Grief Counseling

Here are a few of my favorite books from Barnes and Noble
to help kids understand and deal with grief, death, and loss.


These past few days, I have been glued to the television watching coverage of the horrific event that happened at Newtown, CT.  As a school counselor, I cannot fathom the magnitude of this.  I cannot imagine dealing with such an event, and pray that something like this never occurs.  Not just at my school, but at any school.

ASCA has a great site for resources on Grief Counseling

I would encourage you to visit and donate to one of the many sites that have been set up for donations.  The donations will help families for funeral expenses, counseling, and many other needed things.


My Son

A simple conversation with my son, Braxtyn (6 years old):

Braxtyn: Mom, I've been thinking about who I will marry.

Me: Really? Because I think you are a little young!

Braxtyn: How do I choose?

Me: One day you will know who to marry.  Only God knows right now.  Mom, Dad, and God just want it to be a good Christian girl.

Braxtyn: A Good Christian Girl that is beautiful!

Long pause....

Braxtyn: And if she is rich, then that is even better!

What am I up to these days?

Besides running crazy all over the place???
&&& looking like this!

From the "Desk" of Mrs. Harrell:
ARD Meetings
504 Testing
504 Meetings
Gifted and Talented Testing
Counseling (when there is time)
Dual Credit Applications finished for Spring
Husband's Birthday
TAKS retesting
ACT Testing
STAAR Accommodations lined out...
Mail Senior Applications and Transcripts
Deal with a small crisis
Return phone calls
Meet with FASFA rep.
Mail transcripts of past graduates

&&& Getting ready to pack for the
Texas School Counselors Professional Growth Conference!

&&& beginning to look more like this!

The week of a counselor!  Nothing too crazy or anything!

Pumpkin Time

A few pictures of our annual Pumpkin Carving Night
with Dad!

This year the kids decided to have a vampire design!

{Feeding dad pumpkin}

Braxtyn refused to touch the slime and seeds this year.

Miss Addisyn helped to clean it out!

Lots of Fall Fun!

Pumpkin Feelings

This past week my Kindergarten student's talked about feelings.

I read the book
By Janan Cain {Amazon Link}

We discussed feelings we have when we are Bucket Fillers and Bucket Dippers.

Students then created a Pumpkin Feeling Book.

Here is the link I found from
of a cute
Pumpkin Book perfect for Kindergarteners!

{counselor 2 counselor}

Fins Up

My husband and I had a weekend away in Las Vegas!

We went to see Jimmy Buffett's concert and just grab a little R&R.

Fins Up!

Viva Las Vegas!

Bucket Filling

This school year I have been diligently teaching Bucket Filling to my elementary students.  I have been amazed at how my teachers have incorporated it into their classrooms, and how the students are using Bucket Filling Language.

EVERYTHING I have used can be found on my Pinterest Board!

I created a cute little bucket to start my first lesson with, that I saw on Pinterest.  I asked students, "what are things you can fill a bucket with?"

{Of course they had no prior knowledge of "Bucket Filling" so they said things like seashells, sand, eggs, etc.}

Then, I read the Bucket Filling book.  We then went back to my first question....
But changed it to, "what are ways we can fill each others buckets?"

I really believe the most helpful creation from Pinterest was taking a poster board and having students sit in a circle and create a list of Bucket Fillers and Bucket Dippers. 

We have tied Bucket Filling into our bullying lessons also.

I printed posters to place around campus and for every teacher to have in their classroom of the bucket pledge and "Have you filled a bucket today?" sign.  Found on Pinterest!

I ended the lesson with students doing a Diversity lesson.  I had students get together in groups of 3 or 4.  I then asked them why they chose the students in their group.  Of course, they said "that's my friends!"

I then, counted them off, and had them recreate their groups.  I told them I "Diversified" their groups.  They are now mixed up!  Each student wrote their name on a slip of paper.  Then, they had to give their paper to another person in their group.  The paper said,
"I would like to fill your bucket my saying....."

I told students they were not allowed to say "I don't have anything to write, I don't know that person, etc."  {or that would be bucket dipping!}
I reminded them that they have had the same class with that person for 6-weeks and should know something GREAT about everyone in their class.

This lesson went great
I had to share!

Good luck and have fun!

{counselor 2 counselor}

School Assembly

Do you ever try to think of fun and creative school assemblies?
Especially on the first day of school?

I stumbled upon this....
&&& had to share!

Sweetwater's staff did a Flash Mob for their first day of school assembly.

Super cute and I love the shirts!

