Sunday, April 26, 2015

Anxiety Article

You might have seen this already, but I'm always looking for new ways to work with kids who have anxiety to the point that it affects their ability to stay in class. I'm especially intrigued by #8, practicing mindfulness:
An abundance of scientific research has demonstrated the profound effects of mindfulness.  MRI studies have shown that practicing mindfulness increases the density of grey matter in the brain, providing relief and protection from stress, anxiety and depression.
As I make a few more clicks around the website, I think Hey Sigmund just became my new favorite blog.

Be well.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

5th Grade Transition: Fly-up Day

I don't know how you do a fly-up activity at your middle school. Our fifth graders come to visit for an hour and a half or so. I've participated in that event several times as an elementary counselor, but have never planned one at my current level. This is actually a good thing, as I am familiar with what has been done in the past, and what I think would additionally be valuable to our fifth graders.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ed Foundation Grant

My latest tweet:
My plans for next year are beginning to take shape. We're going to be incorporating some social-emotional learning alongside our college/career curriculum at the sixth grade levels. Our goals will be for our sixth graders to:

  • Become problem solvers
  • Recognize and respond to bullying
  • Regular their own emotions
  • Resist drug/alcohol use and other risky behaviors
I've taught this curriculum at the elementary level in years past. I believe in it as a vehicle to promote real growth at this crucial time of their academic lives. Very special thanks to the Hermiston Education Foundation for making this possible. 

Reference:  Second Step Curriculum from the Committee for Children, sixth grade level. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring break notes

Of course, I started this blog with the best of intentions.  Funny how life gets in the way of posting sometimes. Nevertheless, it's been a great year as my first year at the middle school level.  In fact, I can't imagine going to any other grade level for a long time. I'm part of a great team at my school, and I've grown a lot professionally this year despite taking a few lumps along the way. With spring break here, I'm already starting to think about 2015-16 at this point.

  • We don't have an established individual student planning team at our school. I've already had some preliminary talks with the principal and I think this would be a good move for us next year. 
  • Academic Momentum has been a big focus for us this first three quarters. Next year, 7th and 8th grade teachers will take over the teaching. I will remain teaching the 6th grade curriculum. In addition, I'd like to spend a couple of times a month with each 6th grade social studies classroom and focus on things like goal setting and some social/emotional learning topics. Sixth grade is a pivotal year for many students. 
  • I now see the value of a school counseling binder!  
So, there's still much to do to finish out the year, but I'm excited about my start here and what we're going to accomplish going forward. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

College/Career Learning Space

It's starting with a tweet:
I don't know what kind of responses I'm going to get just yet.  The fact is, we've got some unused space in our building that I'd like to devote to college/career learning. For this year, at least, I'd like to make use of it especially for our 8th graders, since our Eastern Promise/Academic Momentum curriculum won't be reaching them.  I'm giving this one some serious thought over the next few days and weeks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


I love this board, courtesy of a tweet by Franciene Sabens:
I'm beginning to introduce the word 'mindset' to our students even as I'm fully learning what that is myself.

Related reading that I'm taking on: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.   (This is not an affiliate link)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Start of School

Day 1 of my middle school counseling career is in the books. A few notes from the day and from our start up activities in general:

  • I really like the vibe here, the pace of life. This is going to be a great age group to work with.
  • I've learned move about scheduling in the last week than I ever thought possible. I've got more to get my brain wrapped around, though. 
  • Eastern Promise/Academic Momentum is going to become a reality at our school. We will have a culture of a college/career mindset. 
  • And speaking of mindsets, our district consultant, Dr. Rudy Cruz, is recommending this book about them
  • I was interested to see our counselor evaluation criteria, new to our district this year. In order for me to earn an 'exemplary' rating for goals, I have to have an advisory council made up of staff, students and parents (as well as other stakeholders) to help make those decisions.  I like that. It lends a lot of support toward the creation of such groups at the building level. I'm sure that will be a further topic on this blog. 
K, time to grab my coffee, head out the door and get ready for Day 2.