College and Career Readiness

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If there is one area I want to see grow in my school counseling program, it is college and career readiness.  Today, I am sharing a great resource and a bulletin board idea.

First, I want to share a book from Youthlight.  Lisa King authored a great resource called How to Create a College Day.  It was created specifically for grades 3-8 so it can be used by both elementary and middle school counselors.

College and Career Readiness - Savvy School CounselorThis resource includes a CD.  It provides a timeline for creating a college day along with lesson plans and activities.  It also includes ideas for bulletin boards and decorations.  Letter templates and forms are already created for you, and the CD includes powerpoints for both a classroom lesson and a stakeholder’s presentation.

A Pre/Post Test is included for gathering data.  There is also a list of suggested speakers for the event.

I like the idea of students “choosing courses” which is how they determine which speakers they would like to hear.  I also like the college day lunch idea where students invite a family member who attended or attends college to come have lunch.  Everyone is encouraged to wear their respective college gear.

There are so many great ideas:  craft activities, reproducible sheets, door decorating ideas and college readiness articles.  I believe the ideas in this book could also be used when planning a career day.

If you are planning a college day or college week at your school, this book is an excellent resource and a great guide.  I am so excited to use it!

Bulletin Board

College and Career Readiness - Savvy School Counselor

This bulletin board is a display I plan to change at different points throughout the school year.  I got the idea from a school counselor I follow on twitter.  (@LFESCounselor)  She created a board similar to this at her school that she changes weekly.  Be sure to check her out on Twitter.  She shares lots of great pictures and ideas from her program.  My time always tends to get away from me, so I named my board “College and Career Spotlight” so I wouldn’t keep missing a weekly deadline…lol.  (Note to self…It’s time to change the board!)  I think it’s been well received.  I started by creating and sending a google form requesting the names of colleges and universities attended by our staff.  The colleges I spotlight will come from that list.  On the right side, I will focus on an individual career cluster.  Once the new school year begins, I’ll be more likely to get through all sixteen clusters.  Hopefully I’ll get through several some a few before the end of the school year. (Where does the time go?  I don’t know how @LFESCounselor does it! lol)

Another way the staff at my school promotes college awareness is by wearing college gear on the last Friday of every month.

Be sure to check out my career products in my store.

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It’s a Cyber Smile Sale!

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Tomorrow is Cyber Monday!  So the Savvy School Counselor Store is participating in the Teachers pay Teachers Site-wide sale.  The sale begins tonight at 12:01 A.M. (November 30) and will run until 11:59 P.M. on Tuesday, December 1. During those two days, you can save 28% on all items in my store.  All you need to do is use the Promo Code: SMILE for the complete discount.  These discounts will be in addition to my already discounted combo and bundled packs.

Just click the photo above to visit my store!

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.


Teaching Good Study Habits

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Learn about this study skills resource, STEP UP to Better Grades, by Robin Zorn. - Savvy School CounselorDon’t you just love when you choose a school counseling resource online and SCORE!?  Well, let me tell you about another resource from Youthlight that you should consider adding to your collection of resources.  STEP UP to Better Grades was created by Robin Zorn, the 2014 School Counselor of the Year.  As soon as I began looking through the book at the lessons and all of the activity options included, I began to think of so many ways to use this resource.  Let me tell you more about it.

The book includes a CD with all of the activities and games along with PowerPoints and letters for parents.  Pre- and Post-Tests are also included.  There are core lessons for each study habit and 66 additional extension activities.

Each letter in STEP UP represents a different study habit.

  • S is for Space:  This section focuses on making a suitable work space at home similar to the work space at school.
  • T is for Tools:  This section discusses the necessary tools students need to stay organized such as agendas, keeping back packs and desks neat and in order and creating a schedule.
  • E is for Ending:  Ending focuses on goal setting and prioritizing.  Setting and meeting goals will help students feel successful with their learning.
  • P is for Pay Attention:  The activities involve different ways for students to practice staying focused by challenging students using memory activities.
  • U is for Understand Directions:  This section provides a variety of activities for students to practice following verbal and written directions.
  • P is for Practice:  This area provides ideas students can use to help them remember and learn information by first discovering their learning style and then by learning helpful techniques such as using mnemonics.

One thing I really like about the activities in this book is that most learning styles can benefit from the activities.  Many of the these lessons really get the students involved and moving or using their hands.  That alone is exciting to me, because I believe it’s so important to reach as many learning styles as possible during my lessons.

Another great thing about this book is that it incorporates ASCA standards.  The standards addressed are included in a document on the CD.

Finally, I love how Robin provides activities that tie good study habits to career development.

Like I said before, there are so many ways this book can be used.  The activities may be used for classroom counseling lessons, small groups or individual counseling sessions.  I’m always excited to find new ways to spice up my school counseling program.

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.


Teaching Social Skills

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Social SuccessI recently acquired a wonderful new resource from Youthlight, Inc. that’s already a “go to” for my school counseling program.  It’s called First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn and is for grades K-6.  Whenever new school counselors ask me what resources I recommend, I always suggest resources by Diane Senn.  I believe I have at least 90% of the resources she has produced.  This latest book does not disappoint!  We’ve just completed our fourth week of school, and I am already excited about using this book in my program.

I often hear from my administration and staff about students needing improvement with social skills.  There are so many different skills that fall under the “Social Skills” umbrella.  Counseling sessions and groups really need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of the student(s).  First Steps to Social Success is a great way to determine exactly what the student needs.

