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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Negative Self Talk: The Awfulizer Book Giveaway & FREEBIE!

Negative self talk. This is something I think every person struggles with. I pride myself on having a positive outlook but can I tell you that negative self talk creeps in at times and it can sometimes limit what I do? I am an adult who is trained in mental health yet I am such a victim of this at times. So, how can we work with kids and teenagers with negative self talk?

I received this book a few weeks ago. It is called the Awfulizer: Learning to Overcome the Shame Game by Kristin Maher and illustrated by Robert Dunn.


Y'all, I am LOVING it. If you know me, I love all books but this one illustrates negative self talk and how to overcome it. The negative self talk is portrayed as a big, green, fluffy creature which won't be intimidating for younger children.

I have never utilized a book about self talk and shame. The book details strategies the character uses to overcome the Awfulizer and how to become an AWESOMIZER!!! This can also be tied in with having a growth mindset and grit.


This would be perfect for a small group lesson or a guidance lesson. After reading through this book, it got me thinking of how I could use it with a client or counseling group, so I created this FREEBIE that you can get HERE!


This is geared for students who can independently write or you can use this one sheet in a small group and the teacher can fill in the chart as the group members go around and share.

If you are interested in this book, you can check it out HERE.

Another thing I wanted to share that would be great to use for high school is this video. Although the animations look as if they are geared towards younger students, this is actually targeted for high school and even adults. As mental health professionals, we are all very familiar with good ol' Cognitive Behavior Therapy. If not, Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a treatment that helps clients truly understand their thoughts and feelings and how they affect or impact their behavior.

This 2 minute video gives two strategies that students or adults can use: 1. Distract    2. Combat
This would be great to show a group and then discuss or journal how they can utilize those two strategies when facing negative self talk.


I hope these resources are helpful for you to use in your school counseling program or in your counseling practice. I am excited to begin consistently blogging (my goal is every week)!!!

Take care of others and take care of YOU!

-Melanie




Saturday, April 20, 2019

Balance: Book Review of Seraphina Does Everything!

Happy Friday, y'all! I am not sure about you but we have a 4 day weekend and me and my family are oh-so-excited. We are supposed to have beautiful weather in the Dallas area so that is a bonus!

Speaking of being excited for some time off to be with family. I wanted to talk about balance. In our society, being a goal getter and working hard is something that is admired and valued. I am definitely not one to argue with working hard for success because my list of goals is long. However, something we sometimes miss is balance. I was talking to my Dad the other day on the phone. He was talking to me about living a simple life, not worrying, and enjoying each moment. I am so thankful for talks with my Dad because my family knows that I am a planner and task oriented. They know I want to know the schedule and do 10 things in between. My husband is also good about "making" me rest, relax, and take time for me. It is good to be surrounded with people that remind us of that. I think we often get caught up in everything around us and everything that we are doing, we lose focus of the why and the moments around us.

I recently had the opportunity to review a new book called Seraphina Does EVERYTHING and I have been eager to share it with you all because it is a kid version of what I am explaining above. This book is so well written and has beautiful illustrations. As I read the story, I kept thinking that this was a good book for ME to read, as well.


The story follows a young girl who is excited about doing and being everything. However, she soon realizes that she is overwhelmed with being so busy that she is missing some special moments with friends and family. The author does a wonderful job focusing on balance. I think sometimes kids (and adults) are excited about the many opportunities to do and be so much (which is awesome) but it's all about balance and not being so busy where you aren't enjoying any of it.

This is a great book to add to any classroom, counseling office, or home. I know I am so excited to share it with my own children. You can find more information on the book HERE and you can purchase it HERE.

This book is published by the National Center for Youth Issues. Many of my favorite counseling resources are from them. You can find link to their accounts and page below:

I am excited about my next post as a I share my new Plum Paper planner and some of my recent Target and Dollar Tree finds. Have a Happy Easter! 


Melanie

Monday, March 25, 2019

Social Emotional Learning


A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity of co-moderating the #escchat (elementary school counselor chat). It was an amazing time collaborating with school counselors from all over the country on the topic of social emotional learning. Social emotional learning is the buzz word everyone is talking about and for good reason. But what exactly is it? It is often used in conjunction with character building and guidance lessons. While it does have some of those components, social emotional learning is much more than that. It is a required life skill set.

