Monday, December 29, 2014

A sale to start the New Year!!


Hello Counselors,

I hope that you all are enjoying your holiday break!! I sure am :) To ring in 2015, a few School Counselor TpT sellers (including myself) are having a 15% off sale starting on Dec 31st!!

This image was created by Leah from "School Counseling is Magical"- and it looks awesome!!! 


You can save 15% at the Following School Counselor TpT stores- You can click on the name below to check out their awesome products!!

School Counseling is Magical
Counselor Corner
Carol Miller and The Middle School Counselor Blog
Mental Phil's
School Counseling Files
Cheerful Counseling (that's me!, lol!)

This is a great time to get some awesome new products to use as we all return to work after break!!



Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and enjoy the rest of your break :)


~Nicole


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Break Self-Care

Hello all! :)

It's been awhile since I've blogged, and I'm happy to be back on here :) With holiday break coming up for many of us, it is important that we take this time to RELAX! I have included a few tips below on practicing self-care during the break!  These can even be applied to other school breaks during the year (summer, spring break, etc.)


Find your "long lost hobby": Many of us have hobbies that we used to do...and things just kind of got busy. The holiday break is great time to pick up those lost hobbies or even discover a new one! Even when break is over, this can be a great way to practice self-care during your free time! For example, I plan to take some time over holiday break to experiment with new recipes and practice using my crock pot :) You can also pick up an old hobby that you don't always have time for. Whether it's finishing an old book, crafting, or jogging...find something that works for you, makes you happy, and relieves stress! Also, engaging in non-counseling related activities can help in practicing self care.


Treat Yourself: You've worked hard this year, so taking some time to reward yourself can be a good thing! It can be something small..or big! Whatever you choose, be sure to take some time for YOU! Treat yourself..you deserve it! :) This can something that you don't normally get a chance to do with your busy schedule. You can buy yourself something nice, cook a nice dinner...or stop by redbox to get your favorite movie to watch a home! :) these are examples...but a treat can be a nice way to reward yourself for the hard work during the year!


Declutter: This can mean a variety of things...but taking time to declutter and clear your head can be self care in itself! By cleaning out the garage, your car, or other areas around the house...it can help in releiving stress and helping you "breathe easy", Engaging in decluttering can help make your daily routine easier when you return back to work!


Celebrate: Getting into the holiday spirit and engaging in holiday activities can help in taking care of yourself. Taking time to focus on other things can help in keeping the focus off work (for a little while) and enjoying your break. School Counseling is an awesome job, but it is also a good idea to take time for you, celebrate, and practice self-care! In addition, devoting some of your time to helping others through volunteering (or donating) can be a great idea during the holiday season!


I hope that you've enjoyed these tips...I tailored these to fit holiday and summer break, but feel free to check out my other self-care blog post by clicking HERE.

Also, be on the lookout for new TpT products in the next few weeks or so....I have some new things coming out soon!


Until Next Time,

~Nicole


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thankful Sale!!



Hello fellow counselors!!


As a thank you to my TpT customers, I am throwing a thankful sale! When you buy 2 items from my TpT store, you can get one FREE! Follow the steps below to get your FREE product: 

1. Purchase 2 items from the Cheerful Counseling TpT Store- Click HERE or visit "My TpT Store" page at the top to access my store!

2.  Once you've purchased your products, email me at cheerfulcounseling@yahoo.com with the following information: 
  • Your TpT username (No password)
  • Your FREE product choice 
3. I will respond to your email with your FREE product choice! 

This offer is valid from November 23-25!! 


Enjoy this offer while it lasts :) Thanks everyone!!

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Shopping, 

~Nicole 


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Toolkit for Helping Academically At-Risk Students


Happy November!!

I hope that the school year is going well for everyone :) I woke up this morning in the mood to share some counseling ideas today!

For today's post, I will be discussing different tips & resources to have in your toolkit for academically at-risk students, These resources and ideas can be helpful in helping these students succeed and reach their goals!

Tool for tracking student progress: This has been very helpful for us at our school. At my internship site, we have a progress tracker binder for each grade level. We keep the students in alphabetical order by last name by using A-Z divider tabs. You can purchase these at walmart or any office supply store! I created a progress tracking sheet to track the students that I meet with, On this sheet, I write down their grades for the midterm period, help needed & topics discussed during meetings, progress notes, and their final grades for the quarter. This is a great way for me to document the progress of students, and track their progress throughout the school year. Also, it is a great way to make use of data in our work with students!

You can download my Student Progress Sheet Freebie by clicking HERE. If a student sets a goal for themselves, I typically place it at the top of this sheet!

Realistic Goal Setting: The S.M.A.R.T, goals method is my absolute favorite, and helping students to set goals can be very beneficial to their overall success in school. By looking at their current grades, you can help the student to formulate a realistic goal on what they hope to achieve. These goals can either be short term or long term. The student can set a goal for the end of the school year, or for the end of the grading period. The goal(s) set by the student can also be documented in the progress tracker binder. I find it beneficial for students to take part in the goal setting process and helping them work towards their goal.

I found this excellent resources on Edutopia for setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals with students that you can read by clicking HERE.

Useful Tips & Tricks: Providing the student with useful tips & tricks can also be beneficial to their academic success. For example, if a number of students are struggling with homework completion, prioritizing, and organization, doing a classroom lesson or small group can help to address these issues with students and provide help!

The three C's: Consultation, Collaboration, and Communication: The three c's are essential! Communicating, consulting and collaborating with teachers and other staff can allow you to combine various skills to reach a common goal. The teachers in particular can provide you with information on students, and the specfic areas where these students may struggle. The three c's are a great resource and can help you in reaching goals with students.

Unique Inteventions: It is also important to make sure the interventions can services provided fit the needs of the student. Each student is unique, and different interventions can be set in place for assistance in school success and acheiving their academic goals. This is also where collaboration with teachers can come into play,

Highlighting their Strengths & Skills: While working to help students with their weaknesses, strengths are also important. When students are aware of the areas where they excel, it can serve as a confidence booster. Strengths and skills can be applied in the classroom setting in an attempt to help them improve their grades and form a better attitude towards school.

