National Boards: Documented Accomplishments

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Documented accomplishments are the focus of Entry 4.  In my last NBPTS post, Connecting Entries to Standards, I shared that there are specific school counseling standards for each portfolio entry.  Entry 4 requires you to review standards I, VII, X, and XI.  As mentioned in the previous post, this entry highlights your involvement with the families of students as well as the community.  You will also need to show how you are a learner as well as a leader/collaborator.  With this entry, you can showcase things you do that go beyond what’s expected.  You will be allowed to submit a maximum of 16 pages of documentation to support your accomplishments.

Entry 4 is a good entry to begin working on over the summer. Begin by making a list of school-wide events you coordinate in your school counseling program. Also, think of any teams or committees you are an integral part of as well as any staff development you’ve benefited from. Some examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Career Fairs
  • Hosting a Counseling Intern
  • Local, State, or National Conferences/Workshops
  • Middle School Transition Night for Parents
  • Student Support Team
  • School-wide Character Education Events
  • Special Parent Outreach Sessions (ie. Improving student attendance)

For each item on your list, you’ll need to ask yourself:  Was I a partner with families and the community?  Was I a learner?  Was I a leader/collaborator?  You’ll want to make sure you have at least one accomplishment that demonstrates each area.  It is possible that one accomplishment will demonstrate all three areas which is fine. You can have up to 8 documented accomplishments.  However, you are limited to 10 pages maximum for your writing.  Believe me, you’ll wish you had more than 10 pages after you begin writing. Personally, I only focused on four accomplishments.

It is important to note the following:  In the area of partnering with families and the community, the accomplishment(s) will have to take place during the current school year.  The other two areas show your development as a learner and leader/collaborator.  These two areas can go back no more than five years.  For example, a career fair demonstrates your partnering with families and the community.  You’ll have to host the event during the current school year and show evidence of the event.  You’ve demonstrated your  work as a leader if you hosted a counselor intern anytime over the last five years.

If you have printed the portfolio instructions, you will find a categories chart in the Entry 4 section. (page 45- written as 2-39 on the bottom)  This is great to use as you are determining which accomplishments to include.  It helps you to think about each area as you list the activity, the significance of the activity, the impact the activity had on student learning, how it improved your school counseling program, and what documentation you have to show evidence.  It states on the bottom of this chart, “Some activities in which all counselors must engage may not make the best examples of accomplishments for this entry unless you perform them in a way or to a degree that makes them very effective in promoting students’ learning and improving your school counseling program.”  This is so true, and completing this chart helped me to weed out some of the items on my list.

Stick around!  I’ll discuss more about Entry 4 in my next NBPTS post.  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!


Great iPad App for School Counselors

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Our school recently received a grant which gave us 180 iPads!  So, I have been on the lookout for iPad apps to use for my school counseling program. I came across an iPad app today that can be used for classroom guidance, small groups, or individual counseling sessions. It’s called “Feel Electric” and is an Electric Company app created by Sesame Street.  I really like the fact that this app is all about feelings.  There are four areas of play:  My Life, My Games, My Stuff, and What’s the Word.

To start, users are able to choose three feeling words for the “Today I feel…” section.  There are several feeling words to choose from.  If you don’t know what the word means, you can tap the word and the definition is read aloud for you.  The definition is accompanied by a picture of Danny or Jessica showing the feeling face.  You can choose three words to describe how you are feeling today.





My Life

The My Life section features “Mood Dude” whose arms, eyebrows, eyes, and mouth can be changed to illustrate your mood.  It’s a very cute feature.

Also featured are Mood Tales.  Here, you select various words to complete a mood story.  If you’ve ever done a Mad Libs story, this is very similar.  After choosing all of the words, the story is read aloud for you using the words you chose.






Clicking “Moodosphere” will show your mood on the map.  After choosing feelings associated with anger, my mood map showed lightening bolts.  Clicking edit allows you to choose new feeling words.  The “weather outlook” changes on my map after choosing the feelings cheerful, brave, and proud.






My Games

There are three games included:  Pets vs. Monsters, Prankster Madness, and Hey You Guys…Catch!  Each one involves matching a feeling word to the feeling face by either hitting it with a bat, catching it while riding a skateboard, or launching it across a field to hit the matching target.

 My Stuff

My stuff includes pictures, music, and videos.  Students can take pictures and add them to the device.  They can decorate the picture with stickers that say how the picture makes them feel.  There are several pictures of different Electric Company scenes to use.  Mood dude pictures also show up in the My Stuff section as well.

