Celebrating What We Do

As School Counsellors we need to be leaders in celebrating what students do as well as what we do for students.

The past month has been a wonderfully busy month for us at school. It started off with our Who’s Frank #whosfrankyyc bake sale and the elephant in the room.

A big thanks to our Principal and fabulous leader @neilof12 who truly helped spread the anti. bullying message by being Frank.

Then came our Mental Health symposium again run by student leaders who I am always in awe of and so proud of the work they do.

A special thanks to @courosa for joining us virtually and to @brettrothery for sharing his courageous story.

We are also partners with Mount Royal University so I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on sexual violence. Such an important topic !

Next it was Career Speed dating where we had 37 guests share what they were passionate about and the process it took them to get there.

Thanks for coming Verena and bringing your husband. Community members who care!

So School Counsellors celebrate. Share what it is you do because together we are better and can make a difference.

I look forward to you seeing the book we have collaborated in creating Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind High School Students Creating Change.  Coming soon to BCHS as well as our book made with grade 3’s Adventures of Frank at St. James. We can’t wait to share them with you.

 

TED Talks and videos for School Counsellors

The following TED Talks and videos are excellent for School Counsellors:

  1. Martin Seligman The New Era of Positive Psychology

Some highlights from Seligman. Psychology should be as concerned with strength as it is with weakness and in building the best things in life as it is in repairing the worst. It should also be as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling and with nurturing high talent as healing pathology .

2. Shawn Anchor: The Secret To Better Work

Some highlights from Anchor. It takes 21 days 3 minutes every day to train your brain to be more positive. What are 3 things you are grateful for ? Write them down everyday. Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it. Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters. Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once and allows our brains to focus on the task at hand. Random acts of kindness are conscious acts of kindness

3. The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

Some highlights.  Take time to tell someone how grateful you are that they are in your life. Do it today!

4. My Philosophy for A Happy Life Sam Berns

Some highlights from Sam. Sam had progeria. Sam lived life fully while he was living. Always have something to look forward to. Accept life when you are feeling badly. You can change the world and he did. Never miss a party.

Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.

– Leo Tolstoy

5. My Last Days Meet Zach Sobiech

 

 

You don’t have to find out you are dying to start living. Most people live in the middle , but you don’t have to. What’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help . People we don’t really know can change our lives. Love makes life better.

6.  Educate The Heart 

Highlights : A child’s heart and mind are fragile. We have an enormous responsibility … we need to educate students from the heart. It can start today in our schools.

7. I renamed this to From the heart : What Real Winners Look Like.

 

Highlights: Watch and you’ll see.

If you have any great video’s you know School Counsellors should see please send them my way @sspellmancann.

 

 

Privacy an Illusion

Too many people think that what they post on line is private. I was one of those people before #ETMOOC almost three years ago. I thought if I put on my privacy settings that I would be protected. Don’t be fooled. Act as if all is public always. I know that it isn’t easy for young people today because the world is watching. It makes me wonder if I would have acted any diffferent in my youth if I knew that. Teachers, School Counsellors and Administrators are increasingly posting on line and they most certainly need to be good citizens online and off. We are role models for all. Take a look at what Russ Sabella had to say during his session on Ethics at #ASCA15

If you scan Dr. Sabella’s QR code you can download the presentation into your dropbox files. if you are not sure how to scan go to the website on the tweet above.

I like the statement JUST BECAUSE YOU CANDOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD

One of the many great things I learned in ETMOOC was that you need to create your own digital footprint before anyone else does it for you. So flood the internet with the positives that you do and are.

School Counsellors you can and must be a leader. Google yourself often to make sure your presence is what you want it to be. Set up google alerts to make sure your footprint is positive. You can start today to create your digital identity. By you learning all the ins and outs of posting online you will better understand your students and how you can help them. Will you make some mistakes? I am sure you will, I certainly have, but I feel I am much better prepared today to prepare our students for tomorrow.

You can spread your positive ideas and make a difference in the world and as a result be a role model for students and encourage others to do the same.  So if you don’t know already complete privacy is an ilusion.  I ask you to please make your mark in the world a positive one. Think before you post.

Here are a couple of my haiku decks on Digital Citizenship and privacy:

The Illusion of Privacy

Digital Citizenship lessons

For our High School Students

Now it’s your turn. What will you post today?

Lessons from Leo

One of my all time favourite educators and authors is Leo F Buscaglia. I started Hug Days in my school district because of Leo in the days when it was ok to hug students. I still believe it is ok to hug students , recognizing boundaries and always being respectful of students and their boundaries.

