Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Family First! (pics)

We waited to have family pictures taken until we had a beautiful winter wonderland to be our background.  I thought our photographer (Kelcey Schroder Photography) did an awesome job and we had so much fun in the snow!  Hope you enjoy the few pics I am sharing.  I won't apologize for showing off my great family!

All because two people fell in love....

Idea Fair

In 2nd Grade I use Auto B Good lessons to teach the students about good character.  THEY LOVE THEM!!!!!  One of the lessons we had was about  Truthfulness.  In the teachers guide was an added idea about having an Idea Fair, much the same as the characters in the story had.  So....I challenged our students to come up with an ideas on how to make our school an even better school than it already is.  Each group (Pit Crew) in the classes had to come up with something that they thought would make our school a great school.  I was amazed at the awesome ideas they came up with.  After MUCH hard work, today was the day to show them off to parents and other classes.  People could tour the 4 different classrooms to hear the group present their ideas.  They were given "one voting token" as they entered the classroom to vote for what they thought was the best idea in that room.  I am going to share with you the top votes from each room in this blog, but if you would like to see the others, please check out my webpage.  (After March 1)  The names of the Pitcrews is listed below their pictures with a description of their idea.

The Character Racers

Codie, Gannon, Kaisha and Jadyn decided we needed new equipment on the playground.  They planned to fund the cost by selling lemonade at lemonade stands.  They are in Mrs. Hansen's room.

Lightening Bolt

Dawson, Madison, Lexi and Owen's group came up with ways to recycle and keep our playground clean.  They are in Mrs. TenNapel's classroom.  (Codie and his mom are visiting this group.)

Thunder Strikers

Marissa, Caleb, Morgan and Jonathon's group decided that we needed to focus on kind words and practicing using kind words if we had trouble with that.  (Mrs. Thole from 3rd grade is listening to their group.)

Squeal Mobile

Thomas, Alayna, Estrella, Tony and Olivia's group named their idea "More Stuff for Handy Caps".  They decided that their group member , Olivia, who is in a wheel chair, doesn't have anything that she can do on the playground except to be pushed in her chair down the sidewalk.  They want more some equipment that Olivia can use to give her a chance to play "like the other kids".  It is kind of hard to hear as Thomas is explaining the piece of equipment they want for Olivia, but if you listen and look you can see all the group members and hear how much "commotion" was going on in the room during the sharing time.  This group had the most points of all the groups!

A HUGE shout out to all of the groups for their hard work and great imagination.  Keep using your creativity to make our world a better place.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wild About Good Character

I had to get my door all jazzed up for Character Counts Week which we celebrated last week.  Our theme was "Wild for Good Character" as we went with an animal theme.  I already shared how Julia Cook kicked off our week by sharing her new books with the students.  That was a great way to start our week because our students LOVE Julia!

Something new we did this year was to give each of our teachers a bag of Good Character Tokens which we got from Oriental Trading.  Each teacher got to choose how they used the tokens in their classroom.  Our "specials teachers" (music, PE, and guidance) as well as our associates also got in on the fun as they will be continuing recognizing kids this week with Good Character Mini Buttons.  We will pass those out to kids when we "catch them showing their good character" around school.

Our finale for the week was to be our Character Rally which was postponed for a different time---we had a late start for school because of snow and that kind of throws the whole day off so we will have it a different time.    I will report on that later with some great photos of what takes place.

I love that we do Character Counts Week just as a reminder of how important Character Education is for our kids at school.  As I write this today I should be in Friendswood, TX with Barbara Gruener, from The Corner on Character.  We had plans for me to visit her school in January which were changed because of an accident she was in.  So....we made new plans for me to go on the Feb. 23.  This time we had to change because I was sick---and I doubt anyone on the plane would have given me  a friendly smile with me coughing the way I was.  So we will make new plans again----my mom used to say, "Good things come to those who wait."  Wait I will!  My point is that Barbara has been my biggest source of Character Counts "stuff".  I hope you find the many resources that are out there and grab hold of them and build that Character program in your school, home or community!  Like I say to my students, "Make your character count!"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Julia Cook giveaway!

