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Summer Reading for School Counselors

Summer Reading for School Counselors

Summer is the best time for me to do some professional development reading!  While I have the best intentions of keeping up with PD books during the school year, it just doesn't seem to happen as often as I would like it to.  In the summer, I love being able to leisurely make my way through some PD books with my coffee in hand... and a notebook, Flair pens, and post-it notes at my side...and likely a cat on my lap!

Summer Reading for School Counselors
((This is why I get nothing done))

Throughout the school year, I gather books that sound interesting and add them to my Amazon wish list.  I discover the books from school counselor blogs, the Elementary School Counselor Exchange on Facebook, and ASCA magazines.  This summer, my goal is to make it through five PD books.  I've heard great comments about each of these books and am excited to gather some new ideas for the school year.

Summer Reading for School Counselors

I am most excited about reading The Use of Data in School Counseling because it will help to shape the framework of my school counseling program.  I am hoping this book will give me more ideas about using data to support the needs of my school, which will help me to be more intentional about planning lessons.  Here in Ohio, the Board of Education has decided that every school must adopt a standards-based school counselor evaluation system by September of this year.  Something tells me that I am going to need to start collecting data, data, data.

       Summer Reading for School Counselors

Lost At School was recommended to me by the parent of one of the students I worked with last school year.  The little guy was a 2nd grader with very low motivation and desire to come to school.  His mom started reading the book in the spring and brought it to my office to share it with me (with tears in her eyes).  She was only two chapters into the book and had already compiled a list of traits that described her child perfectly.  I was sold and purchased the book that evening.

Summer Reading for School Counselors       

Parenting Tough Kids is a workbook filled with practical strategies for parents to use at home.  I often have parents stop me to ask for advice in dealing with their child's challenging behavior. One of my future goals is to lead "coffee with the counselor" chats and I would love to be able to do a book study with parents.  I am hoping that this may be a book I can recommend to parents for an easy, strategy-filled read.  Chapter 7 is titled, "How to Build Your Child's Emotional Resilience" (I might be starting with that chapter)!  If we can start to build more residence in kids, we can begin solving many problems.

Summer Reading for School Counselors       

How to Reach and Teach Children with Challenging Behavior is a great resource for teachers and counselors.  I purchased this book mid-year because we have several new students with challenging behavior and our teachers are in need of resources and strategies!  I am almost finished with this book and have found some practical strategies to share with teachers.  I really like how the book examines common functions of students'  behaviors (pg. 19).  Here is their list:

-To get attention or reaction from peers or adults
-To get something tangible
-To get power or control
-To meet a sensory need
-To communicate feelings, wants, and needs
-As a result of a lack of understanding
-To escape or avoid something

So good!  Another part of the book that I love is a section with strategies teachers can use with students during writing lessons (pg. 102...if you've been a classroom teacher, you know that writing assignments are often when you get some extreme behaviors)!  I also really like the list of reinforces (pg. 124) and strategies for using reinforcers to motivate students.  I am excited to finish this book!   

Summer Reading for School Counselors

My last summer read is Brief Counseling that Works.  When I was working on my clinical counseling degree, solution-focused brief counseling (SFBC) was my "go to" theory.  When I saw that there was a SFBC book designed for school counselors, I had to get it.  SFBC is a great technique to use with elementary students because they are forward thinking.  They want to talk about their problem and then solve it!  This book offers good background knowledge about the effectiveness of SFBC and also goes much further in presenting practical techniques for school counselors.  

There you have it, five books I am excited to read this summer!  I have two more books that are on my summer bucket list, just in case I get all five of those read (slim chances...)!  I haven't bought them yet, but I checked them out from the library to get a sneak peek.  I've heard great comments about both.  Here they are:


Happy reading, counselor friends!  
If you have any books on your summer reading bucket list, please share them in the comments!

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on Amazon using this link, I will receive a small commission.  All recommendations are my own.


