Monday, May 17, 2021

The 15 Minute Focus Series Book Give Away

 

The National Center for Youth Issues has created a series called 15 Minute Focus: Brief Counseling Techniques that Work.  These short, comprehensive guides are a great addition to any school counselor’s library. Each one provides an overview of information on the designated topic, counseling techniques, tips for school staff and parents, and resources.  I have found these books make an excellent resource for creating a much needed faculty training or parent awareness session.

This blog post will focus on the 2 newest additions to the 15 Minute Focus series, Self-Harm and Self-Injury: When Emotional Pain BecomesPhysical  by Leigh Bagwell and Depression: Signs and Strategies for Counselors, Educators, and Parents by Dr. Melisa Marsh.

The 15 Minute Focus: Self-Harm and Self-Injury: When Emotional Pain Becomes Physical by Leigh Bagwell, includes not only thorough background on the difference in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal ideation, but a list of myths, a great section on replacement behaviors, cautions about social contagions, and a link to a downloadable resource guide (code included with each book).  At the end of every chapter the author includes questions to consider, key points, and a brief “student story” which provides practioners a unique perspective on some of the factors that influence young people to engage in NSSI.

For schools or districts that have not developed specific protocols for addressing the needs of students when NSSI is suspected,  this book discusses how to create a self-injury protocol. Its suggestions help schools create a specific action plan utilizing assessment teams, suggested assessment tools, the steps for intervening when a student is suspected of NSSI, engaging families, and student follow-up.


The 15 minute Focus Depression: Signs and Strategies for Counselors, Educators, and Parents  by Dr. Melisa Marsh, begins by taking a much needed look at the difference in depression and sadness. Too often our students and their families will self-identify as having depression because they are experiencing feelings of sadness. While sadness is the primary symptom of depression, it is not the correct term for sadness caused by specific event. Helping students, their families, and staff understand the definition of depression is a great starting point.

There is a very helpful chapter on symptoms and key warning signs and another on the links between depression and other mental illnesses.  Recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression can be challenging for the caring adults in a student’s life as some of the symptoms, like irritability, forgetting to complete assignments, and being hypersensitive can look like the norm for pre-teens and teens going through puberty.  These are chapters you will want to refer to as a guide when determining the appropriate referrals for your students. 

Depression is significantly correlated with poor academic performance and students with higher rates of depression are less likely to graduate high school. Because students sometimes lack the necessary language skills or the awareness to report their depressed state many will go undetected.  This is why it is essential to enlist the help of school leadership in training our staff and parents on the signs and symptoms of depression, how to make appropriate referrals, and how to engage students by creating a supportive learning environment.

School counselors will especially appreciate the chapters on the “Mind and Depression” and “Tools for Schools.”  These chapters provide counselors with positive thinking strategies and a descriptive list of research-based tools that can be used by school counselors to help students dealing with depression. 


FREE Book!

If you are interested in purchasing either of these books they are very reasonably priced at $14.95 each from the National Center for Youth Issues.

To enter this give-away, leave a comment below this blog post, on the Exploring School Counseling Facebook page, or the School Counselor Store Facebook page with a strategy or replacement behavior you use with your students who engage in NSSI. A winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, May 19 at 11:00 PM ESDT.  The more places you comment, the more chances you have to win!  Check back here or on Facebook for the winner.  Congratulations to book winner Katie Marie!
Good Luck!!! 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Flooded: Free Book Give Away!

 

Allison Edwards, author of 15 Minute Counseling Techniques That Work, has delivered another essential guide for school counselors.  Flooded: A Brain-based Guide explains the brain science behind what happens to children when they are emotionally dysregulated.  As school counselors, we see examples of this every day in our schools. This book provides excellent reminders about how trauma impacts not only emotional regulation but learning as well. Allison also shares techniques to use for teaching flooded students how to regulate their emotions.  

