Future School Counsellors … If I Can You Can Too

Technology is a very important part of students lives today and will be even more prevalent in the future. School Counsellors can find a way to incorporate exciting new practices into their School Counselling programs. These changes can inspire not only their students , but the School Counsellors themselves.


I’ve been asked by Dr. Chris Schimmel  @doc_schimmel an outstanding Counselor Educator to present to future School Counsellors on the use of technology. I love technology and think it is essential to future School Counsellors. Why? Because it allows us to connect with students in their space as well as allows us an opportunity to connect to the whole school population. Of course there will always be a place and a space for meeting and connecting with students individually, but it is also extremely important to reach as many students as possible  and that can be done through the use of technology.

Technology also allows us to develop a PLN  with people from all around the world. In my opinion this is one of the best ways to connect with not only School Counsellors who are passionate, but also with other educators who use technology to assist them in improving and reflecting on what it is they do for students. Dr. Erin Mason @ecmmmason  my friend is an amazing leader when it comes to School Counsellors utilizing and creating ideas with technology.

So, University of West Virginia Counseling students this blog post is for you. I look forward to meeting , connecting  and sharing and helping you in the Google Hangout organized by your professor Dr. Chris Schimmel.

The rest of this blog will be about the resources I think School Counsellors can use that make a difference.

#1 is Twitter so I encourage you to get an account today. It will transform your life and the life of your future students if used properly. Twitter is where it all began for me and then ETMOOC changed the way I offered parts of my School Counselling program. A special thanks to Alec Couros @courosa  Ed tech professor extraordinaire and social media expert at the University of Regina. You will want to follow him and his brother George @gcouros a leader and fabulous Administrator on twitter.

Advantages of twitter:

  • It allows for opportunities to connect, collaborate, share and learn from and with people from all over the world.
  • I have used Twitter and Google docs to collaborate with other School Counsellors and educators who have wanted to contribute to Mental Health in High School as well as many other projects.
  • Using the hashtags #SCCrowd and #scchat as well as some other great chats allows us to connect with School Counselling professionals who are more than willing to help us as we continue to work with and make a difference for students.

  • The instant anytime access allows me to get information or resources that I can utilize in an open manner which not only helps me , but may help others.
  • It also allows us a voice for reaching out to others to let them know that what we do matters.

This post has had 9,458 people who have seen it in two days. Social media can reach people quickly.

  • If you’d like to start to follow and share on #SCin30 you too can have a voice. We’d love to know what you think as a future School Counsellor. Pose a question and answer it. Then share and we can learn from you.

  • Twitter allows you as a School Counsellor to share and help other School Counsellors , School Counselling students and educators.

If you want to learn more about how School Counsellors observe their twitter accounts. Please follow them using the hashtags above and you’ll get a good sense of how you too can be a positive digital citizen and model this for your future students.

Ask for help. Other School Counsellors and educators are always willing to help you. If you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask.

One of the best ways you can find the best tech tools to use as a School Counsellor is to check out SCOPE School Counselor Online Professional Exchange. Spend some time there. It will be worth your time and effort.

#2  Haiku Deck As a School Counsellor you will have to give presentations or you may wish to share ideas or messages with students that you think are important. Haiku Deck @haikudeck is my number one go to app. It has a creative commons license built within the app that allows a visual experience that is like none other.

Below you can see some of my haiku decks that I have used to share with School Counsellors and students.

The power of social media to touch others is absolutely amazing. This simple @haikudeck on Who Matters?  has had 79,180 views . One never knows the impact a simple gesture   can have online and off.

#3 Livebinders I love to use livebinders to organize and share useful School Counselling information. At Bishop Carroll High School we use livebinders to share large amounts of important information with students in a single space.

Here are two of our livebinders co-created by our School Counselling team Erin Luong  @ehordyskiluong ,  Peter Damen  and I   :

  1.  Post Secondary Planning
  2.  This Personal Wellness  livebinder is a work in progress.

#4  Smore

There are so many benefits for using smores. You can find a few ideas here.

Here is our Welcome to Student Services smore. It is an excellent way to share information with your future students , parents and staff. Also it is an amazing tool for gathering ideas to present to students as you can see in our personal wellbeing livebinder section .

#5  iMovie  / YouTube I use iMovie more and more to present to students information that I think will be helpful to them. Dean Shareski , a Canadian educator said once and it has stayed with me video trumps text, so I try to use video as much as possible to create information students can relate to and then upload the iMovie to YouTube. I do this all on my iPhone which makes things very easy for me.

