Saturday, February 14, 2015

The "Ungame" to the Rescue

This semester I finally got my Vision Board group up and running!

During our second session I wanted to use an ice breaker for about half the session to keep the students focused because they were a little rowdy as we set group norms. I also wanted them to learn a little more about one another and start to really think about who they were deep down.

I pulled the "Ungame" out of my groups drawer and after looking through the cards I knew it was the perfect solution. It worked like a charm!

My students not only bought into it immediately, they had a great time and asked to continue the game for the entire session, which I was completely on board for!

The questions from Deck 1 worked perfectly as an ice breaker, and really helped some of the students think about the roles they play and what they felt passionate about.

One of my goals while working with the combination of students I had was to help them recognize that they have extraordinary leadership potential that they have yet to unlock and focus in a positive direction. Thankfully the cards prompted that very conversation and that very realization came out of the mouth of one of the students, I couldn't have been more ecstatic.

I used the Ungame for a Mix it Up at Lunch event a couple of years ago also. I made copies of cards that would generate conversation, nothing too deep, and put them in small containers on the lunch tables. Student had to sit at the lunch tables by birth month and get to know someone new, the cards were there to help generate conversation. 

Photo Courtesy of Amazon
Every school counselor needs the Ungame in their tools of the trade. The one I have has two decks, the first deck is perfect for ice breakers and the second deck is more intense. Here are some examples of questions from Deck 1 and Deck 2:

Deck 1: Would you consider yourself a leader or a follower?

Deck 2: Have you ever considered suicide? 

The school counseling uses are endless for this less expensive tool.

Do you have the Ungame? How have you used in school counseling lessons or groups? Please share your tips below.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Unexpected Opportunity to Advocate during #NSCW15

Today I made my way to Effingham, IL to participate in board training for our newly created Creating Entrepreneural Opportunities (CEO) program.

The conference center was filled with business leaders, school leaders, community leaders and the great Craig Lindvahl. Craig is an innovator with a personality that brings something to a room that cannot be put into words, read more about him here

As the meeting began our facilitator made the grave mistake of describing us as, you guessed it, the G word. (Insert blood curdling, hair pulling screams here).  At the same moment my Regional Superintendent, who was sitting with me, gasped (he has been trained well) and looked at me and said, "I will fix this."

He asked me for some tips on how to help her understand why she needed to change her terminology and a graphic photo that would sum it all up...

After she uttered those words about 10 more times we finally got a break (Disclaimer..she is really a fantastic lady). During the break a friend of mine who happens to be a high school superintendent came up to me and said, "did you cringe every time she said...the g word?!" I told him I did, but it was also being fixed as we speak. He laughed and I told him his wife, who is also school counselor, taught him well. Smiles all around.

When we returned from break our training continued on, then it happened. Craig got the floor again and announced to everyone in the room that he apologized if he ever used the g word since he just learned how offensive it was. He informed everyone that they should use the appropriate terminology, "school counselor." 

I couldn't believe my ears! How amazing for a person like Craig to take a stand for us! How amazing for a Regional Superintendent to feel so strongly about our identity that he felt compelled to "fix it" for us!

Further, all of those people in that room have the ability to change so many others that we don't have access to, and they now know how we should be identified!

I couldn't have asked for a better gift for our profession on this Thursday of National School Counseling Week!

During lunch Craig came over to give me a hug and personally congratulate me on my IL HS counselor of the year award and further discuss how things have changed for school counselors over the years.

What started out as just a training day turned into an opportunity to advocate for our profession in a big way. Never underestimate your power to change the way people view our profession. If you stand steady in your beliefs and share the vision of who we are today, people will listen and become advocates for us in ways that we could never fathom, in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected times.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

National School Counseling Week 2015

This year I took a step back and let my intern organize all of the festivities for the week.

Check out the online flyer she made for the faculty and the one she created for the students.

We have an exciting week planned!

She bravely spoke at the teacher's meeting last week to garner support for the festivities and worked hard after the students left on Friday to pull it all together. Stay tuned for lots of photos this week.

One thing I did contribute was my annual crossword puzzle, take a peek and feel free to duplicate it.

What do you have planned for the week? Don't forget to join in the fun that ASCA has arranged for us all!

Check out previous post about #NSCW right here on School Counselor Space!