Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School-Back to Connecting

I am very excited to be heading back to school, and even more excited to be connecting back on my blog again! I always get the BEST ideas, information, and inspiration from my fellow blogger friends. Thank you to The School Counselor Space blog for creating this great linky party!

I don't officially start until the Tuesday after labor day. However, I plan to head back the week of August 19th. I will set up my room and get organized for the school year. I truly believe the key to a successful school year starts with setting your foundation in the summer! I also enjoy the laid back feeling of being in my office before everyone comes back. I am able to get paperwork done, set up my bulletin boards, and CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN my office.

One of my goals this year is to decrease the chaos in the cafeteria and at recess. To do this I worked with my principal to create lunch and recess time rules. These rules have been printed up on 3'x5' paper and will be reviewed with all students the first week of school. I also plan on implementing Marissa Rex's "Good Behavior Competition" from the  Elementary School Counseling Blog.  

It is hard to choose just three, but I would say the following are VERY important tools:

1. My computer-I use google docs, drop box, prezi, power point, word etc.

2. My fellow blogger friends! A vast majority of my professional development comes from connecting with you. THANK YOU!

3. Books, books, books! Where would I be with out my books? I use biblio-therapy for majority of class lessons, and group/individual sessions. Some favorite authors include the wonderful Julia CookTrudy Ludwig, and of course Carol McCloud! I am also an avid reader of the Books that Heal Kids blog to get new book recommendations and ideas.

For the past few years I have done this lesson, but I'm thinking of changing it up this year. I love this idea from Vanessa over at the Savvy School Counselor Blog!

Communication is key! I try to make myself available at all open house events such as Back to School Night. Additionally, I send home letters and use the school website.

1. Make yourself and your services known! Get out there and talk to your colleagues, parents, and administrators  Make a presentation on the first day back to school sharing your goals and plans with staff.

2. Create calendars and schedules for your services. Share these documents with important stakeholders.

3. Follow through with what you say you are going to do. We all know our schedules get crazy, and even our best laid plans often go awry. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we shouldn't reschedule our lesson or our group etc. Delivering what you say you are going to do shows teachers and administrators that you take your job seriously. 

I adhere to the theory less is more! I create a file folder for each student. In this folder I keep important notes and/or paperwork that relates to this child. Each folder is then put into a filing cabinet that is separated by grade and teacher.

For other important documents I use three ring binders with dividers to separate paperwork into categories.

Lastly, I use dropbox! All my lessons and important documents are saved on my computer and then to dropbox. I LOVE this because I can access them anywhere at any time.

Enjoy the "most wonderful time of the year"!