Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review: Marcella Umbrella and the 'What Ifs'

I am so excited to share one of my new favorite bibliotherapy resources with all of you! Marcella Umbrella and the What Ifs is a recently published book by an awesome lady that I met while in graduate school, Mrs. Jessica Mey!

So many of our students struggle daily with anxiety and worry about those 'What Ifs-What if my friend doesn't want to play with me, what if I don't get a perfect on tomorrow's test, what if Mommy and Daddy split up, What if...
This super-cute story follows Marcella as she tries to fall asleep at night, but is struggling because similar 'What-Ifs' are filling her mind. Marcella's mother helps her understand that although they can't make all of the bad things go away, they can choose to focus on the good. Her mother also encourages her to talk about her worries with someone she trusts-including people at school! :)

I am confident that the adorable illustrations and relatable language used within this book will help many of my anxious students realize that they are not alone with their worries. Quite honestly, it's a good reminder for us adults, as well! This book would also be great to recommend to parents of students that struggle with the same bedtime worries as Marcella.

I encourage you to visit the book's website ( to learn more about the author and the story behind Marcella. If you also feel that this would be a great addition to your school counseling bibliotherapy resources, you can purchase the book on Amazon. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Children's Grief Awareness Day 2016

Each November, I like to acknowledge the importance of Children's Grief Awareness Day. The past few years, I have had students decorate butterflies (the symbol for Children's grief) in memory of loved one(s) or with messages of support for others. Check out my original post here.

I wanted to do something different this year, so i perused CGAD's website for other ideas to show school-wide support. In addition to having students & staff wear BLUE, all were invited to decorate a blue chain link that we then connected and displayed as our school 'Chain of Hope'. These links can be made out of blue construction paper or copy paper!
Please share other ways you have acknowledged #CGADhope!

Friday, September 23, 2016

A 'Flipped' Intro Lesson!

Although I attended several wonderful sessions at this summer's American School Counselor Association Conference, I must say that the most intriguing was Dr. Erin Mason & Franciene Saben's session on 'Flipping Lessons'. You can view their Presentation Slides here.

'Flipping' was started in the early 2000's by two high-school science teachers, Johnathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. But don't flip out just yet, 'flipping' isn't meant to be complicated or make life harder for you-it's actually meant to make better use of your time and allow for more meaningful conversations with your students! In a nutshell, 'flipping' is:

1. Technology-based Content Delivery
2. Face-to-face Follow-up

Every year, my School Psychologists and I spend many hours visiting each classroom to present a lesson that engages students and explains the similarities and differences between our roles. Considering I have one K-5 building and one K-3 building, that comes out to about 45 half-hour lessons! Although we love seeing the kids and getting a little crazy with whatever our theme is that year, it's exhausting! It also takes time away from our many other responsibilities.

That being said, I could not wait to get to work on 'flipping' my lessons for the year! Together, my School Psychologists and I selected a theme and drafted a script of the main points we wanted to cover. We then recorded several clips of ourselves presenting the CONTENT (mixed in with a little humor, of course!) For this, I used one of our schools Flip Video Cameras.  Afterwards, I chose to utilize iMovie to put all of the clips together in sequential order, as well as add music, text, and transitions.  I then uploaded the completed video(s) to Vimeo

So here it is-take it easy on our acting abilities ;)

IVES-School Counselor & School Psychologist Intro from Erin Rebling on Vimeo.

Next, I sent an email to staff that included the link to the appropriate video. Within the email, I stated that they had two weeks to show this approximately 6-minute video to their students, at whatever time worked best for them! This could be during morning meeting, snack breaks, before lunch, at the end of the day, etc. Following this two week period, my School Psychologist and I will be making 10-15 minute visits to each of the classrooms to check for understanding and allow students to ask questions. This FACE-TO-FACE FOLLOW-UP must occur in order to truly 'flip' a lesson! 

So far, we have gotten great feedback on the videos from students and staff. One great benefit of 'flipping' this lesson is that we can post it on our websites, social media accounts, etc., for students to watch again at home with their families, or to simply enjoy watching our shenanigans again. :)

I am looking forward to 'flipping' many more lessons in the future, and hope this has inspired you to do the same! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lesson on Loyalty

Another character education lesson I have done addresses the topic of loyalty. I must give credit to Marissa Rex and her incredible blog for helping me get started on bibliotherapy resources for this topic!

loyalty-being a good friend ALL of the time, not just SOME of the time 

For this lesson, I used the book Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. The reason I chose this book was two-fold. 1. I was teaching this lesson throughout October/November, so it tied in great with a lot of the "pumpkin/fall" themes being done in the younger grades. 2. It is a fun tale of 3 friends who argue over the pumpkin soup cooking responsibilities. When Duck leaves their home in frustration, Cat and Squirrel quickly realize how much Duck meant to the success of their pumpkin soup-and their friendship! Following the story, I spend time processing with students about other ways that we can be loyal. Loyal students, family members, citizens, etc.

