Ten Must-Have Books for Your Elementary School Counseling Office

We’ve talked about the games, fidgets, and decor you’ll need for your counseling office, but have we talked about all the books you’ll need? Someday soon, I’ll write about the books you’ll need to enhance your craft, but for now, let’s go over some basic social/emotional books together. I’ve included books that explore anger, anxiety,Continue reading “Ten Must-Have Books for Your Elementary School Counseling Office”

How to Get Professional Designs Without Spending a Fortune

When I was a high school counselor, we had a tight budget, so I took on a senior intern whose sole job was to create all the media I needed to support the school counseling program–flyers, social media posts, infographics, brochures, and so much more. My intern was lovely and kind, yet I had toContinue reading “How to Get Professional Designs Without Spending a Fortune”

The Best Books for New Counselors, Teachers, & Parents

Sometimes I think the only way I can learn is through the struggle of figuring it out myself, but let’s save you a decade and get you to some of the best books if you’re just starting in the counseling field, teaching profession, or you’re about to bring home your first little bundle of joy. Continue reading “The Best Books for New Counselors, Teachers, & Parents”

15 Must-Have School Counseling Items on a $100 Budget

Budgets are tight, but we still have a job to do. I’m going to give you the best school counseling must-haves-list for under $100. These are items that I have personally bought and find myself using again and again. The entire list of my favorite things is less than $100!  And yes, I work withContinue reading “15 Must-Have School Counseling Items on a $100 Budget”

How Can You Protect Kids on Youtube?

It’s possible that everyone already knows this and I’m just late to the party. But friends, did you know that you can share a YouTube link with students that’s free from ads and external clutter?  It’s true! There are so many incredible clips available on YouTube. I regularly use videos to teach social cues andContinue reading “How Can You Protect Kids on Youtube?”

How To Become a School Counselor: 7 Things You Need to Know

How Do I Become a School Counselor? Since I started working as a school counselor many years ago, my mother has told me countless times that her “school counselor didn’t do that.” And she’s not wrong; mine didn’t do “that” either. This job has changed a lot over the years. School counselors do a lotContinue reading “How To Become a School Counselor: 7 Things You Need to Know”

Advice for Teaching Online & In-Person

Let’s be clear, there is no magic bullet to teaching both in-person and online, but I do have some experience with this effort now and can give some feedback on what has and has not worked. Let’s start with the dumpster fires areas for improvement, and then we’ll move on to the good stuff.  Let’sContinue reading “Advice for Teaching Online & In-Person”

4 Personal Body Safety Books You Need to Add Your Shelf Today

I don’t recall ever being explicitly taught as a child that I could tell an adult “no” if I was uncomfortable with their touch. Chatting with a friend recently, she shared how she was tickled until it hurt, and her family all thought it was hysterically funny. Many of us have experienced tickles and hugsContinue reading “4 Personal Body Safety Books You Need to Add Your Shelf Today”

School Counseling Climate Survey

Have you ever walked into a school building and immediately felt welcomed and invited? How about the opposite?  The schools’ culture permeates throughout the building, but it’s often nebulous; you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you feel it, and you usually know within minutes if it has good or bad vibes.  WhatContinue reading “School Counseling Climate Survey”

You’ve Never Found an Easier Way to Schedule Appointments

I have gone through every type of calendar possible to schedule my meetings, and I have to tell you that I think I have finally found the needle in the proverbial haystack. I tried using google docs, sign up sheets, sign-in bar codes, calendar invites, and still spent an excessive amount of time and energyContinue reading “You’ve Never Found an Easier Way to Schedule Appointments”

Tools to Counsel and Teach ESL Students

I have found myself in so many classes this year with students who speak zero English. I desperately want to teach and work with these kids, and I’ve been practicing my Spanish using Pimsleur. However, I’m still not proficient enough to communicate any of my lesson material, not to mention that many speak a languageContinue reading “Tools to Counsel and Teach ESL Students”

Get to Know Your Students Activity

Getting to know your students can be tricky–especially when your caseloads are out of proportion to recommended ratios, and you’re teaching virtually. But we all know that building relationships with your students is critical for us to become their “people” when they need us. However, we don’t always know what kind of vibes we’re puttingContinue reading “Get to Know Your Students Activity”

How Do You Adapt Lessons for ESL Students?

I attended a training a few years ago where the speaker gave us a math worksheet in Chinese and then instructed the group (all native English speakers) in Chinese to complete the worksheet. Friends, I am a grown woman who has solid coping skills, and I was incredibly frustrated and overwhelmed. I could see whyContinue reading “How Do You Adapt Lessons for ESL Students?”

