Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Minute Meetings

Do you use minute meetings?

Minute meetings are a quick simple way to meet your students. Ideally, you can use your minute meetings as a quick introduction and to gather data on needs. The goal is to meet with every student (yes I know that's a lot) for 2-4 minutes, learn about them, and take a survey on how you can meet their needs.

I say ideally, because even though they are designed to only take a few minutes, it can be challenging to see every student. I really enjoyed the School Counselor Files blog about her experience with minute meetings.

Here are some of my ideas on making minute meetings work:

Use technology! I've created this Google form that is ready to go on my iPad. As you visit with each student you (or the student depending on age) can quickly fill it out. There's also a spot for follow up- which allows you to identify students that need more than a minute.

Don't go far. Have your minute meetings in a location close to the classroom for efficiency.

Image result for clockPick a good time. Even though you are asking teachers to do this just once a year, it can still be difficult to coordinate allowing students to step into the hallway. Try to pick a time that the teachers won't mind, like a rainy day in door recess.

Have a list of students ready to go. As you visit with each student check their name off the roll and ask the next student to visit. This helps you track who you have seen and not seen.

Image result for lunch bunchLunch bunch it! Invite students in groups to eat lunch with you and have them take the survey then, or go to the cafeteria and visit with students. You could even set up a counselor in the cafe table and encourage students to visit you, take the survey, and maybe even enter to win a door prize. Ask the teacher if he/she would be willing to let students eat lunch in the room that day and you go to them! Students could play cooperative games, engage in conversation starters, or even watch a movie while you are doing your meetings.

Flip your minute meeting. Have teachers share a video or powerpoint introducing the counselor and the meeting expectations before hand (check out this Prezi example). Teachers could share this quick video/presentation during a morning meeting or in English class. You could also share it on the daily news. Why? This helps you give students a pre understanding of what you are about to do. It cuts down on time to explain the process and for new students it also helps you introduce yourself. I heard Erin Mason and  Franciene Sabens talk about flipping your lessons and it's a game changer. Learn more about flipping lessons by clicking here. 
Image result for flip lesson

Share your ideas! If you have a minute meeting story of success share it in the comments!
You can also visit and JYJoyner for more ideas!

Monday, January 8, 2018

New book by Molly Bang!

I'm sure most of you have seen When Sophie Get's Angry: Really Really Angry

and I was so excited to get When Sophie's Feelings Get Really, Really Hurt two years ago.

So imagine how excited I was to see a new Molly Bang book on the Scholastic Preview!

This looks like the perfect way to explore mindset and perseverance. Here are some of my ideas for using the book.

1) Do an author study. Read more about Molly here.
2) Combine with a "power of yet" activity and bulletin board, like this FREEBIE from Lone Star Classroom. 
3) Partner with your favorite perseverance game like the Target dollar spot ring toss or create your own ring toss.
4) Get younger students excited by showing this video:
5) Explore Pinterest and tell me your favorite partner activity!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Last minute holiday lesson ideas

In need of some last minute holiday lessons? Here are a few quick ideas:


Activity Idea: Partner with a Santa application (like this the one a co-counselor and friend made).

 Or partner with a first resume like this freebie from TPT or this freebie for younger grades or this vocabulary activity. There are lots of options on TPT. 

Read or watch:

Activity Idea: Partner with this acceptance activity from Counselor Keri.


Activity Idea: Partner with this feeling lesson from Counselor Keri.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Scholastic Book Club- it's where I get a lot of my books

Every wonder how I manage to get enough books to fill my office or am able to give students and staff over 755 books each year?

Scholastic Book Club!

1) I asked teachers to volunteer to let me run their book club. Each year I have at least ten teachers willing to do this. Why? It's less work and time for them.
It allows me to provide books school wide. They don't have to do anything.

2) Next I created an account and listed all the different grades who I was serving.

3) When flyers come in I separate them into two piles: classrooms I am serving and teachers doing it on their own. I put the flyers for classrooms I am not serving directly in teacher boxes.

4) I have a library volunteer help me get the flyers ready. It's simple- you just pull them out and I staple a letter with my class code and ordering details to it. It's the perfect job to do while watching Monday night TV. Scholastic even creates the letter for you. I simply copy and paste and make 3-4 a page to save paper.

5) Put flyers in teachers boxes.

6) Wait for the orders to come in. Most parents order online. Some return checks to me and I enter the order myself.

