Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Technology in Counseling

As a faculty member in the Master of Education in School Counseling program at American Public University (APUS), I have the opportunity to work and collaborate with amazing individuals that are advocates in school counseling and the counseling profession in general. Below is a link to a blog post on technology usage in school counseling, headed by my program director that I was able to contribute to. While reading it, think about how technology enhances the (school) counseling work that you do in recordkeeping, counseling, and connecting with parents, the community and other professionals. Counseling students, please reflect on how you can be more efficient in your practice with the use of various technology resources. Also, how does technology negatively impact students and school age clients you work with?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sometimes all you need is....bubbles!

I have a lot of practicum students that when making their initial transition from book learning to application, naturally feel reserved and hesitant when approaching their first individual counseling session. How do I get students/clients to open up and talk to me? How do I apply theory to practice? How do I know if I'm asking the right questions? These are all normal feelings and questions newbies experience and with time and practice the comfort and confidence comes.

I love when situations that arise for practicum/internship students come up in my own practice as a counselor. Recently, I was working with a 7 year old client that frequently broke out into tears, didn't talk, and was overall emotionally immature for their age. These clients can be quite hard to work with because how can you help them work through a problem when you don't know what the problem or cause of the problem is?! When working with this client, I decided to "get back to basics" and really take the extra time to work on forming a connection. To do this, I used bubbles. We simply sat together and blew bubbles. After a few minutes, I noticed the clients expression and demeanour became more relaxed and calm. The second time I did this with them, I simply asked an open ended question, "How has your day been?" and they started talking, and talking, and talking!!

By allowing clients, especially younger clients, to be physically engaged in an activity; drawing, playing with sand, blowing bubbles, or using some other manipulative, they naturally become more relaxed and expressive. Building a positive rapport with all clients you work with is the foundation of the helping relationship. While doing this you get to know them, their interests, how they handle different situations, and their outlook on life. With this information and established relationship you're able to help them work through their presenting issues. The questions from my practicum students and the recent client situation I had served as great reminders to "get back to the basics" and slow down to build that relationship with clients (which might take longer for some than others) while doing something interactive and fun. So, whether you're a new or seasoned counselor; remember to work on building a rapport with your clients and when in doubt...get out the bubbles!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NEW ASCA National Model Webinar!

The new ASCA National Model is officially available for purchase! What better way for novice, seasoned, and inquiring counselors to prepare for the upcoming academic year then to attend a webinar to learn about the changes in terminology and updates to the National Model. To learn more and register for the webiner click here and be sure to get your copy to access the newest tools in the school counseling profession!

Friday, April 20, 2012

1st & 2nd Accepting Differences

For the last rotation of classroom guidance, my co-counselor Cassandra wanted to focus on transition, fitting in, and accepting self and others for who they are. Two books she felt did an excellent job doing this (and I agree!) are Perfectly You and Ellison the Elephant. In the lesson, these topics were discussed, the stories were read, and students had the opportunity to demonstrate their comprehension of the activities while sharing with others what makes them special and unique.

1st grade

Written by one of my favorite Julia's! :) This book covers a wide area of topics for discussion; including, loving your body, eating healthy foods, exercise, accepting yourself, try new things, being positive, the importance of talking to others you trust when you need support, believing in yourself, and being kind to others. After reading the story and having a group discussion, students completed the shield of self-confidence from Small Group Counseling for Children. Students were explained that a shield was used to protect knight's in battle in the same way that believing in yourself and being confident protects you from mean things others might say or do.

2nd grade

This story focused on fitting in and acceptance in yourself and others. After reading this story and having a group discussion, students completed the my personal rainbow activity sheet from That's My Story Too! Students had the chance to see that everyone's rainbow was different and beautiful, much like all of us are different and special in our own way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Testing Pep Rally

Before spring break, the local minor league baseball team came to our school to host 2 pep rallies!! The K-2 Pep Rally focused on summer reading and preparing for the transition to the next grade. The 3-5 Pep Rally focused on preparing for state testing. For the 3-5 rally, we started off with students singing the testing songs they learned/practiced in music and classroom guidance. For both rallies, students and teachers participated in different activities; including, the fry toss, hula hoop relay, webkins toss, vacation relay, and the pretzel toss. To end both assemblies they enjoyed watching teachers sumo wrestle! The pep rallies were a great opportunity for students to get excited for upcoming transitions and have some fun before state testing. We will certainly ROCK the test!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

4th & 5th grade musical TeSt PrEp!

I had the opportunity to collaborate with my friend and colleague Jenny, the music teacher at my school, to rewrite some popular songs (making them about testing), record her singing them, and both of us cover them during classroom guidance/music. The 4th grade song was the Lazy Song originally by Bruno Mars and 5th grade sang Test Time Baby , originally Ice Ice Baby from Vanilla Ice. :) Music is a great way to help students remember key points of testing (and other important concepts) in a fun and catchy way! I so enjoyed collaborating with the music teacher and look forward to doing it again in the future.

During classroom guidance, 4th graders also did a skit about test taking from Skits, Raps, & Poems for the School Counselor. 5th grade completed the activity Keys to Success from Puzzle Pieces: Classroom Guidance Connection K-5 where emphasis was placed on following directions, concentrating, and thinking before making a selection. Even though covering testing strategies isn't the most exhilarating topic, by introducing material in a fun and engaging way, students (and the counselor) wont shudder when the words 'Today we're going to talk about test taking strageties' come up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Test StReSs First Aid w/ 3rd grade!

With testing season upon us, and the 3rd graders experiencing state testing for the first time, I introduced them to my 'Test Stress First Aid Kit' created using Puzzle Pieces: Classroom Guidance Connection K-5. In this activity, students identified different items within the first aid kit that they can use to help them be successful at taking tests; items included: a picture of an island (positive thoughts/happy memories), a pair of glasses (have all your tools with you, look at the teacher/follow along/don't move ahead), a stethoscope (listen to the teacher/directions), pencils (be prepared, use number 2 pencils that are provided), alarm clock (get to school on time, take your time), plastic food items (eat a healthy breakfast), ice pack (chill out, keep your cool), a pillow (get a good nights sleep), a stress ball (don't stress/relaxation techniques), and a picture of a brain (think about the answers, process of elimination). Using visuals is a great way to keep students engaged and to use various learning styles to help them remember what we discussed. At the end of the lesson we sang "Don't Worry Be Happy" with the words rearranged about testing. The words were obtained from the ASCA listserve and the music was provided by my counseling friend, Deanna that collaborated with a teacher to sing/record the music.