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.