The What
Social emotional learning is how we (adults and children) learn to manage our emotions while also understanding them. Self regulation and emotional awareness are key to this. It also encompasses showing empathy, being responsible, making responsible decisions, and establishing and maintaining positive relationships.

Social emotional learning is not another program or initiative that a campus or district puts into place. Social emotional learning is a skill set that we must have to be healthy kids and adults.

The Why
Research shows that incorporating social emotional learning boosts student achievement. And that is no surprise. I am a big believer that we can't get to Bloom's without meeting Maslow, meaning that our students cannot get to those high levels of learning if basic needs aren't met (safety, basic needs, belonging).

SEL is also proven to help with behavior. If students are taught how to regulate emotions, be empathetic, and how to have positive relationships, behavior concerns will decrease. For example, think of a student that may have outbursts or get upset easily. If taught healthy self regulation skills, they will not only be able to utilize those strategies, but as they get older, they will be able to regulate feelings of frustration and anger in a healthy way.

When I was an elementary counselor in a larger, urban school district I began studying SEL (around 2013). The campus that I served consisted of around 91% low socioeconomic students and we also had the opportunity to serve refugee students from Burma, Nepal, and the Congo. It was vital to teach these skills just as we taught curriculum for content areas.

I think that is the key to social emotional learning. It is not a program. It is not a temporary "buzz" topic. It is a needed set of skills for students to be well equipped as they grow older.

Misconceptions
Many believe that social emotional learning is character building and comes from a counselor. Social emotional learning isn't just about highlighting a character trait or receiving a guidance lesson from a campus counselor (while those are all wonderful things). It is a whole campus teaching approach that is best for ALL kids. Another misconception is that social emotional learning is provided or focused on solely for students who are currently struggling with behavior or emotions. Yet, SEL is beneficial for ALL students. It could be beneficial for adults, too. Think of how often you may see people get so upset and not be able to control their emotions. While we are all human, it is important to be able to regulate ourselves and our emotions so they we can interact in positive ways with others.

Resources
Everywhere you turn, SEL is being discussed. With it being such a needed skill, where can you turn for support and guidance?

Below you can find some wonderful resources from organizations that solely focus on Social Emotional Learning. I am currently also working on resources and resource guides that will be available in my TPT store. Follow @stylishschoolcounselor on Facebook (here) or Instagram (@stylishschoolcounselorblog) for updates.

CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
https://casel.org/

Edutopia: They have a wonderful page of SEL resources and articles
https://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning

Whether you are a classroom teacher who is wanting to equip your students with more than academic support or a counselor who wants to spark the conversation of incorporating SEL into your everyday routine...you are taking a very exciting step. It all starts somewhere!

Want to see more posts like this? Check out my post on Mindfulness here!



-Melanie

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Counselor Introduction, My Counselor is a Princess, and #NSCW19

Hello, friends! Can you believe it is almost February? And that means celebrating one of the most exciting weeks of the year, National School Counseling Week. As a school counselor this was always one of my most favorite weeks. Not only is it a fun week to be recognized, but most importantly, it is an opportunity to highlight your school counseling program and the effects it has had on your campus.

Often times, I would create a menu of services or a cute, quick sheet highlighting things in the program, or fun facts such as our school has had 136 guidance lessons to date on these topics...or there have been 13 lunch bunch sessions. Not only is this a wonderful time to share what it is that you do, it is also a chance to advocate for the counseling program. I would also do an announcement each day sharing a counseling fact or something special about the program that week (Ex: we have learned about 3 important character traits so far at our school: respect, integrity, and kindness).

I would also give all staff members a certificate of appreciation for their support for our school counseling program. You can find some of my past links below:

2014
2015

You can also find ideas at ASCA's website HERE.