Our elementary had a great time with author Julia Cook on Tuesday, Feb. 19.  She spent the day with us to kick off our Character Counts Week.  The kids loved hearing her new books!  They all teach us lessons about making good choices and being good people.  I think my favorite was The Tease Monster.  It seems like this is a topic I get to deal with so much at school.   When I asked the kids what their favorite book was that she shared, they had a difficult time narrowing it down to one!!!  They loved ALL of them!  In the morning Julia talked with the large groups of students.  In the afternoon she shared the writing process with them.  It was great to hear how a book is made and that it takes "fixing" things---so kids, don't be sad when a teacher asks you to "re-do" something.

Tuesday night was our Family Reading Night which gave the kids another chance to listen to Julia, but this time they got to bring their parents with them.  Julia shared about trust and how important it is to have other people's trust in you and what happens when you lose that trust.  Being safe from "scoopers" was another topic she talked about which she highlights in her "Scoopers" books.    The topic of cell phones was addressed also.  She talked with the parents and kids about the responsibility of having a cell phone, how to use it and how NOT to use it.  Some really great "stuff" was covered at Reading Night!

In the photo above Julia introduces us to her newest Road Dog...Kirby! Kirby is a Teacup Chihuahua that currently weighs in at 1.3 pounds and is 3 months old.   Notice Jake and Angus on the chair beside her.  Now Kirby can take turns on Julia's travels with Jake and Angus....and everyone will be happy!

Julia and I met about 4 years ago and we have had her back every year to share her new books with the kids.  I am excited that I have been able to be a contributing editor for 3 of her Activity Books, which are filled with great activities that I can use when working with kids.  I will share in a later blog on how we are using Grief is Like a Snowflake as a Caring project for our community.  The best thing is having such a great friend.  She calls to run her new ideas and books by me.  She trusts my opinion because I am working with kids every day and she wants to know what kids are experiencing and going through now.

Julia and I came up with an idea of giving my readers a chance to win a book of hers.  I suggested Tease Monster right away and she suggested that one and a book of their choice!  So.... 2 lucky readers will win one of her awesome books!  Please enter in the following raffle----you can get an entry for each item you click on!  Go to her webpage also and check everything that Julia has "goin' on" by clicking here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Power of Words

We have been busy talking about being Bucket Fillers at school this week.  On Monday we talked in Kindergarten and today in 1st grade.  The students enjoyed the book How Full Is Your Bucket? for Kids by Tom Rath.   We gave examples of ways that buckets are filled and ways they are dipped from.  It was great to hear the students give examples of some of our character traits---kindness, caring, encouraging, courtesy, thoughtfulness, trustworthiness, respectfulness, etc.  We talked about how everyone has an imaginary bucket---even parents, siblings, teachers and PETS!!!!  The kindergarten kiddos faces actually lit up and were full of excitement to share a kind word, compliment or encouragement with another classmate and see how it filled their buckets!  AND they were having fun sharing Bucket Filler cards with each other!

I thought it was interesting that today the weekly message from Michael Josephson was about words as weapons.  I hope you take a moment to read or listen to it here.   I think if we were actually able to see those words as they come out of our mouths and how they hurt others it might make us think about what we say to others.  Watch this video on How Words Can Hurt.

I have a couple of favorite posters I have seen.  One  includes the quote about how strong our tongue is and the other about THINKing before we speak.  I hope you find these helpful and can pass them  on to others.

Monday, February 11, 2013

DOGS on the Morning Show

How cool was it that we had a 2 hours late start and were able to catch the NBC Morning Show.  This morning they did an awesome story on WatchDOGS!   It was great to hear the dads that were interviewed about volunteering in their kids schools.  We are SO fortunate to have started our own WatchDOGS chapter at our school this past fall.  As of this week here are our WatchDOGS stats:
                                                   25 dads (one was a grandpa!)
                            33 days with a WatchDOG volunteer (1 dad has volunteered 6 times!)
                                              that converts to 247.5 volunteer hours!
                                                DOGS work directly with students!
                        IS THIS COOL OR WHAT????
                          Above is the WatchDOGS dad who has volunteered 6 DAYS so far!