 As I was reading this book I thought, what a great tool for a parent coffee talk, faculty presentation, or book study.  Flooded is a short, easy read with powerful information for anyone who works with youth.  Teaching caregivers and educators about brain science, how to identify triggers, and to understand why children can't respond rationally when emotionally charged is a game changer for adults and children. 
This is an important resource for teaching our colleagues and student caregivers how to recognize "flooded" youth and to respond positively with the techniques students need to achieve emotional regulation.

Two FREE Books
Thank you to the National Center for Youth Issues for donating 2 free copies of Flooded for this give-away!  Please like/follow them @nationalcenterforyouthissues.  

To enter this give-away, leave a comment below this blog post, on the Exploring School Counseling Facebook page, or the School Counselor Store Facebook page with something you do to help kids who are "flooded."  Winners will be selected at random and announced on Sunday, April 11 at11:00 PM ESDT.  The more places you comment, the more chances you have to win!  Check back here or on Facebook for the winners.
Good Luck!!! 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Free Book Give Away: I Can Say NO


This great new book for children, I Can Say NO, is certainly one that hit a nerve with me!  In an effort to be team players, supportive, and helpful, many of us have said yes, when what we really want to say is, "NO!"  

Before reading this book I was thinking of saying no only in the context of stranger danger or drugs.  However, as important as these are, there are so many other ways we need to teach our children to use their voices and say, "NO!"

I love the idea that saying no is a superpower.  In the story, Zuri  explains how saying no gives her control of her life.  She explains how she can use no for many other things besides peer pressure and stranger danger.  Saying no gives her control over what she wants play, when she wants to play, and who she wants to play with.  Zuri tells students sometimes you just want some down time and it's okay to be alone.  It's okay to say no when it's a movie or game you are not interested in, or when people are gossiping, or leaving someone out. It's okay to say no and to do it without feeling like you have to lie, make excuses, avoid certain people, or say yes when you really want to say no.  Learning to say no appropriately gives children confidence, courage, and a feeling of control over their lives!

Author Jenny Simmons has written a wonderful book for helping children learn to be assertive and respectful without feeling guilty or explaining themselves.   Illustrator Kristin Sorra's beautiful and colorful style complements the story with her diverse student and adult characterizations. Check out the short video from author Jenny Simmons as she explains how she came to write I Can Say NO and how learning to say, "No," can empower our students.



Two FREE Books
Thank you to the National Center for Youth Issues for donating 2 free copies of I Can Say NO for this give-away!  Please like/follow them @nationalcenterforyouthissues.  

To enter this give-away, leave a comment below this blog post, on the Exploring School Counseling Facebook page, or the School Counselor Store Facebook page with something to which you need to say NO.  Winners will be selected at random and announced on Sunday, March 7 at midnight EST.  The more places you comment, the more chances you have to win!  Check back here or on Facebook for the winners.
Good Luck!!! 
Congratulations to Brandon Castro and Sharon Drueen our book winners!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Free Book Give Away! What's Inside Your Backpack?

Here's a book school counselors will reach for again and again! Beautifully illustrated, with a diverse collection of story characters, What's Inside Your Backpack? tells the story of Zoey Harmon who is carrying around a lot of fears she's not sure how to handle.  Like many of the students school counselors see, Zoey feels alone and ashamed because of things that have happened to her and worries about what others will think if they know about her life.  She also worries about losing a friend if they were to know what she was going through.  Her worries are portrayed as heavy books she shoulders each day in her backpack. As school counselors, we know our students can relate to Zoey's heavy backpack of "books" as we see them carrying around the weight of their own life circumstances each day.

Zoey is supported by her mother, teacher, and school counselor who encourage her find ways to ease the load of worry, shame, sadness, and unsafe parent books weighing her down. They share the idea of placing positive bookmarks in each of the heavy books she carries. These "bright" thoughts help Zoey address specific negative thoughts she has when faced with the burden of a particularly heavy "book" and remind her she is brave and can feel safe even when feeling scared and remembering bad things.  These book marks don't magically solve her problems, but help Zoey build confidence and resilience as she faces the fears represented in each "book."