These are the Tech Tips That Will Change Everything

I’m surprised by the folx out there who still say that “TikTok is for kids.” If you still think that, I’m about to change your mind with this little post about implementing tech tips I learned from TikTok into my school counseling practice. It has been transformational! I’ve learned quick hacks to speed up myContinue reading “These are the Tech Tips That Will Change Everything”

Teaching in a Pandemic: Your Mental Health

I got a text the week before school started asking, “Do school counselors also counsel teachers?” No, no, we don’t, but that doesn’t mean your mental health doesn’t matter to me. I’m more worried about teachers right now than ever before. The amount of stress and ambiguity they are under is enough to send aContinue reading “Teaching in a Pandemic: Your Mental Health”

New School Counselor Must-Haves

Congrats on your new gig! If you’re just getting started, this will give you the basics of what you’ll need to get started. I went through my own Amazon list to share my favorites. (Update! Our accountant told me that I had money that I had to spend or I would lose it. (What a problem toContinue reading “New School Counselor Must-Haves”

25 Ways to Help Your Students Become More Confident

The Polk Mentoring Alliance has created an exceptional list of 25 confidence-building activities. Many of these activities can be done individually or in small or large group formats. Most of the ideas are low to no cost and often don’t require many supplies. I have outlined 7 of my favorites below. Positively imagining the futureContinue reading “25 Ways to Help Your Students Become More Confident”

Boost Staff Morale: Letters from the School Counselor

Many school counselors are struggling with what to say to their staff during this difficult time. I know that many of us are the “feelings” person in our school for students and staff alike. This was the message that I sent to our staff with the hope of connecting and giving them resources to improveContinue reading “Boost Staff Morale: Letters from the School Counselor”

Virtual School Counseling SEL Lessons for K-4 Students

Teaching an emotional vocabulary is the first step to helping children learn to manage their emotions. The Emotional ABC’s program has recently made their accounts to FREE to teachers and counselors. The online program provides a format for counselors to allow their students to access online lessons from home. Through the Emotional ABC’s program, studentsContinue reading “Virtual School Counseling SEL Lessons for K-4 Students”

Virtual Counseling Apps: What You Need to Know

In a field that relies on connection, not being in the same physical space feels contrary to all that we do as counselors. Many counselors are finding themselves in uncharted territory right now due to #stayathome measures implemented by the government to combat the spread of COVID-19. How do we connect with our clients orContinue reading “Virtual Counseling Apps: What You Need to Know”

Connecting with Students and Parents During COVID-19 School Closures

Should I call? That is probably the question many of you are asking yourselves right now. Is it weird to call? What would I say? Would it be bothersome to the families? The world for 2020 will undoubtedly be “unprecedented,” but that shouldn’t stop us from doing the next right thing. As counselors and teachers,Continue reading “Connecting with Students and Parents During COVID-19 School Closures”

Answering Questions About School Counseling Lessons From a Distance

Many school counselors and teachers are struggling to adapt their in-person lesson plans to the online format, but I think I have the solution. If you have not already used this resource in your classroom, you are going to fall in love! Last month, our tech guru, Gina McGhee, introduced me to PearDeck, which is anContinue reading “Answering Questions About School Counseling Lessons From a Distance”

5 Things You Can Do to be Happy Now

In 2011, Shawn Achor delivered his Ted Talk titled, “The Happy Secret to Better Work” and made the research of happiness a mainstream phenomenon. Given that 2020 has been one long and winding rollercoaster for all of us, it seems rather apropos that we have a reminder for how to adjust our happiness. If you’veContinue reading “5 Things You Can Do to be Happy Now”

Doing This With Your Students Could Help Them Have More Friends

I am a huge fan of helping kids practice how they would react in difficult situations prior to the situations actually occurring. I think the fire department would agree that the time to make a plan to get out of a burning house is not once the house is on fire. Parents and teachers agreeContinue reading “Doing This With Your Students Could Help Them Have More Friends”

Are You Tempted to Send Kids to the Hallway? Read This First

Do kids want to be sent out of the classroom? In counseling, we often ask, “What is the function of the behavior?” or “How is this behavior serving this student?” Our goal is not to take whatever is said or done personally, but to become curious about the behavior. During my school counseling internship, IContinue reading “Are You Tempted to Send Kids to the Hallway? Read This First”

Transforming Your School is Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible

What is going to “transform” your school? It’s not a new gadget or buzz-word of the day non-sense. This is back to basics. Such a simple idea that you imagine couldn’t possibly be that powerful. Stick around, and I’ll show you how you can take advantage of these\ techniques for free. Developing a relationship withContinue reading “Transforming Your School is Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible”

What Separates You From The Life You Want Isn’t What You Think

Some people believe that life happens to them and others, the ones who are successful, they believe that life happens for them. “Raise your hand if you enjoy being around negative people?” That was the question a speaker asked a room of a few hundred people and not a single person raised their hand. NoneContinue reading “What Separates You From The Life You Want Isn’t What You Think”

What You’ve Been Saying That’s Damaging Your Relationships

One of the books I read this past week was John Gottman and Nan Silver’s What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal. This book needs to be a graduate school requirement for every counseling student. The content focuses on couples, but the information covered can enhance any relationship and improve theContinue reading “What You’ve Been Saying That’s Damaging Your Relationships”

What Should High School Counselors Share with Stakeholders at the End of Each Year?

