feeding kids in more than one way---they pick up on kids moods and possible problems when they go through the lunch line and share concerns with us.  They see those kids who may be lacking on food at home because they are very hungry or wanting more food at school, which helps us reach those kids who are at-risk in that way.
Custodians:  One thing we have done is a junior janitor.  It is an honor for our kids to wear the Jr. Janitor vest and help pick up the trash at the end of the day.  The beautiful thing is seeing that relationship with the friendly janitor who is a friend to them and helps build that sense of service and responsibility in the students who earn the chance to help them.
Administrators:  They keep in touch with what is going on with kids and sometimes have to do the hard thing and help shape lives through discipline referrals.  Great life lessons are learned in the principals office.
Associates:  We have many associates who work with kids in small groups of reading, math help, one on one to help kids understand new concepts or with work completion.  They get to spend time seeing how kids interact with each other on the playground.  Many times I have them come to me with concerns that they see happening with kids.
Secretaries:  Our secretaries sometimes see things that we don't see firsthand.  They are the ones to receive calls from families about issues happening at home and pass that info on to the counselor.  They also help get the new families set up and pass the new family info on to counselors so we are ready when they arrive to greet them and give them a tour.
School Nurse:  I have been so blessed to work with 2 really awesome school nurses!  The nurse and counselor work hand in hand.  They keep me informed with repeat visitors of tummy aches that end up being more anxiety related than "sick" related.  We work hand in hand in abuse or neglect situations to help get the appropriate help for the child.  Plus they are really good at checking my blood pressure or letting me know when I need to "take care of myself" tool.
Teachers:  Wow!  They have the job of seeing students and knowing so much about them.  They can read their students when something is not right and let me help them out by working together to meet the chid's needs.  They also open up their classrooms to me so I can share my Counselor in the Classroom lessons with their kids and they take what I teach them and use that information at the appropriate times to apply the important things I teach.

So....it takes a TEAM.
Sure glad I am a part of this TEAM and our priority is to help kids succeed!