Bullying Conference

I recently went to the Bullying Conference.  One day was for educators and one day was for students.  It was awesome.  Dr. Eric Cupp does an amazing job.  He said it is okay to use his stuff, if it helps to save a child.  So I took a lot of notes and wanted to share them with you.  Some of these, might be great things for you to use in a staff development or when working with children.

At the bottom, you will find a link to Dr. Eric Cupp's website.

Bulling: It Ends with Me! Dr. Eric Cupp

Junior High is the worst years of bullying.  None of them know who they are, but they are all trying to discover.  High school is minimal for bullying.  If you have high school bullying, then something is really wrong at your school.

Right now, 168,000 kids are not in school.  (Because in spite of what we say – school is not safe for them!)
You cannot expect maturity from immature individuals.  If you allow them opportunities, then they will take advantage of it.

So what are bullies looking for? POWER
So what should you do??? GIVE them POWER! (Allow them to be in charge of things at school.)

A lot of kids play around, call names, and shove.  What is the difference?
     The difference is the relationship between kids and the intent of the interaction.  You can’t tease someone when there is a power imbalance.  If they aren’t laughing, then you’re not playing.  If someone is not your friend, then teasing is always inappropriate.  You have to be careful with teasing.

The effects of bullying last a lifetime.  It causes misery for the bully’s victims, and leaves a lasting impression of all those who witness repeated bullying incidents.

Don’t be an educator that one day a student looks back on and says, where were you? Who were you?  Be an advocate.

What happens to bullies?
·      If not corrected, you have life-long habits formed.
·      They become a loner in high school.
·      60% of bullies will have a criminal conviction by the age of 24.
·      Children identified as bullies by age 8, tend to be adult bullies.
·      Experience more divorce, alcoholism and drug problems, damage their own spouses, families, and employees.

Children cannot escape the locker room, the school yard or the cafeteria. 

What is missing here? Adults.  Recess is not shade or walk time.  It is time for adults to be stationed and involved in the activities going on.

Bullying occurs once every 7 minutes.

 We must not send the message that bullying is acceptable or that victims will not be protected.
It is not okay to say “boys will be boys!”  (Boys are also drawn to pornography, but we don’t say that is okay!)

Kids are a key to stopping it all.  They see it.  You can go to kids and ask “Tell me 5 kids that get bullied?  How are they bullied?”  Kids know who the bullies are and what they are doing.

Only 25% of students report that teacher intervene in bullying situations. 
1 out 4 students believe that a teacher will help them!
You have to set up an environment and culture that has students believe that if they ask for help, then YOU will get it.

What are the signs that a kid ma be getting bullied?
·      Absences
·      Clingy behavior
·      Anxiety during class
·      Loss of interest in schoolwork
·      Decline in academic performances
·      Unusual sadness
·      Avoidance of school areas
·      Cuts or bruises
·      Isolation
·      Visits to school nurse
·      Fear of walking home or getting on bus

Bullying will stop in less than 10 seconds if there is an intervention.
Children report that bullying is worse than losing a loved one.  The here and now (Jr. High) is the most important thing to them.  They don’t see past it.

Dr. Eric Cupp's Link:

Red Ribbon Day

This year, since we just finished up Homecoming and all the Hoopla, we are going to do a Red Ribbon Day.  This way we can have some normalcy throughout the week.
I just wanted to share our Red Ribbon Day idea:

“Dress for Success”
Red Ribbon Day
Wednesday, October 24th
Career Day!

{Just Say NO to Drugs}

What do you want to be when you graduate?
A look into your FUTURE!

Students can wear career clothing that shows what they want to be when they graduate to celebrate Red Ribbon Day.
(Students must be within dress code)

Red Ribbon Week Ideas

Red Ribbon Week is just around the corner....

Here are some ideas to get you started on those FUN dress-up days:

Red Ribbon Day – Red Day – Send off Red Balloons!
Follow your dreams! –PJ day
Lei off Drugs- Hawaiian Day!
Join the TEAM against drugs! – Favorite sports jersey or shirt.
Hide in Time from Drugs – Decades Day.
Throwback Thursday – Decades Day.
Stomp out Drugs! – Boots day.
Sock it to drugs. – Crazy sock day.
The life you save could be yours. –Superhero Day.
My future is Lookin’ Bright! –Bright shirts/Sunglasses
No Drugs in my future. –Career Day.
Don’t get mixed up in Drugs. – Mix Matched clothes day.
Partner up to win the fight against drugs. –Twin Day
Yo Ho Yo Ho a Drug Free life for me! – Pirate Day
Scare out drugs!- Scarecrow Day
Texas Ropers Aren’t Dopers! – Cowboy/Cowgirl Day
Too Smart to Start! –Nerd Day
A drug Free life Rocks! –Rock Star day
Put a cap on drugs!- Cap day

I am...