If you want to find out more about our WatchDOGS program, contact Mrs. K at the elementary or click here.  Be sure to check out the NBC morning show by clicking here.

Friday, February 8, 2013

National School Counseling Week Link Party

I had so much fun this week getting my students to enjoy NSCW!  This was the first year I really did anything in my building.  I mainly did 3 activities:
                  Activity #1:  I did a Daily Video Message and sent it out to each classroom.  The students and staff had fun watching them.  Each message I used ideas from the ASCA website and also made up some of my own.  I also did a daily challenge for my students.  The video that was the biggest hit was the song I wrote to the tune of YMCA.  Click here to watch it on YouTube.

                  Activity #2:  I held a Penny-a-thon with the money raised going to MADD in honor of my friend Barbara Gruener who was hit by a drunk driver in January.  The kids had a great time bringing in their pennies.  I offered a prize to the class who brought in the most "pennies".  The winning class will receive an EXTRA 30 minute guidance class packed full of FUN!!!

                  Activity #3:  To thank my staff for promoting the videos and the penny-a-thon, I thanked them with a table full of fresh fruit, chocolate dip, crackers and spinach dip.  They loved it and it was a great healthy way to say thanks for all they do to help make my job easier.

This week has been a blast!!!!  I had so many great comments from my students on the videos and requests to make more. goal is to do a weekly video message.  I will post them on my blog to share when they are finished.  I also learned so many great ideas from other school counselors that I can't wait for next year when we celebrate NSCW!

School Counseling Week--Day 5

This has been so much fun making the daily videos for all of you to watch.  I hope you have enjoyed them.  Today I will be gathering up the change that was brought in from our Penny-a-thon.  It will be going to M.A.D.D. in honor of my counselor friend, Barbara Gruener, who was a victim of a drunk driving accident in January.  She has shared so many great ideas with others and our school has definitely benefited from her creativity and willingness to share.  So....this is our way of saying, "Thanks Barbara!"  Her accident gave me the opportunity to talk to my students about choices and how the choices we make affect other people as well as ourselves.  So here is a shout out to Barbara:  "Hang in there!  Your awesome ability to share has a gigantic ripple effect and we have benefitted!"

Hope you all have a great day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

School Counseling Week--Day 4

Well it's Day 4 of School Counseling Week.  I decided to use my "creative" side and write a little song for you.  It is just to let you know how much I love being a school counselor and helping kids.  (My apologies that my back up band was gone for the day :).....hope you enjoy!

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

School Counseling Week--Day 3

I hope you enjoy my "on-location" video message for you today.  I also hope you are bringing in those pennies for the Penny-a-thon Project.    Remember the challenge for the day:  Do a kind deed for someone.  Have a great day!

Quote for the day:

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."    Frank Outlaw

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

School Counseling Week-Day 2

I had so much fun in kindergarten yesterday sharing a couple of fun books chosen by the classes.  We read Finklehopper Frog in 2 of the classes which taught us about being yourself.  We also read Piggy Monday which was a great reminder of how we need to use our manners.  The kids also made some notes to me which told me what they love to do when I come to their room.  They included activities such as the "breathing ball", chime time and when I share books with them.

Please watch today's video message from me.  Have a great day and keep a POSITIVE ATTITUDE!

Monday, February 4, 2013

School Counselors Week--Day 1

I thought I would share a little info. about National School Counselors Week and ways that I can help students and staff at school.  I hope you enjoy my video clips this week.  I am offering a special contest for my Elementary Classes just this week.  It is called Mrs. K's Penny-a-thon!  All classes are encouraged to bring in pennies this week.  The class with the most pennies earns an extra 30 minute classroom guidance lesson.  I will take the pennies to the bank on Friday at noon to see who has the most and declare a winner.  The money raised will be going to a special project that I will tell you about   during Tuesday's morning announcements.

Have a great day!!!!