Friday, August 31, 2012

S'more Good Behavior!!

Today we had a PBIS celebration for students who have shown good behavior these first three weeks of school. We made s'mores for the students for s'more good behavior!! We just kicked off PBIS at Taft Elementary a couple of weeks ago, and the students have been working hard to show good behavior in the cafeteria and follow the Purple Hands Pledge. Today all the students who have been practicing good behavior were recgonized with a s'more celebration!!

Our custodian wheeled out the grill and warmed it up for us right before lunch time. Our PTA committee came and helped us start toasting the marshmallows and assembling the s'mores. To make the s'mores, we took two fudge striped cookies and put a marshmallow in the middle. Tastes just like a s'more, but a little less complicated!!

Each student who had demonstrated good behavior earned a ticket for a s'more. We served the s'mores during the lunch recesses for the students. The activity did not cost a lot and did not take a lot of  our time! Our wonderful custodian even grilled some hamburgers for the staff and volunteers, and our prinicpal opened up the soda machine so that everyone could have something cold to drink. I'm hoping for s'more good behavior next month so we can have another fun celebration!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

At Risk Data

The past few days at school I have been putting together my at-risk data for the elementary. Nothing too exciting, but part of my job! Part of my salary is paid with at-risk dollars, so each year I have to demonstrate how much time I have spent working with students who are identified as at-risk. I'm sure that a lot of you are involved with identifying who is at risk, so I'm am posting the spreadsheet in case it will be helpful to anyone else!!

At Risk Spreadsheet

Throughout the year each time I see a student for counseling, I have them fill out a piece of paper regarding what they would like to talk about (or I fill it out for them if they cannot write yet). I then put in the spreadsheet how many times the student and I met, and what we did (as far as individual counseling, small group, parent conference, etc.) I do not go into great detail, since our at risk coordinator looks at the data as well. I do this for each student I see, whether or not I think they will be at risk. Then at the end of the year (or beginning of the following year!), I print off a list of students who had a D or F in math or reading, and a list of absences for all students. I enter this data into the spreadsheet for all students that I saw the previous year.

I also mark if they are disconnected to the school, which is just a judgement call for me. If they have expressed that they do not like school, or frequently fight with other teachers/students and are not involved in any school activities, I will mark disconnected to school. I also add if a they see an outside counselor or have a DHS worker. After doing all this, I go back and delete students from the spreadsheet that I did not mark yes to meet any of the absence, grade, or school disconnect data. If I marked yes for one of those areas, I will count them as at-risk.

I know each school probably has different criteria for determining who is at-risk, but this way works for me!! Doing paperwork is one of my least favorite things to do as a counselor, so it is nice to have a way to do it quickly and get it done :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Preschool Purple Hands Assembly

Today we had assemblies at the preschool and kindergarten to learn the Purple Hands Pledge for the very first time. The Purple Hands Pledge is "I will not use my hands or my words for hurting myself or others". This is the most important rule we have here at our school!

At the assembly we talked about how a pledge is a promise, and a promise is a very serious thing!! Every time the students say the pledge, they are making a promise not to use their hands or words to hurt. This is our third year using the Purple Hands Pledge at our school, and it has helped us by providing a simple and common language to address student behavior and the way that we treat each other. Each student in our school says the Purple Hands Pledge right after the Pledge of Allegiance every day, as well as the CATS pledge (our PBIS behavior expectations). Everyone who has a relationship with our school, from teachers and students to parents and community members knows the pledge, and can easily reference this behavior expectaiton by using the common language introduced in the pledge.

Another important part of the program is the symbol of the Purple Hand with a red heart in the middle. This symbol is easily recognizable to the students, and is a visual reminder of what the pledge means, especially to those not reading yet.We have the symbol displayed in several areas of our school as a reminder to students to follow the purple hands pledge. The purple hands pledge is also on several of our PBIS behavior rubrics as a behavior expecation across several settings.