Currently at the Bullying Conference with 5,000 students!!!

This is going to be great!

More to come...

Do you ever....

Have a day where you feel like this???

{No, not the cute kids smiling because they are having a BLAST at DW}

The beautiful step-sister????

Going EEEKKKK!!!!

{Let's hope my school picture for the yearbook doesn't turn out like this!}

This was a picture from our Disney World vacation from 2 years ago....

{I'm dreaming, I'm DREAMING.... of going to Disney World}

Seriously Blog Fans!
Go to

I would love for you to win a trip.
Yes, I seriously mean that!

Today's entry is going to be about...

What Disney means to me???

Disney is such a wonderful place for my family.
Yes, we had the honor of taking our twins two year ago, but
before that....
My husband and I went there on our Honeymoon.

Everyone say... "AWWWW!"

We had an absolute blast.
We still joke about going to get coconut cream pie in the middle of the night.
{Ohhhh, the Disney food!  Love it!}

Our little family of two, that has now doubled, started with a
Honeymoon to Disney World.

So, what does Disney mean to me?
More than I can explain or try to put into words.  My heart is full of joy when I think of Disney World. I think of starting our new marriage, I think of the first time we were able to take our children there, and I think {dream} of when we can go again and eventually take our grandchildren there.

What does Disney mean to me?
Love, laughter, memories, measuring every day to see if my little Addisyn was tall enough to ride splash mountain, waiting in line so my son can meet his hero Buzz Lightyear, fun, family time, and so much more!

Disney World is such a wonderful place to visit.  I promise you will have tears of joy, laughs to go with all those wonderful memories, and love in your heart for the Famous Walt!

I have a quote I keep in my counseling office from Walt Disney,
"It's Kind of fun to do the impossible!"

I often have people comment on it.  I tell students all the time...
"Don't say you can't, don't give up on your home life, don't let that kid continue to pick on you..."
"Do the impossible!"

So, today...
Don't have an EEEEKKKK! kind of day...

"Do the impossible!"

{Counselor 2 Counselor}


For many of you that might remind you of the classical Disney song or the movie! For my family, it reminds them of the moment when they can look up at mom and find a little sparkle in her eye...a tear of joy of course!

I really do not need an excuse to write about my Love for Disney! Everyone that knows me....will say - She LoVeS Disney!

But, but, but... For my fabulous blog fans... &&& for the opportunity to win a trip for my family. I have no shame in sharing this Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah moment.

At the opening of each day at Magic Kingdom the train comes in with all the Disney Characters singing and dancing. My favorite part is Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah!

&&& in that little moment my heart feels with joy and I ALWAYS look down at my twins sitting in their strollers to see their smiling faces!

&&& then the countdown to the park begins! My husband loves to look over and see the little tear. It gets me every time. It's the Disney Magic! The extra care they take. I feel like a kid again. I wish I could put into words the joy my heart feels when I get to share these special moments with my family. Really... Isn't that what life is all about?

Special moments that make you feel like your heart could burst. Special moments with your family. Special moments when my kids have my full attention. Special moments that I know will last a lifetime.

You have to experience it!

Check out to see how you can enter to win a Disney vacation!

&&& I hope you have a Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah DAY every day!

&&& don't forget to capture your families special moments!

Our special moment of... "I swear we go to Disney for the kids!!!"

Diarrhea Key

My 6 year old daughter ran into the living room exclaiming, "I can't find the key to my diarrhea!"

My response was, "you can't find what?"

"Mommy, my diarrhea key!!! Seriously!!!"

And this is what she handed me...

Helping kids with Divorce

I often see children that are having a hard time understanding why their parents are fighting, arguing, or in the process of getting a divorce.

While taking a lovely stroll through B&N....
&&& stopping to get some coffee!

I came across this book.

When My Parents Forget How To Be Friends.

It is a great kid friendly book that I think was really needed for my
It is a sweet book that reiterates to children that they are not
responsible for their parent's fighting or divorce.

Just thought I would share...
{counselor 2 counselor}

Beginning of Year

I just finished meeting with students over the past two weeks for our first Guidance Lesson.  

Every year I start off by reading a book that I create about myself.  It is nothing fancy!  Just a Big Book made from poster board that goes like this....

