Friday, February 28, 2014

Not a Box: Intro to Careers

In kindergarten we have begun talking about what we'd like to be when we grow up.  I stumbled across this great read, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, that allows children to open up their imaginations to all the possibilities that are out there.

Each page shows our main character, a rabbit, doing something with a box.  He claims that it is "Not a box." Then we predict what it could be before turning the page to see what he's imagining.  For example:

After reading through the story, students had many different ideas of what they'd like to be when they grow up.  I introduced them to a variety of options and we talked about each one:

Then we played Career Bingo!  I created unique bingo boards using the careers from the posters and read out clues for them to guess which career I was describing.  They had way, way, way too much fun with this as more and more students shouted out, "BINGO!"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kids in a New Groove

Kids in a New Groove (KING) is a local Austin nonprofit whose mission is to provide Texas youth in foster care with a committed one-on-one mentoring relationship through weekly private music instruction, giving students the ability to build concrete strategies for life-long success.
Kids in a New Groove’s vision is that all Texas youth in foster care have the tools and the support they need to become successful individuals when they transition out of the foster care system.
The best part about KING?  It’s completely free for the child.  All of the instruments and lesson materials are provided during the lessons at no cost.  The student even has a chance to earn their very own brand new instrument to keep forever after reaching goals in the program!
All of the lessons are taught by volunteer music mentors who go to the child’s foster home or placement once a week, for 30 minute lessons.  The same volunteer stays with the child through the course of the program so that they may get a chance to not only have lessons, but to foster a positive mentoring relationship as well.
We have trained teachers in all instrument areas including (but not limited to) piano, guitar, clarinet, flute, voice and drums!  Don’t worry, our drum teachers use electronic drum pads to teach, so there is virtually no noise for the foster parent.
It’s easy to sign a child up, just go to and click the new student intake tab to input some information.  After that, we take care of the rest!

For more information about KING, please visit our website

Or contact Sara Harney, Volunteer Coordinator at

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Developing Healthy Self-Esteem

Fellow school counselor, Kayla Marston, created this great visual of ways to help develop healthy self-esteem in your children:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Counselor Appreciation Week

I had an amazing Counselor Appreciation Week!  I am so lucky to work with such amazing leaders and loving students.  I was completely spoiled with thoughtful notes, aromatic flowers, and delicious treats!  Here are some of the highlights that filled up my bucket!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Have You Filled a Bucket?

In kindergarten we read Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  We discussed how each one of us has an invisible bucket with us everyday that either gets filled by the positive feedback we receive or dipped into by the negative feedback we receive.  Although you cannot see your invisible bucket, you can feel how full your bucket is in your heart.  When your bucket is full, you feel happy and loved.  When your bucket is empty, you feel sad and lonely. 

After reading the story, I had students help me sort different behaviors as bucket "filling" or bucket "dipping."

Then students came up with their own ideas on how they could be a bucket filler to those around them.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentines Postcards for Veterans

In conjunction with Random Acts of Kindness Week, our first grade students wrote Valentines Postcards for our local Veterans.  The Austin VA Outpatient Clinic contacted our school asking for students to make Valentines for their patients.  The clinic is 184,000 square feet - the largest, free-standing VA outpatient clinic in the nation!  Although we couldn't arrange a visit to hand-deliver these unique messages, I know that our positive thoughts will bring a smile to their faces when they arrive.

We first talked about who Veterans are and I reminded students about our Veteran's Day Ceremony we had in the fall around the flagpole in front of our school.  Many students shared stories about their own family members serving in our nation's military.  We brainstormed which ideas would be nice to write in our postcards.  Students thought about what personal message they would like, then decorated the themed designs on the front to make them extra special.  I will be mailing their Valentines to arrive on time for Valentines Day on this Friday, February 14th.

Update: We received a nice thank you letter...