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).

Student Bullying Report

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.

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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.

www.carolgordonekster.com

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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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Savvy Guest Blogger: School Counselors Rock

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Hi fellow counselors!  I am the author of School Counselors Rock.  I have been a counselor for 14 years and was recently honored by being selected as Elementary School Counselor of the Year for my county.  Even after 14 years, I still love my job and I still get excited about new ideas and resources.  My passion is helping out new, beginning counselors!

I also love FREE resources (who doesn’t right?), and I love resources that my students get excited about.  This past year I used several free, fun resources in classroom guidance that every counselor should know about.  Happy Teaching!!
howardThe first absolutely fabulous site that every counselor should know about is wedolisten.org.  This site has TONS of free resources to go with the Howard B. Wigglebottom books.  You actually don’t even need the books because you can read them online.  The songs to go along with the books are really cute—the kids LOVE them.

simons hook

Another great free resource is the Grandma Rose’s Neighborhood videos on YouTube (1, 2 and 3).   These videos are really cute for 1st and 2nd grade and go along with the book “Simon’s Hook.”  While I love the message in the book, it can get a little wordy for our younger students.  These videos are a great, FREE way to teach the kids the strategies from the book.

pete

If you haven’t come across “Pete the Cat and his White Shoes,” you are missing out.  It is a great resource for teaching about the importance of a good attitude and positive self-talk.  Again you can find FREE resources on the Harper Collins site.  I always use the video on this site for reading the story.  It is much more fun than if I was reading!  Also, you should search for Pete the cat on YouTube.  There are some great videos on there—I love to use THIS video as a fun way to end my lesson.

Please drop by my blog and spend a few minutes getting some new ideas.  And feel free to share some ideas of your own.  Hope to see you soon!

BlogDaisies

Thanks so much, Lisbeth, for sharing these great free online resources.  I look forward to incorporating these into my school counseling program!

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Savvy Guest Blogger: The School Counselor Kind

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Hey there! I’m Kayla, and I’m grateful to be an elementary School Counselor in Maine! Check out my brand new blog: http://theschoolcounselorkind.wordpress.com.

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Splinters: We’ve All Got a Few

My name is Kayla, and I have a few splinters.

It is School Counselor job hunting season! I am lucky to have a position, but I remember all too well my own hunt three short years ago. I hope sharing my story will help others who are currently hunting for their perfect position.

When I was in the biggest job search of my life after completing graduate school, I spent HOURS completing School Counselor and even some Ed. Tech. applications at various schools. This work was tedious and draining. Each time I completed an application, I had feelings of hope that would slowly fade over time from hearing nothing at all or receiving letters of rejection. It was a roller coaster, and it was exhausting. I was building a stack of rejection letters that were rough to read and even touch – I felt like I was failing. All. The. Time.

Finally, after three months and many hours later, I nailed an interview and was hired as a School Counselor in a small school that felt like a great fit for me. My hard work had paid off, and I was so ready to begin my career. Since that interview on that humid day in July, 2010, I have now completed three successful years doing what I love!

Still, it’s important to remember the journey I was on. I kept count, and over the three month period, I completed 15 application procedures, and I was called to interview at only 4 schools; all others, I was rejected. I did the math on this: completing those 15 applications brought me success at a rate of 26.7% in those three months (meaning, I got an interview, at least); this means that I “failed” 73.3% of the time.

The numbers themselves are discouraging to me. But it’s not about that. It’s about the perseverance and resiliency I maintained to eventually reach success. I could have given up after receiving the first few rejection letters; filed them under REJECT or FAILURE and moved on. I didn’t. I stuck with it and tried again, and again, and again, each time getting a few more wounds, each time gaining a little strength. The way I see it is, failing 73.3% of the time doesn’t sound very good, but it’s a lot better than failing 100% of the time because I never tried.

Isn’t there a quote about missing 100% of the shots you don’t take? Yeah, that’s basically what I mean. The rest is just the splinters you have to get to walk your wooden plank and leap. Without a few splinters, it doesn’t mean very much. Remember those splinters – you will heal, and you’ll be a lot more humble.

BlogDaisies

Thank you, Kayla, for this timely advice for those future school counselors who are still in the process of searching for their first jobs.  Congratulations on your new blog!  We look forward to hearing more from you.

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Be My Guest

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Guest Blogger.jpgWell, the past two months have been like a whirl wind!  I thought I’d never get back to blogging!  Now that things are finally slowing down, I want to get back on track.  Of course I’m wishing I was in Philly right now, but previous plans to surprise my daughter with a Walt Disney World Vacation took financial priority.  Now all I can say is:  Orlando or BUST!!  I will be attending the 2014 ASCA Conference in Orlando, Florida.  In the meantime, I’ve got a summer vacation to enjoy and blog posts to write!

I mentioned on my Blogiversary post that I wanted to begin inviting guest bloggers to post on Savvy School Counselor.  Guest blogging is great for bloggers who have recently launched their blogs or for those who are thinking about starting a blog.  I’d like to begin sharing guest posts this summer.  So, I want to take this time to share how you can become a Savvy Guest Blogger.

If you would like to submit a guest blog post, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Share an idea, lesson, display, book, or anything useful to the Savvy School Counselor audience. 
  • Your post should be original, well written and edited.
  • Include a 1-2 sentence bio which may have up to two links to your website or social media outlets.
  • Submit your post in a word document and attach any pictures separately.
  • Any post published on Savvy School Counselor becomes my property and may not be duplicated on any other blog including your own.  You may link to it from your blog and from any social media.
  • Guest bloggers should respond to any comments to their blog posts.
  • Please note: Submissions that do not meet these guidelines will not be published.  Moreover, all submissions posted will be done so at the discresion of the webmaster.  A submission does not guarantee your article will be used.

If you have a submission or an idea you are thinking about and want to make sure it will work for this blog’s audience, simply send me a message through my contact page letting me know you would like to send it.

Additionally, please don’t feel as though you must work in the elementary schools to be a guest blogger.  I’d love to have submissions from the perspective of middle and high school counselors as well.  I would also LOVE to have some seasoned bloggers as guests too!

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.