The Latest

Guys, to say that it is getting weird out there would be an understatement.  Myself and my own child were greeted at the doctor's office with face masks the other day. Don't worry.  We are fine.  It was a precaution because he was coughing due to asthma.

I know that all of us are just trying to navigate this new world of Digital Counseling.  So in the spirit of sharing, here is a FREE Calm Down sheet that you can post and share with your students today!  If you aren't familiar with the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method it is a great one to use to calm down in a pinch and even when you are trying to calm down in a crowd.

Download your FREE Calm Down Sheet!
Our school is a brand new construction that uses so many simple and cool design elements.  I love the simplicity of these boards that were installed.  It's really nothing more than fencing that has been bent.  What it created was the perfect place for me to clip pictures I took of our 100 freshmen!

The sign they are holding says "Future _________".  I printed the phrase out on printer paper and inserted it into a glass picture frame.  Each student used a sharpie marker to write their dream career in the line provided.  I plan on doing this with each freshman class and leaving them up to see how things change when they are seniors!

The pictures were taken with a Surface Pro 3, printed on regular paper and then laminated.  I think the easier method would have been to use my iPhone on the Square picture function and print them from Walgreens.  They have a square printing service!

This sign greets everyone who enters our building.  Not only does it let visitors see a little bit more about our kids, but it creates an atmosphere of future oriented students.

What are your college and career awareness ideas?  I love to see what you all are doing in your schools.  Feel free to leave a link in the comments below.

I've been working as a high school counselor for about 10 years now.  It really is hard to believe!  I will not ever pretend to know everything about the profession.  How could I or any of us?  It changes so much every day and I am definitely aware of that.  What I have figured out are a few ways to organize my life at work so that I don't feel completely overwhelmed, especially when it comes to tracking data.

I think that school counselors in general are maybe not the best at tracking all of the data.  I mean, let's face it, we have 100 different things coming at us in all different directions all the time.  Well, this year I decided to create a daily calendar for my desk.  I also keep a Google Calendar, but I needed a place to document all of the things that came my way that day.  I also really like to check things off!

So, this calendar lists:

  1. To-Do's with a check off box
  2. Daily tasks with a check off box (things like email, morning duty, voicemails, etc)
  3. Meetings/Classrooms so that I can track where I went and when (parent conferences, guidance, etc).
  4. Collaboration box.  I made this one a box so that I could fill in as much detail as I wanted.  So many teachers catch you in the hall or as you are going somewhere and I wanted to be able to document it all.  Having it right in front of me on the desk helps me remember and quickly make a note.
  5. Students.  This is for documenting all of the students I saw whether it was a quick check-in in the hallway or if it was behind closed doors.
  6. Parents.  Again, I want to document the emails, phone calls and face to face conversations.

Now, when I am finished for the day I can just tear off the sheet of paper, punch holes and place it in a notebook.  When I have more time or the time comes to compile all of the information into a spreadsheet I can do so easily because the date is listed and I already have everything in categories!

You can download the School Counseling Daily Calendar from Teachers Pay Teachers for only $3.  Just print off however many you would like (I print 20 at a time) and then cut a cereal box or cardboard box our for your backer.  Use a paint brush or your finger and brush a little bit of glue or Mod Podge at the top of the papers and cardboard.  Use a chip clip to clamp it together for about 30 minutes.  Now you have a fantastic notepad right at your fingertips to organize your day!

Next stop, impressing your administration with all of your data!

One thing that I have found over my years as a school counselor is that things pop up when you least expect them to.  Just when you are not expecting the floods to pour they do.  So, it has always worked out well for me to have a disclosure sign displayed in a prominent location just in case I forget to tell them before they spill everything.  I have found that it helps to build rapport as well.  Students feel like what they are telling me is happening professionally and not for gossip.  Having that sign somehow emphasizes that fact.

I printed off two of these on card stock and laminated them so that you could see the sign front and back when hanging in a window.  I am also a Command hook addict and use the clear backed hooks to hang this on the glass on my door.

Just head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers site in order to grab the FREE Download.  While you are there make sure to check out the School Counseling Daily Calendar. It has really helped me organize on the fly this year.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am starting a new adventure this year.  I was very happy and thankful to be a part of a high school counseling department for 9 years.  It was a great experience and a school that I thought I would never leave.  However, a series of different circumstances led me to make a change that was the best decision for myself and my family.  I now find myself as a single counselor at a brand new STEM focused high school.  It has been amazing so far and has allowed me to use my creativity more (which I am thankful for).  Not to mention, I have been able to make so many connections with the students and the time is much more flexible due to the nature of our school set up.  It really is a dream school!

With that said, our building is a BRAND NEW build which meant that I was starting from scratch.  This was also exciting to me because it was an opportunity for me to purge a lot of the things I no longer needed and start with a blank slate to make the office my very own.  I will be sharing the rest of my office with you soon, but for now, this is what I look at (when I ever sit down).  It is a collection of a few of my favorite instagrams of my boys and husband, a few inspirational messages, our daily schedule, important numbers, important files, note pads, stapler, tape, pens/pencils/rulers and the daily calendar notepad I created!  I'll share more on that later, but if you are interested, you can purchase the template from my Teachers Pay Teachers account for only $2.50!  It has really helped me organize my day based on what the ASCA National Standards set out for us.  This allows me to track my data better and put it all in a spreadsheet when I am ready.  

The cork board are actually cork trivets from Ikea as well as The Kitchen Company.  I painted a few of them to go with the colors in my office and hung them using Command Strips.  The chairs in the office are purple and I am really into gold right now.  I used those two colors to jump start everything else.  I found the gold stapler at Target and the gold note box at Marshall's (my favorite place for all things affordable decor)!

I can't wait to share the rest with you!  I feel like your counseling office should be used as a tool for personal/social, career and academic awareness.  I like to find ways to accomplish this that are aesthetically appealing (not cartoony) and captures the attention of teens.  I would love to see your office as well.  I've been following a few of you on Instagram and Twitter with the #scoffice hashtag.  Keep your ideas coming! 

If you are like me, you keep a basket full of trinkets and things for students to hold in their hands when they come in the office.  It helps keep their minds occupied, breaks the ice and helps them concentrate.  I have several items that help kids calm down and relax.  For instance, I always keep a Tangle and a slinky.  This year I decided to make my own Calm Down Bottle.  It is great for relaxation and stress relief.  Don't worry, you only need a few items and it will take you literally minutes to make.  I also added a few inspirational words!

Click here for the instructions: DIY Calm Down Bottle

It's the summer and we are enjoying every relaxing minute of it!  The boys are jumping in feet first to the pool at least once a day (weather permitting) and I love getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

All of this pool jumping got me to thinking about the students at school.  I know, even though it is summer I can't stop thinking about them!  When it comes to talking to kids about Careers do you encourage them to jump in?  I know that when I first started as a high school counselor I was very cautious and tried to make sure I wasn't stepping on toes.  The older I am the more I have found that it is easier to encourage them to jump right in and experience internships early on so that they can make more informed decisions when they are older.  The struggle I am finding is the time factor.  The reality is that most 9th graders do not have the time or resources to devote to an internship.

So, what do we do?  I would love to know what you use to expose the younger generation to careers in a real world way.  We do have the occasional Career Day, but I would love even more.  I think it would be great if we could find time in our busy school schedules to allow even 1 excused day from school where a student can shadow a job of his or her choosing.  How much fun!

What have you done in the past that has worked?