As I shared in my last post, my husband and I began writing books as a fun hobby. Our newest book is one I just knew I had to share with you all. It is called My Counselor is a Princess (HERE). This is a very light, simple read that discusses briefly what a counselor does. As with the other books in our series (My Teacher is an Elf HERE and My PE Teacher is a Ninja HERE) the students find some of her qualities to be that of a princess and wonder if that is what she really is. It would be great to use at the beginning of the year or during school counseling week as a fun activity.


Not only are we excited to release it right before National School Counseling Week but I have finally created a companion activity pack to go along with it on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can use the activity pack with or without the book. You can find it HERE




There are 5 activities (only 1 you would need the book for) and 5 posters. I must say the posters are my favorite and I will show you why! When I created these posters, I thought it would be important to not put the feeling word that most may think of when they see the pictures. I wanted these to be laminated and used in guidance to talk about feelings. Students may come up with great words aside from the usual mad or happy. They may think of frustrated, hurt, etc. These would also be great to have in a hallway or classroom.




The book and activity pack would be a fun. quick addition to your guidance lesson resources and if you do use it, I would love to see pictures. You can also now follow me on Instagram at @stylishschoolcounselorblog and also over @ackerbooks (side note: my husband's instatories crack me up)


 I hope you all have a wonderful School Counseling Week. I created and posted this earlier in the week but remember to take care of YOU. We cannot be our best and give our best if we don't take time for ourselves. Remember, self care is one of the top ways to prevent burn out. Even 15 minutes of yoga or singing in the car with a cup of coffee all alone...don't forget to invest in your well being.













Melanie

Monday, November 19, 2018

My Teacher is An Elf and Writing Our Own Books

Hello, friends. Happy Almost Thanksgiving. I have my fingers crossed for days full of naps, wearing my pj's and robe all day, and watching Hallmark movies kind of relaxation.

I have been meaning to share a little about our (my husband and I) new journey writing books. Since I was in college we wanted to write a book. My husband, Joey, has also loved doodling and drawing. I still have notes from him when we were in college with characters all over it. For you young ones, we totally wrote notes before texting...haha!

We both had kept ideas of books we wanted to one day write together. We always thought it would be cool to be a husband and wife team...and here we are today. We have three books available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and plenty more coming. Our first three are all a similar style but we are excited about our upcoming ones that have a totally different feel and look.

With it being the holidays, we are excited to share about our recent release My Teacher is an Elf. This book is based on my years as a 1st grade and Kindergarten teacher and my students' suspicions. You can find it here.


This book was written for pure fun to be enjoyed by all but it was really written from the viewpoint of a teacher to use during shared reading. There are plenty of opportunities to make inferences, discuss character traits, and comparing and contrasting.

Something we were so excited to hear about is how a Elementary Principal is using it in Florida. We received a snippet of the email she sent to her awesome staff and we think this is a pretty neat idea!



My Teacher is An Elf On the Shelf???!!!! Whhhaaattt???!!!!

You know how those ornery elves hide during the holiday season? You find 'em in a different place every day (well, almost every day😉)...Those elves are usually up to somethin' no good!

Well, we have a similar scenario that's going to be happenin' here at Sterling Park! From the Monday after Thanksgiving through the last day before Winter break, ornery elves are going to be hiding one book each night, the lucky finder of the book gets to keep it! What's the book called you ask?

My Teacher is an Elf! By Joey and Melanie Acker


We will have our own My Teacher is an Elf on the Shelf hunt! Be on the lookout each day for the book! It could be hidden anywhere! When you find it, send an email to STPE-AllStaff with the location that you found the treasure so we'll all know it has been found for the day.

We can't wait to see pictures of all the fun they have. If you are using out book in your classroom or on your campus, please feel free to share pictures. We would LOVE to see them. You can email us at joeyandmelaniebooks@yahoo.com. You can also follow us on Instagram & Twitter @ackerbooks and like us on Facebook here.

We also have My P.E. Teacher is a Ninja and My Counselor is a Princess. You can find each of them HERE and HERE

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving, eat lots of pie, and take plenty of naps. 