A 1st grade teacher at our school came up with some motions to help our little kiddos learn the pledge, even if they don't have it memorized yet. The words and motions are:

I will not use (Shake finger)
My hands or my words (Hold up hands, point to mouth)
For hurting myself (Hug arms around self)
Or others (Arms stretched, palms up)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CATS Pledge

Last week at school we kicked off our school year with re-introducing our School Wide PBIS Behavior Expectations. The behavior expectations at our school spell out the word CATS, which is our school mascot. Our expectations are - Care about others and yourself, Act responsibly, Try your best, and Stay positive.

This year, our students are going to learn the behavior expectations by saying the CATS pledge every day after the pledge of allegiance. The CATS pledge will be - I will Care about myself and others, I will act responsibly, I will try my best, and I will stay positive!! We are hoping that by starting off each day by saying the CATS pledge, the students will begin to remember what the expectations are. Last year we slowly began to implement some of the features of school wide PBIS, but this year will be our first full year of really collecting the data and teaching the expectations and lessons.

Above is a powerpoint slide that I made for the teachers to put on their smart board for the students to read off of while they say the pledge each day. Putting the pledge on the smartboard could be helpful for any pledge you might be trying to teach!! I am hoping that by the end of the year we'll be able to ask any student what the CATS pledge is and means, and they will be able to tell us (and hopefully show us!!).

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten!!

Today is our first day of kindergarten!! So far our day is off to a smooth start :) I love watching the parents bring their kids to the classrooms in the morning - it seems much harder for the parents than the kids to adjust to this big change!!

On the first day of kindergarten I spend most of the day in the classrooms observing and getting to know the new kindergarteners. Usually I help dry a few tears, but so far today has been pretty smooth!! The rest of the day today I will spend introducing myself to the kindergarten students and maki g a few phone calls to new students in our district. Loving the first day of kindergarten!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Day!

Today was our first day of school!! After drying all the tears and doing some convincing to a few to stay with us for the rest of the day . . . we kicked off our school year with an assembly for PBIS!!

At our assembly we modeled the noise level expectations for the lunchroom and for the rest of our school. Our "actors" above did a great job!! We use levels 0-3 to communicate noise level expectations. Level 3 is outside voice, 2 is conversational talking, 1 is a whisper, and 0 is silent. To signal which noise level is appropriate, the teacher will hold up the number of the appropriate noise level. We also practiced how to appropriately let people around you know that the noise level has changed by tapping them on the shoulder and pointing to the teacher.

Another tool we use to communicate noise level expectations in the lunch room is our stop light. The stoplight is operated by a remote, and the cafeteria supervisors can change the color on the light to communicate to students the noise level expectation. The green light is level 2 conversational talking, the yellow light is for level 1 whisper, and the red light is for level 0 - no talking. I asked the students why there isn't a light for level 3 - they figured out that it is because we are not supposed to use our level 3 outside voice in school!!

We also reintroduced our school wide expectations and said the Purple Hands Pledge. The kids seem so excited and full of energy today!! What a great first day, looking forward to many more!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don't Be an Angry Bird!!

This year at our school we are officially starting PBIS at our school. Tomorrow is our first day of school, and all of our teachers are going to begin the year by teaching their students our school wide expectations. Today I made a bulletin board to highlight those expectations. I got the idea off of someone's board on pinterest.

Don't Be an Angry Bird . . . Be a Cool Cat!!

Just about every kid at our school loves Angry Birds . . . so I am hoping that it will be a hit!! Our school mascot is the Wildcats, so we came up with PBIS school wide expectations that spell out the word CATS. I am not competely done with the bulletin board - I think I am going to add a slingshot for the red bird, and a platform for the pig!

Here is a closer look at our PBIS school wide expectations - Care About Others, Act Responsibly, Try Your Best, Stay Positive. Tomorrow we will have a welcome back assembly and introduce these expectations again! We will also say the Purple Hands Pledge, which is "I will not use my hands or my words for hurting myself or others.

Go Cats!!