Here are two iMovies ,  one  I made and one our students made as part of our student led wellness team.

Here is one I made from haiku deck :

Ten Things You Should Stop Doing: Notice the attribution to Haiku Deck at the bottom of the movie which you should always do . Give attribution that is. That is where people can see where the pictures come from and who to attribute them to.

#6  Blogs

Blogs are a great tool to create, connect and learn from others. For me creating blogs still requires a great deal of effort as I am still learning, but today’s example is a great way of sharing information with others from far away. I started my blog in May of 2013. It has had 15,113 views from 105 countries.

  1. SCOPE blog
  2. Blog roll of School Counselors

#7  Google docs are an amazing way to collaborate.  I collaborate with our students on our Wellness committee  and our Who’s Frank? team. Here are two google docs that you can collaborate on and I hope you do:

  1. Connecting with School Counsellors
  2. Mental Health in High School A Collaborative Project

#8 Pinterest is a fabulous way to collate information and gather information for future use. I love the visual aspect of pinterest.

Pinterest does indeed inspire creativity . I have used it for many things including creating School Counselling bulletin boards as well as for ideas for presentations.

#9  Google hangouts

Again, yet another great way to connect with School Counsellors and educators from across the world.

For more ideas of why technology is important for you check here.

You can see that I use multiple tools in multiple ways to help me do a variety of things that help not only School Counsellors , but students as well. Three years ago I did not know how to do any of this so …  if I can you can too.


Thanks to the Bishop McNally  staff especially Adam, Emily, Loretta and Theresa for your assistance today in having me present. Presenting is always a collaborative effort. A big thanks to the principal Deana Helton @deanaH2 for asking me to kick off her mental health initiative.  I had a great morning with you and your staff.

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Below you will find all the resources I used and a few extra that might help you. Loved the pass the chicken activity organized by Emily and the PE department. It was a great fun and a wonderful team building activity.

Lastly, I really appreciate all of you sharing on your stickies:

  1. One thing I will do to take care of my own mental wellness
  2. One thing I will do in school to aide in the mental health and wellness of students

Hoping you have a great year as you focus on taking care of yourselves and your students.

Here is just a few great examples of things YOU plan on doing:

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Today prejudice, stigmatization and discrimination are deeply embedded in our language, in our beliefs and in the way we interact with one another. Though a mental illness is one aspect of an individual’s life, all too often the label alone bars that one person from achieving a self-directed life with meaningful connections to his or her community.

Dr. Neil Houston Sociologist

According to Patrick Carney positive mental health is ” the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well being that respects the culture,equity,social justice, interconnections and personal dignity” ( public health Agency of Canada (PHAC) , 2006

There are already a hundred things you do right in your High School : Focus on those. There are also a 100 ideas of things you can do to promote mental health and well being. The wellness fund has a few videos to give you some ideas.

Here are a few things we are doing at BCHS:

More about Career Speed Dating …

  • Our personal wellness live binder.
  • We have students post positively to #carrollculture
  • Bishop Carroll wellness committee on Facebook
  • Student voice
  • Google doc with many many resources related to mental health ( feel free to add )
  • Who I Am Makes A Difference ribbons

There Is More to Me Than video:

Who’s Frank?

More resources from Who’s Frank? It’s More Than A Day It’s A Way …

Gratitude affects your wellness take a look:

When it comes to mental health we want students to:


With someone they trust like their Teacher Advisor , teacher, coach or other significant adult in the school who can then assist them in connecting …


With their School Counsellor who can assist them in connecting with their doctor, health care provider and or parents to assist them with their mental health concerns


About mental health and wellness and the impact it can have on themselves or their friends or families. Reduce Stigma!


We want students to be concerned about their fellow human beings and show COMPASSION when it comes to mental health


We want educators to collaborate  to make a difference when it comes to mental health and wellness

and lastly we want to …

CHALLENGE you to take action and integrate mental health into your curriculums. We challenge you to make a difference when it comes to mental health. What is one activity that you could get students to do that would increase their mental health literacy and reduce stigma?

We CHALLENGE you to become literate yourself when it comes to mental health.

If you get the opportunity please go to a training with Dr. Stan Kutcher or a Go to Educator training in your area.

