Historical Characters

I am very passionate about reading, history, and teaching.  I am always looking for ways to incorporate stories, books, & novels into my guidance lessons.  Middle school students seem to be a struggle for me.  It is hard to find stories that are on their level, that intrigue their junior high minds, and truly impact them.

It finally occurred to me that historical fiction and nonfiction have great stories to tell about important people that impacted our current way of life.

Here are some great books you can use with your middle school students that teach perseverance, character, endurance, and strength.  You can use these books during lunch bunch, group counseling, or classroom guidance lessons.

From Barnes and Noble:
"An epidemic of fever sweeps through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia in this novel from Laurie Halse Anderson where "the plot rages like the epidemic itself" (The New York Times Book Review).
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.
Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.
In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic."

How can you use this book?
What was the problem and how does it relate to current issues?
What fears did Mattie Cook have?  What fears do you have?
How did Mattie problem solve?  How can you problem solve when things are out of your control?
What is perseverance?  How do you exhibit perseverance in your current life?

From Barnes and Noble:

"As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis."

Oh MY, oh MY, where to begin.

This novel has so many educational opportunities for counselors.  There are numerous packets available on Pinterest.  The biggest discussion in this book has to revolve around making a stand.  Understanding that the right thing is often unpopular.

The connections about present day are endless with this novel.  Students need to engage in discussions about when they feel pressured to join in with a group, to bully, and to make wrong decisions because that is what others are doing.  The novel, Number the Stars, offers an opportunity for students to make connections about doing what is right, even when you are standing alone.

From Barnes & Noble:

"All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and years after his death she feels closest to him when she's in the air. But as a young black woman in 1940s Louisiana, she knows the sky is off limits to her, until America enters World War II, and the Army forms the WASPĂ‘ Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ida has a chance to fulfill her dream if she's willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one's self and family is a heavy burden, and ultimately it's not what you do but who you are that's most important."

Check out Barnes and Noble for other historical fiction novels for middle school students!

FRIEND resource

Digital: Divide and Conquer has a great free resource for teaching and reminding students how to be a friend.  This can easily be incorporated with your current bullying and friendship lessons.

 Here is a link to their site:


Thanks Digital: Divide & Conquer

The National Blue Ribbon School Program

During the 2013-14 school year, my husband was the High School Principal of Sudan High School.  Our school was nominated for a National Blue Ribbon.  I am so excited to share that Sudan High School received the award.

This is such an honor and I am extremely proud to be the school counselor of such a great high school. The teachers, students, and community members are amazing people to work with.  I could not be more proud to be a part of such an exemplary team.

Congratulations Sudan High School!


SHOUT out...

I love sharing ideas and I have to give a "SHOUT out" to another school counselor.

Her blog is:


Everyone MUST check out her play corner in her office.  (It is pretty awesome!!!)

She has great ideas and resources that can be utilized in your school counseling job!

Check her out!

Summer IS over

I hope you all had a wonderful Summer Break!!!

It is hard to believe that we are back in the swing of things and going 90 miles an hour, on most days.

I am finally feeling settled… Yes, settled begins 5 weeks into the school year.

Our Summer was spent moving, my husband starting a new job, traveling, and lots of family time.

Enjoying "coffee" on the F.R.I.E.N.D.S set (highlight of my California trip).

Welcome back to school!!!

Hope you are well rested and rejuvenated.

Putting Out Fires

We just completed our first week of STAAR testing.  My children have learned that during “testing weeks” mom works late and is a little on edge. 

It is a normal routine at our house, to ask, “how was your day?” 

My son said, “I probably shouldn’t ask you mom, but how was your day?  Let me guess, a little stressful?”  I told him that testing weeks are stressful, but I will certainly survive.  My husband, who is a principal and completely understands testing weeks, told my 7-year-old son that on testing weeks, mom is a Firefighter!  Of course, my children thought that sounded so exciting.

As the week progressed, I pondered on “Firefighter” and thought that is exactly what District Testing Coordinators are.  We are firefighters that walk around campus all day extinguishing the small fires and sometimes big fires we encounter.

As the week came to an end, we were driving home from dance class.  I listened to my children’s conversations in the back seat.  My son tells his sister that he loves nonfiction because it is all factual.  To his sister he said, “so tell me what you want to be when you grow up and I will explain factual.”  My daughter said, “I don’t know what I want to me.”  My son then says, “Think about it, what do you really, really want to be?”  My daughter, who is a stinker at times, responds with, “I guess you will have to wait until I grow up and then it will be a BIG surprise!”  My son lets out a sigh and says, “At least give me a little hint!”  She then says, “Okay, they work really, really hard.”  I roll my eyes in the front seat, thinking about how stubborn she can be with her brother.  Then, my son says, “Addi, that is easy.  You gave it away.  You want to be a school counselor like mom.”  “YEP! You guessed it!”

There are definitely times, during testing weeks, that I question why in the world did I get my Master’s Degree, why did I become a DTC, and why am I a school counselor.  Then, there are moments that occur and they remind me why I do what I do, and why I chose this path.

So, as we finish out the school year with all the many state testing exams, I will try to remember these lessons learned this week:

1. I am a firefighter, and we will survive & extinguish all fires that arise.
2. My kids know I work really hard.
3. Someone small out there thinks my job is really cool!