Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Organization Me!

Today and tomorrow the 10th grade students are CAHSEE testing and I have a little bit of time to organize my College Seminar papers and desk area.  While I was organizing, I thought, “Why not post about an organization organizer I created yesterday?” 

Currently, I am reviewing skills with my College Seminar course.  The skills include studying, note taking, test taking, organization, and motivation.  We have already reviewed time management and note taking.  Now, it is on to the organization piece.  Last week in class, one of my students was complaining how unorganized she was.  I said, “Empty your backpack and organize your papers and binder.”  She did just that and had a sense of relief by the time she was finished. 

I can teach organization and as long as students use the tools they will be successful at it.  When I was teaching the AVID course, binder organization and checks was a significant part of the student’s grade.  It pays to be organized because this is a simple to step to success. 

I found an hands on activity online for students but I wanted something for students to reflect and outline.  I created a graphic organizer with topics related to being organized.  This is a great lead into a discussion and even can go beyond to group work and sharing out.  I will use it to introduce students to not only organization, but also overcoming procrastination and staying motivated. 

Any suggestions for games for high school students to use in individual counseling or college counseling?  I would like to create something….

Until the next blog post!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WACAC Share, Learn, Connect

I look for professional development opportunities for the school year.  I work in the Los Angeles area and have found quite a few this year.  The usual conferences like the CSU Counselor Conference and UC Counselor Conference are great to learn about updates about those specific colleges and network.  However, I like to attend conferences that will provide something new in the areas of personal/social counseling and college counseling.  I am a college counselor, but have had no formal training in the area.  Yes, I did learn mostly everything in the field, but I love to hear what others are doing.  

I found workshops, offered for free, by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).  The workshop series is called “The Counselor’s Resource Network.”  I have met some really great high school and middle school counselors at the workshops.  Some of the topics of the workshops are suicide prevention, homeless and foster youth, transition youth, and data. I cannot wait to see what the May workshop has in store.  LACOE also offers workshops about bullying prevention, PBIS, gangs, crisis management and a few others for a small fee. 

Most recently, I attended the WACAC Share, Learn, Connect conference because I am always looking for ways to better my college counseling skills.  The college admissions perspective is held high on a pedestal with these organizations and that is why I attend these conferences.  If I am looked at as the expert in a field, then I want to have the knowledge.  There’s two sessions that stood out for me. 

Harvard, Berkeley, or Bust…
The presenter is a college counselor from the private company Collegewise who is paid to work with students on the college admissions process.  He also has college admissions experience which I have found is a plus in the field.  Makes sense.  I liked his approach because he encourages students to research where I feel students think I am a magical fairy, superhero, who just knows everything.  Although I am flattered, students should research where they will possibly end up in college.  If it were up to me, students would apply to the University of Alaska (a fascination of mine).  He gave great advice such as have students look on Wikipedia to see the famous alumni.  Of course, I see this as a starting point. 

www.payscale.com- look at majors and careers that pay and the value of a college degree.
Colleges that Change Lives
FISKE Guide to Colleges
Princeton Review

Review different websites such as Forbes to learn about the quality of teaching, career prospects, graduation rates, and low levels of debt and the Center for Measuring University Performance for academic research. 

I do give students suggestions on what colleges to research and have them do the research on their own.  However, I will do things differently from now on in the beginning stages of research.  A great tip is having profiles of the colleges available for students to read.  This will get them thinking about different colleges.  Plus, this will also give them ownership of the process. 

Out of State Colleges…
Regional Admission Counselors of California (RACC) is an organization of out of state colleges that have representatives in California.  They spread the word on well known and some lesser known colleges.  This session interested me because many of my students go to local colleges.  There are pros and cons to going to a local college, but there are so many colleges out there.  The reasons why students may do this is because of the lack of knowledge.  On RACC’s website I found some great resources to assist students in their college research process.  This will be especially helpful in my junior college counseling meetings next year. 

RACC will also come out to your school to do a college fair.  Our annual college fair takes place in the fall.  I may change things up a little bit and do an out of state college fair this fall. 

Another highlight of conferences is visiting different college campuses.  The University of Redlands in Colton, CA hosted this conference.  I have heard great things about the university but being there in person brings everything to life.  The university is gorgeous.  It reminds me of Loyola Marymount University, a little smaller and more classic buildings, but so beautiful with the combination of grassy areas and buildings.  The neighborhood around the university is residential with some lovely homes. 

Next year, I hope to attend the annual WASC or NACAC conference.  I had the opportunity to network with a counselor from Victorville, Palisades and Riverside and who have different roles and situations at their schools. 

See you in the next blog! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm Still Here...

I always get excited to see if my favorite school counselor blogs have new posts so I figure I finally write one.  As mentioned before, I teach one period of a class called "College Seminar."  I have spent all year trying to catch up with lesson plans and grading.  I slightly forgot about how much time goes into planning.  Next year, I am not going to teach because I want to focus on obtaining LPCC hours. I mention this because it has consumed me no matter how much I plan ahead.

There’s a couple of topics that I did not get to write about such as Coffee with the Counselor, Red Ribbon Week and how the first College Spotlight went. Plus, my planning system completely changed as I am now using a $10 planner from Target.  I still use some of the original planner sections to keep track of individual counseling and parent meetings, but that is about all for now.  I am still debating on the Erin Condren planner.

I want to share the Cyberbullying bulletin board that I have been working on for a couple of weeks.  I vowed to do more bulletin boards and before this only had one up.  One of my administrators approached the counselors to create information regarding Cyberbullying.  One counselor created a brochure, another parent workshops and I created a bulletin board.  The bulletin board is filled with statistics, pictures, and information regarding Cyberbullying.  Also, Pintrest inspired me for the “Before You” and “Is It” sections of the bulletin board.  I work in a high school where students are very savvy at social media.  However, the adults on campus are becoming even savvier at catching inappropriate posts online and stopping something potentially serious.  Actually, in January the principal wanted monthly themes and a focus for each Monday.  I came up with the name “Monday Matters” because I always dread Mondays and feel the most sluggish, but I also try to put a positive on this day because I am so grateful to come to work.  March’s theme is “Honor & Integrity.”  I provide teachers a topic for Monday and a quick activity to do with their Advisory class.  One of these Mondays students will discuss safety in technology. 

I see a lot of students stop and read the bulletin that I created at the beginning the school year so I hope students take the time to stop and read the Cyberbullying bulletin board.  I found something interesting online that says “Stop, Block and Tell.”  This is easy for students to do.  We’re lucky at our campus because students will go to an adult to ask for help. 

I am so excited to attend the Share, Learn Connect hosted by WACAC next Friday! 

Like always I hope to post a lot more.  Have a good one!

 *Credit to my teacher assistants for helping me create and cut out the words and images.  They did an awesome job!