Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Real Definition of COOL

My class lesson for Grade 5  this month is teaching students the real definition of  the word "cool". I got the idea from Naomi Drew's book No Kidding About Bullying and adapted it a bit to fit my needs. To start the lesson I ask students think about the word cool. I ask them, "what does being cool mean to you"? Some of the responses I got were "someone who is popular", "someone who is funny", or "someone who gets in trouble a lot". This is okay, because the point of the lesson is to show students that acting "cool" actually means treating people with respect.

Then ask, "do you know anyone who is cool because of the way they treat people?" Responses will range from student's friends to family members. Remember to ask them why they think that person is cool!

Next, is the real meat and potatoes part of the lesson. Explain to students that today you are here to tell them about the new definition of cool. Create a poster or a power point slide with this definition:

Feeling what another person is feeling in your own heart
Outrageously Kind
Being considerate, friendly, and helpful towards others
Often an upstander
Standing up for someone who is being mistreated
Lives with integrity 
Doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.

Review all four components of the definition. Engage students by asking them whom in their life fits this new criteria. Also, ask if anyone would be willing to share a time when they acted "cool". 

To close the lesson split the class into four groups. Ask each group to create a role play that demonstrates their understanding for each part of the definition. My skit prompts can be found here! If you have any extra time, ask students to complete this worksheet to reflect on someone who is cool in their life. 

My students loved doing the skits and I'm excited to use this terminology with them in future lessons, groups, and counseling sessions!

Friday, November 23, 2012


I love playing around over at Have you checked out this site yet? You can create super cool things for your blog!

***Caution:You could potentially waste hours and hours of your time, but don't say I didn't warn you!***

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hurricane Relief Resources

Hopefully you will never experience a hurricane like Sandy, but if you do here are some great resources to refer to in the aftermath.

1. Sesame Street's Hurricane Kit. This kit provides an hour long video about Big Bird loosing his home after a hurricane. I showed this video to a group of 5th graders and they really connected with it. After the video use follow up questions to foster a discussion.

2. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network puts out an After the Hurricane: Helping Young Children Heal handout for parents and teachers. I really like this because it is brief and to the point. This is great to send home to families and also place on the parent bulletin board.

3. Also from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network the Teacher Guidelines for Helping Students after a Hurricane is a great handout to give teachers or other staff members in your building.

4."After the Storm" is by far my favorite resource that I have come across yet. It is filled with worksheets, activities, and discussion starters to use with young children and is easily adaptable to use with teens. I have shared this with parents, teachers, and used their worksheets with students in my office. This document is definitely one you should bookmark or save!

5. The Windy Rainy Stormy Terrible Night is a book that talks about the emotions children feel after a hurricane.

6. The New York Times Learning Network shares lesson plans that teachers or counselors can make use of.

7. Lastly, stay positive for your students, fellow colleagues, and families they need you! Remember, "there's always a rainbow after the storm".

These are just a few of the resources that I have tapped into over the past few weeks. What hurricane or diaster resources you have used?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Not To Get To Political But...

Having survived Hurricane Sandy, I really appreciated Governor Christie addressing the children of our state. He tells  kids across NJ, "I want you to know there's nothing to be scared about. The adults are here & we will keep you safe". Fast forward the 15:35 minute mark to hear Christie address our youth:

I will be returning to school at some point this week to students who have endured serious trauma, including loss of their homes. Please share any tips or resources you may have when working with students who have suffered from this type of experience.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

You Raise your Children; I Will Teach them French: Rosalind Wiseman at T...

Listen to Rosalind Wiseman's well articulated and insightful speech about the complex bullying problems facing our students and schools.

She is so right on!

Oh, and if haven't picked up her Owning Up Curriculum make sure it is on your "must have book list" for this year! 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Olympian Gabrielle Douglas Opens Up About Bullying

With many of our kids watching the Olympics this summer, what better way to start a discussion about bullying then listening to gymnast, Gabrielle Douglas's, story....

I will be using this clip as a conversation starter with students during a class lesson or small group.  

How can Gabrielle Douglas help you connect with students?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School Shopping!

Have you been to The Christmas Tree Shop yet for back to school shopping? It is by far the best place to find unique, cute, and AFFORDABLE things for your school counseling office. I purchased these adorable cuties there the other day.

You can use these kiddos to talk about anything!  Self esteem, friendship, character...the possibilites are endless!