Welcome to Guidance
My name is Mrs. Harrell. (picture of me)
I am the school counselor. (silly picture of a school counselor)
However, I once was a student just like you. (pictures of me when I was in school)
I have a family. (pictures of my family)
I love my family and my family loves me. (more pictures of my family)
When I am not working, then I love to travel. (pictures on vacation)
This is my office. (picture of office)
My job is to help students solve problems and learn new things. (rest of book is clip art images)
I want you to be the best you can be! 
You can always come visit me when you need to talk to someone about
school, home, friends, or anything on your mind.
Everything you say to me stays in my office unless you are hurting yourself, hurting someone else, or someone is hurting you.  Then, I have to let someone else know, so you can be safe.
I will come visit with your class for Guidance lessons and teach you many new things to help you be a great person.
I also meet with students individually and in small groups.
I hope we have a great school year.

{Hope you can create a BIG book about yourself and add your special touch!}

{counseling hearts}

Disney World love

I am writing this blog post to share my love for Disney World.  My family has had the opportunity to go to Disney World in the past and the thing I love the most.... the MAGIC!  I know, I know, I know.... It sounds cheesy, but if you haven't experienced it - you should.

I really believe that as a family we only have a short time to make lots of memories together, and I cherish each of them.  When you are at Disney, the magic makes my heart smile.  The smile on my kids faces when they stroll down main street... waiting to see the castle.  The twinkle in their eyes when a character comes up to them.  The laughs when we are riding a roller coaster.  It truly is MAGIC!

My favorite vacation memories are the ones made at Disney World.  I will never forget when we were sitting in front of Cinderella's castle watching Wishes Night Show and I looked over and my son has his eyes closed and he was making a wish!  Or the first time my daughter met Cinderella!  Cinderella took special care to come get Addi and walk her back to her thrown.  I'll never forget them holding hands and my daughter looking up at her in awe.

{Or this great memory}  We stopped in at the pirates store after riding Pirate of the Caribbean to try on our Pirate Gear!  Aarrgghh!!!!  

Thanks Disney for all of the Great Memories!

I invite you to visit!

Thanks for allowing me to write a quick blog post about my Disney Memories.

Visit to enter and win a trip:

Clothespin People

I found this on Pinterest today...
&&& I thought - great for counseling!

I am pretty sure it drives my husband crazy.
OK- I am positively sure, it drives my husband crazy.
...everywhere I go, I am searching for new ideas for my office and/or counseling program.

I am thinking these would be great for play therapy.

This pic is from Heather Ross Blog.
Here is the link to her blog post.

Check it out.
{Counseling Hearts}

Leave Me Alone!

I found a new book!!!!

I want to shout that....
and I love it.

We are working really hard to stay on top of Bullying.
One of the new components I am trying to push with teachers and students
is to reiterate that bystanders play a VERY active role in bullying.

This book does a wonderful job showing how to stand up to a bully and why!
I am so excited to use it with my little ones.

From Barnes and Noble:
"In this sensitively told story, a little boy is feeling sad because every day he has to face a bully. But the little boy also has friends. A frog, a cat, a rabbit, a cow, and other animal friends insist on helping him, even after he tells them: "There's nothing you can do for me/ There's nothing you can say." Fortunately, he is mistaken, because the next time the bully approaches, they all join with him and shout, "LEAVE HIM ALONE!" And it works! The bully turns around and goes away. Author Kes Gray's gently clever use of rhyming verse gives a difficult subject a wonderfully light touch. Large color illustrations on every page capture the spirit of a story that will have special meaning for many little boys and girls."

My Office

I decided to show a few pics of my office...
My home away from home!

{look past the piles and mess}

Now remember I am K-12th grade!
So my office is not overly elementary!
I also have an AMAZING storage closet.
{maybe I should show that}
My closet is where I keep my sand tray, games, playdough,
more books, etc......

My bookshelf that my wonderful and talented husband made for me!

My favorite thing is....
My office door!  I created this from a Pinterest inspiration.
Since I am on two campuses all day, my high school
students will leave me notes when they need something.
I have a spot where they write transcript requests, and then also
a place where they can leave a note.
It has been amazing to have!

From the hallway into my office.

{Another Pinterest Inspiration}
My door TABLE!
My husband helped with this also!

This is a bulletin board outside my office.
I keep Senior/college related information on the book stand
and then our ACT/SAT info. on the bulletin board.

This is our Dual Credit Bulletin Board.
I keep all the forms on here, so they can pull them out as needed.

And finally another little bulletin board outside my office
for Seniors.  I am about to redo this one!