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More for Career

So, as I said earlier, I have been working on a small career lesson for my 8th graders.  I found some awesome videos to use, and I was stumped trying to avoid yet another assessment to tell the babies what they must be when they grow up.  Those things still make me nervous when I take them recreationally, and I am actually in my meant-for-me profession; I can’t imagine how it must make them feel.  Granted, if presented correctly (which I think I’m still working on), I understand kids can get the point that career assessments are meant to simply explore the broader idea of what they might like.  But in the age of so many serious tests and exams, I can’t imagine they would be able to relax enough to not feel like they would be banished from all educational rights if they answer incorrectly.    Luckily, I found this really cool diagram from Willo O’brien (which turns out is actually a pretty inspirational and cool bog too):


I’ve seen this before, but I thought this version was especially appealing.  I remade it by middle-school-izing the verbiage and adding blanks so that they could fill in the information.  You can get the PDF of the Career diagram by clicking the jpeg below, or you can snip the image to re-size if you’d like!


Now I just have to cross all of my fingers and toes that I can get the point across to a classroom of pre-teens before the 8th grade minds start to joke about my using the words “sweet spot.”  I’ll have to work fast.

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Weekend Therapy

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This weekend, my therapy was totally retail-related.  But by way of magazines…the best kind.  I have long been a fan of Euro-import crafty mags, but this weekend it was brought to a whole new level when I brilliantly thought to myself, “Self, what the hey?  I wonder if there are any super-cool quilting magazines.  Could it be?…this one looks…yes…it is larger than the other magazines…yes…QUILTY GOODNESS EURO-STYLE??!!?!”  I apologize if the picture is, in fact, as fuzzy as it looks to me, but my excitement is clearly difficult to contain.  I went with Patchwork and Quilting and Popular Quilting (I’m not really sure how I missed Popular Patchwork, except for that I must find it).  I cannot be happier with these magazines, and just feel like there is something about the Euro mags that are more current, and way mare tutorial-ish.  I have even already found a new awesome sewy blog at Diary of  a Quilter from Popular Quilting– PLEASE check it out if you haven’t seen it yet…I would say it is imperative.  It’s pretty and helpful and inspiring.

I am sure that it is noticeable that I keep posting about  sewing blogs and magazines and haven’t posted any projects.  That’s because it is very time consuming to collect all of the “data” which means I’m not actually doing anything.  I’m ok with it though, it’s part of my process (and “productivity” is relative).  On the work-front, I have been stalking Kate’s Science Classroom though, who seems to take her class beyond typical Science lessons, and integrates some really great concepts for personal growth.  I admire her going above and beyond subject matter for her students, and find there are some great ideas here that can easily fit into the Counselor’s office as well!

One last note:  While perusing the crafty book section at my local book store, I couldn’t help but notice this precariously placed self-help book.  Regardless of the fact that I mix therapy and crafties right on this here blog thang, I had to refrain myself from leaving a note that says, “Crafting is in again!  Just because I’m crafting on a Saturday night doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem!  I choose this life! I have friends (friend) and everything!”

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Career Lesson

I have been looking for a career lesson to go along with an assessment explanation that wouldn’t overwhelm the middle school babies with the feeling that they must choose their life path immediately or else they would end up unemployed on their friend’s couch with unwashed hair and a desolate future.  I mean, is it me, or do we sometimes skip a huge step in the whole helping-children-decide-their-future-at-the-age-of-two game?  So, I decided to start by just looking for informational videos of different jobs.  This way, kids can get interested in professions in general, before they even start to think about which one they think is for them.  I found some good videos here, and then hit the JACKPOT with the Gigniks site.  These videos are so unlike many of the career informational videos available- they are young (a dude that forecasts sports trends), and diverse (a STEM chick on a motorcycle), and interesting (a kid that gets paid to make robots, and another that designs roller coasters).

I picked three or four to show the kiddos, and made a small sheet for them to fill out.  I’m going to have them first guess what the professions are, because these are all really awesome and unconventional.  How many kids will know what a “Tech Evangelist: is (um…because I had no clue)?!  Then they will later write what they learn it actually is.  There are also good vocab words like “intern,” “networking,” and my favorite new term, “resume-bombing.”  I can also see a ton of opportunities for discussion, and the main point is that we should think openly about jobs, because there are many variations and non-traditional jobs out there; if you like computers, it doesn’t mean you have to sit at a desk all day, if you like to play sports, it doesn’t mean you have to be an athlete or coach, and so on.  Thanks California Career Center for putting some time into videos that are appealing to the littles.