What did I learn from Leo that I still think applies to students and myself today? Here are some of the lessons i learned from the amazing Leo Buscaglia:

  • Be passionate
  • Love learning , love life, love yourself, love …

“Perhaps love is the process of leading you gently back to yourself” Saint -Exupery

  • Make yourself into the best person you can be, because you are all you have
  • Schools should be the most joyful places in the world
  • Be spontaneous
  • Live fully alive

“Oh God , to have reached the point of death,only to have found that you have never lived at all ” Don Quixote

  • Leo wanted us to live fully to enjoy every single moment of life

from another Leo more wisdom comes …

“I think the purpose of life is to be useful,
to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate.
It is, after all, to matter: to count, to stand for something,
to have made some difference that you lived at all.”

Leo Rosten

  • Accentuate what is right instead of focusing on what is wrong
  • Feel free to make mistakes and learn from them
  • Believe in change
  • Every time we learn something new we become something new
  • You control your destiny
  • Stop looking for or striving for perfection
  • Life isn’t always easy, but rise to the challenge to face life head on

“Everyone needs at least one person  to love them no matter what ” Leo Buscgalia

  • Be that someone for someone
  • You need a path with a heart
  • Be real , be you
  • There is so much more to know, to be, to do

A favorite question Leo liked to ask was … If you only had five days to live, how would you spend them? With whom? 

We need to always reflect on this and live … fully live.

  • Death teaches us what love is
  • Ask yourself “What are YOU giving to life?’

If you have never read Leo Buscaglia’s books do it now.The lessons are timeless. These lessons are from Living, Loving and Learning by Leo Buscaglia. Stay tuned for more lessons from Leo.

Words Really Do Matter

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Words really do matter. I had originally wrote this post because I was developing an online presentation for adults on mental health and wellness so that they may assist students in their Post – Secondary programs. As I thought about what I would say I recognized that my words matter. What I say could potentially influence educators. What they say to their students could potentially transform what happens for the students and their families. Mental health literacy matters, stigma matters , words matter.

This week our students at BCHS released their anti-slur campaign . Real evidence that words do matter . CAkkWFXUwAASC6N.jpg-large CAWd1M6VAAAMKPp.jpg-large Click here for all of their words.

Sometimes I hear people use words way too loosely when describing someone with a mental illness or someone who has special needs or challenges. They may say so and so is an ADHD kid or so and so is bipolar, an alcoholic etc. It matters to me when I hear words used inappropriately as I believe strongly that we are people first ( the labels used like ADHD are only a very small way of telling us something about someone). We are so much more.

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Who we truly are cannot or should not be described in a few words. So the next time you find yourself using the label first STOP and THINK about the power of your words. Jim or Joan may have a million attributes that are positive and when you use one word to define them you are missing out on such huge pieces of who they truly are. 10419043_911951492189094_3575560603208004517_n7075_911952008855709_5968776292462405218_n10676148_911951908855719_9132407601018882210_n Eliminate so and so is a developmentally delayed child etc. and say their name and the many wonderful things about them. When you do this you start to perceive them differently. You also begin to treat each human being , each child in your care with so much more dignity and respect. Words really do matter. Words can bring about acceptance.  Words can change our brains. Words can hurt or heal. Words can hold back or help. Words can break hearts or touch hearts. Words can build others up or tear them down.  Words allow people to tell their stories .             11054330_911952025522374_6761228367194168442_nWords give people their voices . Words can challenge us to be resilient. Words can give us the strength to carry on … to give us HOPE.  Words can ruin someone’s day or make someone’s day . Words have the power to change others and change ourselves. What words will you use when speaking about and to your students today?

Career Speed Dating

On Tuesday, BCHS had its first ever Career Speed Dating event. It was a fabulous event for students and guests alike.  Although the idea was conceived last year we did not make it happen until this year. We decided to invite our alumni as well as parents for our first of hopefully many Career Speed Dating events.

CAREER SPEED DATING

THIS YEAR MARCH 4th 2016.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

You will have 5 minutes to share your story.

  1. Introduce yourself and share what you do in your career/vocation.
  2. Ask students to introduce themselves.
  3. Tell students what you are passionate about in your career.
  4. Tell them the skills they need to be successful at work – now and in the future. What attributes do you seek in our employees and co-workers?
  5. If time allows, tell them about the process you took to get where you are (education, career advancement, training, job changes).
  6. If you are a Bishop Carroll graduate, please explain how the self-directed learning model impacted your work life (i.e. the relationship with your TA, independent study, flexible scheduling, and continuous progress).
  7. Thank you for sharing.

The day will begin with student tours at 9:00 a.m., ending at 9:50 a.m. If you are interested in the tour, please join our student tour guides in the gym.

10:00 a.m.                         CAREER SPEED DATING begins in the gym. At the end of each 5 minute interval a bell will inform YOU to move one person to their right. You will repeat your story with 10 different students, finishing at approximately 11:00 a.m.