One of important things that Dr. Stan Kutcher discussed during a mental health literacy training that I attended was the difference between:

Mental Health Distress (one example lose your keys)
Mental Health Problem (one example a parent dies)
Mental Health Disorder/Illness (one example clinical depression)

We need to teach our young people the difference between distress, problem and disorder and the Mental Health Curriculum Guide does just that. It teaches students and educators the Mental Health Literacy that they need in today’s world based on present day research on the brain. You may get some ideas here to start to integrate this into the subjects you teach.

Are you ready to take the CHALLENGE? If you come up with some ideas please add it to our community doc.

We are excited about the many possibilities and hope you will join us in CREATING several resources that will be beneficial to all.  School Counsellors and educators can make a difference when it comes to the mental health / wellness of our students and ourselves. We can work together all across the world to make this happen. Won’t YOU join in ?

Schools are a positive setting for promoting positive mental health for more background take a peek here.

A great resource to get ideas.

and for all you Educators if you really want to get happier take the The Science of Happiness a MOOC by edX.

You can find some of my haiku deck’s here that I used in my presentation.

  1. It Is The Right Time to Focus on Mental Health in High School
  2. Ten Things You Should Stop Doing
  3. BCHS We Don’t Say Anti – Slur campaign
  4. Digital Citizenship Lessons
  5. Just For Today
  6. One Kind Word
  7. How To Have A Great Day
  8. Life Lessons
  9. Who Matters?

I know you are a champion because you read this post. So here you go some more resources Positive Mental Health Teacher resources from Ever Active Schools.

Sit back relax … take time for you …

I look forward to collaborating with any of you that are passionate about mental health and wellness in High School.

Creativity Courage and Collaboration


Creativity, courage and collaboration three words that speak loudly to me this year. Allowing yourself to be who you are without fear. That is what International Dot Day is all about. Expressing yourself through the arts is a way to reach the flow state. Learning to let go and not worry about mistakes is part of the process. To be in the moment and to let your creativity flow isn’t always easy and I am working hard at truly letting go this year. That is what I love about Art and the creating of it. It is freeing and helpful for both students and their School Counsellors. It is only in the last three years that I have let go of my fears around creating and openly sharing.

Peter Reynolds is such an inspiration in allowing students to find that special creativity in them and making their mark. He’s also great at encouraging adults.

If you haven’t heard of dot day or his books . Enjoy him reading The Dot below:

What is International Dot Day ? ” A global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration” They really are three C’s that I like a lot.

So in true collaboration starting with my friends I sent them this message. Please send me a picture that YOU took that YOU love that you don’t mind sharing on the internet for a project I am doing.

I needed to share these in a dot,and I did not know of an app that I could put pictures in a circle, so again I reached out in collaborative style .

A great choice for an app, so helpful thanks for the response Alec. I downloaded the app and love it! It did lead me down memory lane wanting to share some great memories and pics that I have.

So how can you involve a lot of people in a short amount of time? Send them a message and create dots. I love these dots. They are interesting,unique and tell a story. They each speak to my heart because I love these people. Each one of these dots that I have received and connected with I will treasure forever. Those that are still thinking about sending me pics please do I am waiting to create your dot.





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Celebrating Dot Day with MaryBeth Mulligan

According to Alain De Botton, ” we are very vulnerable, fragile creatures in desperate need of support and we generally don’t get it. … Art [can be] a source of help with our problems — our innermost problems — the problems of the soul. . . . Art can be a form of self-help and there is nothing demeaning about the concept of self-help — only the way in which some of self-help has been done so far, but there is nothing wrong with it as a concept. . . There is nothing wrong with [art today]. It’s not the art that’s the problem — it’s the frame around the art. We are simply not encouraged to bring ourselves to works of art. . . . The impact of art is often not what it should be because the frame is wrong.”

These fabulous photos above allow my friends to bring themselves into their works of art.

In the last page of his book Living, Loving and Learning Leo Buscaglia one of my all-time favourite authors so beautifully says wonderful things about risk in love and in life.

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. And that’s alright too. You love to love,not to get something back, or it isn’t love. To hope is to risk pain. And, to try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken,because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing .”

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot
learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.

Only the person who risks is truly free.” and most importantly he says ” To keep you hidden ,to lose you because of self-defeating ideas is to die. Don’t let that happen.

Your greatest responsibility is to become everything that you are,not only for your benefit,but for mine.