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Today was our first Saturday make-up day, and boy did those parents tuck-and-roll those kids right out for a free Saturday! Smart little cookies they are, as I would have done the same thing, you betcha.  It was a full-fledged day, and the kids and staff alike were really positive and productive.  I decided to make a little treat for my teachers, and handed out these cards this morning.  I mean, I was busy, but those ladies and gents were classroom-ready and took to their feet for the sixth day in a row this week!  We certainly made lemonade with our Saturday lemon (plus, I still think my snowcation was lovely). The image is below if your teachers are needing a pick-me-up.  I just sized it and inserted/copied the image on a business card template (mine had ten per page) to staple to the lemonade pack.


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Tracking Time


Sooo…Today I had to start tallying my time for work, delineating how I spend my time (e.g. P/T Conferences, 504 meetings, one on one, group, department meetings, etc).  It is sort of hard to break apart all of the components of such crazy, moving days.  You sit down and start responding to parent e-mails, start to organize classroom student response forms, get called down for a registration, get stopped with a class change form on the way, get an impromptu lesson on departmental goals upon walking into the office, talk with a family about a student’s history and choose classes, stop in at the lunch room on your way back and discuss some friend drama-rama, offer consultation on a student with a teacher picking up their class, speak with a student in the hall who has been put out and reiterate behavioral goals, return to a ringing phone, and then try to remember what it was you were trying to do before you left your office 15 minutes ago. How in the world is it possible to outline the tasks that you do all day, every week, within a month, throughout an entire year?  And when we don’t record everything, we feel as though on paper we look like we may not be doing enough to justify our profession.

But alas, it must be done.  Recording what I do throughout the day has saved my butt plenty of times.  In going over a student history, recalling why I made one decision over another, catching a student not living up to the things they agreed to; I refer to my notes all the time.  But still, I find myself thinking, ‘wait, I remember talking to that parent, what was it that they called about? Or, I did talk to that kid, but I never agreed to change his class past the deadline, or did I?’  One thing I have learned through internship and counselor subbing has been to make my own worksheets for processes that help me get the job done.  In Grad school, I remember professors encouraging having us make worksheets in class, and begging us to really get cozy with Microsoft applications that can be helpful.  Well let me tell you, I spoon those puppies now- and Word and Excel are the big spoon.

This is the Daily Log Sheet I created to keep record of everything I do.  It is based on a sheet one of the lovely ladies had made that I subbed for when I was on the maternity circuit.  I keep it on a clip-board that I bring with me everywhere like a besty.  Then I move it over to a Daily binder, and have a running log.  This way, if I so happen to forget to record my goings ons daily like I am supposed to (which I typically do), I have a reference to go to.  Between this, and appointments in my Outlook Calendar, I can usually get the majority of my time down.  I love to hear how other people track there time though, and like to take bits and pieces as I alter things.

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Time to Pay

So, I woke up at 6:30am this fine Saturday morning thinking about something to make for the teachers at my school.  Why so early?  Because soon, we will all be together at the same time- also on a Saturday- for a…DUN DUN DUUUN…Saturday Snow Make-Up Day!!!  Eeeek!  That one hurts, doesn’t it?!  I have to say, I made sure to thoroughly enjoy my snowcation, so I can’t be but so disappointed.  (Plus, half of the kids won’t be there, and I will probably happily gain 15 pounds eating all day).  Anywho, the teachers have been really upbeat about it (at least around the nerdy, annoyingly sun-shiney School Counselor 😉 ) and I wanted to do a little something to perk them up for the make-up day.  I am thinking I will get packets of Lemonade mix and attach them to a little note — get it?! Make lemonade out of lemons??? Nothing like a freebie with a schtiky joke, right?

This week’s therapy has been some little stuffed fur-babies to send to my awesome cousin who is currently traveling abroad.  They were supposed to be mice, as shown in this pattern.  I, of course, hastily went through the pattern without reading the directions and came out with these, what I choose to call, “arbitrary woodland creatures”:

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Still plenty cute, just a little bit more in a ‘made by my child’ sort of way.

