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Slow Start

I HAVE FOUR MORE DAYS OF SUMMER

Yep. Four more days. What a Summer it has been. We have had some serious changes this Summer in my family, some super sad and some exciting. It always seems to happen that way that the Summer is so seldom a slow burn. I can’t decide which way I like more. But I am ready to head back.

The crazyiness will begin soon, as I step into a new school. After my babies left for High School I’ve decided to take the leap and start a new adventure. As sad as I am to say goodbye to my old school, I am really excited to get my hands into a new place, new population, and forge new friendships. I get so much inspiration from the people around me, sometimes I think they get fatigued from my harassment! So now it’s time to give someone else a turn.

To prep for returning, I started reading The Balanced Teacher Path which has really helped me get into the mood to set my mind right, and remember to support the teachers on my hallway. It’s such an easy read, contains personal stories, and suggestions for the classroom and home. I seriously recommend it, and think it would be an amazing all-school read.

I also got to spend today in training with all of the secondary counseling peeps in VB. It was tough to wake up early, but it was so perfect to get me reignited and ready for the year. I am itching to get in, take care of scheduling conflicts, and get the year rolling. It feels so good to be in a profession that excites me enough to get my tail out of yoga pants and into business.

Another Free Spirit Post!

I’m telling you, these guys are magical! They take my humble thoughts and really refine them and know how to make it look shiny! My second post is about positive peer pressure. I was excited to write about this topic because it is truthfully the most fun part of my job.

Kids are cognitively very self-centered, working more outward as their world expands. But they have so much capacity for kindness, that even developmental psychology doesn’t stand in the way of their impact on each other!

Follow the link and feel free to ask questions or add comments!!

Back on the Donor’s Choose Train

We are knee deep in prepping for our Writing Standard of Learning, and I am seeing all kinds of crazy and creative ways that teachers are trying to make this material less tired. I started to realize that there are a lot of things I use with students, and keep in my office, that could easily be part of an English lesson. It makes complete sense too, after all, Guidance is about understanding, perspective, and communication. As I wished that I could share all of my office toys with the teachers, I realized that there might be a way to get some for everyone!

If you haven’t checked out Donor’s Choose yet, you totally should. It’s so easy to use because it’s a simple template. Then they are really helpful in making your project professional and marketable. Check out ours here and share if you’d like!

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Buy these for your office! They are so fun and easy to use (once you look up the syllable configuration because it was only your favorite unit in MS because it was the easiest). I play with all different types of kids and they all get their artsy-mode on and love it!

Find them all over the interwebs or sometimes at Marshall’s!

Weekend Therapy

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This weekend, my therapy was totally retail-related.  But by way of magazines…the best kind.  I have long been a fan of Euro-import crafty mags, but this weekend it was brought to a whole new level when I brilliantly thought to myself, “Self, what the hey?  I wonder if there are any super-cool quilting magazines.  Could it be?…this one looks…yes…it is larger than the other magazines…yes…QUILTY GOODNESS EURO-STYLE??!!?!”  I apologize if the picture is, in fact, as fuzzy as it looks to me, but my excitement is clearly difficult to contain.  I went with Patchwork and Quilting and Popular Quilting (I’m not really sure how I missed Popular Patchwork, except for that I must find it).  I cannot be happier with these magazines, and just feel like there is something about the Euro mags that are more current, and way mare tutorial-ish.  I have even already found a new awesome sewy blog at Diary of  a Quilter from Popular Quilting– PLEASE check it out if you haven’t seen it yet…I would say it is imperative.  It’s pretty and helpful and inspiring.

I am sure that it is noticeable that I keep posting about  sewing blogs and magazines and haven’t posted any projects.  That’s because it is very time consuming to collect all of the “data” which means I’m not actually doing anything.  I’m ok with it though, it’s part of my process (and “productivity” is relative).  On the work-front, I have been stalking Kate’s Science Classroom though, who seems to take her class beyond typical Science lessons, and integrates some really great concepts for personal growth.  I admire her going above and beyond subject matter for her students, and find there are some great ideas here that can easily fit into the Counselor’s office as well!

