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.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Great Joy

If you're like me, you've been running around like crazy, trying to fit in all those great, sweet, fun holiday activities with your students and families alike. Food Drive, Angel Tree, Santa's Workshop... :0}  somethings gotta give! Unfortunately, it's also a time that our struggling families' everyday issues become magnified, and cannot be put on hold. I came across a book I wanted to share with you, maybe it can help keep things in perspective for us and our kids. Check out the blog the link is from...I aspire to be as consistent as this blogger is with her site! Blessings, everyone!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tricky People


This week I'm teaching Internet Safety and came across this video teaching "Real World" smarts...great info presented in a non-threatening way for younger kids - K -2 . I haven't checked but I bet there's a color sheet to go with it. If you use it with your kids, share your feedback and any suggestions you might have!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Friday!!

'In Your Shoes'  pragmatic language activity

Found a great activity http://speechroomnews.blogspot.com
The games are called 'In your shoes.' The download includes 3 games: Problem Solving 1 & 2 and Perspective Taking. They feature these cute shoe graphics from KPM doodles.
Its available through TeachersPayTeachers...I didn't mind paying for it as it has great graphics I wouldn't be able to make! She mentions that it would be fun to use with an empathy lesson. I plan to use with the book called " How Do I Stand in Your Shoes?" by Susan DeBell (grade 2)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Divorce :(

I don't know I'm surprised but again today I was touched by how difficult the impact of divorce is on kids, even after years of separation.
Fortunately I've recently come across some great resources for kids dealing with on-going issues with regard to divorce.
Check out www.kidsturn.org for information and free materials to help children better cope with the grief of parent separation and divorce. There is also information for parents. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

If you're interested in making your own posters, I'd recommend Vistaprint.  I recently received my first order for posters from them, and I'm pleased.  I decided I like the "small" size best (11.25" x 17.3") and would suggest choosing the "premium poster cardstock" option for $1.99 extra. They are sturdy enough to tote around to classroom guidance lessons, and then post on your wall for continued reference.  One more suggestion: wait for a sale!  I got the "medium size" (24"x18") for $5.99 each a few weeks ago and they have a plastic-y front coating on them so lamination isn't necessary.  I'm hoping the coating will also minimize fading.  If you add photos to your design (costs a little more), there doesn't seem to be a resolution warning, so be careful. 
A few more from my order:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Corner On Character: What Do You Reflect?

The Corner On Character: What Do You Reflect?: I just LOVE it when parents add a personal touch to their kids' lunches! Yesterday I saw a note from a mom suggesting to her little girl th...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Digital Citizens

Turn your students into safe, smart, responsible digital citizens and help your school keep valuable federal support for technology at the same time!
Get started by watching the overview tutorial, then access engaging lessons complete with plans, handouts, videos, assessments, and parent tip sheets on the tabs below.

Jeff Hanser and I have been discussing how to integrate more technology with our students and Jeff has come up with some great ways to use iPod Touches that some schools already have. Also, looked at the district sign-off for parental consent to use D2 apps. Did you know that all students grades 4-6 have accounts set up for them through Google? That begs the question...are our kids ready for all that technology as far as safety is concerned? You know how great Common Sense Media is...check out this video for more info about their tool kit for educators!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy First Day, everyone! I wanted to share Carolyn's Counselor Intro link: www.elementaryschoolcounseling.org/classroom-counseling.html

I'm always up for new ideas in this area especially since the kids tend to hear the same thing every year!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Friendship Bingo

Happy almost last day! Fun hanging with you all yesterday. I know, I know, I shouldn't be thinking of next year already but I found  fun website for teachers by teachers . . . free downloads and for pay stuff, too. This is a Bingo game that would be fun for Counselor Intro/1st week of school.
Have an awesome, relaxing summer ! !


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Global Alliance for Preventing Relational Aggression

Another great blog to check out is the GARPA where the previous article (A-Z Friendship) came from. If You sign up on their home site they will send you regularly posted articles from their blog.


The A-Z Summer Friendship List (re-post from A Way Through)

