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Conversations: What Can’t You Live Without in Your Office?

Do you have something in your office you can’t live without? I don’t mean the drawer of candy. I mean those items that would make you feel less than confident if they disappeared. Check out these school counselor office must haves! I have some new ones on my list.

 

School Counseling FilesUsing an idea from Gretchen at Speckled Moose Counseling, I’ve made a feelings check-in chart. I hung a clear shoe organizer on the wall and clipped a feelings flash card to each of the 24 pockets. Every kid I see decorates a giant popsicle stick. Every time they come in they find their stick and place it in the pocket that matches how they’re feeling.

 

Feelings Bulletin Board from Speckled Moose Counseling

 

They all automatically go to check in when they arrive at my office, and many of them move their popsicle sticks again before they leave (usually to “happy” if they weren’t already there). Kids who come in randomly often ask if they can decorate a popsicle stick too. It’s a quick and easy way to get kids to think about how they’re feeling and choose the appropriate word.  

Laurie Mendoza, School Counseling Files

EduKate & InspireAs a former 2nd grade teacher, I fell in love with using children’s books to teach important lessons. Children quickly relate to the characters in stories. This provides them with a unique way to understand the story’s message and apply it to their own lives.

Now, as a school counselor, one resource I cannot live without is my collection of children’s books! Books in classroom lessons are an engaging way to introduce a new topic. I also use books in my small groups and have found that students love the small group atmosphere to discuss the story.

I even use books one-on-one with students in individual sessions! We sit on the couch in my office as we read and discuss how the message in the story applies to the student’s life.  For some of my students, this may be the only one-on-one reading time they get. To help me stay organized, I categorize all of the books in my office by topic. You can read more about how I use and organize my children’s books in this post on my blog.  

Kate from EduKate and Inspire

Mental Fills on TPTWhen not attending meetings or providing groups and individual sessions, I live at my desk. Throughout the year, I am able to spend hours at a time completing paperwork, sending emails, playing on social media, and creating resources for TPT. Because I had become a pro at engaging in sedentary work habits, it was becoming easier for me to pack on pounds and feel down. In an effort to prevent this and keep up with my work, last year I found two game changing office essentials that I now refuse to go without- a desk bike and a Light Box.

I start my work day at 6:00 in the morning and my office lacks any natural light. I can substitute losing these important rays, by turning on my light box for 45 minutes every morning. While I catch up on emails, I place my feet in the bike pedals and burn away the calories. I have noted a significant improvement in my mood. Gone are the days that I feel guilty for not getting off my butt! I absolutely still benefit from getting up and going on walks, but these office essentials help me to feel good about myself when I need to finish important work.

Robyn at Mental Fills

Counselor KeriIt’s helpful to have of bin of sensory items for students to choose from, whether they’re coming to talk or need time to calm and refocus before returning to class. Seeing reluctant sharers open up as they engaged their senses convinced me that these items were counseling office must-haves! Some of my favorites are palm-sized massage balls, squishy gel pads, and Koosh balls. All of these items can be purchased from therapeutic toy retailers, made at home, or found in dollar stores. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of bins so you can swap them out for variety and when it’s time to clean the contents!

Keri from Counselor Keri

School Counselor Office Must Haves

 

What can’t you live without in your office?

Ultimate School Counselor Supply List

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15 Must Have Books for Elementary School Counselors

15 Must-Have Books for Elementary School Counselors. Books on feelings, personal safety, incarceration, growth mindset, friendship, self-esteem.

Hello Confident Elementary Counselors!  Kate, Susan, and Vanessa here to share with you some of our favorite books for elementary school counselors. The three of us have teamed up to tell you about the books we love and also tell you a bit about ourselves. As elementary counselors, we know that books are an important tool to use in our programming. Children can easily connect to the characters in stories, which helps them begin to apply the message to their own life. Join us as we tell you more about ourselves and our favorite books for elementary school counselors! Read More »