I hope that you find this post useful! :) I've got some great blogging ideas coming up for November...so stay tuned!

What resources/ideas do you have for students academically at-risk? Have you ran any small groups for these students? Feel free to comment below, I would love to hear them!

Take care,

~Nicole


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Putting together your School Counseling Portfolio! Step 2: Gathering and Organizing



Hello again! :)

This is my second post in the school counseling portfolio series! :) If you missed the first post on planning and preparation, you can read it HERE. Once you've planned and prepared your portfolio and its content, the next step is to begin gathering what you need and organizing the contents 

For organizing, I purchased an accordion file for about $3 at Walmart. I used this to keep my portfolio contents organized by topic! For example, I have a section for each of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) domains. I have a section in each domain in my portfolio, so I have my materials organized in my accordion file. By doing this, I collect and organize all of my portfolio contents prior to putting it together, making the process easier and less overwhelming :)  File folders can work well also! 

For example, I have a section titled "Academic" in my accordion file. Everything labeled "Academic" will appear in my academic divider section in my portfolio! I do the same for each section so that everything stays organized. This is something that you can do as you go along. Doing little by little can also make the process less overwhelming! I will be doing a third post on assembling your portfolio soon! 

Keep Track- Know what you need to buy! Having a list of what you need can will be beneficial at the time of assembly! You may already have many things on hand, but it is good to know what you need, I have listed some of the items that I am using below: 

  • Hole Punch (I purchased one for about $5 at walmart)
  • Accordion File for organizing the content and materials
  • 3 Ring Binder (Target has a great selection in awesome colors- mine is 1 1/2" in size)
  • Clear sheet protectors- I bought a 50 pack just in case 
  • Table of Contents- I plan to create this for easy access of my portfolio contents- this will go in the front of my binder
  •  Dividers
Other materials that you may need if you wish to add decoration to your portfolio:
  • Construction Paper/Card Stock 
  • Glue Sticks
  • Scissors
This about sums up this post! This is the gathering and organizing step in the portfolio process. Stay tuned for my third post on assembling your portfolio. Again, if you missed the first step you can read it here:

Do you have any questions/comments, or topics that you would like me to cover? Feel free to comment on the blog, facebook, or email at cheerfulcounseling@yahoo.com! I would love to hear from you! 

~Nicole 






Saturday, October 18, 2014

Putting Together Your School Counseling Portfolio! Step 1: Planning & Preparation


Hello again counseling friends!

Now that I am nearing the end of my school counseling program, I've decided to write a few posts on putting together a school counseling portfolio! This can serve as a great tool, and it can be done in 3 steps: planning & preparation, gathering & organizing, and assembling! This is a great opportunity to show what you have to offer and what you have done! In this post, we will discuss what can be done in step 1 of the portfolio process :)


Brainstorm: This is a great way to decide your layout and what you wish to include! The ASCA National Model is an excellent resource guide! In the ASCA National Model book, there are a number of different ways that you can organize your portfolio: by developmental domains or the ASCA model theme are just a few ideas. Creating lessons and activities based on the 3 domains can show that you are able to provide services in each domain. You can also decide your layout based on the items that you wish to include :) I have included a list of some materials you can possibly include:

  • Classroom Guidance Lesson Plans 
  • Small Group Lessson Plans & ideas 
  • Things that you've created in your work with children 
  • Use of Data in your internship 
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Pictures (I will talk about this one in more detail)

Look at what you've already done: Taking a look at your past accomplishments and projects is a great way to discover portfolio material! This can also give you ideas that you can implement now.

Create a written plan for your lessons: Creating your own classroom and small group lessons is great idea to add more content to your portfolio. By having a written lesson plan, the idea can be easily implemented in your future work as a School Counselor. It also shows some ideas of what you've done in your direct work with students. I follow the ASCA Lesson Plan Template when writing my lesson plans. You can view all of the ASCA templates by clicking HERE. It also gives yourself something to follow during the lesson as opposed to just "winging it".

Get the most out of your internship: Going above & beyond is a great way to get more out of the internship experience, and taking additional things on at your school. Be sure not to take on too much, and practice self care, Be sure to check on my self care blog post for more tips!

Show Use of Data: In the school counseling world, data is extremely important, Being able to display data and show what you can do with it is great portfolio material!

Take Pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words...and can help others visually see what was done in a particular event, classroom lesson, or small group. Be careful about pictures with kiddos and protecting privacy! For example, taking a picture of any tangible items, displays, or diagrams used in the lessons can help to show the work that you do.

A School Counselor Portfolio is an excellent way to highlight the things that you've done, and to let yourself shine :) You can check out the second post in the portfolio series by clicking here: Putting together your school counseling portfolio! Step 2: Gathering and Organizing

What materials do you plan to include in your School Counseling Portfolio? Practicing School Counselors: Do you have any portfolio ideas or resources for current graduate students? Feel free to comment below! :)

~Nicole








Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Resources every school counselor intern should know about!


Hello counselors!!

I can't believe that October is here already! ! Fall is here, and I’m having a blast at my internship and loving every minute of it! I have been super busy lately, but I am happy to be working on another blog post!

For this post, I am linking up with Traci R Brown to discuss resources that every school counseling intern should know about!  I have listed mine below, and be sure to check out Traci's post on awesome intern resources by clicking HERE.