By Jane Balvanz, MSE, RPT
Summer is a time for kid heaven. It’s a time for freedom, friendships, fun, and eventually, “Mom, I have nothing to do.” (For precise expressiveness, the word “mom” must be said in a nasal tone and as if comprised of two syllables.)
Not to worry! Hand this list over to your child and say, “I know just what you can do. *Complete this list by the time summer is over, and you will have practiced most of the skills necessary to build good friendships.”
Apologize – Say you’re sorry when you mess up.
Balance – Balance your time wisely between friends and responsibilities.
Cool – Cool down your temper by deep breathing or walking away.
Dream – Dream about how you want your friendships to be.
Encourage – Encourage someone when they are feeling down or afraid.
Feel – Feel your emotions instead of stuffing them inside.
Give – Give of yourself. Help someone who could use help.
Humble – Be humble when you are complimented on an accomplishment.
Integrate – When someone wants to join you, integrate them into your group.
Judge – Judge friendships on your own experience, not by someone’s opinion.
Kick – Kick a habit that interferes with your friendships.
Laugh – Find someone who makes you laugh. Laughter = friendship magic!
Manage – Manage your commitments and do what you have promised.
Negotiate – Negotiate a compromise in a friendship disagreement.
Oppose – Oppose actions that purposely hurt another.
Praise – Praise someone’s accomplishments.
Quit – Quit a friendship that doesn’t feel good.
Relate – Find a way to relate to someone who is different than you.
Start – Start a new friendship.
Team – Team up with others to have fun.
Understand – Try to understand an opinion different than yours.
Value – Value others who make you feel good about yourself.
Wonder – Wonder about what makes a good friend.
X – X out the negative attitude. No one loves a grump.
Yield – Yield to your friends now and then to share decision-making.
Zip – Zip your lips when you feel like repeating words that hurt
© 2012 A Way Through, LLC
Bullying strategists Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish GAPRA’s bi-weekly articles. If you’re ready to guide children in grades K – 12 through painful friendships and emotional bullying:
For help with emotional bullyingwww.GAPRAconnect.com
For the When Girls Hurt Girls® programwww.AWayThrough.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Social Media and Younger Kids


Lately, I am becoming more and more alarmed at the unlimited  access elementary school aged students have to the internet and social media!
One of my 5th graders proudly showed me that she has an unlimited data package on her new smart phone . . . not to mention all the kids with iPod Touches with the same features. Here's an informative article with great resources for parents and educators to handle social media with younger kids.


Free Spirit Publishing Blog

I wanted to share a fun resource I found recently, the Free Spirit Publishing blog for educators. I love Free Spirit Publishing books as I'm sure you do, too. Their how-to books  are fun and informative for both kids and the grown-ups in their lives.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Playing Games in Counseling

"Do you want me to let you win or try my best?"  I ask students this question before we play a non-counseling "skill" game (like Connect 4, checkers, etc.) in individual counseling sessions.  I got the idea several years ago from the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, and it has helped my students who struggle with not-always-winning.  Because they chose my level of play at the beginning of the game, they are less likely to become upset if they say, "try your best" and lose....and if they WIN when I'm trying my best, then they feel especially proud of their effort.  Of course it has been a great springboard for talking about sportsmanship skills in general, too.

What kinds of strategies do you use to increase the therapeutic function of games in counseling?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Amazing Video for Perseverance Lesson

As soon as I saw this video I thought it would be perfect for a lesson I'm doing in 4th grade about perseverance (academic domain).  There is one quick, quick part that I will cover the projector for as I saw a questionable word (6:27), but otherwise it is a great example of a kid who's resilience and patience was rewarded and his talents finally recognized by others.

I'm also using this video for my perseverance lesson (below), but I love that the first one recognizes a child near their age.

What are some resources you've used to teach perseverance?

-- Tanya

Friday, March 16, 2012

FREE! FREE! FREE! Career Resources (published in Montana)

I found these career workbooks on our very own state government website:

For 3rd & 4th grade and teacher guide and "trading cards" (these cards are kind of cool!)

The workbooks, guides and cards can be ordered with this form. They are all FREE!

(I ordered a copy of each one last week and it arrived yesterday - fast shipping!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PTA Presentation

Tonight I am giving an Internet Safety/Media Awareness presentation to the PTA. I found some short, informative videos on www.commonsensemedia.org for parents, educators, and kids. Issues like staying safe, Facebook privacy, rules for parents & kids with regard to Internet/media use. They also have lessons for older kids but I haven't looked at them yet.



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Angry Birds!

After I posted the iPad apps last week I checked out the Angry Bird link. Not an app but a cool lesson on anger management posted by a mom! Her site, http://thehometeacher.blogspot.com/, has some really fun ideas for younger kids. This month at Beartooth we're working on Conflict Resolution, the first week about how to handle your anger. I'm going to do a follow up lesson this week with the booklet/posters/lesson below. Check it out!


Friday, March 9, 2012

A Good Career Exploration Website for Younger Students

Paws in Jobland is a free online website created by Bridges Transitions Inc. The career inventory on the website asks students a series of questions about things they like to do, things they are good at, or things they are interested in, and then presents the students with a list of jobs that they may enjoy. Students can explore jobs they may be interested in on the website by clicking on different buildings in "Jobland". Videos explain responsibilities for different jobs and show real people doing them. There's also a fun multiple choice game that challenges students' knowledge about various jobs. As an added bonus, the program reads the questions and gives directions out loud for students who are not strong readers. There are also supporting worksheets and lesson plans to go along with it.

