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Get Out and Vote!

This blog has never been about one political agenda or the other, but about providing school social workers, counselors, psychologists, SLPs, or teachers with resources, tips, and inspiration to meet their students’ social and emotional needs. That being said, one of the biggest influences on the students you serve is national, state, and local politicians. Like it or not, they have a huge role in determining how school funding is allocated, which educational mandates are created, how you are being evaluated for your job, etc, etc, etc.

I know, you’re tired. Your tv’s been buzzing with political ads for months. Your uncle’s been posting political talking points for almost as long. You really just want to be done. I hear you! The good news is, your job will be done tomorrow night, but you DO have a job to do. YOUR VOTE MATTERS. Now, I live in Illinois, so I know the chances of my individual vote affecting the presidential election is pretty slim. But if you live in any of the following states, you know that it’s very possible that race will be decided by a few votes one way or another (*means it’s a very close race) Which mean you REALLY matter. The links below will take you to your state’s election information. If you want more specific information for your county, visit your County Clerk’s website or office:

New Hampshire*
North Carolina*

And beyond that, everyone’s local races are often up for grabs – and boy do those local politicians love making decisions that affect schools, so regardless of where you live, your vote is important.

Not sure if you’re registered to vote or where to go vote? Check your status here:

Head CountYou can also check which candidates and ballot measures will be up for vote on your ballot. Ballotopedia is a nonpartisan organization that collects all this information and makes it accessible to voters. Check out what will be on your ballot here:


Finally, many of you are a member of a teachers’ union. The major national unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Educational Association, as well as your respective state unions interview as many candidates as agree to be interviewed, look at their past voting records, and endorse national, state, and local level candidates. They don’t just pick one party over the other. For their list of recommended candidates, check out their websites.


On that note, many professional organizations endorse candidates was well, so check out their website to see if your organization has a list.

Hope to see you out there tomorrow!

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Feeling Grateful

Thank You

So…um, is it seriously the end of December already? I feel like 2015 has been a complete whirlwind! Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago I had to fix a few IEPs for writing 2014 on them?

Yet here we are! Some of us have had incredible years – great coworkers, students learning, growing, maturing, personal and professional development. But others of us have had a rough year, maybe the worst one we’ve ever had. And maybe some of us feel like we can’t possibly get through one more year in the place we’re in.

But regardless, I hope that you can take a breath and look back at at least a few moments of your year to remember the moment a student finally “got it,” the time when you saw something in a way you’ve never seen it before, or that one second you smiled to yourself and though, “THIS…This is why I chose this.” Maybe you can think of hundreds, but maybe just coming up with a few is difficult. Regardless, I truly believe that we do one of the most difficult jobs that exists. Whether you’re a teacher, social worker, counselor, psychologist, SLP, administrator, classroom aide, or something else completely, please know that you work miracles every single day, whether you feel like you do or not!

Each of us has something special to bring to our students and school communities every day. We might mess up or not always give our best, but our unique talents and quirks may make us one of the only people that can reach a student. You are irreplaceable!

As I look over the year, I smile at the thought of the incredible coworkers I’ve been honored to work with. I laugh in disbelief at how I was able to possibly service a caseload bigger than anything I’ve ever had to juggle before. I even shake my head and smile briefly at the chairs and other flying objects I’ve had to dodge on a few occasions. Sometimes all you can do is laugh (and hope that it never happens ever ever again!)

In my TpT life I can definitely smile too, for I feel nothing but gratitude for the support I’ve experienced from all of you. I always tell people how incredible it is to have developed the connections I have with counselors, social workers, and educators all over the world! Your experiences, stories, and ideas enrich both my practice and my life. So thank you. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

In addition, your support has enabled me to donate to 5 different charitable organizations since August. 5 incredible causes impacting potentially millions of people. Whoa!

As a final farewell to 2015, I’m planning to offer 10% everything in my store today through December 31. Get your January planning done now and be able to enjoy the rest of your break stress free – while getting some last minute donations in to a great food pantry!

Happy New Year!

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Tips & Tricks :: 8 Easy Ways to Make Mondays Better

Making Mondays BetterLet’s face it. Mondays are probably most people’s least favorite day of the week. I’ve never really LOVED Mondays even before I had a “real job,” but after working in schools, I can safely say that Mondays can feel like the.absolute.worst. I mean, you’re jolted awake before you’re ready to face the world by some type of alarm, the students are grumpy, you’re rushing around to the copier to try to get all your lessons set for the week…only to find 4 people ahead of you wiping out every tree on earth copying 450-page packets for their own 30 students.  Sigh. It’s just really the worst. So this week, I set out on a mission to try to make my Monday less bad. I wasn’t expecting a 10/10 day – I was even willing to accept 6/10. As I went through the day, I tried to think of all the things I could do to make it slightly better. Sure. I didn’t end the day skipping down the halls singing the Sound of Music or anything, but I definitely noticed my own attitude was much better!

