Coping with the tragedy of the Stoneman Douglas School shooting

Saturday, February 17, 2018
My heart is heavy after the tragic events that occurred this past week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, about 8 miles from my house. I can not believe this happened in our community, and I know so many people feel the same. I think the hardest part for me is the feeling of being helpless. We can go to active shooter training's (which we did this past year in Broward County), we can lock our classrooms doors, we can look for warning signs and red flags, but in the end it all comes down to a lost soul with a gun and whether or not they choose your school or not. I counter that helpless feeling by focusing on what I can control. Here are a few tips for working with students but also they are helpful for us adults too.

1. Talk about it.
Tell your story of what you went through. It will be hard, there will be tears, anger, survivor guilt, confusion, sadness, but you have to get it out. Holding it in is another way of letting the pain fester until it gets so bad you will explode. Get it out, experience all of the emotions so that at some point,  you will be able to move on. You will move on, it seems impossible now, but eventually your life will go back to its semi-normal routine...but you will forever have a new lens to see life through. My friend, Jennifer Shapiro, an Art Teacher at South Broward High had her students write thoughtful messages during class.

2. Go back to your routine.
When a traumatic experience happens, we expect normal life to stop. How can we continue the same way after this? Because you have to. Because if you don't, fear wins. We have to overcome and have courage to go back to school/work, get back to our routine. It will be hard at first, it will feel strange, but eventually the routine will help you feel safe again.

3. Limit how much you are watching the news on this topic.
When it first happened, I was GLUED to the television and social media posts about the shooting. After 2 days of watching non-stop for updates, I realized it was making it worse. You need to feel the sadness and all the emotions that this event created, but re-playing it over and over like the news does is not healthy. You can not move on with your life if you continue to be engrossed in it. You are not honoring the beautiful souls that were lost by making yourself depressed.

4. Focus on the helpers. 
One of my favorite quotes is by Mr. Rogers:“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Look at the helpers, they will reestablish your faith in humanity. Coach Aaron Feis died shielding students from gunfire, Chris Hixon died rushing towards the gunfire to help, Scott Beigel died letting students into his classroom to save them from gunfire, Peter Wang died holding the door for students rushing out of the building to safety. There were countless police and paramedics who rushed to help as well. There is so much good in the world, don't let the hate pull you down. Focus on the amazing heroes that gave up their lives to protect and save others.

5. Write/call your state representatives.
If you have ideas of how to make your school safer, share it with your elected officials. Be an agent of change for your community, advocate for those changes. Their contact information is public, find it and call them, write them, use social media, get your voice heard. Even better, grow up to become an elected official and help make those changes a reality. You are the future.

New School Year, New office decor

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ok so I have a confession, I am obsessed with quotes! I love to pin them on pinterest and they are all over my office in posters. So I decided to create a Watercolor themed Office Decor poster set! It  comes with 25 inspirational posters, 4 character certificates, note from the counselor, pass to see the counselor, confidentiality sign, and Where is the counselor? sign (use a paperclip to designate where you are on the sign). Hope you like it :)

Walk in my Sneakers; lesson on empathy

Saturday, September 3, 2016
Empathy is an important topic for kids, especially with the growing focus on social and emotional learning. I created this lesson to have a fun and engaging way to practice different scenarios with kids to really get them to think about how it feels to be in the other person's shoes.

The Leader in Me 7 Habits

Embracing our school's "Leader in me" process, I re-decorated my office with the 7 habits of happy kids. This year instead of doing student of the month we are calling it Leader of the month and focusing on a different habit a month. 
I found these adorable colorful signs here:The Playful Octopus

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