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)

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College Planning Calendar Infographic

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This college planning infographic was recently shared with me, and I wanted to share it with you.  This is a great tool, especially for secondary school counselors and even middle school counselors to use with transitioning eighth graders.

To visit the webpage, Click Here ——>  Complete College Planning Calendar, or click the infographic.

College Planning Guide
Source: Online College

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Periscope Interest Survey

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So…this school counselor is nervously contemplating testing the waters of Periscope.  When I tell you I’m a bundle of nerves thinking about it, that’s an understatement.  However, I think it’s a great way to connect with followers, share ideas and learn as well.

So, I need you to do a couple of things for me:

  1.  Please follow me on Periscope.  My user name is @SvySchCounselor.  Periscope is a free app for IOS and Android.  I had to google “periscope app” when I wanted to download it onto my iPad. I’m not sure if that is still the case.  I was able to find it in the Google Play Store on my Android device.  You’ll need to have a twitter account to create your Periscope account as Twitter is the parent to Periscope.
  2.  Please take this quick survey telling me what kinds of content you’d like to see on a Savvy School Counselor Scope.

  Click Here for Survey!!!

As I work to overcome my fear of pushing the broadcast button… I’ll use your feedback as a guide for mapping my way and helping me decide if I want to go for it.  Also, if you’re a school counselor who Scopes, please let me know so I can follow you.

Thanks for your help!

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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 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

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Savvy Guest Blogger: Carol Ekster

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Guest Blogger: Carol Ekster - Savvy School CounselorI taught fourth grade for 35 years. I remember delighting in the times when the guidance counselor came into my room and gave a whole class lesson. Classroom teachers are overwhelmed with curriculum, tests, and the weighty responsibility of educating children today. Counselors are trained to be able to handle certain topics sensitively. Making a schedule to visit different grades at different times during the year is a win-win situation.  And here’s one perfect lesson that is needed by most students…one dealing with divorce. If a child’s family isn’t divorced, then they have a friend whose parents are separated or divorced.

Begin by reading the book, Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?-(A Story of Divorce), Carol Gordon Ekster, Boulden Publishing, 2008.  A good read aloud is a fabulous way to introduce any topic. It reinforces language skills and models good writing as well as dealing with the issue you want to bring to the students.

Guest Blogger: Carol Ekster - Savvy School Counselor

You can ask for responses to the story and see what the children reacted to. Ask questions about divorce and why it’s difficult for children.  Those children with parents living together will gain empathy for those in a divorce situation. Those children from divorced parents will know they are not alone.

You can do a follow-up activity relating to goals. Teaching children goals is a way to help them achieve success. Have students write, illustrate, or discuss goals they want to set and how they can meet that goal.

You can also enlist the classroom teacher to help with an art project. Tell the children that in the story Mark was learning to be responsible. That’s a positive character trait.  Draw students’ silhouettes on large white construction paper, using an overhead, and inside the silhouette, have students list their positive traits from A-Z.  (Of course, a rough draft of the traits should be done first, using a dictionary whether on-line or hand-held, in class or assigned for homework.) Cut out the silhouette and place on a background of black construction paper, each child titling it, __(Student Name)_______from A-Z. This makes a beautiful display.  And if you’re a counselor who does not do whole class lessons, try having small divorce groups in your office.

Guest Blogger: Carol Ekster - Savvy School Counselor

Carol Gordon Ekster taught for 35 years and became a children’s author at the end of that career. She now does daily yoga and works on her writing, happy to be able to continue communicating with children.

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Thanks for your guest post, Carol.  Thanks also for providing copies of your book, Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? for two winners!  This giveaway will run through Wednesday, March 25, at 12:00 A.M.. EST.

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School Counseling Group: Attendance Matters

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Attendance Group - Savvy School CounselorIn my school counseling program, I have enjoyed doing attendance small group sessions.  My students have really enjoyed the activities and seem to get the big picture of why regular school attendance is so important.

The small group meets six times.  Each year, I use attendance data to form the group and include it as part of my ASCA National Model Plan for the school year.  For the past two years, I’ve worked with third graders.  The selected students usually have 15+ absences from the previous school year.

During our first session, the students brainstorm reasons why school attendance matters.  This year, I had them brainstorm on their own sheets first.  I used discussion cards to help students who couldn’t think of enough ideas for their sheets.  While we discussed the different ideas, they were free to add them to their own lists.  We concluded by filling in the bubble chart together.

Session one- School Attendance Matters Group - Savvy School Counselor

For the second session, the students made a foldable.  Inside, they wrote about Responsible Routines. After assembling the foldable with the labels, they wrote under each flap giving responsible routines for the morning, after school and at night.  This includes routines such as waking up on time to get to school, having everything ready for the next day the night before and going to bed at a decent hour.

Responsible Routines Foldable - Attendance Matters - Savvy School Counselor

When we met for the third session, the students watched two videos about the importance of school attendance.   One video is an attendance rap and the other shows the staff at a school, along with students, talking about different reasons why it’s important to attend school regularly.  While watching, they write points from the videos that stand out to them. Afterwards, the group members share their notes. Next, we begin making  a fortune teller using information shared by the group along with the brainstorming sheets from the first session.



Our fourth session involves finishing the fortune tellers and completing the  “Set the Scene” activity.  “Set the Scene” allows us to discuss the path from good attendance in school to a career.  The students cut out, sequence and glue six strips in order and illustrate each on the filmstrip sheet.

Attendance Fortune Teller- Savvy School Counselor

Attendance Fortune Teller - Savvy School Counselor

"Set the Scene" - School Attendance Matters - Savvy School Counselor

During the fifth session, we play an attendance board game.  This game  includes questions about the information from the first four sessions. If there are any activities that students need to finish from previous meetings, time is allowed during this session.

When we meet for our final session, we play Roll and Respond.  Students roll a die and respond to sentence starters about attendance. Before leaving, they complete an exit ticket which reflects what they’ve learned during the small group.  They take all of their completed activities with them to share with their teachers and families.  

After we have completed the small group, I continue to keep up with the attendance patterns of each of the students when I meet monthly with the attendance committee at my school.  I will also meet again with the students to review what was learned in our small group.  Individual sessions are held with students who continue to have attendance concerns.  The good news:  This year’s attendance data for the group is looking good and is much better than what they ended the school year with last year!

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