Goodbye 2nd Grade, Hello School Counseling

Oh, hello blog.  It's been a few months a school year since I've been here.  I decided to take an extended blogging vacation during the 2015-2016 school year because I made an exciting career change.  Did you notice the title of this blog post?   That's right, after after 8 years as a classroom teacher, I stepped out of the classroom and into a new position.  I am excited to officially announce that I am now an elementary school counselor!

This past school year was a whirlwind.  It was basically like being a first year teacher all over again.  One major advantage I had for the new position was the ability to stay at the same school where I've been teaching.  I've taught 2nd grade at my school for the past six years, and when our veteran school counselor announced her retirement, I decided to apply for the job.  I never expected to leave the classroom this early in my career (it feels strange writing that since I'm in year 10 of education... I guess it's not that early!), but I couldn't pass up the opportunity of being able to be a school counselor in a community that I love.  I had already built rapport with students and staff and had a good handle on our school culture, so I was able to start the new job with a solid foundation.

In case you are wondering, my educational background is a combination of teaching and counseling.  I received my bachelor's degree in early childhood education and am licensed to teach pre-school through third grade.  I spent 6 years teaching second grade, 1 year in first grade, and 1 year teaching a pre-primary class at a Montessori school.  I've always been interested in the mental health field, so I decided to pursue graduate coursework in counseling.  My master's degree is in community counseling and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Ohio.  When I completed my internship, I was able to work with many populations.  I did everything from play therapy with children, individual counseling with adults, group counseling with at-risk teenagers, and even some marital counseling--nothing like providing marital counseling when you are a 20-something single counselor!  Throughout my coursework, I specialized in play therapy and art therapy and would like to become a Registered Play Therapist one of these days.  Although I am not currently practicing at a mental health agency, my community counseling degree gave me a great foundation in counseling.

Because I wanted to stay in the schools full-time (for now!), I decided to pursue my school counseling license.  The University of Toledo has a great endorsement program that allows you to add on a school counseling degree to a previous counseling license.  I completed a few more classes and did an internship at my school, and finally became dually licensed (which means I can practice both in and outside of the school).

I share all of these details because I have talked with many teachers who have a passion for the social-emotional development of children.  Teachers tell me that they want to pursue a counseling degree, but don't think it's possible to obtain a license while working full time as a teacher.  I won't sugar-coat the truth... it was very challenging, but it's possible!

All of that leads me back to here, my blog!  The educational blogging world has both inspired me and challenged me professionally.  I love being able to network with other educators who are innovative and always looking for new ideas to implement.  Taking a vacation from EduKate & Inspire this past school year allowed me to focus on building a strong foundation for my new job, but now I'm ready to step back into the blogging world and start sharing ideas with other counselors (and teachers)!

To all of my teacher readers:  Please stick around!  Although I am no longer a classroom teacher, I still get to spend a lot of time teaching lessons in classrooms and small groups.  I hope to be able to share ideas that you can implement in your classroom to help build community and increase social-emotional awareness.  Plus, I still have a lot of ideas from my 2nd grade classroom that I would like to blog about one of these days!  If you are a teacher and are curious to learn more about pursuing a counseling degree, feel free to ask questions in the comments!

To all of my counselor readers: Welcome!  I hope this blog becomes a place where we can collaborate about fresh ideas and continue to raise awareness for our profession.  I plan on blogging a lot about my first year as a school counselor and how I was able to build a strong foundation for our school counseling program.  Upcoming posts that I have in mind include:

-School counseling office tour
-Scheduling students, intake, progress notes, and documentation!
-Using data to drive your school counseling program
-Organizing your office, files, and lesson plans
-Interactive "meet the counselor" lessons
-And more!

Which topics above are you ready to read more about?  Do you have any specific topics that you would like me to blog about?

If you are stopping by my blog first the first time, please introduce yourself in the comments or visit my Facebook page!  I am excited to meet you and connect with you in the blogging world!

One final word... If you are reading this post on your favorite blog reader, take a moment to stop by my real blog and check out my new design!  I started with a template from the amazing Georgia Lou Studios and then customized it to meet my needs.  I am loving the simple and clean look of my blog!      

