School Counseling Linky Party 2013

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Linky Party

I’m excited to join Marissa Rex of Elementary School for her 2013 School Counseling Linky Party!  Per her instructions, I have listed my best blog feature, my favorite blog post, my most popular blog post, and my top 5 school counseling blogs I follow.


Best Blog Feature

National Boards Support from Savvy School CounselorWhile pursuing National Board certification in 2008-09, I had a very difficult time finding support specific to school counselors.  I was able to find little tidbits here and there, but most of what I found was pretty general or just for teachers.  When I decided to create Savvy School Counselor, including NBPTS support for school counselors was one of my main focuses.  The process can be so overwhelming.  So, I have included a page on my blog with posts that break down the process for school counselors.  I am very happy to have found a way to help others on their NBPTS journey.  You can check out all of my NBPTS posts by clicking here.


Favorite Blog Post


Lunch Bunch Anyone?I conduct Lunch Bunch groups regularly at my school.  It is a time for me to work with and get to know more of the students at my school who may not otherwise attend a regular small group.  It allows me to tackle several topics throughout the school year.  It also gives me an opportunity to highlight good behavior.  Lunch Bunch Anyone? is a series of posts that I will continue to write that share how I conduct the group sessions along with some activities I use.



Most Popular Blog Post

Test Taking Foldable


With over 20,500 views to date, my most popular blog post is 8 Tips New Test Takers Should Know.  This was one of my first blog posts when I launched back in late April of 2012.  I was amazed at how many people like this idea. I believe it remains my most popular post because it wasn’t just something school counselors could utilize.  Many who pinned this on Pinterest are teachers.



Top 5 Blogs

Just look at the “My Favorites” page to see my top five blogs.  Although I will be “spotting” some of my other favorites in the new year, I took the time in 2012 to highlight the following five blogs:

Elementary School Counseling

 JYJ Counselor


Corner on Character

 School Counselor Blog

School Counseling By HeartSchool Counseling By Heart


How to Participate

Create a blog post titled “School Counseling Linky Party 2013.”
Place the Linky Party logo (above) in your post.
Answer the questions (above).
Submit your blog post link to Elementary School Counseling. Be sure to link to the actual post, not your homepage.

National Boards: Entry 2- Exploring Career Development

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National Boards Entry 2School counselors must deliver a classroom lesson about career development for the second entry for NBPTS.  This entry requires a video segment that is not to exceed 15 minutes.  You can read Pointers for Videos if you need to know more about what is expected.

Nine of the standards must be represented in Entry 2.  I explained how to incorporate the standards into your writing in my post Planning for Entry 1.  Doing this is important so be sure to refer back to that post if you still are not clear about how to do it.

Entry 2 requirements include a maximum of twelve pages of written commentary, the video recording I mentioned earlier, and a maximum of seven instructional materials related to the lesson.  Find a classroom teacher who is willing to allow you to use his or her class for the purposes of this entry.  Send the required student release forms home with students in advance.  You will want to know who does and does not have permission to be featured in your video recording.  Once you know this, you can create a seating arrangement that allows students without video permission to sit in an area behind the camera and still participate in the lesson.  These students can still answer questions and be heard during your recording.

As you begin to think about the lesson you will present to your students, be sure to include the following points as stated by NBPTS:

  •  show your ability to explain and illustrate an important career development topic;
  • actively involve and engage the students;
  • focus on concepts and problems that are challenging and appropriate for the class;
  • engage students in critical thinking and problem solving; and
  • show your ability to use appropriate technology to enhance student learning of the career development topic.

My advice is to be creative.  Look for several career lesson ideas and activities and use them to create a lesson that addresses each of these areas.  Just finding a career lesson from a book on your shelf isn’t enough.  Think about what you are being asked to demonstrate and create a plan to do just that. To create my lesson, I read through each of the questions for the written commentary and listed parts of questions I would have to answer.  Examples include:

  • Student competencies you plan to address
  • Traditional and nontraditional careers
  • Community involvement
  • Video:  Determine students’ comprehension of the concepts associated with the understanding of the career development topic.
  • Video:  How will you provide constructive feedback?  (You will need to include your response(s) to students’ questions.)
  • Video:  How will you demonstrate fairness, equity, and access for all students during your lesson?
  • Video:  How will you use technology?
  • Video:  Show two different student interactions during the lesson where they are engaged in active problem solving or critical thinking.

In 2008, I used Paws in Jobland to incorporate technology into my lesson.  At the time, our classrooms did not have smart boards or iPads like we do today.  So, I used an aver key and connected my laptop to the television in order to share that portion of the lesson with the entire class.  Your entry isn’t all about the technology, you just need to show evidence of how you included it during your lesson.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with this piece of the entry.  Just be sure to show some form of it during your video recording.

Also, be sure to think about the career theorist(s) your lesson is based on and be ready to explain how the theory(ies) guided your lesson.

The instructional materials you are required to submit must relate to your video recording.  The materials are not limited to worksheets.  They can include screen shots from websites you used or Power Point presentations.  Your candidate ID number must be present on each page, and pages should be sequentially numbered.  Make sure your content is on one side of each page.  If you use both sides, it is considered to be two pages.  If you use student work samples, make sure names are not included.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Let me know if you have any further questions about Entry 2.

Weird!- A Bullying Victim’s Perspective

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My major focus in my school counseling program this school year has been on bullying.  I have had extensive conversations with my fourth and fifth grade friends especially.

This month, I’m using the book Weird! from the Weird Series with my fourth graders. This series is written by Erin Frankel.  Weird! is one of three books in the series which focuses on the victim’s perspective.  The other books, Dare! and Tough! focus on the bystander’s and bully’s viewpoints respectively.  Each book includes notes from the main character along with activities and reflection questions.

Weird! is about a girl named Luisa.  Sam, from the Tough! book, says everything Luisa does is “weird.”  Luisa goes on to give several examples of the things Sam considers “weird.”  This affects her so much, she begins to change and stops being herself.  She stops telling funny jokes and decides to stop wearing her favorite polka dot boots. If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll notice Jayla from the Dare! book.  She doesn’t like how Sam treats Luisa.  Soon, Luisa decides she must change her way of thinking.  She went back to being herself no matter what Sam said about her, and she acted like she didn’t care.  She soon noticed that Sam began to leave her alone.

I decided to use the activity “Recycle Your Thoughts” from Luisa’s Confidence Club at the end of the book.  Students cut out eight circles, or polka dots.  I  pre-cut several colorful circles from construction paper and made plain, white dots on regular paper.  On four of the dots, students may write some of Luisa’s negative thoughts or some of their own.  I made the white dots for this purpose.  On the other four colorful dots, the students change their negative thoughts into positive ones.  They may also decorate them.


I like that this activity has the students crinkle up the negative dots and symbolically toss them into the recycling bin.  They may then keep their positive dots to decorate a notebook or to hang on the wall in their bedrooms.  They can also tape these dots to their bathroom mirror where they can read these positive affirmations each day.

Stick around!  You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  As always, I’d love to hear from you!  Have you used the Weird Series in your school counseling program?  What activities for this book have you used with your students?