1.      FREE Publications: There are a number of websites where you can download and/or order great resources and publications! The U.S. Department of Education  has many FREE publications on topics such as bullying, financial aid materials for college bound students, and more! Another one of my favorites is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. They also have FREE resources and materials that you can order! You can see what they have to offer by clicking HERE. I have recieved items such as a suicide hotline magnet, childhood grief curriculum guide, and much more! Also, sure to check out resources at the National Education Association (NEA) including the Bullying Prevention Kit and Bully Pledge! Great resources and information to use in your work with students

2.      Libraries: As an intern, we are surrounded by many resources for books: The School Library & librarian, your nearby local library, and your university library. These are all great places to look for books to use in lessons, working with students, etc. The best part is…it’s FREE! If you are looking for books for a lesson  or a specific topic, the library is a great place to start! Also, the librarian is a great resource in your school on books, and to answer questions that you may have! If your local library doesn't  have the book you need, you can always check and see if another location does! 

3. EZ Analyze: I love this tool! This is also a FREE resource, and it allows you to record and analyze data, track time spent with students, track session, documentation, and much more! If you have Microsoft excel, you can use EZ Analyze! Click HERE to get started with it! Data is a resource in itself, and it is extremely useful for your work with students! Data is a great jumping point to plan & provide services for the students in the school! Even as an intern, the use of data is important as well! If you plan on putting together a School Counselor Portfolio, you can include how you used data in your internship!


I hope that you found this post useful! :) I am excited to have collaborated with Traci R Brown with this post! She is also a school counseling grad student blogger, and you can check out her post and blog by clicking HERE

Good luck with internship!


 Do you know any resources for counseling graduate students that you would like to share? Feel free to comment below!

~Nicole


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Going for the G.O.A.L!

Hello counselors,

Today I've decided to do a blog post on goal setting from a school counseling perspective! In my graduate classes and at my internship, I am learning the importance of setting goals and providing direction for your program. Since I love acronyms so much, I came up with one on creating goals for your school, your school counseling program, and yourself! I will explain each one and detail, and I'll also include some resources that I love and use again and again! This acronym is great for setting goals as an intern or a practicing School Counselor!





Gather Your Data:     

In the school counseling world, the "D" word is used often, and for a good reason. Backing up your goals with data is a great place to get started. By looking at the numbers from the previous year, or current trends, you can look at ways on how to improve! Also, this serves as a jumping point for creating your goals and making them meaningful to fit the needs of your school :)

Organize your goals using a method: 

Using a method is key, and my personal favorite is the S.M.A.R.T goals method! This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely!  Again, I sure do love acronyms, and this one is great! It allows you to be able to set a specific goal and make it something that you can measure and place a time frame on as well! You can click HERE to find a great resource on smart goals!

Ask Yourself: How will this benefit me, my students, and my school? 

As we all know, our students are the heart of the school, and they are the reason for all that we do! In creating our goals, keep in mind how will this benefit our students, our program, and the school as a whole! This can also apply when setting personal work goals for yourself, and how this can benefit both you, the staff & student body as well! By asking yourself this question, you are creating goals that are in the best interest of the school and students!

Link up & Collaborate with others! 

Take a minute to think about who is on your side, and who can help in your efforts to accomplish these goals. Also, keeping in mind what resources you have in your school to work towards implementing programs and working towards achieving your goals :) I feel that collaboration and building relationships in the school and community is essential in a school counseling program, and in helping both schools and students achieve goals!

I also recommend the book, The Use of Data in School Counseling: Hatching Results for Students, Programs, and the Profession by Trish Hatch. You can click on the title to order on amazon!

Also, I am currently reading School Counselor Accountability: A MEASURE of Student Success for one of my classes and I'm loving it :) This one will serve as a great reference book in the future for planning and measuring goals to ensure the success of all students!


Both books are great and relatively inexpensive! I recommend them both! I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post! One book that I have on my wish list is Making Data Work by Carol Kaffenberger!



What goals do you have set for the school year? Do you have any resources that you recommend? Is there anything that you would like to share on goal setting?
Feel free to comment below!


Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

~Nicole






Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bullying Awareness Pack Giveaway!!



Hello counselor friends!!

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend! With National Bullying Prevention Awareness month coming up in a few weeks, I have decided to do a giveaway where 2 lucky winners will receive my Bullying Awareness Pack for FREE! The giveaway starts at midnight and ends on Friday,September 19th!

This pack comes with a bully pledge, bookmarks, materials for an anti-bullying bulletin board, "is it bullying?" scenario cards, B.U.L.L.Y Acronym Sign, and "What should you do.?" draw/write activity! You can view this item in my TeachersPayTeachers store by clicking HERE
I recently just did a post on Ideas and Resources for National Bullying Prevention Month that you can check out for the upcoming month :)

You can enter this giveaway in the following ways: 
  • "Like" Cheerful Counseling on facebook in the box below.
  • Follow me on twitter in the box below
  • Comment on this blog post answering one or both of the questions below: 
    • What efforts/programs have you implemented in your school to help curb bullying?
    • Do you have any bullying books/resources that you recommend for parents, counselors, small groups, classroom lessons, etc?

Thank you so much for checking out the blog! I will be announcing the winner on Friday night on my facebook page and blog so be sure to check back :)

Don't forget to enter in the box below! 

~Nicole

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ideas & Resources for National Bullying Prevention Month!



Hello counselor friends!!

I hope that everyone enjoyed the long labor day weekend...I know I did!! Also, hopefully everyone's school year is off to a great start!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month! October will be here before you know it... and I have put together a list of resources and ideas that you can use at your school for National Bullying Prevention Month!


Encourage Kindness:  Starting a kindness campaign at your school or doing a kindness challenge can encourage students to be kind to one another and to help curb bullying! In additon, try to introduce students to new character traits, and working to build character as another effort that can be used! I created a Freebie Empathy Lesson  that you can download in my TpT Store!

Try a theme, acronym or both: Keeping a consistent theme throughout the month is a great way raise awareness in your school and for the kids to remember! I created a B.U.L.L.Y Acronym sign/poster for my teachers pay teachers store that you can download for FREE by clicking HERE. I also created an activity with an ice cream theme titled "Ice Cream to Stop Bullying" that you can use with the little ones! You can purchase it in my TpT store by In clicking HERE. It is great to use in your curriculum, groups, individuals, and even bulletin boards!