Melanie

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

ABC....Worry Free Book Review

Happy almost Thanksgiving, friends!  It is so cold in Texas right now. Those of you in places up north are probably laughing hysterically at me right now while I sit in my robe, on a heating pad, and under about 7 layers of blankets. It's a whopping 36 degrees and in Texas, that is straight up winter weather. Our family is excited about the break and I hope you all get time to renew and practice self care!

I am really excited to review a new book titled ABC Worry Free by Noel Foy. Now that my husband and I are writing books, my love for picture books has grown even more (I will blog about that in detail at another time). Y'all...I love books. My husband thinks I buy tons of shoes and clothes but really it's books...they are just much easier to hide. I even love the smell of books. Can they make that as a candle scent?



What I love even more than a good picture book is a book that easily relates hard to understand situations and emotions to kids. Things like depression, frustration, and anxiety are often difficult to express to children in books....even in person. Noel Foy does an amazing job of this and with an easy to understand situation.



The character in the book has a rough experience (an encounter with a bee) and begins to feel anxious about ever going out or being with friends. It touches on what anxiety and worry can look like in kid form, which I love. Not only does it show what the boy experiences (not wanting to go outside, not playing with friends), it gives an outside look at what his friends are thinking. It even gives a catchy coping technique (A-Accept, B-Breathe, C-Change).

This would be a wonderful addition to your guidance rotation and also great for a small group. The illustrations by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov are warm and inviting, as well.

You can purchase the book HERE, and find more information about the story and author HERE.

As I am beginning to work with kids struggling with anxiety in my LPC-Internship (under the supervision of the amazing Erin James, LPC-S), I have found a great need for resources like this. I have even created a quick sheet that you could supplement the story with. You can find that for FREE in my TPT store HERE.




I am also giving away a FREE copy of this book. Check out the instructions on Facebook to enter! Have wonderful week and enjoy the rest of the week with your students!

Melanie

Monday, August 27, 2018

Leading in the Present (Plus a Fun Freebie)

Happy almost September...say whaaat?!?! How is that even possible. I am over here still trying to get myself together and Starbucks will be breakin' out the pumpkin spice latte soon. August and September always flash before our eyes. With my new position, getting my own kiddos ready for back to school, and me and my husband's side projects (more about that later)...it has been busy, as I am sure it has been for all of you. I hope you have welcomed sweet students through your doors and have had time to catch your breath.

One thing that has really been on my heart to blog about has been Leadership. I don't mean leadership as an administrator or central office staff member (while those are important, too) but I simply mean leadership.

I was thinking about what it means to be a leader. Sounds simple enough...to be a leader means to lead. Yet, so often we get titles and leadership confused. Leadership goes way beyond titles. Leadership isn't something you magically inherit when you obtain a certain role. To be a leader is an action. To be a leader is something you choose to do when it's not easy. To be a leader is to take risks. To be a leader is to be passionate about something and want to share that excitement with others.

I can remember throughout my career thinking that when I have this job or that job, I can do "x, y, and z." I remember telling myself I couldn't be part of starting a new initiative because I wasn't in a "leadership role." I would think about the next job I could get where I could impact more, do more, or lead.  In reality, I could have been a leader right where I was. It wasn't about what position I held, it was about my mindset. In education, I feel that we all do this at times (I am guilty of it). We tell ourselves if I was in this place or in this position, it would be better or I could do more. It's almost as if we sabotage ourselves. I love the quote that says, "The grass isn't greener on the other side, it is green where you water it." I remember there was a poster of this at the middle school I worked it. It has stuck with me since then.

That very quote is what keeps me joyful. Sometimes we are in tough situations or our hearts are set on something else but it is our outlook and perception that can make all of the difference. Remember, you can lead and impact exactly where you are. I truly believe we are all put in the position and place we are for a reason. We have the choice to embrace it and lead.

As a back to school gift. I am sharing this reversible door sign. It serves a purpose with a side of humor. You can find it in my TPT store for FREE HERE!

TIP: As I shared before, a great place to print items with a lot of color are UPS stores. I do all of my personal printing and even some work printing there. I can usually look at Retail Me Not for coupon codes. The ink and paper quality are pretty amazing.




Have a great rest of the week and take time for you!

-Melanie