Thanks to all of you who took risks today by sharing your pic when you really did not know why you were sharing, You did it for me and I adore that you trusted me to share your fabulous pieces of Art on this special International Dot Day. Who knows of the many ways we are connected? Today we are connected by dots and have each made our mark. Thanks for sharing and I Iook forward to finding out the stories behind the pictures and if some of you meet each other your dots will be a way to connect . Such fun!

I asked my Teacher Advisory group to pick a picture that they love from their phone that they took . Some of their fabulous pics are below. Then I asked them to share their pic and tell the story behind it with their classmates. What a fun way to get to know more about each other.


The world is already a better place because you have left your mark my friends! Haven’t shared a pic with me please do  anytime. I look forward to seeing your dot!

Love you love your dots! #dotday15

Last but most special … Celebrating the amazing Leena Luong grade 2 daughter of @ehordyskiluong


(Alateen) Children of Alcoholics … Soft Is The Heart of a Child

The following is the first in my series of resources and information on various topics for School Counsellors from A-Z.

1. What is Alateen?

Alateen is a group for children of alcoholics. Approximately 6.6 million children under the age of 18 in Canada live in a home with at least one alcoholic parent. So when discussing this with students you can assure them they are not alone, although to them it may feel like it. Children of alcoholics often hear the messages don’t talk, trust or feel. School Counsellors can help these young people change those messages. Here are two great videos about how Alateen can help.

One teens story:

I was so scared at home. I never knew if my dad would be drinking when I got home from school. Actually I never knew what to expect. Mom was always threatening to leave dad and all four of us (my brother and sisters) would often line up at the door to leave, but we never did. None of my teachers ever knew that there was alcoholism in my home. They often told me how lucky I was that I must have had great parents. I guess that was because I behaved so well in school, trying to be the perfect child so no one would find out my secret.

I was embarrassed and ashamed that my dad drank too much. I was also angry a lot (meaning almost every day) . I was angry with both my mom and my dad. Sometimes I was angrier with my non alcoholic mom because I did not understand why we stayed and put up with the drinking. I saw her reaction to his drinking and that had an impact on me.

Often times I would also throw my dad’s alcohol down the sink or hide it around the house so he could not find it. Little did I realize that doing that was just making me sick emotionally. I often felt irritable and unreasonable, but I never knew why. I was in denial about alcoholism being in my family.

Here is a journal entry I wrote in the first few weeks I decided reluctantly to go to Alateen, because I thought it was their problem, not my problem.

“ I wish I could work out my problems. I hope Alateen will help. Mom really doesn’t care about anyone but herself (at least that what she’s pretending to do). I think she needs me as much as I need her, but how do we solve this problem? I depend on mom and dad. I am not mature. I get mad at every little thing without wanting to. I hope Alateen will help with this too. I would try to help myself if I knew how. I remember thinking about killing myself, but I would never go through with it because I was too scared and I did not want to really.”

I’m so grateful I did not go through with harming myself because Alateen did work. Actually my whole family got help. I learned everything I could about how alcoholism affects families and things slowly, but surely got better and better. I recognize that alcoholism affects everyone in the family each to a different degree. Today, I look for the good in everyone and everything. I recognize that I don’t know where I would be today if it were not for Alateen. If you are a teen living with a parent who drinks too much Alateen can help. Reach out!!

There are young people we see in our offices with similar stories. Children of alcoholics often keep their parents drinking a secret, but teachers and School Counsellors can often spot that something is wrong and reach out to these students. Sometimes students show up in our offices sad and scared because mom or dad had been drinking on the weekend and they are feeling helpless and hopeless. Recommending Alateen can help. As School Counsellors we can identify these children using CAST Children of Alcoholics Screening Test.

CAST Children of Alcoholics Screening Test

You as a School Counsellor should not underestimate your ability to have a life long impact on children who are living with a loved one with an addiction. You may be the first person in this child’s life that they have felt safe enough to share what is happening . You may be the one to give them permission to share openly what they have been feeling and going through. This can be life changing.

Things children of alcoholics need to know:

  • They are not alone
  • Their parents drinking is NOT their fault. They did not cause it ,they cannot control it and they cannot cure it.
  • Alcoholism is an illness. You do not need to feel ashamed.
  • Alcoholics can and do recover.
  • There is hope and help for alcoholics and their family.
  • They can live a happy and productive life whether their parent is drinking or not.
  • They can be resilient.
  • They need to understand alcoholism. If their parent had diabetes they most likely would learn all they could about the disease.  They can learn and understand about alcoholism as well.
  • The only person they can change is themselves.
  • It is not a dishonour to their mom and dad to talk and tell the truth.
  • Reaching out takes courage and strength.
  • You as the School Counsellor are there for them.