Oh! And I forgot all week to post this–



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Monday. So, so Monday.

Wow.  Monday came back with a vengeance in efforts to make up for lost time!  This is going to be short and sweet.  I fully intend on posting my Daily Log Sheet this week (I do love making worksheets), but for tonight, I needed to unwind by dreaming of my next weekend therapy crafts.  These two blogs have made me ready to attack Terrorizing Tuesday after Maniacal Monday:

1. Un. Real. The sweet lady over at Wombat Quilts is super talented, and the feel of the blog and her writing makes you so inspired and comfy that you feel like you could complete all of these intricate patterns in a night.


2. And more amazing.  Also insanely amazing.  The projects at Cutting Corners College are like crack.  But better, because this addiction keeps me off of my phone and on something productive-ish.  I might not be doing laundry, and might be slightly neglectful, but look at the teeny tiny things I can make a stare at.  Forever. And ever.  All day.

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Mechanisms and Distortions

Soooo…still more snow time, and I have done some counsely web surfing and some weekend therapy crafting (snow addition). Here is a mini, mini quilt I made for my magazine fairy friend who is a total enabler in giving me her good reads, which only further deepens my magazine addiction (including ridiculously priced Euro craft mags).

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I first must say that I pinned this amazing post on printing post-its.  How insanely cute are these?? I’d like to alter the template a bit and have it say cutesy little things like, “Remember you promised Mrs. Counselor you would do this- Get it done!” or “Read this so you can pass your test.” or “Write stuff out so you don’t get all angry-teen!” (these are my versions of pep-talks).  But really, I’m thinking there are a lot of things that could be done with these.  I might start with making a few that just say “Get this done before:___” to attach to assignments.  I am so excited


Lastly, but not leastly, I perused my “School Counseling Hoohas and Doodads” Pinterest board and came upon a list of cognitive distortions.  I have always loved distortions, because I find them fascinating, in that it happens all of the time, and I am amazed at how us rational beings can’t see them! Really, I think we all do them, and they are ultimately at the root of my job security!  Coupling this with some crazy defense mechanisms, and you’ve got yourself a life pie.

I mean really, how much of our students’ behaviors are actually manifestations of other things going in their lives or other stressors?  I mean really, I don’t know about your school, but some of the kids over my way have some real stuff happening at their houses- stuff that essentially makes them more grown than I am. One of the things that fuel my love for counseling is that light bulb moment when a student becomes a frequent flier because they have been angry, upset, getting in to trouble, etc. – and then they talk.  They talk and they talk, and through side notes and behind a bunch of conversation about who they are fighting with or who they are angry with, or what teacher is mean, they mention a parent deploying or moving, a mom having a baby or getting a new job, a sibling leaving for the military or passing in recent years.  And it all just starts to make sense, and you can start to respond to their quasi-issues in a way that addresses the real heart of their behavior.

But all of those side actions are weighed down by defense mechanisms and cognitive distortions. I mean, I do all of the time.  Take my snowcation, for example.  Because I am obsessive about my planner (same one every year: Moleskine extra large monthly like this one), if I don’t write something down, the plan does not exist.  Because I did not get to write down all of our holidays yet, when our snow make-up days are called, I will not be disappointed because I am choosing to experience some sort of false reality. 🙂  But really, adults do this just as much as kids (if not more, which is why I work with kids).  For this reason, I really liked this list of distortions.  I think that it could even be a cool tool to point out to kids when you recognize one of these occurring.  I think when I get back I will make a laminated copy, and maybe middle-schoolize the verbiage so that I can have a quick reference.  Here is a cool PDF version that also identifies relational comebacks for each distortion.

I got these awesome thought changing cards for Christmas last year (I think the anxiety deck), and they are so cool and relatable to this.  You can use them with students, but given my early professional greenery, I usually just refer to them for tips, examples, and reference.  However you use them, they are great.  I have thought about making my own list/deck but real-life middle school style (because ya’ll know things that claim to be tailored to adolescents very rarely really capture the charm and, um, determination of real middle and high school kids).  Here are all of the sets below. Hope you find time for some weekend therapy this weekend!