Make Mondays Better1. Make your bed

I’m going to be honest. If I had all the money in the world, I would pay someone to do this for me. It’s one of my favorite parts of staying in a hotel, but I really dislike doing it myself! However, a few months ago, I read this advice for living from a Navy Seal and it changed my perspective on this hated chore. So, last Monday I made myself take the 3 minutes it actually takes and did it. Naval Adm. William McRaven explains:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed…And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

2. Say a genuine hello to the first person you seeMake Mondays Better

Whether it’s a gas station attendant, school custodian, or that teacher next door who complains incessantly about anything any everything, say hi! Even if you’re not sure you have anything in common with them, I guarantee they don’t like Monday mornings either, so that’s something! Ask about their weekend, give a smile, let them know it’s nice to see them. I guarantee greeting someone with a smile will make you feel better.

3. Do as much as you can Sunday

My mom’s really going to love this one! Before going to bed on Sunday, I make sure my clothes are laid out, my breakfast/lunch is ready to go, and I’m showered. Now, I know many people aren’t a fan of the night shower, so an early morning Monday shower may be a necessity. However, everyone can save themselves the agony of standing bleary-eyed in their closet laying out exactly 4,523 outfit combinations and wondering why the heck you didn’t go buy that new pair of pants you had planned to get over the weekend. So instead, you think to yourself, “I’ll have to swing by the store on the way home and get those. I literally have nothing to wear.” Congratulations, you’ve already added an item to your to-do list. Moral of the story, just lay the darn outfit out the night before! By doing as much as I can Sunday night instead of Monday morning, I save myself a good hour in the morning and have perfected the “wake up, feed baby, make bed, dress/makeup/teeth, and get out of the house routine” to 40 minutes. I’ll take the extra hour of sleep!

4. Leave yourself a note

I first started doing this before long breaks from school because I knew I’d be in a grumpy mood after coming back from 2 weeks of Winter Break or a week of Spring Break. I’ve since extended it to Mondays too! Before leaving work on Friday, I leave myself a post-it note. Somedays it’s an inspirational quote or mini pep-talk. Other times it’s a list of 5 things I’m thankful for in my life. A few days, all I’ve been able to manage is a quickly-drawn smiley face before I rush home. But, regardless of how grumpy I am when I get to my room, something positive always greets me on Monday morning. Maybe you could get a few co-workers to go in with you and leave positive notes in each other’s mailboxes!

5. Take it one day at a timeFriday

One of the things that makes me feel grumpy about Mondays is realizing there are 5 WHOLE DAYS separating me from the weekend. Then I start thinking about the group I still haven’t planned for on Tuesday, that stressful meeting I have on Wednesday, the paperwork that’s due Thursday and my head is spinning a mile a minute before I even get to my desk. Instead, this week I made the intentional effort to take things one day at a time. Monday things first. When I get past the immediate needs, then I can look to the future, but only then.

6. Save something special

This week, I made a playlist of the music I’ve been playing in the car recently on my 45-minute commute. Instead of listening to it Tuesday-Friday, I saved it for Monday only. Then, the remaining days I did other things (listened to the radio, called a friend on bluetooth, listened to an audiobook, etc.) Sunday night, I started thinking about how excited I was to have my music back again on Monday instead of how much I was dreading driving to work in the dark! You could also try to do this with other things too like going out for lunch, eating a favorite food for breakfast, recording your favorite TV shows to watch Monday night. You get the idea. Make Mondays a splurge day!

7. Slow Cooker mealsSlow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

There are literally 100,000,000 recipes out there for slow cooker meals. After adjusting back to a chaotic week after a relaxing weekend, the last thing you’ll want to do after work when you get home is cook. Instead, grab a freezer bag you’ve pre-filled will all the ingredients during a more ambitious day and dump it into the crockpot before heading out on the day. Delicious aromas will greet you when you return home…..mmmmmmm. Dishes are also a breeze!

Family8. Perspective

So, I don’t want to be morbid, but the average human being only gets around 3,500 Mondays in their life. And while that may sound like a lot at first, by the time you’re 20, 1040 of them are already gone. So, assuming most of us are 30-50 years old, we have probably around 2000 of them left. I don’t want to be sitting at the end with my life facing the fact that I complained about my day 1/7th of the time. I’d much rather know I spent my days getting out there, finding SOMETHING to be joyful about, and making the most out of that time. Whether I feel like it right now or not, someday I’ll wish that I could come back to this day. I I don’t know whether it will be to revisit a friend I’ve lost touch with, or see a loved one who passed, or just to remember what it was like to feel “that young.” Someday I’ll want nothing more than to wake up to THIS DAY. I want to make it count!

How do YOU make your Mondays days worth getting up for?