Check out this video by author, Jessica Sinarski as she describes her motivation for writing, What's Inside Your Backpack?



Two FREE Books
Thank you to the National Center for Youth Issues for donating 2 free copies of What's Inside Your Backpack for this give-away!  Please like/follow them @nationalcenterforyouthissues.  

To enter this give-away, leave a comment below this blog post, on the Exploring School Counseling Facebook page, or the School Counselor Store Facebook page with a strategy you  use to support students dealing with negative thoughts.  Winners will be selected at random and announced on Sunday, February 7 at midnight EST.  The more places you comment, the more chances you have to win!  Check back here or on Facebook for winners.

Good Luck!!! 
Thank you to everyone who shared their ideas! Congratulations to winners Sierra Skye Daniels and Vickie Ridenour!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

National School Counseling Week 2021


In just a few short days it will be my favorite week of the year, National School Counseling Week!  No, not School Counselor Week, but School Counseling Week.  This is not a week for appreciating your school counselor although, who doesn't love to be appreciated?!  This week is about advocating for the profession. So let's talk about the importance of advocacy and its far reaching impact!  

In my career I've had 9 principals and 14 assistant principals.  Four of those assistant principals have gone on to be principals, one became a curriculum superintendent, and one even became a school superintendent!  I like to think the example I set in creating and implementing my school counseling program influenced the way they have led their districts, their schools, and utilized the school counselors who came after me.  I like to think the no substitute, no master schedule responsibilities, no lunch duty, a counselor specific evaluation, and the freedom to counsel students are in some way related to our experiences together, examples I set, presentations I gave and conversations I had with those administrators over time.  Each of those twenty-three individual administrators I worked with have provided me with unique opportunities to share the purpose and benefit of the profession and to influence their thoughts and ideas about school counseling! Like a pebble dropped on the surface of a pond, the ripples created by the impact of that pebble keep moving outward. So, when each of these administrators moved to their next school and their next school counselor, I like to think I helped create a ripple effect of greater understanding of the profession that will continue to be beneficial for all the school counselors they will work with in the future. Be the pebble!

So even though you may be in a less than ideal situation with an administration that has no idea what school counselors really do, think about how you can begin to create a ripple. What can you do in your situation, no matter how small, to begin to educated and advocate for the profession with your administration?  What can you do to change their perception on who school counselors are and what they do?  How can you use National School Counseling Week to highlight what school counselors are really all about? Do you have a brochure, a website, data reports, or a presentation for faculty and staff?  Have you collected and shared your data or done the ASCA annual administrative conference with your administrators? People don't know what they don't know, and most administrators don't know school counselors. They base their ideas of school counselors on their personal experiences from when they were a student.  And some of our "Guidance Counselors" from the past did not leave such a good impression.  So, unless your administrator had the good fortune to know a true school counselor when they were in school, most are working from an outdated model of "guidance counselors."  National School Counseling Week is the perfect time to challenge that old stereo-type!

So Carpe Diem!  Seize the day, or in this case the week, of this golden opportunity to ignite an awareness where there may have been none. Create a ripple effect that will  keep moving into the future with your principal when they move to their next position. Through our advocacy we are educating our administrators and spreading our impact to other schools and to the benefit of the school counselors who will serve with them after us.

Materials for NSCW 2021

This year the American School Counselor Association has provided more than the usual free signs, daily announcements, proclamations, and certificates.  They are also offering daily webinars with topics relevant to school counselors. Check it all out here.

In the past, I have posted cute things you can make for your staff and students if your time and budget allow. Check out these links below or go to my Resources page for links to NSCW freebies.

Counselor Challenge Home
Counselor Challenge School
NSCW Bookmarks

NSCW 2021   PDF of candy card templates and poems

Celebrate yourself!

So try not to be upset when there is no counselor recognition.  It's okay. Remember, the purpose is to keep the focus on our profession and educate our administration, staff, students, parents and school board members what school counseling is really all about! And if you want to celebrate yourself or a school counselor friend, order take-out, actually take your lunch break, share some words of encouragement with another counselor, and celebrate each other and all the terrific things we do!

