Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kids Internet Guide

AT&T has created a free internet guide for children. The guide can either be downloaded onto a computer or printed on paper. This guide allows children to learn about the internet on a safe and fun website. There are definitions, games and coloring pages to assist in engagement.

This is great resource for students in schools, but I can also see this being used with church youth groups, social clubs and camps...anyplace where you can capture the attention of children and need to provide an activity where they can learn important topics and have fun while they are doing so. 


Friday, November 10, 2017

Quick Answer Boards for Adults and Students

Can I tell you how much I love these things? They are mini, personal dry erase boards on a stick. I have been loving these boards for about 10+ years. I love them when school counselors use them in a classroom lesson with students to check for understanding. I love using them with school counselors when we have professional development and we are reviewing new strategies. I love them when I review new polices and procedures with school counselors and I want to quiz them on what we talked about because they are about a competition! We used these boards when I was on my state's school counseling association executive board. Bea McLeod and Margaret Baker had us using them as a part of Robert's Rules of Order. We casted our votes on them and held them up during the "yay" and "nay" period. I love them because they are one of the easiest ways to engage in formative assessments. Their uses are endless. They also make learning super fun! Best of all...they now come in colors, opposed to just white; and those of you who know me, know I love color in the workplace (markers, post-its, pens, folders, highlighters, electronic file tabs, my different outlook appointments, handouts and agendas on colored paper, text in an email etc.), LOL! 

You can check out these particular boards at Trainer's Warehouse. I love that website too! They have the best stuff for your comprehensive school counseling program. Their standing sign holders are the bomb (parent night, college fair, PD, etc.)!

Quick Answer Boards

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Free Spirit Book Review: Tessie Tames Her Tongue: A Book About Learning When to Talk and When to Listen

This is the cutest book EVAH!

In this story Tessie loves to talk and she talks...all...the...time. She talks during movies. She talks during meals with her mouth full of food. She talks so much...she does not realize she is not listening to others. So with the help of her school counselor, they come up with a plan on how Tessie can...tame her tongue (funniest graphic to date, because it is so relatable).

This is a wonderful story for elementary students on how to learn the skill of active listening. Author and clinical child therapist, Melissa Martin, shares her personal strategies through the lens of a child. The story is funny. The graphics are priceless (especially the classmates' facial expressions). The book is easy to read and understand. Also, there are two pages at end of the book with tips to help families tame the tongue!

You can find this book on the Free Spirit Publishing website.    


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Smart Talk Website

Want to enhance your cyberbullying prevention programs?  Need to educate your parents on

how to set ground rules for their kids and their devices? Enter The Smart Talk website. It is a collaboration between the National PTA, Common Sense Media and Life Lock (yes, the credit security and identity theft protection people).

This is a great website to help parents and students communicate and collaborate on internet safety.  The Smart Talk will help families figure out if children are ready for the internet and keep them safe and savvy when they go online.

Parents sit down with their child and answer a series of questions together...learning about their child's internet needs as they complete each page. At the end, there is an opportunity to complete a printed agreement. The site is very user friendly and easy to understand.

I hope this helps your efforts with family engagement and bullying prevention!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Need an Ice Breaker?

When I first saw this object, I was attending an American School Counselor Conference conference about 10 years ago. I bought one and tried it out at our school counseling department chair and elementary facilitator's Leadership Training...and it actually worked! It was a great icebreaker. It was a way to engage colleagues in conversation and for them to self-disclose information in a controlled environment. It actually was a lot of fun! Your group forms a circle and you toss the ball to someone across the circle. When they catch it. They look at where their thumb landed and then they answer whatever the prompt states or questions asks.

You can use it for adults or students. There is even a version where you can write your own questions/statements. Great for formative assessments!

Since that time, the thumball has evolved into different versions with numerous topics. It's a great activity. Check it out below for a demonstration and a list of the different types.

Thumball Demonstration


Monday, August 28, 2017

A Youthlight Book Review: Miguel: A Deportation Story

What occurs to children when they lose a parent to deportation? This book shares just that. Miguel is about a boy who was born in the United States, but his parents were not. They escaped their country for a better life in America.  During the story we learn that one of Miguel's parents is deported. We then look through the lens of a child and what that experience does to him. How it effects him...changes him.

This story is great for those students who may be facing similar situations, so they know they are not alone in their thoughts and actions AND for students who are so far removed from understanding or knowing a situation like this; for we can teach empathy through this story.

The story is not upbeat. It is a little melancholy, but it is real and totally supports advocacy, equity and diversity initiatives.

Learn more about this book at


Monday, August 21, 2017

New Kinds of "Fidget Toys"

All year I have been hearing about, reading about, and horrible and awful fidget spinners have been for educators. They are everywhere! UUGGHHHHH!!! However, there are some great alternatives for students and adults alike. I found that Trainer's Warehouse has some really cool versions of spinners. Now granted, they could still be used inappropriately by students, but they are more quiet and a better quality product. They may cost a little bit more than the spinners at your corner convenience store, but they have been tested and researched by the company.

