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”

The 6 Must Haves On Your School Counseling Website

Having control of the content your school counseling website is critical to the success of your program. If you aren’t able to be in control, you’d better work on your baking skills and make some cookies for you IT person, because they’ll be doing a lot of adding and editing on your behalf. The goalContinue reading “The 6 Must Haves On Your School Counseling Website”

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. Basic Supply List I love Amazon as much as the next gal, but a lot of my office toys came fromContinue reading “New School Counselor Must-Haves”

Breaking Down Barriers to Higher Ed

I’m sure they are out there somewhere, but I don’t know of any prominent female role models who came from poverty and didn’t realize the value of education when they were young. I’ve read the stories and biographies of so many successful women. While they also overcame their impoverished circumstances, they had a leg upContinue reading “Breaking Down Barriers to Higher Ed”

6 Signs School Counseling is the Right Career for You

School Counseling is unlike traditional therapy in a lot of ways because you aren’t able to have the frequency of sessions and depth of processing that you’d have in traditional therapy, school counseling work is more like triage. However, what you lack in formal and frequent sessions, you more than make up for by beingContinue reading “6 Signs School Counseling is the Right Career for You”

The 5 Biggest Mistakes School Counselors Make

We all make mistakes–it’s part of life, but here are 5 of the biggest mistakes that school counselors make on the regular. Mistake #1. You assume you know what is best. You act like every other adult in the child’s life and believe that the young person you are counseling is not capable of figuringContinue reading “The 5 Biggest Mistakes School Counselors Make”

What’s Below the Anger? It’s Not What You Think: 10 Tips to a Calming a Tantrum

Most adults assume that what we see is what we get. I’ve had a number of conversations over the years with teachers (and parents) who were completely perplexed by a child that had “gone off” seemingly without provocation. These poor people were totally bewildered, “I told him to get his book out, and he startedContinue reading “What’s Below the Anger? It’s Not What You Think: 10 Tips to a Calming a Tantrum”

How Do You Know if Your Small Group is Successful?

Most school counselors work so hard to fit everything into their schedule that they often forget to see if what they are doing is actually working. Today we will explore the process for evaluating small group effectiveness. What’s the goal of your intervention? First things first, you must come up with a goal for theContinue reading “How Do You Know if Your Small Group is Successful?”

Are You Making This Mistake When Teaching?

Somedays you just need a boost. Today, Rita Pierson is the person to give you that boost you’ve been looking for if you’re feeling disconnected from your profession as a counselor or teacher. No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship. James Comer Sometimes it isn’t about the lesson you are teaching. Children buildContinue reading “Are You Making This Mistake When Teaching?”

Doing This Helps Teens Feel Happier, Less Anxious, & More Productive

For all of my high school and college counselors out there, this could be an amazing project for your students to learn emotional introspection (remotely.) Self-Authoring is an online program that allows students to learn writing skills, develop goal setting, and enhance their self-reflection skills by writing prompts regarding their past, present, and future. WritingContinue reading “Doing This Helps Teens Feel Happier, Less Anxious, & More Productive”

The Best Way to Teach Career Programming for Elementary School

My lesson plan for February focused on career exploration for elementary students. I would imagine that to most laypeople, a lesson on “careers” in elementary school might seem a bit overzealous. However, career education is part of our counseling standards. My goal in teaching elementary-aged students about careers is to help them determine their currentContinue reading “The Best Way to Teach Career Programming for Elementary School”

Why “Getting Good Grades” is a False Promise For Success

A few years ago, I encountered an 8th-grade student who was reading on a first-grade level and thought, “How does this happen?” It didn’t take long for me to figure it out, and now there is plenty of data to back up what I had once only suspected. Educators and parents alike continuously tell studentsContinue reading “Why “Getting Good Grades” is a False Promise For Success”

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”

A Simple Intervention to Reduce Anxiety & Depression in Your School

Every student should feel they belong in school, but not every student thinks that they belong. When children don’t have at least one positive adult relationship in school, they are vulnerable to a myriad of maladies and are far less likely to achieve academic success. School connectedness is the strongest factor in reducing incidents ofContinue reading “A Simple Intervention to Reduce Anxiety & Depression in Your School”

20 Rookie Mistakes that Freshly Minted Counselors Should Avoid

Here’s the list of the top 20 rookie mistakes that most school counselors make when they first start working in the field. Try to remember and follow the worlds of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.” I promise it will get easier. You take on more than you could ever possibly do.Continue reading “20 Rookie Mistakes that Freshly Minted Counselors Should Avoid”

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”

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”

Want More Time? Do These 6 Things at Your School

What if I told you that doing these 6 things at your school would increase achievement in your school? Would you do it? In an environment where teachers, principals, counselors, and other support staff are often pushed to their limit as far as the amount of time that they are each devoting to their work,Continue reading “Want More Time? Do These 6 Things at Your School”

4 Tips to Nail Your Next Interview

Last night I was binge-watching Netflix (let’s not judge here) and stumbled upon Reece Witherspoon’s new show “Shine On,” in which she interviews ambitious and successful women. In the second episode, she talks to Ava DuVernay, an award-winning filmmaker of some seriously excellent films such as “Selma” and “A Wrinkle in Time.” Toward the endContinue reading “4 Tips to Nail Your Next Interview”

Read This to Discover a Powerful Method to Teach Children Emotional Regulation

This past week I worked with my 5th-grade students on developing coping strategies when they “flip their lids.” Child psychiatrist and author of Hindsight and Brainstorm Daniel Siegel describe the process that leads to explosive anger as “flipping your lid” and something that occurs when individuals haven’t yet learned how to regulate their emotions effectively. When our students (orContinue reading “Read This to Discover a Powerful Method to Teach Children Emotional Regulation”

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”

Finding Lesson Plans for School Counseling Is Easier Than You Think

Are you still trying to create your own lesson plans?  Stop!  You don’t have to recreate the wheel because it has already been done for you. There are so many resources available for school counselors to access canned lesson plans that are actually worthy of your time and attention.  I’ve compiled a list below toContinue reading “Finding Lesson Plans for School Counseling Is Easier Than You Think”

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?”

How Do You Map Out Your Entire Year as a High School Counselor?

I love lists. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t like lists, I love them. For me, a list will keep me on track and help remind me of where I’m going and what it is I set out to accomplish. A few years ago when I worked in the high school setting, I had an extensiveContinue reading “How Do You Map Out Your Entire Year as a High School Counselor?”

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?”

How We Invalidate Children’s Feelings Without Realizing It

Have you ever been really frustrated and been told to “just get over it?” Did that statement to “suck it up” really help you move past your frustration or just infuriate you even more? What about when you said you felt a particular way and someone pitied you, ignored you, refuted your feelings, or pepperedContinue reading “How We Invalidate Children’s Feelings Without Realizing It”

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”

How Do You Help a Child Who Is Grieving?

Counseling grief is difficult because you can’t fix what’s wrong.  You can’t bring back the dead or break a parent out of jail,  bring a brother back from active military, or sober up a child’s mother and make her come back to the family.  Children have little control over their environment, and yet they haveContinue reading “How Do You Help a Child Who Is Grieving?”

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”

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”

How To Get Students to Stop Asking: ‘Is This for a Grade?’

“Test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is, but they don’t tell you where a student could end up.” –Carol Dweck Am I the only one who cringes when a student asks, “Is this for a grade?” I don’t think it’s not their fault. We have built a system where kidsContinue reading “How To Get Students to Stop Asking: ‘Is This for a Grade?’”

This Is Why We Teach Kids How To Dream

“Fear and lack of imagination choke your dreams so that you already know on the day that you’re born just where you’ll die and who it is that’ll bury you.” -Barack Obama I keep going back to the notion that we don’t know what we don’t know. I taught a lesson this week about perseveranceContinue reading “This Is Why We Teach Kids How To Dream”