I'm thinking about using this with my 3rd graders. :)

~ Tanya

Thursday, March 8, 2012

iPad Uses in Elementary Counseling

Hi All!  We've all been so busy lately, no one has posted anything for days!! I am putting the finishing touches on my Education Foundation grant application for an iPad and have been blogging with other counselors on ASCA Scene to get their take on how they implement their iPad in counseling. Here is a response I just got today. I so excited to start using it!

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Katrina Beddes posted the following response

Re: Apps related to elementary counseling for Ipad 2

I am so lucky to have an i-pad to use with my counseling at school.  First of all, I love it as a time saver because when I am waiting for a class who is running late, I can quickly catch up on e-mails or notes. 
It is great to use for kids simply because of the immediate buy-in.  Some of my favorite apps. . .

Noteshelf-  I now create with the students during counseling their own notes on Noteshelf.  This saves me from having to file as every student has an individual notepad and it can be locked so others don't have access to it.  It allows us to quickly review what we've been talking about in the beginning.  They can write on the i-pad in their notebook or draw what we've discussed.
 icounseloranger, icounseloranxiety, icounselordepression, icounselorocd are all helpful in helping the student do some cognitive restructuring and relaxation.  I think they were $.99 a piece.
There are many illusions apps that are free.  I use these to talk about perspective and being flexible.
Fun with Directions lite, this has the student listen and follow multi-step directions.  I use this as a fun activity with my adhd kids before we talk about listening skills.  I first have them do it without distractions.  Then they have to do it while the others are trying to distract them.  We talk about the difference in their abilities depending on their focus. 
Angry birds:  I use this before talking about anger.  I got a lesson using angry birds as a means of teaching kids about the ways their anger gets out of control from thehometeacher.blogspot.com
Behavior breakthroughs is one I just got but haven't explored yet.  It is for use with parents and I think could be used with teachers.  It creates simulations for them to practice skills to manage challenging behaviors.
Behavior Tracker Pro is awesome for tracking behavior in classrooms.  It is written for extreme spec. ed. students but I use it when doing observations for adhd or other behaviors.  It is pricey though.

spin the bottle can be used in lieu of dice when playing a game in your office.
Those are just a few that I have used.  I'm happy to have heard some of your suggestions to use this fun technology in counseling.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Career Day Ideas

Hi Gang,
Here are some cool ideas posted on the ASCA Scene blog for Elementary Career Days. I'd really like to try a few!

We have a Career Fair each year and have changed the format several times. What has worked best for us is to limit the fair to just fifth graders ( I also do career lessons in all the lower grades). We invite speakers to come in and give the kids a list. They choose their top 4 or 5, and we make up schedules. Speakers are sometimes parents and sometimes community people that we have invited/begged to participate.  We encourage speakers to bring hands on "tools of their trade" as much as possible so the kids can look and listen. The sessions are 25 minutes long, then we allow 5 minutes to rotate to their next session. All students are required to do an assignment about their top two sessions.

I have not tried this, but I heard about it and I’m anxious to try it out this Spring. It’s called Careers on Wheels. You ask community members to bring their trucks/cars/rigs that they use in their work. Then the kids rotate from vehicle to vehicle and learn about the careers. The ideas I have so far for my rural community are: police car, veterinarian’s truck, lineman’s cherry picker, tow truck, horse breeder’s trailer, military vehicles, and whatever else I can think of between now and then. It sounds like a great deal of fun with information sprinkled in.

What neat Ideas! when you said you wanted something to keep them focused while they rotate I thought you might have some kind of checklist or chart for them to take with them.  For my elementary kids I always asked the presenters to say something about the skills they need in their job (ie.. good with people, good at math, able to talk to people, writing skills, self control...) the kids could track the data for how many people said it was important in their jobs

We have a committee at my school that does Career Day for approximately 615 K-5 students on the last day of school each year. It is a wonderful. We have military, police, therapy dogs, horses, fireman,tae kwon do, etc. A lot of them bring vehicles and equipment. The kids and staff love it. There is no way I could accomplish something of this magnitude by myself, so I am very grateful that it is done by a committee.
another school in our district that is K-2 does a Career Day with vehicles, so they have firetrucks,police cars, motorcycle pol;ice, Ameren UE, ambulances,dump trucks & etc.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Middle School Transition

  February Tech Cadre today. Great tools to try! Found some great stuff for prepping our 6th graders for Middle School...iPad apps and online game.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feelings Game

Hi everyone --
I came across this online game about feelings this morning and thought I'd pass it on.  It uses real photographs and challenges kids to match up the face to the feeling.  There are 4 levels of the game.  I love doing this kind of stuff with younger students and those diagnosed with Aspergers'/Autism.