Happy National School Counseling Week!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Julia Cook Book Give-away: "Don't Be Afraid to Drop"

 

This is the perfect time for an updated version of Julia Cook's 2008 book,  Don't Be Afraid to Drop.
With the uncertain times our students and their families are still facing, it is helpful to have a story to share about change, facing our fears, and taking risks.

Julia Cook is re-releasing this timely story about Hopp the raindrop with new, softer illustrations by Anna Laura Sullivan.  

Hopp is too worried to drop.  It is something new and unfamiliar. This means change and he is afraid to leave the comfort of his home, family, and friends.  The cloud is his home and where he feels he belongs, "It's all I've ever known," he says.  Hopp talks about being nervous and scared and a tummy that's all in knots.  Our students will be able to relate to Hopp's feelings and many will be able to recall a time they felt the same way. I can imagine lots of different conversations where students are sharing their feelings about change and the ways they handled their fear and were successful.  There are so many great teachable moments here!

Hopp has lots of questions and "What ifs..." about dropping. But, with the encouragement of his father, Hopp learns  to let go.   

    "Don't  be afraid to drop to the ground.  Be brave and trust what I say.  If you don't take a risk, you'll never find out what great things might happen today."


This book has so many wonderful lessons for students, whether starting Kindergarten or transitioning to Middle School. It helps all of us to think about change and the rewards and growth that comes with taking risks.

Check out this Facebook video of Julia talking about the idea for this book, her own discomfort with making recordings, how she has gotten better, her "spring" comparison, and her reading of the book.


Two FREE Books
Thank you to the National Center for Youth Issues for donating 2 free copies of Don't Be Afraid to Drop for this give-away!  Please like/follow them @nationalcenterforyouthissues.  

To enter this give-away, leave a comment  below this blog post, on the Exploring School Counseling Facebook page, or the School Counselor Store Facebook page with a way you encourage students to take risks.  Winners will be selected at random and announced on Sunday, January 17 at midnight EST. The more places you comment, the more chances you have to win!  Check back here or on Facebook for winners.
Good Luck!!!
Congratulations to our book winners, Nicole Parker and Michelle Hopper Mawhiney!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Julia Cook Book Give-away: My Fantabulous Brain



I know if you are reading this, you love Julia Cook's books as much as I do.  So keep reading to learn more about her latest book and how you can enter to win one of 2 free copies provided by National Center for Youth Issues!

In this book, Julia Cook introduces readers to Wade, a character to whom many of our struggling students can relate.  How often have we heard from students about how hard it is to study, and the difficulties they have with concentration and recall?  Her latest book provides school counselors with ideas and some practical activities to help students who are facing these challenges. When students struggle with their school work and feel like nothing they do can produce success, their academic confidence and self esteem are hurt.

Our main character, Wade, has trouble studying and remembering and is ready to quit! But then he hears from his brain and learns how much more he is actually able to do.  With words of encouragement, tools from the "brain toolbox," and some "brain training" our character learns how to change can't to can and don't to do.  Wade goes from school failure to school success.  

At the end of the book, Julia provides some "brain training" exercises to help students get in some "brain sweat" as they learn to build their brain's capacity to grow and get stronger. Also included are links to free internet resources about brain training. What a great book to share in any of your school counseling program offerings, whether individually, in small group, or classroom counseling.  Even though I am now in middle school, I plan to use the ideas and resources in this book to improve the brain power of my students who have given up and think they are "stupid."

Two FREE Books
Thank you to the National Center for Youth Issues for donating 2 free copies of My Fantabulous Brain for this give-away!  Please like/follow them @nationalcenterforyouthissues.  

To enter this give-away, leave a comment  below this blog post, on the Exploring School Counseling Facebook page, or the School Counselor Store Facebook page with something positive that has happened at your school since our unusual start to the school year. Winners will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, November 10 at midnight EST. The more places you comment, the more chances you have to win!  Check back here or on Facebook for winners.
Good Luck!!!