The music and video sections includes a few Electric Company songs and videos.  You can also add you own songs and videos to the device.





What’s the Word?

On the bottom right side of the screen is “What’s the Word?”  If you tap it, all of the feeling words and faces will come up.  You can tap the feeling word you want to hear the definition of.

To encourage users to keep learning new words, the app gives points for just about every action you do while playing.  This includes five points every time you listen to the definition of a word in the “What’s the Word?” section.

There you have it!  I look forward to using this app with students at my school.  Students are able to look (visual), listen (auditory), and do something (kinesthetic) thus meeting the needs of the three learning styles.  As of today, this app is FREE!

How do you use iPads in your school counseling program?

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Magical School Counseling Giveaway

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If you ever want to amaze a room full of little ones, add a little magic to your school counseling program.  Now, I’m not a big time magician or anything.  I just like to do a little “magic” every now and then to add a little excitement to the end of my classroom guidance lesson.  I’ve only done my little tricks for my Kindergarten and first grade friends so far.  I bought a kit called Magic Mix.  It comes with multiples of several small, simple magic tricks.  Each trick comes with a list of easy-to-follow  instructions.

Magic Changing Color Case

The first one I ever tried involved turning a red dot into a green dot (or vice versa).  The trick is to turn the slide so that you insert the opposite end back into the case.  A special opening on the bottom pushes the red or green dot to the center.  The students are always so amazed.  I’ve done this one during my first guidance lesson with new Kindergarten friends.  Add a jellybean friend and a character song to this magic trick, and the school counselor is an instant hit! 🙂





Magic Drawer

The next trick is making a penny disappear.  I’ve used this with first graders and they are always left wondering how in the world I did it!  The trick is a small slide on the opposite end of the drawer side.  Push it out just a bit, and only the outer part of the drawer will come back out.





Magic Imp Bottle

I’ve practiced this one but still have not used it during a guidance lesson or small group yet.  When you first show the kids the bottle, it will remain on it’s side.  When you give a student a chance to make it remain on it’s side, the bottle refuses to lie down.  The trick is the secret counterweight inside the bottle.  Two imp bottles are necessary for this trick so the counselor can pull another out of a pocket and, again, make it remain on it’s side.






Lesson Ideas

This box of tricks comes with a booklet containing lessons school counselors can use with each trick.  The Magic Changing Color case can be used to show how school counselors can help kids make a “change.”  The Magic Drawer shows how to make disappointments vanish.  The Imp Bottle can be used to show self-confidence or standing up for yourself.  See the complete list of lesson ideas here along with a sample lesson for the Magic Changing Color Case on Youthlight’s website.

I still need to practice the others before I use them, but I’m looking forward to it.

There are ten individual tricks.  The box contains some duplicates of each trick.  This means I have enough to share a set of 10 tricks!  Yes, it’s my first GIVEAWAY!  So take a moment and enter using the Rafflecopter widget below before Monday, May 28, at Midnight. (Eastern Time)  There are several ways to enter.  You will receive three entries for subscribing for email updates and three for liking Savvy School Counselor on Facebook.  One entry is given for following Savvy School Counselor on twitter and one for liking this post on Facebook.

There will be a six pack Character Readers and CD giveaway in June, so be sure to stay tuned!

While you’re here, you may as well subscribe to Savvy School Counselor for free email updates, right? It’s quick, easy, and worth three entries! 🙂  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!

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Look Who’s Been Spotted!- J Y Joyner Counselor

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Want to meet a cool school counselor with awesome ideas?  Look no further! J Y Joyner Counselor is a wonderful school counseling blog authored by Andrea Burston.  I consistently visit her blog and learn lots of great ideas each time.  The photographs and videos alone will let you know how much she enjoys the children she works with and her love of school counseling.  I want to take a moment to highlight a few of the things I enjoy about her blog.

