Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 School of Character

Wow!  The Sibley-Ocheyedan Elementary was awarded the State School of Character by Character Counts of Iowa.  This was a pretty big project and people probably want to know how this all came about.  I received a letter from CC of Iowa with information on nominating someone for a Character Award.  I thought first of our elementary school.  I am so fortunate to work in a school where character education is important.  Our teachers are so creative in how they include character education in their lessons and in their classrooms.  The kids all know the 6 Pillars (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship) but they also learn other character words too, such as kindness, integrity, honesty.
Click HERE to see our school's video that was shown at the Awards Banquet on Aug. 2.
And be sure to spread a little good character around!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Liebster Award!

This is so cool!  I got home tonight and checked my e-mail and there was a notification that I had a message left on one of my blog entries.  Well, BJ Bowden from Positively Elementary School Counseling had nominated me for the Leibster Award.  It is an award that is for new bloggers who have less than 200 followers and blog about school counseling.  How cool is this?!   So, I get to answer the questions that she gave me and then I get to nominate other bloggers that are my favorites!
So....on with BJ's questions:
1.  How did you decide to take up blogging?   I really enjoy reading other blogs and thought it would be a great way to share what I am doing and learning about in the area of school counseling.  At first I thought, "What if no one reads my blog?" but then I realized that it also serves the purpose of just putting my thoughts and things I have done together in one place.  Kind of like a diary for me to go back and read.  AND guess what, other people do read it!
2. How long have you been blogging?  I actually started a blog with my sisters as we did a book club.  It was a great way for us to connect and share.  That was a couple of years ago.  I started Mrs. K's Good Stuff on Nov. 14, 2012---so, I'm getting close to my 1 year blog birthday!
3.  What is one of your favorite memories of working with students?  Oh golly, this is a hard one because there are so many.  I could easily fill out a Top 10 list on this but I won't.  I think my favorites are when kids come and tell me how they have become a better person because of what they learned from me.  That just warms my heart to see them smile and say, "Mrs. K, you helped me so much.  Remember how I used to be mean all the time?  Well you helped me to be a nicer person." (actual quote from a student)
4.  What are 3 items in your bag that you could not do without?
#1:  My Julia Cook book collection---it really makes me wonder what I did before I had all of Julia's books.  The kids love them and they make my job easier because she has covered about every topic I need to cover with kids.  So, THANK YOU to my friend Julia!
#2:  games:  I use all kinds of games to teach kids things.  One of the kids favorites is Aggravation.  They learn how to win and how to lose, how to be a good sport, how to take turns, how to communicate, how to get along with others, oh my the list goes on.  They also learn what the word aggravation means and how to handle it when they get aggravated.
  Another game that I love because I use it in classroom, small group or individual counseling is Dirty Laundry.  I actually found this on a clearance table one time for $5! AND I have gotten alot out of it!  Great way for kids to find out how much they know about each other and get to know each other better.  It is also great for communication skills.
#3:  My iPad.  I love that thing!  I can use it so many ways and there are so many great apps that I can use with kids.  I really feel pretty blessed to have one.
5.  Would you recommend blogging to others?
YES, YES, YES!!!  Did you hear that?  Don't think about it, just do it!  And you don't have to be really tech savvy to blog---because I could even figure it out!
6.  What is the best professional development you ever went to?
Oh, this is hard.  I'm going to have to give my top 3 on this (and they are not in any particular order):
1:  Love and Logic---I use it every day!  It works!  Enough said.
2:  ISCA (Iowa School Counselors Assoc) state conference:  I come home from this every year so pumped up and full of new information that I can't wait to use what I have learned.  I'm not sure if it is the people I see there and connect with or the sessions---but it is awesome!
3:  8 to Great---I went to this 3 hour workshop this summer it was awesome.  It is everything that I use with my kids all wrapped up in one neat and tidy package.  I loved it.  I'm hoping we can get MK Mueller to come to our school this fall and I'm hoping to get trained too.  LIFE CHANGING!
7. How do you take care of yourself outside of work?
It is so easy to become so busy with taking care of others (students, staff, friends and family, obligations), but when we do we suffer and in return so does the people who are important to us.  It is important to take care of our health (eat right, exercise), spend quality time with our family, get our spiritual needs met.   In addition to these things I do fun things like hauling my daughters to horse shows and rodeos so I can watch them ride, go paint ceramics with my daughter, go on dates with my husband, read books that I can't put down, spend time with my 4 sisters, make time for friends, and be spontaneous, take risks and laugh every day!
8. What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?
My number one blog to follow is Corner on Character.  I started following Barbara and love everything she shares.  She is full of great ideas and inspiration and I am blessed by her friendship.
I also love to follow Positively Elementary School Counseling and all the great things shared by BJ.  One of the first blogs I followed was Books That Heal Kids because I am kept up to date by the great books that are out there and ideas on ways to use them.  I heard Michele Borba speak this summer and I have started following her blog also and it has some great info that I can use as well as pass on to parents and other educators.
9.  What is one of your favorite lessons to teach?
I use Auto B Good stories and lessons in 2nd grade and one of my favorite lessons is about when the City of Auto has an Idea Fair.  Well, what I have done is had the kids meet in their little groups (I call them Pit Crews) and come up with ideas of how we can make our school even better than it already is.  I love this because it let's the kids really use their imaginations.  After they have come up with these great ideas, they make a poster or display about it and then we invite other classes in our building and the 2nd grade parents/grandparents to come and visit our Idea Fair so the kids can share their awesome ideas.  Each person is given a ticket when they enter each classroom and they cast their vote (put their ticket in a cup) for the idea they liked the best.  You can read about the winners on "Idea Fair" from my February blog entries.
10.  Why did you want to become a school counselor?
I love helping kids.  At first I thought I would be a high school counselor because that is the level I was teaching when I decided I wanted to get a masters degree in School Counseling.  I actually got my first counseling job in a K-8 setting and absolutely fell in love with the middle and elementary kiddos!  It's all history from there!
11.  Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life?
I would have to say my family.  My parents always encouraged me to go after the things I wanted to try and do.  My mom was a teacher and I loved helping her at school and also loved hearing all the great stories she came home with as a kindergarten teacher---(she should have written a book!).  I have the joy of working in the same school building as 3 of my sisters--PreK, 2nd grade and associate for a special needs student.  They inspire me in their work with their students.  My husband constantly encourages me in my career and my kids do too.  I have been blessed by all of their support and encouragement!
1.  Cool School Counseling
2. Scrapbook of a School Counselor
3. Counseling from A-Z
4.  South Carolina Counselor Cafe
5. St. Louis Center for Play Therapy

My questions for my nominees:

1.  What have you done that you feel has made the biggest impact with the kids you work with?

2.  Who or what is your "go to" when you need information for your job?

3.  What are your top 5 books on your bookshelf and why?

4.  What do you do to "recharge" yourself?

5.What is your favorite quote?

6.  What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?

THANKS to all of you who follow my blog.  I hope my readers are inspired, enlightened and find what I share helpful.  Please check out the blogs that I nominated above because I have found them to have some really great "stuff" on them.  It is great to connect with other bloggers all over and make new friends this way.  The best part is it makes us all better at what we do which benefits the kids we work with.  Keep checking in for more "good stuff".