Incorporate theme school-wide and in your curriculum: Both of the above  products can work great as a school theme! You can incorporate the theme in your classroom lessons, and make it appropriate for each grade level. In your office, you can also display your story books on bullying! If possible, you can work with the media specialist at your school and ask him/her to place some bullying books on display as well. You can maybe even do something as a district and make it a district-wide theme!

Hold a parent night: If possible, host a parent night at your school on the issue of bullying. This is a great opportunity to build rapport with families, and inform others on the school's bullying policy. You can also answer questions, provide resources, and describe the school's role and the parents role in the effort to curb bullying! The ABC's of Bullying Prevention by Kenneth Shore offers great ideas and tips for schools and parents, you can order it on Amazon HERE.

I have also included a few websites and other resources that you can check out:

PACER Center: PACER Center has a page on their website dedicated to Bullying Prevention Month.  This page includes videos, educator toolkits, handouts, bullying facts, and more! You can also order FREE Bookmarks! (There is a S&H charge). You can click HERE to check out what PACER Center has to offer. They also have resources for Unity Day- Wednesday, October 22nd, where everyone can wear orange and unite against bullying.

Stomp out Bullying: Stomp Out Bullying offers ideas for each week in October! For example, students can make friends with someone they don't know at school the week of October 13th. There is also a Student Participation Toolkit with information on getting students involved, great things to add to

Stop Bullying Now! DVD: I got a FREE copy of the Stop Bullying Now! DVD Video Toolkit from the U.S. Department of Education's website. They have a number of FREE publications that you can download and/or order. The Video Toolkit includes webisodes that you can present with students, PSA's to present at your school, video workshops, and an instructor's guide for use in classroom lessons! You can order a FREE copy of this video toolkit by clicking HERE.
Also, you can click HERE to see all of the bullying publications that you can order from the U.S. Department of Education.

National Education Association (NEA): The National Education Association also has many FREE resources for bullying. You can also sign the pledge as a part of their Bully Free- It starts with me campaign. You can click HERE to sign the pledge! You'll also receive a free pin and poster, which is great to have in your office for students :)

SAMHSA: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also have bullying resources and many others that you can order for FREE! Click HERE to view/order the bullying publications and see everything that this website has to offer!

ASCA Resource Center: If you are an ASCA member, be sure to check out the ASCA Resource Center. They have resources on many topics, including bullying/relational aggression/confllict resolution including lesson plans, articles, documents, and more!


I hope that many of you will find this post useful! Also...bullying prevention efforts can be implemented all year long! This list is also not comprehensive, there are many bullying resources and ideas out there...and I would love to hear resources and ideas that you know about or have used. Feel free to share in the comments section below! Bullying is a very serious issue in school's across the country, and I would love to hear from you about efforts what you've made at your schools!

If you have bullying book recommendations for educators, parents, and for lessons with children...I would love to hear about those as well!! You can also click on "My Counseling Library" tab to see books that I own and recommend...I have them organized by topic!

Also, my new Bullying Awareness Pack is now available in my TeachersPayTeachers store! You can click HERE to purchase!



Enjoy the rest of your weekend :) I will also have another giveaway soon, so be on the lookout for that!!

Until Next Time,


~Nicole






Monday, August 25, 2014

5 Ways to Show Appreciation for your School Staff!



Hey Everyone!! :)

It feels so good to be back in the schools! For internship, I am at the middle school level this year and I am super excited :) Today I wanted to talk about showing staff appreciation. I like to think of  the school staff as a play, everyone plays their parts and contributes to make the show a success!! Along the way, sending appreciation towards the staff can go a long way! It doesn't have to cost a ton of money to show your staff you appreciate them, and I have highlighted tangible (and non-tangible) ways to do so:

Kind Words: Seeing this firsthand, telling them that they're awesome and how much you appreciate them can really go a long way! On the busiest and craziest of days, it can be relieving and nice to hear that their hard work is greatly appreciated!

Blank Notes: I love doing this for people! Taking the time to write a sweet note to staff can also make someones day! I bought some super cute blank note cards from the dollar store and I keep them available whenever I need them :) It is also something they can post, and it can even give them "warm fuzzies" when they look at it! If you don't have blank note cards, a blank sheet of paper can work just fine!

Something they love: Whether it is their favorite snack, coffee drink, or morning breakfast, this can be a sweet little surprise for staff! Knowing that you thought of them can give them the "warm fuzzies" inside!

Do someone a favor: When a member of your staff is super swamped, a simple deed to make their day a little less stressful can sometimes make all the difference! Whether it's making copies, or taking even one thing off their busy to-do list can be extremely helpful :)

Frame Something: This is such an awesome gift idea! I love this, and you can purchase frames at the dollar store! You can frame many things: a photo, a special note, drawing, or even great character traits for that person. This is my absolute favorite sentimental gift, and can serve as great office/classroom decor.

 Also, I wanted to share my newest product on TeachersPayTeachers! My School Bus Safety Pack! It comes with some materials that you can use when teaching the little ones about being safe and following the School Bus Safety Rules :) You can click HERE to purchase!


These are some ideas that you can do with your staff :) I hope that you have found this post useful! What are some staff appreciation ideas that you've done at your school? I would love to hear them, feel free to share & comment below! :) Remember, it's the little things!

Good Luck to everyone as you start the school year!!

~Nicole








Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School Giveaway!!



Hello Counselors!!

Back to School has put me in a good mood....I've decided to do a second giveaway!! This time, I will be randomly selecting 2 lucky winners using rafflecopter!!

The winners will get to choose 1 item from my TeachersPayTeachers store for FREE!! You can click HERE to view the items in my store!

The giveaway starts at midnight (Monday, August 18). I will be announcing the winner on my blog and facebook page on Friday, so be sure to check back!! You can enter my giveaway in the following ways:
  • "Like" Cheerful Counseling on Facebook in the box below!! 
  • Follow me on Twitter in the box below! 
  • Comment on this blog post! 
Also, TpT is having a One-Day Sale on Wednesday August 20th. In addition, everything in my store will be an additional 20% off! :) I love Back to School!!

