Monday, July 8, 2019

Learning How to Lose

Image result for winners don't whine and whiners don't winIn a time when everyone gets a trophy, I am finding more and more students really can't handle losing a game, or not being the BEST at something.  Thankfully, Julia Cook has come up with this great book to help us address this.  In the book it refers to "you can't win a coin toss every time," so I ran with that and decided to help kids learn how to lose.  In this activity, I pair the students up, and one decides who is heads and one decides who is tails.  I give them one minute and let them play heads or tails as many times as they can.  They mark who won on each round.  Whoever has the most wins after the minute is over, wins the round.  Then I ask the students who did not win, to sit at the carpet.  We proceed to play again until only their is only one winner.  That winner gets to pick a prize out of my prize bag.  This is a risky lesson I must say, but it's proven to be very effective if I preceed the lesson with the following disclaimers.
  1.  There will be only one winner today, and we will be okay if we lose.  I make them repeat that "I will be okay if I lose." 
  2. If you lose today you must remember "Today just isn't your day."  I make them repeat this as well,
  3. Let's come up with some appropriate strategies to help us deal with losing,  
    1.   deep breath
    2.   walk away
    3.   positive affirmations
  4. Guidance is a safe place to make mistakes, or feel upset, so this is practice for real life.  I will be here to support you if you do get upset.
What happens next differs from class to class but the life lessons are powerful!  I have had students who normally get super upset, see that they can be okay if they lose.  They are learning how to be gracious when they lose and shake hands with the winner and say "Good Game."  I have had kids who are poor winners, lose how to win graciously as well. 

The Title Matters

Image result for Guidance counselor to school counselor logo
For years I have been hearing the debate between Guidance Counselors versus School Counselors.  I used to think it didn't really matter.  Boy was I wrong!!!  After reading the research behind why we need to change our title, I am convinced it's time to begin implementing this change.  This helped me so much in figuring out why we should be advocating for the change.   

Friday, January 25, 2019

Surviving Year 12

This is my 12th year as a School Counselor, and this year is proving to be quite a challenge!  I have taken on more roles in my professional organizations, and am so grateful to do so. However, learning to balance both is taking some getting used to.  With that in mind, I gave myself permission to scale back a little on trying to come up with my own amazing lessons for Guidance.  Thank goodness I did!  I have discovered some wonderful resources and lessons that I just had to share!  PS...I don't make any money for endorsing any of these products.  I'm just a regular ole counselor who likes to share what she knows. 

First, you MUST check out Eve Coates' Teacher's Pay Teacher's store!  She is amazing!  She has wonderful powerpoints on each of the 7 habits, as well as growth mindset, and so much more!  What I LOVE about her work, is how it's student friendly for grades K-5, and easily adaptable.  They almost always take up the whole time, so I don't feel like I'm scrambling for more to do or say.  The concepts are taught in a way that really makes sense to my students as well!  I bought her expansion pack for Growth Mindset, (at $18 it was more than I like to spend but TOTALLY worth it).  It went deeper into growth mindset than I have ever gone, and the kids are really responding to it.  She is my official "go to" person when I am stuck on a lesson!! 

Next, Counselor Keri.  Her work with School Counseling is phenomenal!  You can go to her blog and sign up for her newsletters, and she sends all kinds of freebies, and helpful tips!  I haven't purchased much of her things on Teacher's Pay Teachers yet, but the freebies that she has provided are enough for me to buy anything she's selling! 

I began this blog as a means to help inspire counselors and to hopefully share my work with you because I know how it is to feel lost or stuck in this position sometimes.  These two women (and more)  have reignited a desire in me to want to do more for my profession, and to get more creative with my own work with kids!  If you want to share what you're doing, please feel free to email me, and I'll be happy to pass it along! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ga Ga over Google!

I knew that Google was amazing, but this year, I am learning even more amazing things that Google can do, and how to incorporate into my Counseling Program.  For starters, I have upgraded my School Counselor Request form and learned how to make it two or three forms in one.  I plan on doing a screencastify tutorial very soon!  This has been a game changer.  Now, students, teachers, and parents need only find one link in order to communicate their needs to me. 
Next on my Google adventures is how I've been able to use Google Sites to develop Leadership Notebooks for all students in Grades 3-5.  Students are loving being able to add their data into this digital notebook, and I am certain this will be big selling point for parents when Student Led Conferences begin next month.  I helped all the students set up their site in Guidance this week, and they have each shared them with me.  This is allowing me to see right away how they are doing in their classes and help celebrate their successes. 
Finally, I am most excited about just how easy it's been to create a Google Classroom for all my students.  This is going to be huge when I want to share something specific to their grade level and will enable the students to access resources any time they'd like.  I plan on adding Junior High Transition information to 5th grade, as well as study and organizational
in all the grades.  I also included my request form in the classroom so that it will just that much easier to find a way to communicate with me.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Working Together

This book is an excellent source for teaching how to Synergize.  I love using for students in Grades 1-3 because it offers insight into how to deal with difficult students in a group.  This week in Guidance, I spent the entire 30 minutes, just reading and discussing the book.  Next week, we will use what we learned this week, to practice Synergizing. I feel it's important to let kids practice this skill in a safe way.  Often times, the teachers is so busy making sure the content gets completed in a group, the actual skill of synergizing isn't easy to emphasize, which results in conflicts, power struggles, and misguided groups.  Here are some key points of discussion I used this week when reading this book.

1.  How many of you have ever had to work in a group with people you didn't care for?

2.  Have you ever had any one in your group that was bossy, gross, or not as smart as you?
3.  Sometimes we have students in our group that are not as strong in school as us.  Some even  have a hard a time reading.  We have to make sure we find their strengths, and not leave them out of the group altogether.  R.J.  was so nice when we allowed Richard to trace the poster letters.
4.  Would Norma be good at getting in front of the class and presenting?  (No....she'd just pick her nose and that would give them a bad grade)  We have to make sure we give Norma a job without making her feel bad.  The mummy would be a good job for her, so that she doesn't feel tempted to pick her nose.  (The kids get a kick out of talking so freely about this! LOL)