Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tech Tool of the Month-Prezi

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Each month I will showcase a technology tool that I am using to share information with students, staff, and other professionals. This month's tool is Prezi.

Prezi is a zooming canvas that presents information in a creative, attractive and interesting format; a great alternative to Power Point!  Although Prezi has been around for a while, I am surprised how little Prezi is used among educators in my school.  I think of Prezi as the Wonder Woman of the Justice League Super Heroes. She is beautiful, versatile, and capable of much; however, she is the not the first superhero to be called on when there is a need. 

It is time to change that mindset!
Prezi is like Wonder Woman-
beautiful, but not the first to be chosen!

How to set up a Prezi

Prezi in One Minute Video
Instructions for setting up your Prezi
Prezi Tips and Tricks

My Prezi--Don't judge!

I created this Prezi for my students as an orientation to their Peer Helper Course.  This was one of my first Prezi creations.  I am still practicing!

Peer Helper Course Prezi

To take your Prezi creation to the next level, here are some tools you can use.

Prezi Tools

Prezi Templates
Adding your voice to Prezi video tutorial
Adding Sound to Prezi
Converting Prezi to You Tube

Opportunity for advanced users!

Prezi Educators' Society

Prezi Presentations by School Counselors

Becoming a Tech Savvy School Counselor by Danielle Schultz
What Does a School Counselor Do by Allison Lemberg
What is a School Counselor by Shawn Grime
Killing It With Prezi by Paul Ledesma

Do you have any Prezi presentations you are sharing with students, parents, or other professionals?  I would love to see them!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

College Adviser, Collaborate We Will!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Recently there has been a lot of publicity about the College Advising Corp and how the corp will "solve" the problem of low college admissions among first generation students.  Honestly, I "love" our college adviser and we work well together.  In fact, he adds so much to our department in terms of reaching out to colleges, arranging college tours, setting up SAT workshops, managing social media accounts, and running a college advising center.  Truly, he is a great extension of our counseling department! However, the recent publicity about the corp and the negative comments about school counselors really got me feeling a little defensive.  In these times of school counselor layoffs, rising student-counselor ratios, and fair share duties, I believe the school counselor has become an easy target!

Last week, the president acknowledged the contributions of the College Advising Corp. The sole purpose of the college adviser is to advise first generation students and their families that college is possible. College advisers receive several weeks of training on how to work with high school students. Some components of this training include:  how to talk to students in one on one meetings, how to work with different types of personalities, where to find college resources and scholarships, and skills of fundraising. Since the national spotlight is on the college adviser, it is my belief that counselors and college advisers should collaborate to find ways to improve college admissions for our first generation students as a team. 

Wouldn't it be awesome to enhance the role of the school counselor in the area of college advising by taking advantage of the popularity of the college adviser? Never one to let an opportunity slip through my fingers, I approached our college adviser about a possible collaboration.  Instantaneously, his face lit up and we agreed to speak to his supervisor about our idea to work together. Right now our plan is in its infancy, but I look forward to sharing our experience with you in the future!

                                     Our College Adviser

National College Advising Corp
Georgia College Advising Corp
Noles2College Twitter Account
President Praises College Adviser
From the Counselor's Office: Wrong Question and Quick Fixes
Working with 1st Generation Students

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cool Peer Advocacy Ideas for Students with Disabilities

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Because of the  freezing weather, I could not go to sleep waiting for the news to announce that school was cancelled.  Unfortunately, the news was not good and I had to drag myself out of bed into the cold. All I could do was sigh as I walked by and saw my two dogs and one of my teenagers sound asleep on the couch.  As I dragged myself into building, I was greeted by my secretary and our athletic director who was waiting on coffee to be made (coffee, yes!).

After coffee was made, the three of us shared our disappointment about our favorite football teams losing over the break.  I was sad because Georgia lost and the coach was devastated that Alabama was not going to the BCS Championship (the man is a true Crimson Tide fan!). As we talked, he asked us if we saw the story about "AJ and AJ".  I told him that I had watched so much football and sports specials that I could not remember what I had seen over the break.  At that point, he eagerly grabbed his laptop and opened it up to a video called "The Real AJ".