Good Luck! Don't forget to enter to win in the box below :)


~Nicole






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 8, 2014

School Year Lunch Packing Tips & Ideas!



Hello everyone!!

A good friend asked me about lunch ideas for school counseling internship. I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on this! These tips are great for interns, professional school counselors, teachers, and more!

Leftovers: Packing leftovers can make your life so much easier on those busy mornings! When making dinner, I will sometimes make a little extra for lunch the next day :) Put some leftovers in a container, along with some other items, and you are good to go!

Pack an easy on-the-go breakfast: This is great if you don't have time to eat breakfast at home, and you can pack these easy (and somewhat healthier ideas). I love the on-the-go microwavable oatmeal cups, fruit, and greek yogurt! I place my fruit in a container or plastic snack bag so that its ready to take with me! Also, I like to get a good breakfast in, just in case things get busy and there is no time to each lunch! Other breakfast items that I enjoy are: toasted bagel with cream cheese, coffee, and boiled or scrambled eggs!

Meal Prepping: Many of my family members engage in meal prepping, and I think it is a fabulous idea! By preparing food for the week, it helps out in so many ways: You won't have to do much during the week, and easy lunch packing! Some of the things that are easy to prep are tuna salad, grilled chicken, cooked veggies, and chicken salad. When I am making my lunch for the next day, I can make a lunch using the food that is already prepared, which I love!

Water is essential: I don't know what I would do without my water bottle! I use the Contigo Auto Seal Water Bottle that you can order from amazon, comes in great colors! It is important to stay hydrated. Although soda and caffeine can help us throughout the day, they can sometimes dehydrate you. I try to drink more water in addition to drinking other beverages. To spice things up, I will add lemon or cucumber to flavor my water, great beverage to drink with lunch! You can easily refill your bottle at work :)

Balance things out: When I pack my lunches, I like to have balance. I usually pack some form of protein, fruit or veggie, and a snack! My protein usually consists of meat or greek yogurt, or both! My favorite fruits & veggies are: carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grapes, and pineapple, and apples! Needless to say, I love fruits and veggies! I like to include at least one of my favorite snacks: wheat thins/ritz crackers, pretzels, chips, or rice cakes!

Variety is key: I sometimes get tired of the same thing, so I try to switch things up when I pack my lunch. I make sure to not pack the same thing too many days in a row! Also, when I pack different things that I like, it gives me a yummy lunch to look forward to! Pinterest is a great place to find new and exciting lunch ideas!

Quick Snacks: I briefly discussed different snacks, and my reasoning for that is so that I have something that I can grab quickly. Sometimes things get busy and a lunch break may be far out of reach. A quick snack is good to have for lunch bunches with students also :) Having a quick snack available in your office can be a good idea!


Packing lunches is one thing that I like to do, and finding fun new things to pack is exciting! What things do you pack for lunch? Feel free to comment below!!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!! :)


~Nicole






Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting ready for Internship!

Hello again!!

I have been blogging quite a bit lately, but I am so excited for fall and I have so much to share! :) With many school counseling graduate students out there, the time for fall internship is upon us! I am getting ready myself and I have put together a list of things that you can do to prepare! :)


1. Organize your items: Staying organized goes a long way in internship! This summer, I took the time to create my own internship planner to use for this year! I created a section for schedules & calendars, small groups, meeting notes, notes, and counseling logs. I took a few photos of my planner to show an example of how I put it all together! I used a Five Star notebinder with a customizable cover, Jyjoyner Counselor has a great counselor notebook post using the notebinder! You can click HERE to order a notebinder on amazon!

 You can download the following items for FREE in my TpT Store!

2. Visit the school website: If you have the time, take the look at the schools website where you will be interning! By doing this, you can look at special events, important contact information, academic calendars,
 and more! By taking a look at the academic calendar, you can plan ahead with hours and taking note of school closures, early dismissals, etc. Many schools have their information available online!

3. Go in early for an orientation: If you are able to, try to go in early for an orientation if you haven't already. This is great time to take a tour of the school, and get somewhat familiar with your surroundings before the official first day! Take this time to ask any questions that you may have. If you are unable to, getting in contact with them via phone or email before the first day can be a great way to prepare yourself also...or both!

4. Make a list of everything that you need: Things and ideas can pop into our heads at random times..happens to me all the time :) Try keeping a list of what things you need or want to use for internship. Also, try to note what you would like to pack with you! This can be anything...from items for working with students and what to pack for lunch! For ideas on packing and organizing, feel free to check out My Internship Kit blog post!

5. Gather some resources to help you get started: Pinterest is a great place to start for getting together great school counselor resources! Traci R Brown has an awesome post on Pinterest for School Counselors, you can click HERE to read it :) Ready-to-use icebreakers are great when getting started with students as well!

6. Sign up for a library card: I love checking out the local library for counseling resources to borrow! I did this during practicum and I plan to do the same for internship. In addition, check out the counseling books that may be available in the library at your university. I love checking both places for books that I can use in lessons with students, books for professional development, and more! If there is a book that you want, check your local and university library to see if it is available :) Also...it is FREE to borrow!


I have also created a School Counseling Internship Kit that you can purchase in my TeachersPayTeachers store for only $2.50! It includes a internship binder cover page, contact information form, dates to remember, notes page, dice icebreaker activity, internship schedule and counseling internship log! You can click HERE to purchase. I also used my  School Counselor Organization Pack!


Be sure to check out other posts here on my blog for internship!
Feel free to check out these great posts from other amazing School Counseling Bloggers! 



I hope that you found this post useful! Good luck with internship!! :) What advice do you have for school counseling interns? Feel free to comment below :)

~Nicole

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to get the most out of your ASCA Student Membership!


Hello friends!!

With august coming up, the summer is starting to wind down for many of us. This has been a fun summer for me, but I am very excited to start my middle school internship this fall :) This is another post that I have decided to do for the many school counseling graduate students out there!