  • She is very technologically oriented and gives lots of great information about using technology in your school counseling program.  Be sure to check out her Top 10 iPad Counselor Apps post.  It introduced me to several apps I hadn’t even heard of.  If you look further into her archives, you will find several technology posts.  Just click the word technology in her labels.  You can’t miss it…it’s the biggest word there! She also informed her readers about how to shorten website links for twitter.  I’m so glad because before I joined twitter, I didn’t even know what “” was! 🙂  Also, because of Andrea, I now use Pulse to keep up with my favorite blogs.
  • A terrific idea I came across on Andrea’s blog is hosting a Character Education Night. I loved this idea the first time I read about it.  I like the idea of having a night dedicated to service learning.  This is an excellent opportunity to give the kids the experience of doing things for others out of the goodness of their hearts.  This is one of the big ideas I really want to introduce at my school next year.  Andrea advised me to start small so I  will not get overwhelmed.  Great advice!
  • It never fails.  I go to Andrea’s blog and see posts I just would never have thought of.  She’s very creative and shares so many great tips and suggestions.  One idea that I really like is updating clipboards.  Andrea gives step by step instructions on how to take scrapbook paper and Mod Podge to create this.  How fun is that? I have a crate of twelve brown clipboards that can’t wait for this update.  She’s inspired me to try and tap into my creative side.  I know it’s still in there.  It’s just a little bit dusty.

So there you have it.  Another one of my favorites.  It’s a great blog. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the J Y Joyner Counselor blog today!

You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates!  I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!

Crafty Character Trait Collage

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 I love scrapbooking even though I rarely have time to do it!  When I saw this cool idea on Pinterest a while back, my brain started racing.  How could I use this in my school counseling office?  It wasn’t long before the character traits came to my mind.  I already had the frame sitting in my craft room.  I bought it two years ago and had never put a single picture in it.

Today, I have had a blast cutting paper and using some of my favorite sticker purchases to make this character trait collage to hang in my office.  It was not difficult at all.  Here’s how I did it:

I looked through my tub of scrapbooking paper and found a mini kid’s slab of 6×6 papers.  There were lots of fun patterns to choose from.  Because I was going to add stickers of children on them, I didn’t want the paper choices to be too busy.

After choosing eight patterns, I used my paper cutter and cut each one down to 4×6 which is the size of the frames on the collage.  I ended up having to cut another tiny sliver less to get them to fit in though.





I used my favorite letters, which I can’t seem to find ANYWHERE anymore, to make the character traits on each.  Four of the pictures are vertical and the other four are horizontal.  I added New Kids Stickers by  “me and my BIG ideas” which I have had for so long and never used.





Afterwards, I put them in the frames, and I was very pleased with the results.  I really like that I can display the frame horizontally or vertically.  I’m not sure which one I like best.  Which way do you like it?

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Creating A Plan for Student Success

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iconOrganization plays a vital role in having good study skills .  I incorporate study skills through various ways in my school counseling program.  I was glad when I came across the book Annie’s Plan.  This book helps students take charge of their schoolwork and homework by giving strategies to use at school and home.  Annie is a smart girl, but she sometimes is distracted by all the things going on around her at school.  I love the examples the author, Jeanne Kraus, uses to show different ways Annie gets off task.  I’m sure we’ve all seen students drawing when they should be listening or completing an assignment.  How about the student who can’t focus on his or her own work because they are too busy watching what someone else is doing?  Of course when Annie gets home, she can’t remember what the homework assignment is.  Both her teacher and parents know she is smart enough to do so much better.  Therefore, Annie’s plan was born!

Her teacher created a ten step schoolwork plan and a ten step homework plan.  The school plan included cleaning her desk, the use of a daily planner and setting daily goals. During my lessons, I discussed with students why each of the items on the lists were important.  The students were open to sharing items in which they could improve upon as well.  The homework plan included having a scheduled homework time, taking homework breaks when necessary, and preparing for tomorrow.  Many students affirmed that they learned at least one new strategy and that they would begin to implement those strategies in order to take charge of their schoolwork and homework.

Complete Schoolwork Plan


Complete Homework Plan

I gave each student a handout titled “What’s Your System?” from the book Spectacular Guidance Activities for Kids by Diane Senn.  This activity tied right in with three of the strategies from the book.  The students wrote about their plan for their desk, book bag, and home study area.  On the back, they could also write any other strategies from the book they would like to improve upon.

This is a great book!  I have used it during a fourth grade lunch bunch as well as classroom guidance with my third grade friends. It can be used for individualized counseling as well for students who, like Annie, are capable but just need a plan in place to keep them on track.

ETA (11-2-13):  Last week, I created a new sheet to use with my students.  I included specific areas of improvement from Annie’s Plan.  My third graders did very well using this sheet and it helped our discussion about the importance of using the book’s strategies for school success.  You can download a free copy of the sheet by clicking here:  Annie’s Plan Worksheet.  You may also click the picture below.

Annie's Plan Worksheet

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me!