By Tanya

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cooperation: Teaming Up for Success

Happy last day of January! For February we'll be working on cooperation skills like social interaction, taking responsibility, sharing, how to apologize. This week 2nd grade is watching a movie from the book Strega Nona...great lesson in learning responsibility and being dependable = cooperation. Check it out!
Here's a link to a color sheet from Tomi dePaola, too.http://www.tomie.com/images/coloring_pages/coloring_strega.gif

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun

Here's a link to the author's website of that sweet book Jan shared with us last year, Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun.
Great lessons, color sheets, bookmark.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Kid-Friendly Career Websites

Today, Robin shared a fun way she helped prepare her 5th and 6th graders for "the real world", in addition to having ETS come. Chad shared a couple websites with me that I plan to use with 4th-6th this spring and sounds like they are along those same lines as the PPT Robin made. Check these websites out...maybe Robbi wouldn't mind sharing, too!  :)


Friday, January 13, 2012

Monthly Newsletter Posts

The monthly newsletters have been updated...near as I can tell, Blogger did some 'updates' that excluded some posts. I found them at:
 http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2778647880392639245#publishedcomments although I haven't been able to figure out how to expand each post  :/   ...so I as i told Tanya...I still learning!
I'm hoping to get some help from Desiree. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Grandma Rose and Simon's Hook

I found two videos that go with Simon's Hook-book about teasing...great addition instead of reading the book.  :)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Does Childhood Stress Stay with You for Your Whole Life?

No matter how big the toothless smiles, how many toys are packed into the playroom, how perfect the family holiday photo seems, many children experience some kind of stress while they are growing up thatone researcher says could stay with them into adulthood.

Related: Can kids "catch" your stress? 
"If a child has a pervasive sense of adversity in his or her childhood for whatever reason, the brain responds to that kind of hardship by becoming more sensitized to stress," Dr. Rajita Sinha, director of the Yale Stress Center, recently explained to CNN.

The brain becomes hard-wired to react more strongly, she says, making that person more likely to have a greater reaction to stress than people who do not have a similar history.

What childhood stress is so big that is burrows into the brains for decades? Research points to pain, illness, and injury as major stressors for kids. But a child's stress level can increase to "severe" during family conflicts such as divorce, abuse, witnessing violence, financial crisis, the death of a loved one, or a parent who suffers from addiction or mental health problems.

While anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can even be OK for children to navigate, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, some people experience excessive levels of anxiety. One in eight children are affected by an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, including those who are deemed to have post-traumatic stress disorder.

While humans are "adaptive animals," Sinha says many children are experiencing stress before their ability to deal with it is completely developed. The adversity in their young lives therefore leads to a higher overall stress level into adulthood.
"The stress pathway is developing during childhood. The stress system needs time to grow and become fully functional," Sinha says.

Small children under stress are sources of concern, according to her studies. But she also sees adolescents, who are more likely to self-isolate, as particularly vulnerable. Teenagers' stress symptoms may range from sleep difficulty to overeating to school truancy to taking pain medication unnecessarily.

While parents may not be able to completely shield children from stressors -- a kid's home life might be magical but they may encounter a bully in Sunday school or suddenly lose a grandparent to cancer -- Sinha says parents, teachers, and caregivers can help build resistance and optimism when kids experience stress.

"Things happen. Families will face adversities. But if parents, teachers, and other adults are helping to guide children by talking about the trauma and providing them with adaptive skills, then those children will be more inclined toward protection and resilience, as opposed to risk."

How can we help protect our kids from becoming over-stressed adults?

1. Seek social support
. Sinha says that interacting with others and garnering family support is a primary way we can protect kids from the risks of stress.

2. Embrace education and intellectual challenges.
 Children are more likely to learn to navigate tough stuff if they are challenged in a safe environment like school, she reports. Teachers that encourage students to think abstractly, for example, are helping their brain develop in ways that will serve stressed children in the moment and, perhaps, in the long term.

3. Develop optimism and tactics to control emotions. Parents and other adults who are active in a child's life may be able to help protect kids from carrying stress forward in such significant ways. A University of Wisconsin-Madison study revealed that a mother's voice, whether during a conversation or phone call or whisper during a hug, can produce significant biochemical responses that soothe stressed children. Another study of 405 inner-city children showed that yoga instruction boosted the kids' self-esteem and grades and decreased behavioral problems associated with the stress of poverty in South Central Los Angeles. Getting enough sleep consistently has also been shown to help children deal with stress more effectively. Some even say a little playful, safe roughhousing can do kids (and parents) a world of good.