Dont you just love the "peace shirt"?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Comprehensive School Counseling

Have you seen this adorable video by Richard Cleveland about why we need comprehensive school counseling programs?

This video would be a great way to start a presentation to your Board of Education, staff, or parents to explain what we do!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Exciting News...

I have decided to take a school counselor position at a PK-7 school closer to home! I am very excited to shorten my commute-I can walk now!! However, I am sad to leave all my former students and staff members behind. 

The decision to switch schools was not an easy one. I absolutely loved working at my old school. It was such a positive and fun experience. I learned SO much not only about being a school counselor, but about myself, and what I am capable of doing. For this, I will be forever grateful. However, like with anything new, it is always a little bit scary! Plus, the thought of starting all over again feels daunting. 

However, I must accentuate the positive! The population of my new school is very similar to my old, and I have the "formula" for what it takes to have a successful comprehensive school counseling program. 

I plan to take all my experience, knowledge, and energy, and put it to use at my new school.

Have you switched schools before? If so, what advice can you give?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Parent Survey

One of my goals this school year is to improve my communication to parents. My biggest concern is that parents fear their children talking to me because they think it means something is "wrong" with their child.  My mission is to make it clear that I work with ALL students, not just kids who are in trouble.

So, I must start from the beginning! I am asking parents to take a brief survey. This survey is meant to help me get a better understanding of their current knowledge/thoughts/feelings about the role of the counselor and the counseling services program at my school.

I am posting this survey on my website for parents to easily access. Here is a google doc of my survey questions!

Do you survey your parents? If so, what questions do you ask?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Move Up Day!

Transition from 5th grade to 6th grade is a big deal! Switching classes, new teachers, and using lockers can be extremely overwhelming!

In order to alleviate some of the stressful feelings associated with moving from elementary to middle School I organized Move Up Day. Move Up Day is a great way for 5th graders to meet their new teachers, talk to current 6th graders, and get a feel for what life in 6th grade is all about.

The most important part of Move Up Day is the small group time facilitated by current 6th graders (next year's Peace Leaders). The 6th graders love being group leaders, and the 5th graders feel very comfortable asking them questions they may not want to ask me or their new teachers. It is a win-win all around!

To organize Move Up Day at your school split your 5th grade students into groups of 8 and pair each group with 2 or 3 6th Graders. Here is the group lesson plan I used with my students. However, feel free to change it up so it best fits the needs of your school!

Do you have Move Up Day at your school? How do you help students with transitioning to a new grade level?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Schools Out For The Summer!

I put together a newsletter filled with summer character building tips and reads. Newsletters were sent home with students and posted to my website for parents to peruse. Take a look at it here!

What are some things you do to wrap up the school year?

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Have you heard Sesame Street and Will i am's Song "What I Am"? Check it out below!

This song would make a great activity for a class lesson or even a school wide anthem. I will definitely be creating programming using this song next year. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Letter to Graduate Students...

My alma mater asked alumnus to write a brief piece to graduate students about life as a school counselor. I thought I would share my letter with all of you-enjoy!

Dear Future School Counselors-

I absolutely love working as a school counselor and you will too! Since graduating from Kean in December 2009 I have worked as a school counselor at both the elementary and middle school level. Currently, I am a school counselor at a K-7 school in --- New Jersey. Additionally, I have attained my LAC, and I am presently receiving supervision to earn my LPC.

I have created my own comprehensive school counseling program based off the American School Counseling standards. I work with students individually, in a group, and classroom setting. Furthermore, I have created proactive programs to improve the culture and climate of the school community. Everyday presents itself with different challenges, but also many rewards. I feel blessed to be able to work and learn from different students, staff, and families.

As a graduate student it is important to take advantage of every learning opportunity – go to every conference, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Keep current on counseling trends by becoming active in the New Jersey School Counselors Association, and the American School Counseling Association.  Use social media to start your own professional learning network with school counselors and educators from across the United States. Please connect with me on my blog “The School Counselor’s Chronicle”, “like” The School Counselor’s Chronicle on Facebook, or tweet me @NJSchCounselor for further ideas, information, and inspiration.

Congratulations graduate students you have a rewarding, challenging, and exciting career ahead of you!

What would you tell graduate students about their future school counseling careers?

Friday, April 6, 2012

"A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue"

 I am obsessed with Julia Cook's  "A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue".  I used this book as a class lesson with my 3rd and 4th grade students to discuss the difference between tattling and telling. Cook does a great job of explaining the "rules of tattling" in a fun and creative manner.  Here is my lesson:

1. Introduce the topic of tattling by holding up the book and asking students if they know what the word tattling means. Facilitate a brief a discussion to assess what students already know about this topic.