Sentence Completions for Children of Alcoholics:

  1. As a child of an alcoholic I …
  2. I feel …
  3. I wish …
  4. I want my mom …
  5. I want my dad  …
  6. I wish …
  7. I plan to …
  8. I want to change …
  9. I need to learn to …
  10. It would help me if I …


Soft is the heart of a child . As a School Counsellor you can make a difference in the life of a child dealing with addictions . I am sure many of you already do. Please keep up the life saving work.

Please stay tuned for my next Counsellor Talk on Bullying.

35 years in Education The Passion Continues


I cannot believe I started teaching thirty five years ago. I have to say I am as passionate about my profession and even more so because of all the learning that has taken place over all these years. I am so grateful to learn with and from students , other educators , friends , my husband and our children.

I love what I do and I let students know that. I feel it is extremely important to care about what you do and remain passionate . If you are no longer passionate about being an educator or School Counsellor it is time to change as it is a major disservice to the students we serve. I plan on retiring (not now),but with passion for a profession that fulfills and will always hold a special place in my heart!


Being a lifelong learner has served me well. I feel I still have sooooooo much to learn. Thanks to Twitter and my PLN especially those in #etmooc  #SCCrowd  and #scchat, I continue to learn and grow every day. It has actually given me new ways to do what I love to do.


The use of technology has allowed me and our Student Services Team to share ideas and resources with the whole school.

Here is our Welcome To Student Services Smore.

We love to collaborate at BCHS and Peter Damen one of our School Counsellors took the lead in creating  a Post Secondary Planning livebinder to assist students with finding academic information. It is fantastic.

Erin Luong (another School Counsellor at BCHS ) and I are working on this Personal Wellness livebinder to assist students in finding resources related to wellbeing and mental health. We will eventually create a live binder just for parents. I am so fortunate to work with a School Counsellor @ehordyskiluong who loves using tech as much as I do.

I so look forward to this school year as I know I will find the extraordinary in the ordinary days and remind myself to be grateful for each and every day.

Please check out our student wellness team latest PSA There Is More To Me Than:

If you are looking to read any books this year try these two. Have a phenomenal year . I look forward to connecting and collaborating with you!


You can find me @sspellmancann on twitter.

ASCA15 Conference and Connections in Phoenix


                                      Picture taken by ASCA photographer

This was my second ASCA conference and it did not disappoint. Going to a conference when you have a PLN on twitter is a whole new experience and I’d have to say a imagemuch better one because you already know people before you get there. This makes the conference so much richer. Lasimaget year I went by by myself, but I was certainly not alone. It was a very special conference because I was going to surprise my friend Erin Mason. That memory will resonate with me for many years to come. It was a magical moment when I finally suprised her. You can check out my blog post from last year here.

Here are some of the highlights from this years conference:

  • Connecting with other School Counsellors and friends especially my roomie Bridget @bridgethelms.


  • Celebrating the book launching and signing of my friend Carol’s @tmscounselor new book Star Bound.
  • imageThe tweetup . Seeing people F2F is fabulous!
  • Seeing my friend Ed.Jacobs . I never get tired of listening to him and @doc_schimmel present. They are amazing! If you have never checked out one of their sessions on Impact Therapy and groups you need to!image
  • Tim Schriver’s keynote was so inspirational and of course made me cry.
  • Russ Sabella’s session on Ethics and School Counselling which inspired this post Privacy An Illusion.


  • The collaboration and fun things to come… Ideas flow at conferences.

Here are a couple of videos from the conference:

Here are two storifies: One for those at ASCA15 and one for those #notatasca thanks to Danielle Schultz.

If you haven’t been to an ASCA Conference go.Next year it is in New Orleans. Before you do connect with other School Counsellors in #SCCrowd , #scchat , #hscchat , #SCin30 and #escchat. Looking forward to seeing and connecting with you! Until then see you on twitter @sspellmancann on video in #SCin30 or in one of our monthly chats.

Want to donate to help someone be able to go to ASCA16 please donate here: Click on Jeremy’s twitter post.

A work in progress pressed publish, but will finish later …  I think maybe it is time for a real vacation…