Thanks for reading!

Review: Vellostar Liquid Chalk Markers

I was recently given the opportunity to review Vellostar Liquid Chalk Markers.  I am always looking for new art supplies to help make my lessons engaging and fun.  Recently, I hung up a chalkboard outside my office, so I thought it would be the perfect spot to try out the new markers.  Since my drawing ability is limited, I thought I would ask some fourth graders to try out the markers with me!

The students decided to write a quote and draw an image to represent our character trait of the month--Respect.  Once I helped the students prime the markers to get the ink flowing, they found them very easy to use!  The students loved the bright neon colors of the markers!  They said that they were definitely more fun to use than regular chalk! :)  We will be using these markers again in the future!

Our finished product!

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links.

BIC Fight for Your Write 2015

I'm excited to team up with BIC again this year to help show students the importance of handwriting!  The Fight for Your Write website is full of great information all about the ways handwriting helps students.

First, check out this quick video to show your students the importance of handwriting!

Visit the Mission page of Bic's website to read more about six ways handwriting practice can benefit your students:

How Handwriting Helps!

Did you know that handwriting engages 14 different abilities?!

How Handwriting Helps!
Check out BIC's latest supplies below!

BIC School Supplies

The wonderful folks at BIC sent me some great products to review this summer {pictured above}.  As a school supply addict, I am always willing to try out some new supplies!  See those pencils on the left?  They have already become a favorite of the students I've been working with!  Students love the colors, so writing instantly becomes more fun.  Students also love the erasable highlighters {they remind me of the changeable markers from my childhood!}  As an educator, I really appreciate the BIC Atlantis pen.  I commonly write in purple pen, so when I have to head to a meeting, I always have to remind myself to grab a professional pen!  ((Purple pens aren't great for signing IEPs)) Thank goodness the Atlantis pen has black ink and is also extra comfy to write with!

BIC Giveaway

BIC has donated a prize pack for a lucky reader!!!  I am also throwing in my favorite TPT product that focuses on writing, iStudent: All About Me Book.  Enter via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Energizing GoNoodle Favorites

Do you GoNoodle?  If not, sign up today... it's free!
{Keep reading for your chance to win some GoNoodle swag!}

GoNoodle changed the way I do brain breaks in my classroom.  I have always used frequent movement breaks, but with GoNoodle, my breaks have become more fun and engaging--for both my students and myself!  Last school year, I had a class where frequent brain breaks were a necessary component of our day (yes, it was one of those years...)!  Thank goodness GoNoodle has a large variety of breaks!

My favorite thing about GoNoodle is that the videos are separated into categories and channels, so I was always able to choose the video to meet my students' needs for that moment.  GoNoodle has a variety of categories such as guided dancing, free movement, stretching, and calming.  Today's post is going to introduce you to my students' 5 favorite energizing brain breaks.  These are the types of breaks you need to energize your students before transitioning or moving on to a new topic.  The brain breaks below always brought a lot of movement, giggles, and an overall mood change as we gained some energy in order to move on to the next part of our day!

1) "Happy" by Zumba Kids is the ultimate mood changer!  Students loved singing along and trying out the Zumba moves.

2) "Party Rock" was a favorite of my wild boys' crew!  Nothing can beat the robot part!

3) My student know how much I love cats...  "Kitty High Five" is a hilarious song that gets kids moving and giggling! 

4) Another favorite cat brain break!  "Run Like the Kitty" is a super quick movement break that my students loved... only problem is that the song will stick in your head for a month.  

5) Of course, I have to mention the ultimate favorite--- Pop See Ko (and the sequel: Pop See Ko 2.0)!  Pretty sure my students would have chosen this song for EVERY brain break! :)

Do your students have a favorite energizing GoNoodle video?  If so, please share it in the comments below!  I will use a random number generator to choose one comment on September 12th.  The lucky winner will win their very own GoNoodle pencil pouch!

Want to do some shopping for more swag in the GoNoodle shop?  
Use the code "BTSwithGoNoodle" for 15% off until September 11th!

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