Using iTunes U for School-Wide Counseling Support

Have you heard of iTunes U?

Surviving Middle School

If you have an iPad or iPhone you can download iTunes U which is basically an online course that your students and teachers can subscribe to and have all of your documents/materials and lessons at your fingertips.

This year, I’ve created our Middle School online course, “Surviving Middle School” (click here with your iOS devise) that gives students information from “How to Make Friends”, “What is a Bully?”, “How to Prepare for BIG Tests” and many more topics under the umbrella of School Counseling. Updates happen often so keep checking back for new information and links to helpful websites and apps to use for your School Counseling Program. Hope you find my course helpful for you and your students!!


Using Video to get in to EVERY SINGLE CLASSROOM

I can get in to EVERY SINGLE CLASSROOM in one day without leaving my office.

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Yes, that’s right, I was seen by every student on my caseload in one day. Now, some of you may not feel comfortable being video taped or even audio taped…well than this idea just isn’t for you, sorry!! I have done so many school-wide presentations that the thought of speaking in from of 400 students at the same time doesn’t phase me so speaking in to my computer is no big deal. I have had at least 20 students say, “Hi Mrs. Mecaughey! I saw your video, super cool!” so this has been totally worth it for me and I will continue to do at least 1 video a month for our school-wide character traits.

So, heres the deal.

  • First, I create a keynote presentation (I am slowly transitioning over from powerpoint) with the information I want to show.
  • Then, I click PLAY and RECORD SLIDESHOW
  • The slideshow will start and the red light will be on, during this time you talk…just as if you were presenting in front of a room of students (yes, I probably did 20 different takes until I got it right)
  • When you are ready to go to the next slide, click the arrow button and continue on with the presentation until you finish the slides
  • Once you are sure everything is ready and you are done, SAVE and then click EXPORT
  • You can share this as a quicktime video or .key document with teachers via email (compress the file if it is too large or send via googledrive or post to your online course in iTunes U)
  • Teachers can play this in the classroom on a smart board or TV…or even large screen computer
  • Students can watch this video anytime with your course on iTunes U on their iPad (if applicable)

It is important to note that the person watching the slideshow will NOT be able to pause it at anytime…so keep that in mind when creating the video.

Interested in seeing a video in action? Check out my iTunes U course Surviving Middle School and click on October Character Trait and watch my “Responsibility Video” (you must have iTunes U on your IOS devise to watch). Feel free to ask me any questions about this process and best of luck!

Using “Love Notes” in Friendship Groups


This week in my girls friendship lunch group, I gave each student an envelope printed with their name on the outside (and a little red heart for added love). Inside the envelope, I wrote each student a positive love note such as, “your smile fills any room you are in” or “thank you for your honesty and participation in our group, we are so thankful to have you!”.

The girls LOVED this activity. After they read their special note, I gave them 3 minutes to write their own notes to other group members or themselves. I played some inspirational songs during this time and the girls used markers and small index cards. This special note above was one of the first student notes I received this year and it made me smile 🙂 These positive words of encouragement also came in handy for our next activity which involved a “I’m Special and Unique” Board to help boost self-esteem.



Bright and Cheery Chevron Digital Backgrounds by Melissa Dalton

School Counseling Office Design

My office is small, I have to use an unoccupied classroom if I need more space for groups. Here are some pictures of my active workspace – viewer BEWARE! This picture is taken in the middle of the day and the middle of the week…so please no judgements 🙂

I will add more photos when I clean up because I’ve moved the bookcase recently which has added a lot more room – it has really transformed the space!!

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Who runs the world? GIRLS! How to Run Girls Lunch Groups

This year I have a lot of new students (not to mention being new myself!) and some of the students have come from being homeschooled for many years. I have some students that have come to me because they are looking to make friends and have had some bad experiences. I currently have 3 girls groups running during lunch/advisory (we have an hour) which are focused on making and keeping friends. I try to find 5-8 girls that will work good together and learn from each other – it is not hard for me to find students that want to have lunch with me 🙂 My office is pretty small so I go in to an open classroom and bring all of my goodies!

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I structure my girls group as follows:

Ice Breaker: a quick activity to get the students talking…sometimes we start while we are eating and it can be very informal. If the girls are talking, I will step back and watch for good moments to use later if needed.

Group Rules: always read and remind the students of our group rules and our group name (decided during our first session)

Group Goals: using a pre-assessment tool, group goals are designed to help students where they need it most. I review our goals before each session to keep our priorities in mind. Students are able to share their ideas at this time, too.

Activity: the lesson paired with a group activity or discussion that will focus on the goal above.

Recap: student directed activity to make the final connections to our goals and the activity.

Closure: we close out our time together by thanking each other for our time and attention and add any last inspiration for the day. Sometimes I will continue reading a book related to the topic until the bell rings.

Keeping the group structure the same helps me organize my ideas but also helps students know when they can share and when they need to listen. So far, I’m feeling good but just getting my feet wet – more information and example lessons & ideas coming soon!