Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Student Council Fundraisers

In addition to being the counselor at school, I happen to be one of our Student Council Association advisers. We have about 20 student members from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and it is mostly a student run organization.  We meet once a month after school and we typically host monthly fundraisers for different organizations.  I love being a part of SCA because it teaches children about the importance a giving to others, caring about our community, and helping those in need.

In November our project was titled "Can the Office." The goal was for students to bring in enough cans to fill up our front office and make the principal and office staff work out in the hallway!  The food drive was very successful, and we donated many boxes of food to Lake Christian Ministries in Moneta, which serves about 1400 families during the holiday season.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tracking Data with NoteCounselor

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere in a remote forest, you have heard about the importance of accountability in the world of education.  School counseling, is no exception.  This is only my 3rd year as a school counselor, and the budget has had me worried every year about keeping my job.  My 1st year, the "higher ups" wanted the elementary counselors to show how we had spent our year; how many students we helped, parents we met with, guidance classes we had taught, etc. Luckily, I had tracked my sessions and classes the "old fashioned" way with paper and pencil notes.  After submitting our data, administration was able to see the impact we have on our school community, and thankfully, counselors were not put on the list to be cut in our county.

This year, another elementary counselor who works in our county told me that she uses NoteCounselor (created by Amanda Lee Chambers).  Three years ago, when she was asked to send in her documentation, all she had to do was pull up a yearly report, with just one click of the mouse!  The day she told me about this program, I went online at http://notecounselor.com and ordered it. Four days later, I got NoteCounselor in the mail and started using it, and I would definitely recommend it to all school counselors.  It provides a very simple format, using Microsoft Access, that allows you to keep notes, track individual and group counseling sessions, log classroom guidance lessons, and much more.  It also categorizes task as indirect and direct counseling services and prints reports accordingly making it easy maintain a comprehensive program at your school.

Take some time to visit http://notecounselor.com/.

Does anyone else use this program? If so, leave a review here and, if not, tell us what program you do use.

**noteCounselor, LLC copyright © 2004, 2007, 2010 Amanda Chambers
**Microsoft Office Access is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Career Cafe

I frequently visit The School Counselor Blog.  The author, Danielle, started a new career counseling initiative at her school and encouraged others to try it out.  After reading both her blog post and her article published in the Pennsylvania School Counseling Magazine, I decided to give it a whirl. Based on her ideas, this is my version of Career Cafe...

Front Side
Back Side
I created these postcards on Vistaprint.com and got 100 for free! I just had to pay for shipping.  Career Cafe is going to be a 5th grade program at my school.  First, I plan on having every student complete a career inventory to determine what careers they are most interested in.  Then, I'm going to recruit family and community volunteers that have careers similar to the ones my students are interested in.  My plan is to have 2 volunteers come each month on 1st and 3rd Fridays during 5th grade's lunch time.  Any student whose career inventory results match up with the volunteer that is coming that Friday will receive one of these postcard invitations.  They will bring their lunch to their classroom where they will be able to listen to the guest speaker.

I think this will be a successful program because students will be learning during lunch, which means no instructional time will be used! Teachers will really appreciate this.  Also, students will only be attending career cafe sessions that they are interested in. This will increase student behavior and provide for a more positive experience for the volunteer speakers.

I will let you know how it goes! Does anyone have any suggestions??

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Conflict Resolution Vokis

In guidance classes, students have been learning about effective conflict resolution skills.  They have learned to use "I" Messages when someone is doing something they don't like.  "I" messages allow students to express their feelings and to be assertive with students who are not treating them positively. 

I recently came across this awesome website: www.voki.com.  Using free trials, students can search through many different characters including animals, political icons, randoms, and other people and add accessories, backgrounds, and speech.  I let my 5th grade classes play around on this website and create a character for their conflict resolution project. Using a "text to talk" function online, each voki gives advice to a hypothetical student who is a concerned bystander to bullying.  Students were asked to created a "voki" character that answered this prompt....

"Hello, This new kid moved into our neighborhood.  He's from a different country, and he doesn't speak English very well.  Some other kids are calling him names and making fun of his clothes.  I wish they'd stop it.  What can I do?" (from Treat Me Right, Kids Talk About Respect by Nancy Loewen)

Click the links to view a couple Vokis the students created: