Social Detective Intermediate App Review

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Social Detective AppToday I am sharing a new app called Social Detective Intermediate.  It is a collaborative app of Social Thinking and Social Skill Builder, Inc.   Thank you to Cheryl of Social Skill Builder, Inc. for providing the promo code for me to use in order to complete my review.

This app was created to follow the Social Detective Beginner app.  It was created for children seven years and older and focuses on helping them decode the thoughts and emotions of those they come in contact with.

 

Upon opening the app, new players are asked to create an avatar.  There are several to choose from.

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Once completed, you are directed to touch the detective equipment to get started.  After clicking the Social Detective Notebook, a pretest is given. The player is asked to drag the correct thought over the head of someone in the picture.  Once the correct thought is identified, the player is asked to identify how the person in the scenario is feeling.  Finally, the player chooses the “smart guess” the character should make.  A smart guess is defined in the app as “when we use all of our tools (remembering, seeing, hearing, knowing and feeling) to figure things out and then make a guess based on what we know about the world.”  These are all important social skills students need to know and be able to display.

Next, there is a 42 question test which includes 14 video clips and again the player is asked to identify what one of the characters is thinking, feeling and his or her smart guess.  Throughout the test, positive reinforcement is given to encourage players showing how much progress has been made.

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After completing the entire test, the player is then given access to the flashlight.  Another pretest is given to earn the flashlight.  The player is then given another round of  video test questions.  This round includes identifying the character’s thought, smart guess and plan after making the smart guess.  Halfway through this test, the player gets to make his or her own smart guesses and identify the tools used to make the guess.

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My review of this app came just at the time a student was referred to me to address these very same areas covered throughout the game.  I really like that the app is interactive and that it gives immediate feedback and encouragement.  I like that it reads aloud to the player to assist those students needing reading support.  Finally, I really like that it builds elementary students’ vocabulary using words like considerate and annoyed.

You can check out a quick YouTube preview of the Social Detective Intermediate App below!

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Growth Mindset: Bubble Gum Brain

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BubbleGumBrainI know I am just one of many school counselors who LOVES Julia Cook and her great children’s books.  My school counseling program wouldn’t be complete without them!  Today, Julia’s newest book, Bubble Gum Brain: Ready, Get Mindset…GROW! was released.  I am so excited to already have a copy, and today I want to tell you why you’ll have to have it!

If you are already familiar with Julia Cooks many titles, you know how much children enjoy them and how she’s able to find creative ways to help them understand a wide array of topics from divorce and test taking to personal space and tattling.  This newest book doesn’t disappoint!

In Bubble Gum Brain , Julia creatively uses the characteristics of bubble gum to explain growth mindset.  The Bubble Gum Brain character says, “I like to chew on my thoughts, flex, bend and stretch my brain, and expand the way I think!  I make great mistakes that help me learn.”  She also has a character displaying a fixed mindset.  His name is Brick Brain, and he says, “With me, things are the way they are…and they’re probably not going to change much.  I am the way I am…and that’s just how it is.”

Throughout the book, both Bubble Gum Brain and Brick Brain are seen encountering the same situations, experiences, tests and trials.  We read how each character responds to each situation from both perspectives.  The examples are great and just right for helping young students understand the difference between a growth and fixed mindset.  Eventually, Bubble Gum Brain suggests that Brick Brain try using his own bubble gum brain by  peeling off his bubble gum wrapper.  It’s just a matter of time before Brick Brain begins to change his way of thinking, and his gray scale  image becomes full color.  I like the phrase near the end which says “becoming is better than being.”

This wonderful book teaches kids that the sky is the limit.  I absolutely LOVE it, and I can’t wait to incorporate it into my school counseling program next year. Her 7 “Tips For Growing a Child’s Mindset” on the last two pages of the book are excellent and include teaching kids the power of yet and helping them understand it’s okay and even necessary to make mistakes as we learn and grow.  You will undoubtedly be glad you added this book to your school counseling library!

Check out this YouTube video featuring Julia talking about her new book!

Would you like a free copy of Bubble Gum Brain?  Check out the giveaway post on my Facebook page.  Three winners will be chosen on Friday, April 28th.  The giveaway will end at 11:00PM EST that night.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.  Additionally, I do giveaways through My Facebook Page with my new products.  Be sure to like Savvy School Counselor on Facebook and click to receive notifications so you don’t miss them!


4 Stories for Primary Grades

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It’s always great to have books to go to when addressing various student issues. Today, I’d like to share four titles you may want to consider using in your school counseling program. Three of the stories are by Stephanie Jensen, and the fourth story is by Rosalinde Block.

The Princess Priscilla series is by Stephanie Jensen.  Priscilla is a bumble bee who helps students learn about feelings with Princess Priscilla and the Mood Ring Rainbow,  acceptance and belonging with Princess Priscilla and the Great Beezilla and bullying with Princess Priscilla and the Bully-Bee Day.

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In Princess Priscilla and the Mood Ring RainbowPriscilla is excited to wear her new mood ring.  Priscilla experiences a rainbow of moods as she goes throughout her day.  She goes from happy, jealous, embarrassed and bored to feeling joy, anger, confusion and sadness, and her mood ring changes colors with each feeling.  I love how this book shares the ways Priscilla deals with each of the feelings she experiences which provides students with go to strategies.

In Princess Priscilla and the Great Beezilla, Priscilla demonstrates what acceptance looks like to the other bumble bees when a beetle wants to play with them.  Iris the Beetle wants to play with the bees so badly, she attempts to disguise herself as a bee so they will accept her.  However, because beetles are larger than bees, she ends up being called “Beezilla” by the other bees.  Although her friends refused, Priscilla still welcomes Iris to play.  She doesn’t judge Iris and encourages her to “bee” herself.  Iris washes away her disguise and enjoys being with her new friends.  I love how this book not only encourages children to accept and be who they are, but it also leads them to be accepting of those who are different from them.

In Princess Priscilla and the Bully-Bee Day, Priscilla wakes up in a bad mood and spends the day disrespecting her classmates and wanting everything her way.  As the day progresses, none of the other bees want to play with her and they say she’s a “Bully-Bee.”  Her mom, the Queen, reminds her that “hurtful words sting” and as a princess, she needs to use her words for good.  The next day she apologizes and feels much better using words that are “sweet like honey.”  I love that this book includes discussion questions and reproducible activities at the end.  It also includes a list of social skills to teach with the story including taking turns, being a friend, making an apology, accepting an apology, reporting bully-bee behaviors, asking for help and accepting “no.”

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The fourth book is called Julia Morphs and Learns to Accept Herself  by Rosalinde Block.  This book is just right for young girls needing a boost to their self-esteem.  This story is all about self-acceptance and illustrates an excellent example of how to appreciate who you are regardless of what you look like.  Julia compares herself to her best friend Abena who is a slender rabbit.  She summons the “wishing fairy” and asks to become a rabbit.  Her wish is granted, but it doesn’t take long before Julia is faced with the challenges of her new self.  She could no longer fit her clothes and her classmates were scared when they realized the new little rabbit was in fact Julia.  As her day continued to go downhill, she was reminded by Abena that everyone has their own strengths.  Abena told Julia all of the things she does so well, and Julia decides to summon the wishing fairy once more.  She feels much better when she wakes in the morning, back to her normal size and feeling “peaceful and very wise.”  I love how this book demonstrates how important it is to accept your own uniqueness.

These stories can be used for classroom lessons, small groups or with individual students.  I’m glad to have them as part of my collection!

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.  Additionally, I do giveaways through My Facebook Page with my new products.  Be sure to like Savvy School Counselor on Facebook and click to receive notifications so you don’t miss them!


Savvy Guest Blogger: Student Bullying Report Form

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Savvy Guest BloggerI am excited to welcome Laura Smestad from The School Counselor Life Blog as a Savvy Guest Blogger today. I’m sure you will find this post useful.

Bullying is a buzzword among parents, students and teachers today. While awareness of bullying is a good thing, quite often it is confused with normal peer conflict, leaving us as counselors to educate others on what is bullying and what is not.

My students are able to differentiate between bullying and meanness quickly and soundly when I am presenting a lesson on the subject; however, once they are involved in a peer conflict situation that hurts their feelings, they seem to forget the differences. As a result, I created a Student Bullying Report Form that I use with any student who comes to me with a bullying claim.

I guide the student through the form as a way to gather more information (and to assess if it is truly a bullying situation I am dealing with), but the main purpose of this form for me is to help the students understand if they are talking about bullying or peer conflict.

The student completing the form writes his or her name, the name of the alleged bully, examples of the bullying behavior, and locations where that behavior takes place (I help my younger students write when needed).

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Then, there are a series of questions to which the student must answer yes or no. These are the questions:
1. Has this happened more than once? (If yes, how often? ____)
2. Are you friends with this person?
3. Do you often choose to be around this person?
4. Do you believe this person has more power than you? (If yes, how? _______)
5. Bullying is defined as “unwanted aggressive behavior that is repeated over time and involves an imbalance in power.” Based on this definition, do you believe the student you named is truly bullying you?

After the student is finished completing the form, we talk about the answers. Many times, my students who come in saying they are being bullied indicate that it has not happened more than once, that they are friends with the person and choose to be around him/her, that they do not believe the person has more power, and that no, they do not believe they are being bullied based on the definition given. In those cases, I take the opportunity to do some psycho-education on true bullying and remind them of the bullying vs. meanness lessons I presented to their class. Then, we work together to develop solutions to the conflict, and I teach some resolution and communication skills.

If a student marks off multiple indicators of bullying, I remind them that I have to tell another adult if someone is in danger (such as someone being bullied). At the bottom of the form is the following statement: “I have been honest in answering this form. I understand that in a true bullying situation, the school counselor cannot keep private what I have told her, and she will likely bring this to the attention of the principal and assistant principal.” The student then signs the form, and I bring the situation to my principal and assistant principal as part of our school bullying protocol.

Overall, this form has helped me further educate students on what is and is not bullying, while giving me a tool to better assess for a bullying situation. Visit my TPT store to download my Student Bullying Report Form for FREE.

Laura Smestad, M.A., LPC, NCC is an elementary and middle school counselor in New Orleans, LA. She is the creator of The School Counselor Life Blog, which is designed as a resource to other school counselors looking for individual and small group counseling ideas, classroom lessons, organization tips and all things school counseling.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates and newsletters.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.  Additionally, I do giveaways through My Facebook Page with my new products.  Be sure to like Savvy School Counselor on Facebook and click to receive notifications so you don’t miss them!


Online Counseling Programs Article

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I recently wrote an article for Online Counseling Programs.  The title is 5 Strategies for a Successful School Counseling Internship.  Please check it out and share it with the school counselor interns in your life.

I’m excited to welcome a new school counselor intern to work with me this fall.  My intern from last year just got her first school counseling job in my school district and another former intern is now a part time counselor at my school this year.  After doing everything solo for the last 12 years, I am super excited to have a partner to work with.

Today, I am back at work and ready to begin a new and exciting school year.  Once I get used to the early hours everyday again, I’ll be just fine. :o)

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates and newsletters.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.  Additionally, I do giveaways through My Facebook Page with my new products.  Be sure to like Savvy School Counselor on Facebook and click to receive notifications so you don’t miss them!

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Be Wall – Collage Frame

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BeCollageI few years ago, I put a Be Wall display on a wall outside my school counseling office.  As paper taped to a wall usually does, the ends began to curl.  I went behind each piece with hot glue.  It looked okay for just a little while longer, but it is time to retire it.  I wrote about my display in a School Counseling Office Updates post.  The idea originated from the Entirely Elementary…School Counseling blog, and Susan Fuller generously provided links to all of the words and signs for her followers.  I really love the idea, so this time I decided to create for a 4×6 collage picture frame to go in my office.  With the frame, the ends won’t curl up and should only need a little dusting from time to time.  I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I can’t wait to hang it in my office this week when I return to work on Friday.

I purchased the 20×48 frame from Walmart.  It was $19.98 and displays twenty-one 4×6 photos.  I created word cards with 20 of the words.  I used the sheets with the generic photos that come with the frame to position and glue my word cards on, put them back in and my new Be Wall  Be Collage Frame was complete.

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Click the following link to download the words I made for my collage frame:  Be Collage Frame Word Cards

You can use the words in any frames that hold 4×6 pictures.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates and newsletters.  You can also follow my TpT Store to keep up with my latest products and freebies.  Additionally, I do giveaways through My Facebook Page with my new products.  Be sure to like Savvy School Counselor on Facebook and click to receive notifications so you don’t miss them!