Today I wanted to discuss an AMAZING counseling resource...American School Counselor Association membership! So many things come with this membership, and I am so glad that I joined :) I have highlighted some benefits of the membership and how to get the most out of this resource during graduate school:

1. You get discounted membership: Right now, it is only $69 for students, which I am taking advantage of while I can. Once you are a professional, the price goes up to about $129. I will continue to be an ASCA member because it is such a wonderful website and resource :)

Displaying photo.JPG2. ASCA School Counselor Magazine: I love this magazine, and it is one of my favorite things to see when I check my mailbox every month! This magazine is great because I can read articles on so many different aspects of school counseling programs.

3. Do your research: On the ASCA website, you can view school counseling licensure requirements for each state, which can really come in handy when applying for jobs! You can also look at the Professional School Counseling Journal for great journal articles.

4. Resources, resources, and more resources: The ASCA membership comes with so many resources that cater to various topics. The ASCA resource center covers multiple topics including LGBTQ, Substance Abuse, Divorce, Character Education, Dropout Prevention, and much much more! The website provides articles, websites, lesson plans and other resources for each topic!

I hope you found this post to be helpful! You can click HERE to view the full list of ASCA membership benefits, but I wanted to highlight a few in this post!

Enjoy the rest of your summer & have a great school year!

~Nicole

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Giveaway!



Hello everyone!

 I see many of my favorite counseling blogs doing a giveaway so I have decided to do the same! I created these calendars (8.5 x 14) to use for my internship in the fall. They are slightly larger and are Monday through Friday, which is perfect for work and internship! I also created them black and white so they are cheaper and easier to print at your school or local printing shop! I add color to them by using my colorful pens :) At midnight tonight the giveaway will start and it will end on Monday 7/28 at midnight!  1 Lucky Winner will be selected! 

I will be announcing the winner on my Facebook page on Monday evening so be sure to check it out :) You can enter this giveaway in the following ways:

  • "Like" the Cheerful Counseling Facebook Page in the box below
  • Follow me on Twitter in the box below! 
  • Comment on this blog post
Good Luck! I am excited to do my first giveaway! Don't forget to enter below! 

~Nicole 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Starting your Practicum Experience: Things to keep in mind


Happy Sunday everyone!!

When I was coming up with today's post, I thought about how I felt when I started my practicum. It was a combination of nervousness and excitement! Now, I have decided to highlight a few things to keep in mind when starting your practicum experience that I found to be helpful for me!

1. Take everything in & ask questions: This is an important one! Practicum is a learning experience, so learn as much as you can! Asking questions is a part of learning, and this is a great way to learn more about the profession beyond the classroom! Observe as well as get involved as much as you can to get the most out of your practicum experience.

2. Build your resources: At the start of my practicum, I created a resource binder with divider sections (Personal/Social, Career, Academic, Professional). In this binder, I would add handouts and resources that I accumulated during my experience. Many of these resources were either given to me or some that I found to be helpful for myself.

3. Your supervisors are there to help: I cannot emphasize this enough, your counselor mentor/supervisor is there to help assist you with the learning process. Ask specific questions, and maybe even ideas and resources!

4. Go above & beyond:  You can also get more out of your experience by doing a little more than the minimum. If your supervisor allows it, you can even go in an extra day and learn even more. One of the things that I love most about counseling is the variety of each day! Be careful not to stress yourself out too much, and remember to balance with everything else that you have going on Which brings me to number 5...

5. Practice Self-Care early: The self-care piece is very important, and starting early can go a long way! By learning to practice self-care, you can avoid counselor burn out by making time for yourself even with your busy schedule. Click HERE to check out my self-care blog post!

6.  Stay Organized with everything: I love staying organized, and I mentioned in my previous organization post that I love to keep a binder for everything. I love binders for a number of reasons: they are fun to put together and everything stays in one place! In my binder, I had a section for note taking, my small groups, counseling logs, and materials for classroom lessons that I did. I used the ASCA Lesson Plan Template to plan for my lessons. For my small groups section, I included some printables that I created to help me keep things organized for my group:
You can download these forms for FREE!
Small Group Planning Materials 
Small Group Debriefing Chart

If you are working with elementary students, it may even be helpful to print out a Confidentiality poster and keep it in your binder! You can download my confidentiality sign HERE.

7. Stay on top of your hours- and planning: Remember how many hours you need, and always know how many you have. Planning ahead is also important, and knowing how much time you have to get the hours you need. In my program, we track our hours using excel, which is extremely helpful! I plan to start using calendars this year for internship by writing school closings and important dates ahead of time. This is going to make planning ahead so much easier! It is also helpful to print off the school calendar as well!
You can download my 12-month calendar set for free by clicking HERE. This set only includes Monday through Friday, but I also have a Blank Calendar Printable that has a Sunday start, and a small section for notes if you need it :) They can all be hole punched and placed in your binder, if that's what you choose to use!

8. Do your best: Remember that it is OK not to have all the answers just yet. This is a learning experience, and remember to ask your supervisor questions and consult with him/her as well. Remember, practice makes perfect! The more experience that you get, the better! I am so eager for the fall semester to begin so that I can learn even more :)

Displaying photo.JPGAlso, if you are running small groups, be sure to check out my Tips for Running Small Groups post!

I got together with a friend of mine and we had a counseling craft night, where we created stress balls with feelings faces. They are super easy to make, you can find the instructions HERE. All you need is flour, balloons, pencils, and funnels! We used sharpie markers to draw feelings faces on them! We decided to make this a regular thing! You can always get together with friends in your program and have a counseling craft get-together! In an attempt to practice self-care, we watched a movie to balance things out!






I hope you enjoyed this post!! Enjoy the rest of your summer, and good luck to all the other practicum and internship students! School counselors, do you have any advice for new counselors or those just entering the field? Feel free to comment below!