7) Get the benefits! August and September are big months. You earn triple the bonus points, which means more free books. So, I really push the orders early on. This year I got over 30,000 bonus points and ordered books for every character education winner and classes that completed the attendance and anti- bullying challenges.

8) Deliver the books. When all the books arrive organize and deliver them. I've become known as the book lady. As I deliver books I do check in's with kids so it's a win win. Insider tip: when you submit an order print it out. When books arrive check them off. Books don't arrive all together, so you may get parts of orders. This helps you track what still needs to arrive.

9) Celebrate!!

10) Extra perks: send books recommendations to parents that partner with program topics. For example, in Sept. I recommended books about school and in Oct. books about Kindness. You can also start a classroom wish list!

Bullying Prevention Month


Newsletter sent to teachers

Here’s the school wide challenge I set up for my teachers:
K-1: Being kind is so sweet! Help students differentiate between a "sweet" friend and a "sour" friend with the activity from Counselor Chelsey. Next have students write one they can be be a sweet friend on a watermelon seed. Turn the seeds into your counselor for a “sweet” wall display and win a friendship book for your class library. Also, check out a book from the counselor on being a sweet friend to add to your lesson, morning meeting, or for students to read independently.

2nd-3rd: We stand up to bullies! Borrow any book on bullying to read to your class. After reading the book have students sign the anti- bully pledge (I got these from the Dollar Tree.) If you turn in your pledge cards to the counselor you will win a book for your class library.

4th-5th: Choose Kind: Become A Certified Kind Classroom.  Read Wonder or borrow the picture book We’re All Wonders to read as a class. Visit to become a certified kind classroom. Share your success with the counselor and win a Wonder series book or related title for your class library.

Attendance Awareness Month

September is Attendance Awareness Month!

It's been a busy month, but here's how we celebrated:

1) School wide challenge:

Our PTA theme this year is "sweet." This made me think of pop rocks which lead me to our "attendance rocks challenge."

*Each class with get an attendance rocks sign and letters to spell out “rocks.” I used Savvy School Counselor's Attendance Rocks Packet to get us started. I used her cover to make signs for classrooms and then I gave them each cut out letters to spell "rocks." 

*If a class had perfect attendance that day they stuck a letter on your sign. When the class spells out the word “rocks” they let me know and they won a book for their classroom library or other prize. 

*If they got "rocks" they had a second challenge, focusing on tardies.

Just like before they added a letter each day they had zero tardies. When they spell out “rocks” they got a book prize. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Interland by Google- Internet Safety meets Minecraft

Have you guys seen Interland by Google yet? I am really digging it for lessons on tech safety. 

It's a game that students can play on their computer/iPad and tackles internet safety in a super fun way. The graphics remind me of Minecraft, so instant buy in right there. 

Each part of the game map has questions the student must answer to successfully answer to navigate on.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Throw Back Thursday Update

I can't believe i originally posted this on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015! wow how time flies. 

I recently got to visit some of my favorite 4th grade teachers who also used this book for their back to school lessons. Here is how I used it and here's how they used it:

"What If Everybody.."

I love this story for so many reasons:

1) The illustrations really engage the students.
2) You can introduce so many topics with it:
           - Character Education Traits like responsibility, respect, and citizenship.
           - The importance of classroom, school, and community rules/laws.
           - Rules and consequences
           - Cause and effect
3) It works for a variety of ages. It's always hard to find a book that appeals the masses, but I've used this book for grades 2-5th and they all love it.

In fact I love it so much I made some discussion cards for students and FREEBIE activities here: You can use the cards to help facilitate discussion as you read or as a game (Quiz Quiz Trade) at the end of the story. You could also use the cards as writing prompts!  Get them at my TPT store.

These discussion cards are a companion for the book "What If Everybody Did That" by Ellen Javernick. You can use the cards as you read the story or as a discussion/review game at the end. This 20 page packet includes: 80 question cards, directions to play Quiz Quiz Trade, and connections to Common Core and ASCA Mindsets. Some of the cards ask similar questions, but they are differentiated for your grade and reading level of your students. There is also a blank card for you to create your own question.

I also like partnering the book with A Perfectly Messed Up Story to talk about how you can take care of school supplies? What if everybody ate snack while reading library books? 

Here is how my 4th grade teachers used it:

Listen as I read.
Model expectations for materials.
Discuss in small groups.
Create a class chart.
Independent Work.

You can get all the worksheets here on TPT.
Check out more back to school activities from Jillian Starr here.