As I watched the story about the friendship of these two young men, I was overwhelmed with emotion (in fact, all three of us had tears streaming down our face).  The video shared the story about a young man with cerebral palsy who was befriended by the quarterback of Alabama, AJ McCarron. "The Real AJ' as he is called by the team, did not seem to fit in and lacked strong advocates at the university. Not only was the story about his disability, but about friendship, the love for the game of football, and peer advocacy.  In fact, I think this video is an awesome way to introduce peer helping to our athletes and student leaders to stand up and advocate for our special needs students or students who are often overlooked in schools.

Warning...Tissue Alert!

Students with Disabilities

I have a special place in my heart for students with disabilities as I have a younger sister who has autism. Unfortunately, she was bullied and misunderstood by her classmates in middle school. Back in the 90's, no one understood autism and the social peculiarities of these children. My sister was very socially awkward and the other children picked on her almost daily. Fast forward 20 years and things have not changed much in schools. Autistic students are still bullied and are excluded by mainstream students.

One person leading the way in autism education is Dr. Temple Grandin.  Grandin was born with autism and did not talk until she was four years old.  Thanks to her willingness to speak publicly about her disability, she has exposed the secret world autistic students' thinking and interactions with others.  In 2010, Clare Danes starred in the HBO movie "Temple Grandin" which is a great resource to educate others about autism, especially peer helpers.  In addition, Grandin has a great site with lots of resources for educators, parents, and professionals that you may want to explore.

Temple Grandin
Autism and Risk Management-Guide for Law Enforcement, Educators, and Parents

What can the school counselor do to support special needs students?

If you are like me, you may struggle to find effective ways to support special needs students. If you are interested in advocating for special needs students through your counseling office or peer helpers, consider establishing a peer advocacy program. Julie Hertzog, Director of Pacer's National Center for Bullying Prevention, is a true believer in advocating for special needs children.

Hertzog was afraid that her Down syndrome son, David, would become the victim of bullying because of his differences.  Hertzog decided the best course of action was to go to his school and advocate for him by educating students and teachers about his disability.  During David's elementary and middle school, Ms. Hertzog educated teachers, met with the cafeteria workers, and talked to the students. She found that the students were not as concerned about his mental abilities as they were confused why he never talked to them.  Once, the students understood the mystery behind his disability, his peers were able to act as his voice at school.  Although the concept of peer advocacy sounds simple and this approach may not work in every schools, Hertzog believes that schools can find the right strategy to teach students about acceptance, inclusion and respect.

Julie Hertzog Promotes Peer Advocacy

What is Peer Advocacy?

Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center defines Peer Advocacy as the ability to speak up for others. Peer advocacy works for several reasons:
  • Peer influence is powerful.
  • Peers are more likely to know what is occurring in classes rather than adults.
As peer advocates, students should be trained in several areas:
  1. dynamics of bullying
  2. the characteristics, traits of circumstances of the students for whom they are advocating
  3. options for intervening

If you are interested in working with special needs or isolated students, what are some of your ideas?  I would love to hear about them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Becoming A Tech Savvy Counselor in 2014!

Monday, January 6, 2014

If you are trying to stay current as a school counselor, you definitely need to become savvy with using technology. In recent years, there have been a number of tech tools that have that become very popular in the school counseling community.  Dr. Erin Mason, author of SCOPE, has posted five very informative and easy to follow presentations about some counselor friendly tech tools.  If you are curious about using technology, these are the tools you need to check out!!  You will definitely impress your colleagues and even your students (well, maybe).  

And now...Dr. Mason!



Google Drive and Forms


Remind 101

Stayed tuned for more technology tidbits from SCOPE in 2014!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2013

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It has been almost a year since I started my high school counseling blog and I have received almost 13,000 hits!  Seems like there are a lot of high school counselors out there looking for resources and information.  

In 2014, I am planning some new features for my blog including high school resource giveaways, lesson plans, a high school counselor twitter chat, and some other goodies!  If you have some additional ideas of what you would like to see featured on my blog, please don't hesitate to let me know!  

Look forward to blogging in 2014! 
Happy New Year!!