Until next time,


~Nicole








Saturday, July 12, 2014

A post about self-care...

Hi everyone!!

I hope that the summer is treating everyone well! :) I feel that it is going by super fast, and I am enjoying every minute of it! But I am super excited to be interning at a middle school this fall :) One of my goals for this summer is to work on practicing self-care. I recently asked a question about this on twitter recently and I got a few replies with great ideas! For this post, I have included things that I have come up with on my own as well as tips that I have received! I created this Self-Care acronym that I will discuss throughout the post.



1. Schedule Self Care Time: This is the advice that I received from Twitter on this topic. The Counseling Geek stated that is important to schedule a "no work zone" and time. I completely agree with this! By scheduling the time, you are making it a priority which is what I have been working to do!

2. Enjoy non-counseling related activities: This is a must for me! So far this summer, I have been cooking and baking new recipes! I enjoy this because it helps to relieve my stress and it is something to do in my down time. By having hobbies unrelated to counseling, this gives you a small break from the world of counseling (as wonderful as it is!) so that you can prevent future burnout!

3. List your hobbies: I found this to be extremely helpful in practicing self-care. When I first started, I had to sit down and think of all of my hobbies, so I had something to refer to when I was in need of "me time". I wasn't sure if I had many hobbies, so I also took some time this summer to develop some. For instance, I am spending more time outdoors and enjoying the wonderful weather!

4. Focus on you: It is essential to take time for yourself. At times, we are busy taking care and helping others, but it is important to take a minute for yourself. Reading is a hobby that I have gotten back into and I love it :) No matter how busy the day is I try to take time to read some pages in the book that I am currently reading. Having something (and someone) to make time for is important in practicing self care.

5. Chat & Socialize: In addition to having hobbies, and "me time", it is also important to make time for the special people in your life. During your down time you can call a friend, family member, or special someone to say hello and ask them about their day. I have found this to be helpful,  especially on stressful days. In addition to calling, text messaging or emailing, scheduling in person time is important as well! :) This also helps in scheduling your self-care time!

6. Acknowledge your stress: Know your limits, and pay attention to when you are feeling stressed or on the brink of burnout! When your body is trying to communicate to you, be sure to listen! When you acknowledge the signs, you will know when self-care time is needed. Ignoring the signs can lead to increased stress, which can make it difficult. For example, if you are working on a project, it may be best to put the rest off for another day!

7. RELAX: This goes without saying...but relaxation is important!! Find what helps you relax and make time for that :)

8. Energize: Keep yourself energized! Taking time for yourself will allow to to have energy for the other things and people in your life :)

This post may have been somewhat short and sweet, but I hope that you all found it useful! Enjoy the rest of your summer. I just added some new tabs to the blog page, and my Counseling Library page is up! I have shared all of the counseling titles that I have :) TpT Store page is up as well! :) I am currently working on the "About Me" and "Counseling Must Haves" and they will be up soon!

What tips and strategies do you have for self-care? Feel free to share them, I would love to hear them!!

Until Next Time,

~Nicole


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saving up for the Conference!!

Hey everyone!!

I have decided to do another post this week! :) Even though I am #notatasca14, I have been following twitter and facebook and seeing all of the counselor learning and fun!! Since I will be graduating next spring, I plan to attend the #ASCA15 conference in Phoenix, Arizona!! I am a person who likes to plan things out well in advance, I have decided to begin planning my trip by beginning to put money aside and planning a little at a time :) In this post, I have included some old tricks of the trade with money saving, planning and organizing to attend the conference for next year :) I have decided to apply my vacation planning and money saving tips for planning to be there!

1. Plan Early: If you plan to attend, it is best to get the ball rolling early. With the conference being a year in advance, sometimes things come up that are unexpected and we can't always help that. Also, we may not always know if we are able to attend this far in advance, but there's nothing wrong with having a plan :) In life, things may not always go as planned. Nonetheless, planning ahead can go a long way! Making sure you book your hotel stay, flights, registration fees, Remember: You can usually get the best rates if you book early! For ASCA, you can register as soon as the first of the year!

2.  Do Your Research: For the conference, you will want to research what hotels are nearby and if you will need transportation to and from. You may also want to research what else is nearby such as food, recreation (if you plan to come early and do other things), etc. Many of this information can even be found on the hotel website. American School Counselor Association (ASCA) lists their upcoming conference dates and locations HERE.

3.Have a system for saving money: Whether its a piggy bank, savings account or keeping money aside in your checking account, have a system that works for you! I personally love my savings account at Capital One 360 and it has a number of features and perks!

  • Automatic Savings Plan: You can set up for money to automatically transfer from your checking account into your savings!
  • Name your savings account: You can give your savings account a name! 
  • Savings Goals: You can set a savings goal with a specific dollar amount and date! 
  • You can do everything online (website and mobile app) Which is super convenient!! 
  • Savings Calculator: I love this feature! If you put in your savings goal and date, it will tell you how much you would have to save monthly or weekly to reach this goal! 
4. List your expenses: This is a great way to organize and plan your trip! By knowing how much you will need to spend, this can help you determine if the conference is in your budget. In addition to registration fees there are other fees associated with the conference! Also, it is good to save more money than you need for spending money or emergencies. 

5. Create a Budget: To attend the conference, I plan continue to budget and cut back on my current spending. By creating a budget, it will help in putting aside the money aside that I will need. I like to set a budget on groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc. 


I hope that you all have found these tips helpful in planning and saving for next year!! ) I cannot wait to attend my first conference to connect and learn from other counselors!! 

Until next time, 

~Nicole 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Kindle Fire for Counseling, Part 2 :)







Hello everyone!!

I know that many of you are at #ASCA14 this week, and I hope that you are having a great time and I wish I could be there! :) A few months ago, I did a post on using the Kindle Fire for counseling which you can read HERE. Recently, I have discovered more things that the Kindle has to offer, and I wanted to share them with you all! These apps are great for working with students, and staying organized!


