Our Philosophy

Elementary School Counseling services are an integral part of the total school program and complement learning in the classroom. A school guidance program reaches every student and will focus on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for successful academic achievement, career development, and personal/social growth. Services are child-centered, proactive, and developmental. Our professional school counselors spend their time working directly with students to maximize the benefits every student will receive from the program. This will be accomplished through the use of School Counseling Curriculum, Individual Student Planning, Responsive Services, and System Support. School counseling services are comprehensive in scope, preventative in design, developmental in nature, and intended to enhance the potential of ALL elementary students.

Therefore, as an educational system we believe we can teach all children and all children can learn. We believe accessing knowledge, reasoning, questioning, and problem solving are the foundations for learning in an ever-changing world. We believe education enables students to recognize and strive for higher standards. Consequently, we will commit our efforts to help students acquire knowledge and attitudes considered valuable in order to develop their potential and/or their career and lifetime aspirations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Student Survey

I've updated the survey I use with my 4-6 graders to assess their knowledge/skill in each competency area of the Montana school counseling standards. Feel free to take a look and make suggestions or comments.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Books Dealing with Grief

These are the books recommended by Jan to Deb to use with her class with a student who lost his dad this past weekend in a car accident. What Color are Tears? (grief workbook for grades k-3) by Marianne Vadawalker Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full Of Memories by Audrey Penn I Miss You by Pat Thomas Saying Goodbye to Daddy (carwreck caused the death) It's more for 3rd/4th, but it might work with your kids. by Judith Vigna

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Educational Philosophy

During Tech Cadre today, we're experimenting with different ways of sharing our educational philosophy...

As school counselors, we need to to more than think outside the box - we need to work together to "build an altogether new structure in which to spur new thinking"


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rudoph Rallies Against Bullying!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Bullying Lesson
Questions for Discussion
by Tanya Kirschman

 Part 1:  “How Can You Overlook That?”

* Did Rudolph’s parents accept him the way he was born?
* How do you think Rudolph felt?
* What do you think his parents should have done when they noticed he was different from other reindeer?
* Might he have felt different about himself if his father had treated him better?

Part 2: “Hermey Doesn’t Like to Make Toys!”

* When the boss says, “Hermey doesn’t like to make toys!” what did the other elves do?
* Did you notice how one elf told the next elf, told the next elf and so on?  What kind of bullying was that an example of?
* How did the boss react when Hermey said he wanted to be a dentist?  Is being a dentist a bad thing?  If not, why do you think the boss wasn’t accepting of that?
* How did Hermey feel when the boss disregarded his interest in dentistry and told him to stay behind and “finish the job or he’d be fired?”
* What is keeping Hermey from becoming a dentist?

Part 3: Reindeer Games

* What did you think or feel when Donner covered Rudolph’s nose (even though Rudolph was saying he didn’t want to)?
* Share how you felt when Donner told his son that self-respect (hiding his nose) was more important than comfort and being who he really was.
* What was the reaction of the other reindeer when they saw Rudolph’s nose glowing?  What kind of bullying did you see and hear? 
* How does it feel to be bullied?
* Was the adult helpful when the bullying happened?
* One of the bystanders tried to help – what did she do?
* If you were a bystander in a similar situation to this one, what would you do?

Part 4: Island of Misfit Toys

* Why did Hermey and Rudolph get along so well?
* What did they decide to do?  Do you think leaving a bullying situation is a good decision?  When would it be good?  When might it be bad?
* How was Yukon Cornelius helpful to Hermey and Rudolph?
* Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys.  Why were the toys not valued and waiting to be given for gifts from Santa?  Is it fair that someone had found something “wrong” or “different” about them and decided they weren’t of value?
* How might a person feel if he or she has a significantly different appearance or ability from that of other people?  What can they do?  What can YOU do if you know that person?

Part 5: “I Knew That Nose Would be Useful Someday”

* How were Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon kind to the misfit toys?  Why do you think they were so kind?
* Yukon and Hermey wanted to stick with Rudolph, even when he warned them that his nose could put them in danger.  Why do you think they said they would stick with him anyway?
* Rudolph eventually grew up and went back home.  Did the reindeer treat him differently?  What happened?  How did he respond?
* Rudolph’s bright and shiny nose and Hermey’s dental abilities turned out to be strengths.  How did they use them to be helpful?  Weren’t they strengths all along?  Why didn’t others notice that?
* Donner and Santa both apologized to Rudolph at the end.  Hermey’s boss also let him do dentistry.  Did these apologies erase how they had been treated from the beginning?
* Did you believe Donner when he said, “I knew that nose would be useful someday”? Why or why not?
* How important is it to be kind to others; regardless of differences OR because we’re all different?
* How much would it have meant to Rudolph or Hermey if even one bystander had stood up for them and told everyone to stop the teasing?
* Do you think it would have been helpful in this story for a bystander – or the targets (Hermey and Rudolph) to tell an adult?  What do you think about that?  How is real life different when it comes to getting an adult for help in a bullying situation?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day of Mourning or Thanksgiving?