In my recent post about my yearly counseling plan, I mentioned my tentativeness to share my data with the parents or faculty of my school because I was afraid that they wouldn’t care.  This tentativeness was not unfounded as I was once told by an administrator (not at my school) that “No one cares whatContinue reading “What Should High School Counselors Share with Stakeholders at the End of Each Year?”

Curriculum Plan for First Year Elementary School Counselors

A lot of things are indeed slower down South, but when it comes to school counseling, we’re making huge strides.  This past year, my district developed “action committees” in which veteran counselors were asked to create curriculum maps that included all of the Tennessee State Standards. That means that each student would be taught eachContinue reading “Curriculum Plan for First Year Elementary School Counselors”

What Should You Share with Your School Counseling Advisory Committee?

It’s finally here, the end of the school year and the final advisory committee meeting.  Now is the time to reflect on the program and determine what is essential to continue for next year and what should be eliminated.  What worked and what didn’t?  An advisory committee will help make these determinations, but what exactlyContinue reading “What Should You Share with Your School Counseling Advisory Committee?”

Study Skills Jeopardy Game for Students

Testing season is upon us, and I wanted to share a lesson on helping students learn skills that will help them feel calm and confident before and during a test.  I could easily go on a tangent about the validity and relevance of the tests our students take, but instead, I’ll just give you supportContinue reading “Study Skills Jeopardy Game for Students”

I Wish All School Counselors Did This Too

I want parents to feel like we’re a team, a village, raising their children together.  I don’t want the first time I communicate with a parent to be because their kid is having trouble.  I know that a lot of counselors send out generic monthly newsletters, but I thought about what I would want fromContinue reading “I Wish All School Counselors Did This Too”

How to Sell the Love of Learning and Get Them to Buy

How many teachers complain that their students don’t want to be in school?  Most?  What if we could change the way students value learning?  Maria Montessori said that “The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”  I happen to agree with Maria.  I want to createContinue reading “How to Sell the Love of Learning and Get Them to Buy”

7 Things School Counselors Want You to Know About Their Work

Movements such as #CounselorsNotCops have garnered a lot of attention in recent months as the public becomes more aware of the role school counselors play in supporting students and preventing violence in schools. Below is a list of things that school counselors wish the public knew about their work. School counseling is not the sameContinue reading “7 Things School Counselors Want You to Know About Their Work”

Tired of fighting? Teach Kids How To Cooperate

I love that I have the opportunity to teach kids how to get along with one another.  What a gift!  This free lesson plan for cooperation can be adapted from 5th grade up through high school aged students and beyond.  I’ll keep this post short because the bulk of the information about the lesson isContinue reading “Tired of fighting? Teach Kids How To Cooperate”

Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Self-Control

Learning to regulate emotions can be challenging for many students, but it is a critical component of development and one that can be taught in fun and interesting ways. Below are a few techniques to help your students develop these critical skills. USE BOOKS AS EXAMPLES I love starting a lesson with a story and Clark the SharkContinue reading “Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Self-Control”

When Should a Parent Let Their Kid Quit?

Parents regularly seek out my advice on how to handle a truly complex and sometimes serious issue; when should they let their student quit? The American culture of “dig in” and “stick with it” can leave parents fighting an intense battle with their child about work ethic and commitment. What happens when the child hasContinue reading “When Should a Parent Let Their Kid Quit?”

Do Social and Emotional Programs Really Work?

If you’ve been in the school counseling field for any length of time, you know the importance of social and emotional development. You understand that a kid who is flipping a desk cannot possibility learn math in that moment and those executive functioning skills must be taught first. But how can only one person, theContinue reading “Do Social and Emotional Programs Really Work?”

I Used Mindfulness in a Classroom Lesson and This is How It Went

I have been practicing mindfulness for a little over two years now and have discovered that through this daily practice, I’ve trained my brain to be more in tune with the world and have learned to focus my attention better throughout the day.  I’ve realized that I’m more resilient and able to bounce back fromContinue reading “I Used Mindfulness in a Classroom Lesson and This is How It Went”

Worried About Your Kids Online? This Can Help

I was recently asked to speak to parents about online safety for kids and after reading the first safety article in my research, I felt compelled to crawl into the fetal position; the internet can be a scary place for kids. Let’s get the scary stuff out of the way first: online predators, identity thieves,Continue reading “Worried About Your Kids Online? This Can Help”

Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Free Lesson Plans

I firmly believe in the notion of working smarter, not harder, which is why I was so excited when I stumbled across The NED Show a character education program that provides a number of FREE lesson plans that you can print right from your computer.  The list of lesson topics includes many of the sameContinue reading “Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Free Lesson Plans”

When You Feel Paralyzed by Fear

You’ll hear time and again from successful people that if they’d comprehended how truly unprepared they were for the journeys they were attempting, the fear would’ve paralyzed them and they’d have never been brave enough to begin. “I did have one element necessary to all early creativity; naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you fromContinue reading “When You Feel Paralyzed by Fear”