As I mention in previous posts, I always like to have something to catch students' attention when I come in for classroom lessons. For this lesson, I snagged a plastic cauldron at Walmart (Halloween/Seasonal section) for around five dollars. I had students place their completed Exit Tickets into the cauldron when they were finished.

I would love for you to share other ways that you teach the topic of loyalty! Have a great week! :)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Showing Compassion

One of my most popular classroom lessons this past year was a character education lesson on compassion. My objectives through this lesson were for students to understand the definition of compassion, understand that showing compassion may inspire others to do the same, and correctly identify behaviors that show compassion towards others.

compassion-when we show or tell others that we care how they feel 

I began the lesson by getting student feedback on what compassion means to them. After providing my definition for purposes of the lesson, I read the story Bernice Gets Carried Away, by Hannah E. Harrison. (You can check out some of Hannah's other wonderful books here.)

This story involves a cat named Bernice who, quite literally, gets carried away after repeatedly not getting her way during a friend's birthday party. Eventually, Bernice realizes what she must do in order to return to the party-show compassion and acknowledge that there are others who are having a worse day than her. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and I enjoyed the moment when students realized the double definition of 'getting carried away'. :) 

Afterwards, I de-briefed the story with students, and had them share new ideas for showing compassion to friends, family, teachers, etc. 

I then asked students if it was possible to show compassion to people we don't even know. We discussed making donations, helping younger students in our school, etc. I then showed them the following YouTube video, entitled 'Kindness Boomerang'. 

Students really enjoyed this video. I made sure to process afterwards, seeing if students could recall the acts of compassion that they saw, as well as acknowledge why the video was entitled Kindness Boomerang-due to the acts of kindness or compassion coming back to the gentleman who got it started. I then posted the video on my website for students who wanted to re-watch it at home. 

DATA! I used 'Exit Tickets' to be sure that students met the lesson objectives. Each Exit Ticket included two questions, and I differentiated the tickets for K-2 and 3-5. View a sample of each below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

School Counselor Introduction Lessons

Whew! It's been way too long since I have posted, but I am setting a goal to post more often during the upcoming school year. Speaking of the upcoming year, have you thought about how you will re-introduce yourself & your role to students & staff? I will share the lessons I have done the past two years!

1. The School Counselor Role through Beach Essentials 

I always like to begin my classroom lessons with something to catch the student's attention when I enter-whether this be an outfit, prop, song, etc. That being said, I began this lesson by entering each classroom wearing a snorkel/goggles, flippers, and a beach ball/bag in hand. :)

I explained my role with the following items:

Flippers-The School Counselor will help you to swim successfully through the school year!
Snorkel-The School Counselor can help you take deep breaths & calm down if you are feeling sad, angry, etc.
Goggles-The School Counselor helps you see things more clearly. Ex. Problems with friends, struggles with schoolwork, difficulties at home, etc.
Beach Towel-The School Counselor will help you feel warm & welcome at our school! (Discuss small groups/other programming)
Sunscreen-The School Counselor will help make sure you are safe. (Explain rules of confidentiality here)
Beach Ball-The School Counselor likes to have fun, too! She will visit your classroom and present lessons on all sorts of topics.

2. The School Counselor Wears 'Many Hats'

This past year, my School Psychologist wanted to get in on the introduction lesson action! So often, students refer to our School Psychologist as 'my assistant', or think we have the same job. While there are aspects of our job that are very similar, we thought is was important to use the intro lesson to explain the differences!

The image at left sparked our initial idea, and together, we collected this assortment of hats to explain our roles to students K-5. However, we replaced the detective-looking hat with a Construction Helmet and, similar to the Fireman's Hat, explained how we both work to keep students safe. We also explained confidentiality here. The students anticipated which hat we would pull out next, as well as enjoyed guessing how the type of hat related to our job(s). This list is not finite-I encourage you to think of other 'hats' that you wear within your specific school!

COLLECT THAT DATA!!! I typically use paper-based 'Exit Tickets' to see if students have understood the objective of my lesson. However, scoring & entering these require a lot of additional time that we don't necessarily have! Look for a future post on using Plickers!

I am still on the lookout for an introduction lesson idea to use this upcoming year. Feel free to share your ideas below!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fall Growth Mindset Bulletin Board

Inspired by School Counselor Blog's integration of the Growth Mindset into her school-wide programming this year, I, too, have gradually begun to introduce the idea throughout my work with students. In fact, the idea of developing a growth mindset has become a hot-topic with educators everywhere. View the transcript from our #escchat on "Exploring the Growth Mindset" here.

A growth mindset suggests that intelligence can be developed.  This is the opposite of a fixed mindset-the idea that intelligence is static. I constantly encourage students to take a closer look at their thoughts-as they fuel their behaviors! 

There are so many fantastic growth mindset bulletin board ideas out there. A simple search of "growth mindset" on Pinterest can provide you with many ideas! This was my fall interpretation. Not perfect, but many teachers have integrated this into class discussions and their own work with students. Hoping to continue promoting the topic throughout the rest of the academic year. :)