School Counsellors Connecting With Each Other


At first when I heard about twitter I thought oh no one more thing to do and learn so why bother. I really thought I am too old to learn to use this, so what would be the point. Then everything changed. I went to a workshop by Alec Couros and was about to embark on a professional journey that would change how I connected to school counsellors and educators from around the world. Twitter and the professional network I have developed has ultimately impacted the way I practice as a school counsellor in a positive way.

As a school counsellor little did I know that opening a twitter account two years ago was one of the best ways I could develop professionally and connect with educators and school counsellors who are passionate about what they do.


What is twitter you might ask and why is it so helpful?

Twitter was founded in 2006. It is an online social networking platform that allows us to send and receive messages (140 characters). Within the body of the messages are often links to great resources or blogs or ideas that are just plain helpful. You can follow other educators and people who are associated with the ideas that are the most helpful to you. It is an extremely helpful tool that has impacted my professional life in a positive way linking me to educators who are creative, connected and willing to share ideas and resources. My PLN (personal learning network) helps me to learn almost daily. Today I need to thank @SISQITMAN for teaching me how to use word press in a more effective way. I met Glenn in ETMOOC which I found out about on twitter through @courosa which has been a gift to me as an educator. ALL the people in ETMOOC are always willing to help me as I am new to all this technology, but a most willing learner. Twitter leads to so many positive connections.

What I love about twitter:

  1. Amazing PD tool
  2. A fantastic way to connect with school counsellors and educators from all over the world
  3. A fast easy way to get access to great resources in mental health, psychology , education and school counselling
  4. Easy access to up to date resources in the field of education
  5. A great way to collaborate, connect and curate information
  6. Sharing leads to positive relationships that assist us to grow as school counsellors ( what you give , share on twitter comes back tenfold)

How can I learn more about twitter and how to use it?

  1. Ask your colleagues who are on twitter to help. Hands on lessons are the best.
  2. Go to a workshop on how to use twitter
  3. Sign up for  twitter and play and learn
  4. If you know how to use livebinders there are great resources here: Twitter … Helpful Ideas for School Counsellors
  5. Go to The Complete Manual for Understanding Twitter and learn more.

Who to follow on twitter in the School Counselling Field:

  • @SSpellmanCann            Canada
  • @Michelle0102197          Canada
  • @BoskerttheSC                  Canada
  • @TrentLangdonNL           Canada
  • @EHordyskiLuong            Japan
  • @ecmmason                        US
  • @sch_counselor                 US
  • @rsabella                              US
  • @juliataylor                          US
  • @pmsscounselor                 US
  • @Brian_Zink                  Mexico
  • @kadriblaster                Australia
  • @Teaching_Intl               China

People who resourceful and share great information:

  • @courosa
  • @gcouros
  • @rljessen
  • @karensharon
  • @grammasheri
  • @nobelknits2
  • @verenanz
  • @clhendricksbc
  • @AlisonSemen
  • @folynick
  • @JeffMerrell
  • @bhwilkoff
  • @dendari
  • @mrsdkrebs
  • @gallit_z@v_lees
  • @onewheeljoe
  • @LaEducationista
  • @mbritt

Resources to follow:

  • @haikudeck
  • @scopeistech4scs
  • @psychcentral
  • @LiveBinders
  • @SCResourceCtr
  • @tellagami
  • @heretohelpbc
  • @mindcheck_ca
  • @AnxietyBC
  • @cspyyc
  • @pinterest

Hashtags to follow:

  • #cscchat              Canadian School Counsellor Chat
  • #scchat                School Counselor Chat
  • #edchat               Ed Chat
  • #cdnedchat         Canadian Educators Chat

Once you start tweeting you will love it. Those of us that have stayed with it and learned how to use it effectively absolutely love the benefits to our professional development.   Digital literacy is becoming a required skill that school counselors will benefit from . Who knows where it might lead? You’ll be a techie before you know it.  I would have never dreamed two years ago that I would be blogging, vlogging, sharing in Google hangouts or that I would be part of networks and Google communities that encourage and support each other.

Thanks to Alec Couros @courosa and everyone in ETMOOC who has helped me. I believe I am a better school counsellor with so many more resources than I ever could have dreamed of.

A big thanks also to Erin Mason @ecmmason I am connected in several ways to other school counselors who are always willing to help and point me in the right direction to resources.

Thanks to @HaikuDeck who have allowed me to share with other school counsellors, educators, and a diverse group of connected learners from around the globe who have assisted in making me better at what I do.

Connect with School Counsellors on twitter

Connect with School Counselors on Google plus Communities

Connect with school Counsellors on twitter chats

There is so much for us to learn together. I look forward continuing the journey.


Staying the Course: Connections, Reciprocity, and the Web

A caring educator shares the value of a connected Mooc.

The Online Teacher

Trying to sum up my experience in #ETMOOC is an impossible task. Impossible, because how does one begin to put into words that which is felt by the heart? Furthermore, how can a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) bring about such a feeling? As Alec Couros (course visionary and facilitator, professor of educational technology and media, researcher and keynote speaker) stated, “We all decided to walk through the same door on the internet so we could think together.” Catherine Cronin echoed this and reflected on the power of open and connected learning in her blog, MOOCs: Community as Curriculum. Yes, #ETMOOC was definitely more than a course; it was also, and I hope will continue to be, a community.

From Education to Advocacy: Thank you #ETMOOC! 

(Credit goes to Jeff Merrill for the Haiku Deck title remix.)