Bibliotherapy, Product Review

An Honest Review of SCUTA Pro for Tracking School Counseling Time

SCUTA Pro

“Tracking school counseling time is my favorite task,” said no counselor ever. (especially not The Counseling Teacher!) I have to admit that keeping a time usage log makes me cringe.  From phone calls and emails, to every conversation in the hallway, we are always working towards meeting the recommended time usage percentages posted by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). When I think of all of the things I could accomplish instead of this tedious task, I squirm.  Then I remind myself that this is not about me. This is about the students. This is about providing a data driven, research based, school counseling program for my amazing community. After struggling with spending too much time with various data collection methods, I knew that our current method wasn’t working.  Then one fine day, my fellow counselor, Mrs. Carla Christian and I stumbled upon a little gem called SCUTA Pro. To make it even sweeter, we were able to secure a grant to cover the yearly fee.  And we were off.

First things first, we do not get any financial gain from SCUTA Pro for this review. We’ve been using it for 2 years for tracking school counseling time and have no complaints. I really wanted to share our journey because it has helped us so much and I hope it will help others as well.  Overall, it has been a user-friendly way to analyze the effectiveness of our program.

 

Top 3 Reasons We Continue to Choose SCUTA Pro for Tracking School Counseling Time

Time Savings

The website is very easy to navigate. Whenever we couldn’t figure something out, we were able to get assistance right away through an email to customer service.  Sometimes the owner would email OR CALL us to make sure that we were comfortable with the program. My favorite feature that came out our second year of use is the “repeat” option that allows me to easily fill in a recurring activity that I do on a regular basis.  When entering data, categories are already filled so that you can easily choose from a drop down menu without typing it out. Finally, my counseling supervisor can look up my data in real time without asking me to send in a report.

ASCA Categories

The first thing that drew us to SCUTA was the fact that it followed the  ASCA National Model recommendations. The time categories come straight from ASCA. Carla and I are sure that our SCUTA reports were critical in helping us prepare for and obtain RAMP certification for our middle school. After winning RAMP, our district decided to pick up the tab on our SCUTA fees and provide the service to all of the schools in our district.

Detailed Reports

Colorful, visual graphs help us keep track of percentages for our use of time based on ASCA recommendations. With a quick glance at the colors on the calendar pages, it’s pretty clear instantly if we are making our goals. We use this data to self-reflect and plan our time in a way that helps us maximize the effectiveness of our program. We also use these reports to share our progress with stakeholders. I can look up by student name or type of activity. I can also choose a time period which is helpful when I’m analyzing each quarter.

Week at a Glance Calendar View

Advice for First Time Users

One thing I learned from the first two years of using SCUTA Pro is that it would be a good idea to spend some time reading over the categories and subcategories and deciding how to best label certain activities. For instance, some duties that may seem like non-counseling related tasks are actually counseling tasks. If you look at how you perform your daily duties, you could easily turn meaningless tasks into meaningFUL tasks.  For instance, early morning car duty could be used as a time when you warmly greet families which falls under the PBIS counseling task.

Finally, I love how the owners are continually getting feedback from counselors to keep the program up to date and as helpful as possible. I’m excited to see next year’s version. I know they are constantly improving and making time-saving additions.  If you still have questions, you can leave a comment or contact me directly.

This is an honest review of SCUTA Pro and three reasons why we use it for tracking school counseling time to evaluate our school counseling program.

 

Product Review

Confident Counselors is Turning One!

Confident Counselors

 

Social Emotional WorkshopSay Happy Birthday to the Confident Counselors Newsletter!

Almost a year ago Confident Counselors began. It started with me chattering on about how being the only person in your school doing your job is a uniquely challenging, to say the least.

There is no one in my building to share resources with or ask for advice. Do I really have to go to the professional development sessions on the new math curriculum? My supervisor has a teaching degree in English. If one more teacher insinuates that all I do is play games with kids. Oh, the teachers got an entirely new writing curriculum, and I have to create all my materials for my an entire building.

Feeling confident yet? Ugh. All I wanted was to make those negative thoughts go away for people like me and replace that with beaming confidence.

I reached out to my (better than real life) friends from school counseling Facebook groups. The little idea grew and grew in excited, passionate chats. Within a few months, more than 20 of us committed to collaborating on a monthly newsletter that we hoped would begin to fill the gaps we saw and felt.