  • College Seeker: This is a FREE app available that allows you to search for colleges using various criteria. There is even space to enter SAT scores, location, public or private, and number of students! You can even filter your search by state, which I love, and can work out great for High school counselors and students!
  • My Notebooks: This app has definitely changed the way that I jot things down. This app is also FREE, and I love it!! With this app, you can keep a notebook for just about anything, and choose from different covers! I have created a digital notebook for food recipe ideas, crafting, and my blog. I also plan to add a notebook for future small groups, bulletin boards. The app also has TONS of space to add many notebooks! Did I mention that you can attach documents and photos in your notebooks? Yes, and pages can also be exported into a PDF and emailed to yourself! This is a great way to keep those ideas organized! In addition to writing, you can also use the drawing and painting tool! This can be applied to counseling and many other areas, and keeping those ideas organized!
  • Simple List FREE: This is great to digitally keep track of the many tasks that you have on your plate. You can have multiple lists, giving each a title :) For example, I like to organize things that need to be done for each task. For my ASCA Bullying Prevention Specialist Training, I created a specific to-do list for all of the tasks :)
  • Whiteboard: This FREE app is great for kids, where they can draw, create shapes, and add text! 
  • Palette Painter: This is also FREE, and similar to Whiteboard, as kids can draw and express themselves digitally! 
  • Scholly: Scholarship Search: This app is 99 cents, and allows students to search for scholarships that they qualify for by gender, grade, GPA, state, race/ethnicity. This app can be great for having specific scholarship information available for high school seniors!  :)
  • Jorte Calendar & Organizer: If you love to keep track of things on a digital planner, this FREE app is perfect for you! It can help you keep track of personal responsibilities, classroom guidance lessons, small groups, meetings, etc. 
Are you interested in purchasing a Kindle Fire? I purchased the Kindle Fire HD 7" for $139 on amazon. When I first purchased it, they offered me a FREE one month trial of amazon prime for FREE! 

I am always on the look out for Amazon kindle resources for counseling, and I will be sure to always share them! 

Books that I have on my Kindle Fire:

The School Counselors' Book of Lists by Dorothy J. Blum and Tamara E. Davis: This book is excellent! It provides great information on all aspects of the school counseling program (e.g. working with parents, small group sessions, working with students, and more!) I recommend this! 

Cyber Kids, Cyber Bullying, Cyber Balance by Barbara C. Troll and Constance Hanel: I read this book for the ASCA Bullying Prevention Specialist Training and I love it! This is a great resource to have on the issue of cyberbullying!

Dr. Seuss Books

Joy Berry Classics: These cover a number of topics for the little ones! 


My TpT Summer Sale starts tomorrow!! Everything in my store will be 20% off until Thursday! Click on the widget to your right to check out my store! :)





Enjoy the rest of your summer, and be sure to RELAX!! 

Take care, 

~Nicole 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tips for running small groups!



Hi There!!

This is a follow-up to my Small Group Counseling Post :) I came up with a few tips to keep in mind when running small groups which have been helpful for me!

1. Document what worked and what didn't: In practicum, I wrote down which activities worked for group sessions, and it was very helpful! It can help you plan the remaining sessions for your group and reactions of the group members to the activity. Whether you write it down, use or use an excel spreadsheet, having a system for documenting and debriefing sessions can really go a long way! Also, if you happen to run the same type of group later, you can even refer to what has worked in the past for guidance and future planning!

This is a printable that I created to help me track what worked and what didn't for particular groups and sessions! It is available for FREE in my TeachersPayTeachers store! You can download it HERE.


2. Evaluations for Groups: This is an awesome way to get feedback from your students! I personally like the Likert scale when creating group evaluations :) Depending on the age group, feelings faces can also work well :) I've always learned that it is important to make an evaluation both at the start of the group and at the end of the group! Groups: Planning and Leadership Skills is a great resource to refer to when running groups :) This was a textbook for one of my courses and it has great examples on evaluations, brainstorming, sequencing, and so much more!! I recommend it :)


3. Switch things up & get creative! I love the idea of providing variety in groups and getting to see students interact in different ways! Discussions are great, but it also great to have a variety of games, movement activities, and more! Students can sometimes get used to the same thing, and providing different opportunities to learn about themselves and group members through other means is helpful as well :)

4. Drawing out members: Participation is key :) It is important for group members to get as much out of the experience as possible. Similar to the last step, various group activities can allow members to contribute and learn from others in the small group counseling experience. Giving each member opportunity to share is a great way to give each member the floor! Teaching group members to not only participate, but give others the opportunity to do so as well!

5. Go with the flow! In teaching, there is always a possibility that the lesson plan may not go exactly as written...and that also applies to small group as well. It is always possible that you may need to tweak your goals, objectives, and plans to fit the needs of the group. The key to this is flexibility, and going where your group goes, and letting the students contribute to the group goals, objectives, and plans :)

6. Have a Plan B: If something is not going as planned in the moment, you can try to switch to Plan B to see if that goes well. If you are trying something new that you are unsure of, having a plan B in this case can be extremely helpful :) Speaking of planning, over plan! I always find it helpful to plan more than you think you should! I also use my small group planning schedule that I created to plan what materials I need, in case I don't forget anything beforehand!

7. Resources: There are MANY resources and lesson ideas available to you! With pinterest boards, TeachersPayTeachers, counseling blogs, and much more! I try to organize my pinterest boards by topic so I can reference them in a flash when I'm looking for ideas! With all of the many resources for ideas, this can also help with variety in session. You can never have enough ideas for icebreakers and small group sessions!


My Small Group Planning Materials (Planning and Documentation Form) are also available for free by clicking  HERE


What ideas do you have for small groups? What has worked for you and your groups in the past? Again, I would love to hear them!!

 I hope that you have found these tips and free printables useful :) I know that I have been on a blogging kick lately, ideas have been popping in my head to share with everyone! My vacation starts tomorrow, so I will be practicing self-care!


Take care & enjoy the summer,

~Nicole

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