2. Read "A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue" to the class.

3. After reading check for understanding by asking clarifying questions such as:
  • What happened to Josh in the story?
  • What are the four rules of tattling?
4.  As students recall the four tattling rules write them on poster paper.  The four rules are:
  1. Danger Warnings ONLY!
    Only warn an adult when a person is in danger of getting their body hurt.
  2. Be a Problem Solver
    If the problem involves you, try to solve the problem yourself first.
  3. Is this a NOW or LATER problem?
    Can we solve this problem be solved at a private time?
  4. M.Y.O.B – “Mind your own business”
    The problem does not belong to you, don't get involved in it!
Call students up one at time to sign the poster. Explain that signing their name means they understand and agree to follow the rules. Hang this poster on a wall or chalk board so students can be reminded of their commitment to follow the rules

5. Pick a follow up activity from Julia Cook's "A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue's Activity and Idea Book" to close the lesson. 
After my lesson the teacher shared her students were using the language in the book. She had overheard a student say "MYOB" to a friend during a conflict! That totally filled my bucket!

Have you used this book before? What are some lessons you have done?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I am so impressed with this school! A true inspiration..

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler"

In the story, "Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler, Mrs. Ruler challenges her students to do 100 acts of kindness for their family, classmates, and community.  Mrs. Ruler documents each act by writing them on paper hearts and displaying them on the bulletin board.

I used this book for a class lesson in grades 1-4. Here is my lesson:

1. Explain to students the goal of the lesson is to learn about kindness. Ask students the following questions:
                     1. What is kindness?
                     2. What are some kind acts you can do for others?

2. Next read, "Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler". Check for understanding by asking, what were some kind acts Mrs. Ruler's students did at  home, school, and in their community?

3. Next challenge the class to come up with 100 acts of kindness. Give each student a paper heart and ask them to write as many kind acts as they can inside the heart.

4. Give students about 15 minutes to brainstorm, write their acts, and decorate their hearts.

5. Go around the room counting each students acts of kindness. Be sure to count out loud and ask the students to join you in counting!

6. Create a bulletin board just like Mrs. Ruler did to display all the "kind hearts".

How do you teach kindness to your students?

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Check out the Tagxedo website to make fun and interesting word clouds for your students and staff!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What I Like About Me!

What I Like About Me by Allia Zobel Nolan makes a great class for grades K-2 to build self esteem and talk about diversity.  I love to encourage my younger students to feel good about themselves.  This book is a great way to do it.  Here is my lesson plan:

1. Ask students if they can think of anything that they like about themselves?  Ask if they would like to live in a world where everyone is the same? Foster a brief discussion. 

2. Tell students you are going to read a book about kids that love themselves and others.

3. Read What I Like About Me

4. The last page of this book is an actual mirror (how fun!) that students can use to look at their reflection.  Give each student a chance to look in the mirror and say what they like about themselves aloud to the class. Explain to students that we all look and like different things about ourselves. Emphasize that this is what makes us special!

5.  Next, ask students to go back to their desks and draw a What I Like About Me picture!

6. Close the lesson by telling students to bring home their papers to share with their families.

When you purchase The What I Like About Me Teacher Edition it comes with some great activity sheets you can use in your lesson as well!  It also has 20 mini books that students can use to read along!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Girls Night Out!

This week I hosted my first annual Girls Night Out for 3-7th grade girls and special women in their lives.  They were invited for a pizza dinner, to watch an An American Girl:Chrissa Stands Strong, and to have a brief discussion about relational bullying.  

American Girl:Chrissa Stands Strong is an adorable movie that shows the struggles Chrissa had making friends when she moves to a new school.  At the end of the movie I brought daughters back with their special guest for a brief discussion. I closed the night by drawing 3 raffle prize winners!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Once a week I facilitate a grief group using The Rainbows curriculum.  Rainbows is a 12 week program for students grade k-12.  The curriculum is written for students who have either experienced death or  divorce.   The material is very sensitive to students needs, and helps members to realize they are not alone with their feelings.

What resources do you use to talk to students who are experiencing death or divorce? Share them here, or on the The School Counselor's Chronicle facebook page!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


To be successful do two things... 

 Work hard & be honest

Do you agree?