We wanted to provide real life advice, counselor tested products, best practice resources, links to quality professional development sessions, and humor where we could find it. We wanted to help people feel confident that they too were amazing, essential professionals in a school building.

Now, we have to own that confident label and take it up a level. You all were so kind and enthusiastic about our content this past year, we want to put out more of it. This year, we will be moving our newsletter into a regular blog. Here’s what you can expect:

  • 2-3 blog posts per week
  • A monthly email/newsletter with the most popular posts, recommended resources, and confident musings.
  • Giveaways and exclusive freebies

Over the next month, we will be doing giveaways for our email subscribers. If you are on our list, keep a lookout on Facebook, Instagram, or your inbox to see if you won. Look for ways to get extra entries. We are so excited about being a valued resources for you during this next year.

Be #aconfidentcounselor

Confident Counselors Blog

Our 5 most popular posts of 2017

 

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An Ounce of Prevention

Ounce of Prevention

School Counselors and Classroom Management

Classroom management is a major aspect of effective teaching and learning.  The type of classroom management that a teacher has will set their classroom tone and make or break student learning.  The best kind of classroom management is preventative, where the classroom environment it set up so it is hard for students to disrupt or avoid learning because most of the opportunities for them to make trouble have been removed.  School counselors are often called upon to provide advice or resources for teachers struggling with classroom management issues.  This article will provide several management resources for school counselors to use in their own guidance lessons as well as resources to pass on to the teachers they support.

Read More »

Classroom Management, Teacher Consultation, Uncategorized

Counseling Resources 50% off #octoberfestsale

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Awesome Find! Counselors of TPT joined up and are discounting 4 products each to 50% off from Friday (10/21) to Monday (10/24). Click on any of the store icons below or type #octoberfestsale into the search box on Teacherspayteachers or click this link.

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Back to School Resources for School Counselors

Back to School Resources for School Counselors by School Counselors

Back to School season is here and our to-do list has gotten absurdly long. We may personally pay for three post-it employees salaries. True story.

To make life a bit easier, we went through and collected the best products for back to school and pinned the best selling counseling products from tons of stores.

For some freebie love, check out the Counselors on TPT ebook (freebie link on every page), and this board, and every Confident Counselors Store.

It’s time to kick some back to school tush. Be Confident.

What is your favorite back to school resource?

Leave a comment and follow us on instagram or pinterest.

Back to School Resources for School Counselors from School Counselors

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August Blog Run Down

August Words of Wisdom for Back to School from our Favorite School Counseling Bloggers

CCC Blog-Back to School Images.004How School Counselors Get Ready for Back to School

5 Things to Do in Your First Weeks as a New CounselorRebecca, Counselor Up: 5 Things to Do in Your First Week as a New School Counselor

Heather, The Helpful Counselor: 20 Things School Counselors Should Do Before School Starts

Carol Miller, The Middle School Counselor: 10 Things to Do for Back to School

StephanieBilingual Learner: Back to School for ESL Teachers and Counselors

Counselor Traci R. Brown: Back to School Series: Must Have Items

Entirely Elementary School Counseling: Beginning School Counselor-What Your Need to Know

Don’t forget Confident Counselors Top Ten Tips for Back to School

Meet the School Counselor Lessons

Read More »

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This is made for you.

You know that so often in our schools, we are all alone in our jobs without a collaborative professional community. PD sessions are often not designed for us, the weekly email from the principal is meant for the teachers, and we are spending hours trying to figure out how to do our jobs better.

Once upon a time, there were some school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and other awesome school superheroes spending a lot of time by themselves making resources, giving advice to colleagues, consulting with school staff, and scouring the internet for the latest and greatest things to help our schools and students. Through the magic of the internet, we found ourselves reaching past our schools, and sharing this knowledge in our own online stores, on Facebook groups, and in Twitter chats. Soon we were answering questions, asking questions, and sharing with people all over the globe. One of us has even published a book (two books, actually)! We will get to our individual accolades as we get to know each other. Bragging isn’t something school counselors do.

So hit subscribe. Be Confident.

 

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