One last note:  While perusing the crafty book section at my local book store, I couldn’t help but notice this precariously placed self-help book.  Regardless of the fact that I mix therapy and crafties right on this here blog thang, I had to refrain myself from leaving a note that says, “Crafting is in again!  Just because I’m crafting on a Saturday night doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem!  I choose this life! I have friends (friend) and everything!”

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Linkity Links

So, getting to be a part of the Sunshine Awards has made me a bit more aware of some of the blogs and links I frequent.  Since grad school I have been obsessed with counselor blogs (after a long love affair with crafty and food blogs).  As I started to sub, my addiction increased, but I also got bitter not knowing what age I would be working with, or whether or not I would even ever have my own office (I tend to get quite dramatic when I worry).  But for now (technically I am able to get axed for my first three years-yikes!), I have found a considerably constant home in Middle School, and can thus be free to waste as much time as I want on blogs that address my semi-focused population!  This is especially fun when we have impromptu days off.  We are currently on snowcation #2, and I am happy to report that I have completed my annual mandatory online training, which means I have been productive!  Besides the irrelevant fact that I was late, and had gotten e-mails from three different people, I can check training and bloggishness off of my to-do list.

But back to my point, I read some sweet links that peeked my interest, and some that made me excited to get back to the grind.  This is even despite the way I almost had my first crunch-cry before the snowpacalypse hit, as I tried to drudge through the first day of the semester: steady flow of students with wronged schedules, reminders for upcoming High School applications to distribute, students turning in said applications which have to be checked, necessary lunch visits for my grade-level with permission slips for a workshop to hand out, 3 new student registrations, two way too long parent/teacher conferences, a locked-out system leaving me to have to hand-write schedule changes, parents questioning 9th grade class choices, teachers requesting moves, and so on.  Of course, I would never go there because I ugly cry and it would scare the children.  Anywho, here are some interesting tidbits I learned today in between snow-ball fights, shoveling, and dryer loads.

1. This article/video was interesting as a parent and school counselor.  My kids’ timeline would be overwhelmingly red- crap!  I like the idea though, and I like that it reinforces the importance of teaching mindfulness to kids.  I’ll probably expand on this in a bit, as I have been trying to put together a little teacher info-e-mail on incorporating mindfulness lessons into the classroom.  Cool stuff.  I was also thinking about how the story mentions that stress can cause mimicked ADHD symptoms…Re-he-heally??! I mean, any school system worker will give the same shake of the head if you ask them if there has been an increase in kids with ADHD, and it makes me wonder if some of them have symptoms that are manifestations of stress, adjustment difficulties, anxiety, etc.  Not to say that all students have a misdiagnosis, but is it possible that some students’ needs are far different from our typical ADHD bag of tricks to yield academic achievement??? Hmmm…

2.  OK, then there was this really awesome blog post on First Grade Critter Cafe with a really awesome and advanced system to track a few academic initiatives in her school/classroom.  If you remember, I also have an obsession for organization, and well-oiled binder systems!  I just become very giddy when I see someone else who understands how lovely a good binder is.   And I’m totally thinking, some of the great stuff she’s got could translate well to school counseling and middle school.  I love the “Critter Cafe Menu” and it got me to think about how I could fashion some sort of ‘menu’ of services for students to choose from (e.g. mediation, one-on-one, group, etc.).

3.  Lastly, The Helpful Counselor (who seriously runs a nice blog and is genuinely helpful fo’ sho’) had a great post on Pinterest about needs assessments.  This was especially pointed for me since one of my goals for snowcation was to get my work goals and yearly assessment measures for my school system typed up and submitted (which may also be a tad late. may).  I definitely pinned this sucker so that next year, when I’m constructing my own goals from scratch (I inherited the goals from the previous counselor for this year) I can grab some of these tips.

All in all it’s been a crazy semester change but I’m surviving.  I leave you now with my kids enjoying some snow, just because pictures are fun.

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4. OK, one more. What. (I also have a voyeuristic obsession with reality TV, particularly on Bravo).