Loopeez - I actually like this one the best. It is easy to use, it's quiet and it feels good in your hands.

Other versions are shown below. There are a variety created for your personal preference.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guest Blog Post and Book Review: Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High Fives > Introducing the School Counselor

First, thank you so much for having me as a guest blogger, I am honored to share my story with your readers. I’ve been in education for the past twenty-two years. After fifteen years in the classroom I felt a calling for something more—a deeper way to connect with and help children, which is how I discovered school counseling.

I moved from classroom teacher to school counselor in 2011 and absolutely fell in love. However, I soon discovered there weren’t a lot of up-to-date resources available for school counselors. After hearing me gripe about it for months my husband finally told me to write my own resources. Isn’t it nice to have someone who knows what you need before you do?

And so, I began researching self-publishing and taught myself the basics of publishing a book. To be honest, there were some costly mistakes: the cover for Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives was redesigned five times—YIKES—before I found one that I felt was ‘right’. Most students didn’t even know their school had a counselor, much less how one could help them.

The first week of school during my second year as a counselor I went into every classroom and read the Mrs. Joyce book. The children loved it and I received many thank-yous from teachers. Needless to say, the following week my office was constantly busy.

I continued listening to my students and knew that I needed to write other books to address individual needs. This launched me into the Helping Kids Heals therapeutic activity book set. I’m thrilled with how well all of these books have been received. Just last week, I woke up to an email from Ireland requesting copies of my books. Who would have ever thought a small-town Texas counselor-author could reach professionals across the ocean?

As educators, counselors are often the least familiar to parents, students and sometimes teachers. I hope my efforts have offered you some tools and helped you appreciate the power of your roles in our children’s lives. And I invite you to continue to add to our community. I wish you luck in the giveaway and hope you are having a relaxing, restful summer. All the best and Happy Counseling. 

Erainna - Empowering Children through Books > Counseling with HEART

More information on how to obtain the book 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Smart Scholar: Scholarship Website

The website says...There should be an easier way to find and apply for scholarships!! I totally agree!!!

SmartScholar was founded to save student time and money. They company noticed that the scholarship information available on the internet was often incomplete or inaccurate, and they decided to create a better set of resources for students and parents planning for college.

They recruited education experts to write articles and guides on the most important topics within financial aid and scholarships, supported with extensive research.

The SmartScholar team wants to continue to improve the financial aid search process for students. They are in the process of building their own scholarships database and tool via a proprietary research method. They are confident they can build the best scholarship website in the world, one that easily allows students to effectively find and apply for scholarship funds they can readily win. I hope so!!!

I looked over the site. Clicked on some links. It looks pretty decent. You try!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Statfuse: Finding Out Your Chances for Getting Into College

There are many websites out there for college readiness. I almost cannot keep up! One of the latest is Statfuse. Statfuse is a college acceptance predictor for high school students that uses an algorithm. In about 2 minutes, students can receive the predicted “chance” that they would be accepted to a particular college or university.

The tool is free to use for students and uses the following information:
- Academic performance
- Extracurricular activities
- Legacy consideration
- SAT/ACT scores
- Historical acceptance rate data

Check it out and enjoy!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Small Steps Go Places: A Game for Seniors

About 2 months ago, a couple of the high school counselors attended a regional NACAC conference and went to a session on college readiness. The session spoke to activities surrounding a game called Small Steps Go Places. They came back and asked if I would buy a game for each of the high schools. Upon investigating, I was sold! The game is ideally for 6 -10 students. You will need one set per this amount of students. So if you want to use this for 30 students, you will need three sets. This is a great game with real life scenarios and situations. It can used with seniors in small or large groups.

Also, the creator is more than helpful to work with you to ensure that you understand the game. She is currently working on a version for first generation students and commuter students. If you have any questions, she is just an email away!

The game leads to critical thinking and great and authentic discussion. It also aligns itself with the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors. Every high school needs one!


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Center for School, College and Career Resources

I do not think there is month that goes by that some company is not trying to get school counselors to pub their product.  Well, this one actually is not that bad. It is easy to read and navigate. It has relevant information; and should be of help to students who are preparing for college.

Accredited Online Schools and Colleges:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Youth Light, Inc. Book Review: Julia Morphs...and Learns to Accept Herself

Julia Morps is an adorable book for elementary school students. The theme of the story is about self-love, acceptance and how others see us. I loved it. To be honest, we could all use a reminder on these topics every once in a while...including adults!

Julia, an elephant, doesn't like her physical size. She feels that her size is making her not as graceful as she feels she could be. She makes a wish with a fairy, so that she can be the size of her best friend, a bunny. However, she realizes that her new body is not all that she hoped it would be and desires her elephant form back!

The book also comes with posters what you can download on the youth light site.