11:00 – 11:05 a.m.            Please find your name tag, placed on the wall located on the outskirts of the gym.

11:05 – 11:30 a.m.            QUESTION PERIOD. Sit at your designated place to be available for questions. This is an opportunity for any student to learn from your diverse experiences by posing additional questions or who did not get to visit with you during the speed dating component.

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.    Lunch is provided in the gym.

Here is an overview of the day:

The day began with student tours at 9:00 a.m., ending at 9:50 a.m. Student tour guides met our guests in the gym.

9:50 -10:00 All guests were asked to sit in the circle that was already set up and given an explanation of the morning as well as a warm welcome by our Principal Mr. O’ Flaherty who was instrumental in making this day happen.

10:00 a.m. CAREER SPEED DATING began in the gym. At the end of each 5 minute interval a bell informed the adults ( originally we thought the students should move , but felt it would be better at the time if the adults moved as they were there to give instructions as to what to do).

An explanation was given to all guests 5 min. prior to event, to move one person to their right. Guests repeated their story with 10 different students, finishing at approximately 11:00 a.m.

(When our guests arrived they were asked to locate their names on the outskirts of the gym for the  11:00 o’clock Q and A period.)

11:00 – 11:05 a.m. Guests went to their designated chair located on the outskirts of the gym.

11:05 – 11:30 a.m. QUESTION PERIOD.Guests sit or stood at their designated place to be available for questions. They were told that this was an opportunity for any student to learn from their diverse experiences allowing students to pose any additional questions or to provide an opportunity for those who did not get to visit with them during the Speed Dating component to do so. This also allowed those students who signed up, but did not get a chance to do the 10:00 o’clock Speed Dating component to come into the gym and ask anyone any questions they might have.
11:30 a.m – 12:15 p.m. Lunch was provided in the gym for GUEST Speakers

How did we make this day happen?

1. A letter went out to all parents inviting them to participate by email. We can send out a mass email to all parents in our community.

2. Our staff was asked if they could invite alumni.

3. A mass phone message went out to all inviting parents to the event.

4. Once we had a list, our fabulous Admin. Head Secretary Pam sent out a letter to all guests telling them what the day would look like and some hints on how to approach their talk.

BISHOP CARROLL HIGH SCHOOL

CAREER SPEED DATING Letter 

November 18, 2014

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

You will have 5 minutes to share your story.

  1. Introduce yourself and share what you do in your career/vocation.
  2. Ask students to introduce themselves.
  3. Tell students what you are passionate about in your career.
  4. Tell them the skills they need to be successful at work – now and in the future. What attributes do you seek in our employees and co-workers?
  5. If time allows, tell them about the process you took to get where you are (education, career advancement, training, job changes).
  6. If you are a Bishop Carroll graduate, please explain how the self-directed learning model impacted your work life (i.e. the relationship with your TA, independent study, flexible scheduling, and continuous progress).
  7. Thank you for sharing.

The day will begin with student tours at 9:00 a.m., ending at 9:50 a.m. If you are interested in the tour, please join our student tour guides in the gym.

10:00 a.m.                         CAREER SPEED DATING begins in the gym. At the end of each 5 minute interval a bell will inform YOU to move one person to their right. You will repeat your story with 10 different students, finishing at approximately 11:00 a.m.

11:00 – 11:05 a.m.            Please find your name tag, placed on a chair located on the outskirts of the gym.

11:05 – 11:30 a.m.            QUESTION PERIOD. Sit at your designated place to be available for questions. This is an opportunity for any student to learn from your diverse experiences by posing additional questions or who did not get to visit with you during the speed dating component.

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.    Lunch is provided in the gym.

5. Our amazing Head Caretaker Cam and team set up all the chairs ( we had to order chairs from downtown ) in gym the way we thought might work. ( I drew him a bad diagram, but he set things up the way he knew would work and I totally knew he would do it perfectly and of course he did)

6. Pam ordered lunch and helped decorate for all our guests. She also made all the name tags and signs. She is outstanding!

7. Student tour guides had to sign up in Student Services.

8. Students wanting to attend the event had to sign up in Student Services as well.

9.  Erin ( my amazing sidekick counsellor )  figured out how to use the timer so that it rotated automatically , and used an iPad to project it on the screen in the gym. You can see it in the video. Our Principal Neil used the mic. to give our presenters a 20 sec. warning when their time would be up to move on to the next student.

10. Our Caretaker Cam also had coat racks set up for all guests. He is so smart, I would have never thought about that detail.

11. Our Art teacher provided us with some great student Art to decorate our gym.

12. Our Career Practitioner had Career Booklets and websites available for our students.

13. Krystyna, our Admin. Assistant made posters to put up around the school.

14. Our Vice Principal Ralene helped with all the details of putting up signs and clean up etc.

15. Our Lisa from Student Services checked off all the students names and greeted students as they arrived at the gym doors.