I am already using it with a couple of my individual sessions this year.  It comes with a CD which includes printable handouts and interactive review lessons.  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I previewed the interactive lessons.  I already have and use both volumes of Smart Guidance Multi-Topic Lessons, which are interactive Smart Board lessons, and the children really enjoy them.  The interactive lessons on this First Steps to Social Success CD are excellent ways to reinforce each topic and are sure to make your lessons fun, creative and grab the attention of your students.  This resource may be used with individuals, groups or classes.

First Steps to Social Success includes a Pre/Post Social Skills Assessment which addresses each of the topics included in the book.  The same assessment may be used for school personnel, parents or as a self-assessment for your older students.  The person completing the assessment ranks each skill as either a mastered skill, an emerging skill or a deficit skill.  As with any good pre-assessment, it helps you determine exactly how to approach each individual case.  If you find that several students are emerging or deficit in similar areas, a small group may be formed.

The following topics are included in this resource:

Section 1:  Knowing Myself First – This section is said to be a prerequisite of social skills that reviews skills that are necessary to master before interaction with others.  In these six lessons, students focus on appreciating and valuing themselves, understanding they have control over their thinking and actions and respecting and appreciating the differences in others.

Knowing Myself First - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

Section 2:  Initiating With Friends – The five lessons in this section help students learn to successfully initiate and connect with others to build new relationships.  Lessons focus on body language and facial expressions, finding common interests, starting conversations and personal space.

Initiating With Others - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

Section 3:  Learning Conversation Skills – This section has seven lessons that help students learn to maintain a conversation.  They learn that conversations should be shared, practice “listening” body signals and words, learn friendly voice tone and how to stay on topic.

Learning Conversation Skills - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

Section 4:  Reading Social Cues – The last seven lessons center around reading others’ social cues.  Therefore, the lessons focus on feelings, correctly identifying feelings, observing and processing others’ body language and responding to other people and their feelings.

Reading Social Cues - First Steps to Social Success by Diane Senn (Youthlight, Inc.)

The written and hands-on activities throughout the book are both relevant and well thought through.  Along with the interactive review lessons on the CD are graphic cue cards.  There are 25 social skills lessons in all.  There is also a student assignment form and parent/teacher reinforcement form that can be used to help students continue to practice the skills outside of the individual sessions or groups.

I truly believe I am just scratching the surface with what I can do with this resource.  If you can’t get this resource now, I encourage you to put it on your school counselor wish list.

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.


One Day Sale

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A one day site-wide TpT sale  will begin at midnight tonight:  August 19th.   For one day, you can save 28% on all items in my store and most other stores on TpT.  All you need to do is use the Promo Code:  MORE15 for the complete discount.

Just click the photo above to visit my store!

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.


Back to School Staff Gift

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Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School CounselorDo any of you school counselors like to get in touch with your crafty side?  I do!  I spent the beginning of the summer preparing bottle cap magnets as Fish Extender gifts for friends on the Disney Cruise I was taking.  During that time, I had an idea to use my school’s mascot image (created by the husband of one of my co-workers – Tony Nichols) to create these cute welcome back gifts for the staff at my school.  I really wanted to have this idea published before I set sail a couple of weeks ago, but time got away from me.  If it’s too late for you to make these now, you could always make them for National School Counselor week.

So, I want to tell you the materials I used and the steps I took to make them.

When I first researched how to make them, most sites suggested using resin.  When I visited Michael’s the first time and inquired about the resin, the sales person suggested I use another product that really made the whole process A LOT easier for me than I first expected.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Materials Needed:

bottle caps (I ordered my bottle caps from BottleCapCo.com in my school’s colors)

1 inch images (Printed on cardstock)

1 inch circle punch

Mod Podge  Dimensional Magic (Clear)

Mod Podge Glue and Sealer (Gloss)

Small paint brush

3×5 Plastic Baggies

Magnets (I used Tacky Magnetic Adhesive Dots)

First, you need to decide on the image you want to use and make it small enough to fit inside of a one inch circle.  I used two of our schools mascot images and copied about twenty-five of each on one page.  I cut them out in strips of five and used a one inch circle punch to make all of the inserts for my bottle caps.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School CounselorBack to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I used the Mod Podge Glue and Sealer.  I used my paint brush to put some inside of the bottle cap first.  I glued one picture inside the bottle cap.  I used more Mod Podge to seal the picture into the bottle cap using the paint brush.  It’s a good idea to let them sit for awhile to dry.  Overnight is a good amount of time to make sure everything is sealed.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

Once the bottle caps are dry, squeeze in the Dimensional Magic.  I use enough to completely cover the picture.  You do not need to fill the entire bottle cap.  Once this step is done, they will need to sit for at least 24 hours to make sure they are completely dry and ready.  You’ll know when they are ready because they will be nice and clear instead of cloudy.

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

Once the Mod Podge is completely dry on the inside of the bottle cap, attach an adhesive magnet dot to the back of the magnet and it is finished!

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

I made cards that would fit inside of the baggies.  The card has the name of our school at the top.  On the bottom it says, “This bottle cap magnet was made especially for you by (your name) – school counselor.  Here’s to a GREAT school year!” I used a small piece of tape to attach the magnet to the card.  Now they are ready for me to place in the boxes of my staff members for our first workday.  I really hope they like them!

Back to School Staff Gift - Savvy School Counselor

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.