With my new job came over 700 new students. With teacher, administration and student referrals…I had a lot of students to get to know. I created this document to use during a first time session to keep conversation focused on the main goals of school counselors (academic, social/emotional and career topics). You can have students fill out the sheet and then use the information to foster conversation or you can fill it out with them. This sheet gives you an overall look into their lives and will prompt good conversation back and forth. You will be surprised at the information they share based on the rating scale! This is on my teachers pay teachers account for FREE or download below, enjoy!
First off, I apologize for the lack of updates this year. Some major life changes (did I mentioned I’m engaged?? he put a ring on it!) and also a career change (guidance counselor, woopwoop!) have taken a toll on my free time. My goal is one post every two weeks, so please check back often for updates!
Today is day one of decorating my guidance suite for the 2013-2014 school year and I couldn’t be more trilled! I work at a Charter School in Philadelphia (same one that I worked as a special education teacher) with grades kindergarten, 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th grade. There will be approximately 450 students across these six grades. School starts September 9th and I’m working on decorating (obviously…its the best part!) and putting my schedule together (HELP!). I will also be researching the topics for this coming school year. Does your school have a monthly character trait? If so, tell me more!
Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS) is in FULL SWING this coming school year! “School Culture” is very important to us, so we’ve changed the title of PBIS to The School Culture Team. We are working on our “big 8” systems and modeling/role playing with the staff during orientation. We spent a lot of time this summer with our School Culture Team and designed these school-wide and in-class systems such as arrival, dismissal, hallway transitions, getting supplies in the classroom, etc. Our staff will hear all about of these proposed systems during the next few weeks and work within grade teams to choose what works well for them. These systems are written as scripts and seem so silly to write but even sillier to act out (and super entertaining, I must say). When you act out your plan (literally pretend your staff is your students) you realize what works and what is too wordy. It can be as small as saying “collect materials” instead of “put your materials away”. Practicing through role play has also been effective in showing teachers exactly what we mean – when we say repeat, we mean it. When you do it the way it is written, it will be more effective (especially since we spent so much time tweaking it!). Have you had any experience writing “scripts”? if so, how did it go over with your staff?
One more small change we are making this year is that students are allowed to be in zone 2 (quiet) in the hallways and during transitions instead of zone 1 (silent). The reason for this is we are modeling REAL LIFE. Have you ever had to be silent in a mall hallway? how about an office building? We want to show our students how to act in the real world. I’m hoping teachers find this as a blessing and that this maximizes learning time. Do students have to be silent in your hallways during transitions? How does that work for you?
Best of luck with your school year! I have a feeling this will be the BEST ONE YET! enjoy!
Remember, your students & school are a reflection of YOU! (quoted by my amazing Principal) 🙂
It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to make a complete update to my behavioral world so here is a mini one to keep you interested!
Penny wars was a HUGE success! We were able to raise $650 in a 2-week period…we collected over 37,000 PENNIES…amazing. Thank goodness for TD Bank’s Penny Arcade is all I have to say! Since it was a competition between homerooms, all students will be receiving their incentive this week (who doesn’t love pizza and ice cream!)
January has come with a complete reset plan for our company. It is a time to reflect on practices and reset to ensure that everyone understands. We did it at the corporate level, school level and now classroom. I’ve seen a BIG impact in the overall compliance in my classroom and it started with this reset.
On Saturday, our core SWPBIS team went to a PaTTAN training. With all the hard work we’ve put in this year, much of the training was review but we were able to see data from staff surveys. From there we created our action plan for better implementation. It was a great feeling when the presenters from PaTTAN recognized me from the videos on our website!
Tomorrow we will be having our first assembly of the new year, “Positivity Promotes Peace” celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s real birthday and all the successes we’ve had in the past few months! We will have student performances on drums, we will showcase our award-winning basketball team and kickoff our PSSA countdown in style.
I will be back to update more as time goes on and give some tips for starting SWPBIS and what i’ve learned from this time last year! Hope you are having a wonderful New Year
First thing first – hope you are home safe with your family! Second, hope you are using your time wisely and getting work done before the power goes out! Philadelphia is getting a direct hit so anyone here, please be careful!!
Back to work – On November 16th we will be hosting our 1st Annual World Tour Day! This will be an incentive for students because they will have to use tickets to participate. Each teacher will host a country and come up with culture, food, music, and dance activities for rotating classes to experience. Has your school hosted an International Day or Culture Day? Share your thoughts and ideas! More info and documents to share coming soon.
Is it really only October?! It feels like school has been in session for at least 3 months already. As I sit here lesson planning at 9pm on a Saturday, I can’t help but miss those summer afternoons in the local coffee shop. Instead, I’m a few days ahead of my plans (thats a first this year!) but I also have a pretty extensive to-do is on my desk – of which I only crossed one thing off of today. But you probably came here for an update on Behavior stuff…maybe? Well, that’s what you’re going to get.
As you may be aware, this year we implemented PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Support) at my Middle School. We started giving our tickets for good behavior, have had school-wide character lesson plans and taught our expectations to our students. Theres a slight difference in the overall culture of the school – but with new initiatives, big changes take time. We are practicing being patient! We have also had a few school-wide incentives. We started off with Spirit Week and our first NUT (No Uniform Today) Day – which was a big success! Surprisingly, there was not in increase in overall discipline referrals that day, which means we can continue to have them! Check out the flyer that was sent home and displayed around the school for Spirit Week!
We had our first Vare Cares Awards Assembly last week which was a hit. Our students are still practicing their behaviors in the auditorium and they needed a few reminders but overall, the behaviors are improving. Students also were able to vote for a student in their class who exhibited cooperation in the month of September and these students received the Vare Cares Award. Parents were invited to share in the celebration and it is always an amazing feeling to reward the students who are always doing the right thing. The other great part is that all students voted (and teachers agreed with their choices!) and were able to notice which students exhibit the desired behaviors. Below you will see the Vare Cares Student Star voting sheet.
We also had a special guest join us to kick off our Vare Cares Assembly and talk about a topic that goes hand in hand with cooperation – bullying. I hope the students felt as inspired as I did! 🙂
Here we go again teachers! After an AMAZING summer (mine was filled with the beach, camping, puppies and sleeping) its time to go back to the world of education. As you can see, my classroom is already finished and I still have a week to do some planning so I feel somewhat prepared for kids to come back. I was pretty blessed this summer to be able to spend numerous days in a coffee shop designing our new behavior model! Hopefully that makes you as excited as it does me! 😉
Our Vare Cares Behavior Model is the is now the example behavior model for all 6 of our schools – wohoo! I was able to present (along with my principal) the Vare Cares Way to all of the administrators in the company. Below you will find some of the key items for the 2012-2013 Vare Cares Behavior Model. We are also currently working on lesson plans for the first few days of school to teach our students the behavioral expectations for each location in the school. I plan on video taping some of the lessons to put together for another Vare Cares video but you’ll just have to wait to see that. More info to come and I’ll keep on sharing resources!
Best of luck and have a POSITIVE 2012-2013 school year!