16. Erin, Neil and I greeted and talked to all the guests as they arrived.

Many hands really do make for light work. I really am so grateful to all for the help in getting ready for this event. I am also grateful to our Phys. Ed department for giving up their space ( we did need to find a date that would work to book the space to hold this event ).

I loved this day and I know students and participants did as well. Here is a Career Speed Dating Haiku Deck that I made which enabled me make the iMovie that I made from my phone (that you can see above on YouTube) . It is important to share what we did with staff and students who were unable to come , so that next time they too can participate. As well I always like to share any ideas with my fellow School Counsellors so that they too can use the idea if they like it and I hope you do because it had such a positive impact on students and presenters . One of the many benefits of this day is that participants shared their winning approach to work and life. The participants got to meet other parents in our community as well as network and make a difference for students. It was an amazing day one which we will repeat for sure. Will we make changes for next time? Yes, of course there are a few things . We will meet as a team to discuss some minor tweaks that could make the day even better. We will also send out a feedback form for participants and incorporate their thoughts and ideas.

Are you now ready for your own Career Speed Dating event?  I hope so ! Enjoy!

 

Here is a list of the Careers that were represented:

Lab administrative assistant  Computer Science Department U of C
Professor at the Computer Science Department U of C
Chartered Accountant – Talisman Energy
DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE AND PROCUREMENT
CHRP, Sr. Human Resources Consultant; MillerNet HR Solutions
Owner/operater Insurance and Financial Services Agency
Speech-language Pathologist
Entrepreneur or a socialpreneur
Police Officer
Director and Talisman Energy Chair of Environmental Sustainability Institute for Environmental Sustainability
PWC | Director, Consulting & Deals
Chemical Engineer
Partner, BD&P Law Firm
Human Resources-Fluor Canada
Communications Specialist
Chemical Engineer
U of C Student
JVR Landscape, Landscape Industry Certified Manager and Technician
Sr. Counsel – Legal Dept. – Husky Energy
Crown Prosecutor – Specialized Prosecutions – Organized Crime Unit
Senior Processing Geophysicist – Shell Canada
Coanda Research Chemical Engineer
Business Owner, Plumbing Company
Material Manager – Oil & Gas
Sr. VP – Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
VP Trading & Asset Optimization – Transalta Corporation
Engineer Marketer
Pres. & CEO REC Media Inc.
Parent
Controller
Andylan Capital Strategies Ltd.
VP Bus Dev. – Seko Construction
Owner – Pete the Plumber/Electrician
Broadcaster
Family Physician
Engineer
Accountant – Schlumberger
Managing Director – Scenarios to Strategy Inc. (owner)
Career Banker and Financial Advisor
Business Prof – UofC
Family Lawyer
CA-CIRP Sr. VP – Hardie & Kelly
Ensign Energy
Insurance Broker Oil & Gas
McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. – Manager of Landscape Architecture
Physician
IT Program Manager
Manager Technical Services, Facilities Waste Processing Division
Psychologist
Engineer
Physician

Words Can Change The Way We Perceive Others and Ourselves

Words really do matter. I am in the process of developing an online presentation for adults on mental health and wellness so that they may assist students in their post – secondary programs. As I think about what I will say I recognize that my words matter. What I say could potentially influence educators. What they say to their students could potentially transform what happens for the students and their families. Mental health literacy matters,  stigma matters , words matter.

Sometimes I hear people use words way too loosely when describing someone with a mental illness or someone who has special needs or challenges. They may say so and so is an ADHD kid or so and so is bipolar, an alcoholic etc.  It matters to me when I hear words used inappropriately as I believe strongly that we are people first ( the labels used like ADHD are only a very small way of telling us something about someone). We are so much more. Who we truly are cannot or should not be described in a few words.

So the next time you find yourself using the label first STOP and THINK about the power of your words. Jack or Jill may have a million attributes that are positive and when you use one word to define them you are missing such huge pieces of who they truly are. So eliminate so and so is a developmentally delayed child etc. and say their name and the many wonderful things about them. When you do this you start to perceive them differently. You also begin to treat each human being , each child in your care with so much more dignity and respect.

Words really do matter

Words can bring about acceptance

Words can change our brains

Words can hurt or heal

Words can hold back or help

Words can break hearts or touch hearts

Words can build others up or tear them down

Words allow people to tell their stories

Words give people their voices

Words can challenge us to be resilient

Words can give us the strength to carry on … to give us HOPE

Words can ruin someone’s day or make someone’s day

Words have the power to change others and change ourselves

What words will you use when speaking about and to your students today?