The best to you all this holiday.   ~lisa 

Thanksgiving: A Native American View

by Jacqueline Keeler

I celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving.
This may surprise those people who wonder what Native Americans think of this official U.S. celebration of the survival of early arrivals in a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people.
Thanksgiving to me has never been about Pilgrims. When I was six, my mother, a woman of the Dineh nation, told my sister and me not to sing "Land of the Pilgrim's pride" in "America the Beautiful." Our people, she said, had been here much longer and taken much better care of the land. We were to sing "Land of the Indian's pride" instead.
I was proud to sing the new lyrics in school, but I sang softly. It was enough for me to know the difference. At six, I felt I had learned something very important. As a child of a Native American family, you are part of a very select group of survivors, and I learned that my family possessed some "inside" knowledge of what really happened when those poor, tired masses came to our homes.
When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, they were poor and hungry -- half of them died within a few months from disease and hunger. When Squanto, a Wampanoag man, found them, they were in a pitiful state. He spoke English, having traveled to Europe, and took pity on them. Their English crops had failed. The native people fed them through the winter and taught them how to grow their food.
These were not merely "friendly Indians." They had already experienced European slave traders raiding their villages for a hundred years or so, and they were wary -- but it was their way to give freely to those who had nothing. Among many of our peoples, showing that you can give without holding back is the way to earn respect. Among the Dakota, my father's people, they say, when asked to give, "Are we not Dakota and alive?" It was believed that by giving there would be enough for all -- the exact opposite of the system we live in now, which is based on selling, not giving.
To the Pilgrims, and most English and European peoples, the Wampanoags were heathens, and of the Devil. They saw Squanto not as an equal but as an instrument of their God to help his chosen people, themselves.
Since that initial sharing, Native American food has spread around the world. Nearly 70 percent of all crops grown today were originally cultivated by Native American peoples. I sometimes wonder what they ate in Europe before they met us. Spaghetti without tomatoes? Meat and potatoes without potatoes? And at the "first Thanksgiving" the Wampanoags provided most of the food -- and signed a treaty granting Pilgrims the right to the land at Plymouth, the real reason for the first Thanksgiving.
What did the Europeans give in return? Within 20 years European disease and treachery had decimated the Wampanoags. Most diseases then came from animals that Europeans had domesticated. Cowpox from cows led to smallpox, one of the great killers of our people, spread through gifts of blankets used by infected Europeans. Some estimate that diseases accounted for a death toll reaching 90 percent in some Native American communities. By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks to his God for destroying the heathen savages to make way "for a better growth," meaning his people.
In stories told by the Dakota people, an evil person always keeps his or her heart in a secret place separate from the body. The hero must find that secret place and destroy the heart in order to stop the evil.
I see, in the "First Thanksgiving" story, a hidden Pilgrim heart. The story of that heart is the real tale than needs to be told. What did it hold? Bigotry, hatred, greed, self-righteousness? We have seen the evil that it caused in the 350 years since. Genocide, environmental devastation, poverty, world wars, racism.
Where is the hero who will destroy that heart of evil? I believe it must be each of us. Indeed, when I give thanks this Thursday and I cook my native food, I will be thinking of this hidden heart and how my ancestors survived the evil it caused.
Because if we can survive, with our ability to share and to give intact, then the evil and the good will that met that Thanksgiving day in the land of the Wampanoag will have come full circle.
And the healing can begin.
Jacqueline Keeler, a member of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux works with the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in Winds of Change, an American Indian journal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More primary internet safety sites

Lisa, you inspire me! =)

Here are a few more sites on internet safety I use with the primary grades. I use the Bad Guy Patrol (there's one for first grade and one for second grade), and the AT&T Internet Safety Game, which I use with third grade.

Here are the links:

Internet Safety K-6


This year is my first attempt at Internet Safety with K-2...in the past I've concentrated on 3-6. Check out the above link for really cool videos, resources for K-2...this may not be new for some of you, I'm sure!   

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas Presence

Here's a cool Tagxedo of our December newletter I did during Cadre today...trying out "new" technology to use.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Resolving Conflict

The Five A's

Admit what you did was wrong

Apologize for how your choice affected someone else

Accept the consequences

Ask for forgiveness for what you have done wrong from the people you harmed

Alter your choices in the future

Friday, October 28, 2011

Community Resource for Women and Children

Happy Friday! Yesterday I received the October newsletter from Angela's Piazza-Women's Drop-in Center. This wonderful resource we have in our community for women and children provides support for women who have released from prison, suffer domestic violence, parenting classes, as well as one of the only places I know of in Billings where Native American women and their daughters can participate in Mothers of Tradition/Daughters of Tradition. Angela's Piazza also does supervised visits if you know a parent in need of supervision while visiting their children.
Angela's Piazza
420 Grand Avenue
Billings  406-255-0611

Tuesdays- 6-8 pm  Mothers of Tradition
                     7 pm  Domestic Violence Support Group
Wednesdays-  6:30 pm  Medicine Wheel for Women
Thursdays-  3:30-4:30 Daughters of Tradition/Teen Medicine Wheel
                        5-6 pm  Daughters of Tradition ages 8-12
Fridays-  4 pm  Domestic Violence Education
Parenting Classes - next class starts in January, call for registration

Have a great weekend!    ~lisa

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pack the Place in Pink

Everywhere I look today, kids and adults are donned in pink! In the Heights tonite is the annual Skyview Girls' Volleyball  "Pack the Place in Pink" in support of breast cancer research. As you may know, the Skyview  coach has combated breast cancer for the past few years and has worked hard to raise awareness and funds for this worthy cause.
Beartooth Elementary, along with most of the Heights elementary schools have been selling pink t-shirts with the $ totally being donated back to research. We're hoping to beat our record from last year when we sold about a $1000 worth of t-shirts! Thanks to all of you who have purchased a t-shirt!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Newsletter Assignments and such...

So, I re-invited some folks so they will be able to post and such.  :) thanks deb for posting monthly newsletters for us (you should be able to access it by the design button, next to post). I added a page for them. Joe, thanks for setting up our meeting this week. The EMDR stuff is really interesting. Enjoy your few days off!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Children of Alcoholics

Here's a link I found today for a free downloadable workbook for children of alcoholics...it's more suited for intermediate grades. Looks really good. The website offers free webinars as well.


Helping Students Under Stress

I taught these 4 breathing techniques to my students a few weeks ago. Feedback from teachers and even a parent was really positive. Sometimes I think we, as adults tell kids to "calm down", but kids don't know how! And sometimes teachers aren't sure how to help kids calm down either.

These 4 techniques help students to slow their breathing and increase oxygen to the brain, therefore readying them to make better decisions and productively solve conflicts with others. I taught the S.T.A.R., balloon, drain and pretzel to each class and we practiced it together. I plan on doing the 4 techniques at the beginning of each lesson to get students comfortable with them and in the routine of recognizing when to use them. I left a poster with each teacher and asked them to put it in a place in their classroom where a child would be welcomed to go to "calm down" or "de-stress". I explained to students that they don't need to use all 4 techniques, in fact they will probably find one that works best or feels like a "good fit" for them, and prompted them to use it when they are feeling angry, overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated. I encouraged teachers who might notice a child feeling agitated to welcome him or her to take a break and use one of the breathing techniques, then join the activity again when they are feeling more capable and ready to learn.

Here is a link to the Conscious Discipline webpage that you can find the icons as well as a description of the techniques. Just click the green "download PDF" at the bottom of the webpage. You will get many pages; one with all 4 icons on it (the poster I gave to teachers), one icon on each page, and then the explanation of the techniques.


(I am also using this in individual counseling with students who are easily overwhelmed, anxious, and working through anger management issues.)

~ Tanya

Sunday, October 16, 2011

National Bully Prevention Month

Hey everyone, so I'm hoping that this blog will be a good central location for us to share...I love all the great ideas I get from you all but more often than not I lose the email or scrap of paper I  wrote the great idea on! Let me know what you think...good, bad, indifferent! 
I don't know about you but this month has been so crazy...I didn't even get to attend one of our area meetings which I advocated for so strongly! Guidance this month is concentrating on bully review, intro to BullyHelp.org, how to handle anger, I-message, etc. in conjunction with National Bully Prevention Month. Thanks, by the way, Tanya for the CNN link about handling bullying with your school counselor. So let me know what you think, your ideas. Eventually I plan to have our mission statement, ASCA/MSCA standards as well as our own which we'll be working on this year.  :)   ~lisa