Photo credit: CC BY 2.0 Thomas Leuthard via CC BY NC SA 3.0 Catherine Cronin

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School Counsellor Talk on Grief

Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.

– Leo Tolstoy 

School Counsellors often have to assist students with the grief process. Over the years I have seen students who have lost parents, siblings, friends, classmates and family members.

When a school experiences the loss of a student everyone feels the loss as expressed  here by a note left to a student who died.


Even though we haven’t formally met, I look at your spot in English class and I am deeply saddened that you are not here with us…

It is never easy seeing a student in deep pain especially if the loss was tragic or sudden. Often times school counsellors need to ensure that they have dealt with their own issues surrounding grief so that they can best help others. School Counsellors need to be aware of vicarious trauma or counsellor burnout when assisting students who have experienced traumatic events.

Wendy Kurchak who is a retired school counsellor and now certified thantologist defines trauma loss as “a type of loss resulting from a sudden unexpected loss which is perceived as traumatic by the griever. It involves grief response + trauma response = complicated grief.” The suicide of a student is one of the most tragic a school counsellor will ever have to deal with and can most certainly bring about this kind of a response.

The school counsellor will often be dealing with the grief of several students and possibly the adults around them in any situation where a loss has affected the school community.

It is extremely important that a school counsellor takes care of their own selves as well as being present to the grief of others. To learn more about your own level of compassion fatigue go to:

Grief is a process and not an event. Every person’s grief is as unique as the individual or situation of loss. School counsellors may need several resources to assist students in their school community with a loss.

Students need to be reminded:

  • To grieve in their own time and way
  • That it is OK to cry and grieving comes in waves (sometimes unexpectedly through a song, a smell, or a picture. Anything can trigger moments of grief)
  • Writing in a journal, creating songs, painting, creating a space and a place to grieve may help
  • Dr. Allan Wolfelt is a leading expert in this field and offers great information
  • It is ok to talk to someone like your school counsellor, a teacher, friend, parent or your local hospice

The school counsellor can use the following sentence completions with students:

  1. Grief is …
  2. You can help me by…
  3. Something I can do to help myself is…
  4. Others should realize that I…
  5. When I am sad I …
  6. My loss feels…
  7. I don’t know what to do when I am feeling…
  8. The hardest part of my grief for me is…
  9. If I could teach someone something about grief it would be…
  10. I can turn to _________ to help me.

School Counsellors can also find resources in my live binder:

Click here:

Livebinder on Grief

If you have any grief resources you want to share , please feel free to tweet me @SSpellmanCann.

Top Ten Technology Tools Every Educator and School Counsellor Should Use


  1. Haiku Deck  A personal favorite of mine. This app helps students, teachers and school counsellors share stories that can make a difference.
  2. Twitter A fantastic tool for teachers and school counsellors to utilize for professional development.
  3. Livebinders A wonderful virtual 3 ring binder that helps educators and school counsellors not have to reinvent the wheel as there are so mant fantastic school counselling and educational binders already made. You can copy and use the binders available or create your own.
  4. Jux  A beautiful, visual  space that teachers and school counsellors can use to share ideas or important information. I use it for a school counselling website
  5. Pinterest  A wonderful place for teachers and school counsellors to find great resources and share them with othes.
  6. Google plus. Here are a few  tutorials on you tube to get you started.  
    A must site to be able to share with colleagues and those from across the world. Google hangouts are a must. 
  7. Animoto This is a nice app to use for easy videos. Teachers can sign up for a free account . Make sure you check that feature out. Check here: Animoto for Education
  8. Flipboard  A great educational and personal app that can curate information you can access easily.
  9. Tellagami   A fun easy tool that you can use to send messages to parents and students.
  10. Ted Ed An inspirational place to find videos for PD or to use with students.

For more tools go to  SCOPE School Counsellor Online Professional Exchange and  Go to:

My live binder on Resources for the School Counsellor

Have fun and if you know of any great apps or resources , please share !

So how do you thank someone who has taken you from Twitter to ETMOOC?

It isn’t easy, but I’ll try…

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to it’s old dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

The ETMOOC ( Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course) experience has been elevating and I am so grateful for all I have learned. I decided on the very last day to jump into ETMOOC and to bring a few of my colleagues with me as I’d rather take a course with someone than alone. However, little did I know I would definitely not be alone. I would meet people who have changed and inspired me through ETMOOC. I definitely have no regrets. For my first MOOC I could not have chosen a better course.

I have looked forward to every

  • Blackboard Collaborate session
  • Twitter chat
  • Google hangout
  • Article or blog I read or wrote
  • All the skills I have learned

Educational Technology is not my expertise by any means. I am a School Counsellor who loves using technology. This course was not only educational, but helped me make connections and get help like I never imagined.

ThIs course was:

  • Educational
  • Exciting
  • Fun
  • Helpful
  • Inspirational
  • Interesting
  • Phenomenal
  • Practical
  • Useful and so much more.

The word that accurately describes how I felt going into the course was FEAR. I did not even know the difference between http and https. We’ll I certainly do now and I know so much more.

How do I feel now?  I am happy, grateful and inspired to continue my learning journey through technology so that I may be able to help students and especially school counsellors. I am more confident than ever in my technological abilities. I am definitely more willing to take risks.

I am more OPEN. I am less afraid ( notice I did not say completely ) to make mistakes in an open form like a BLOG. I am more reflective. Wish I had done this as a young teacher/counsellor. It is never too late to become what you might have been. Who said that? I don’t remember, but it is true. I so want to continue learning.

Every time and I mean every time I asked for help someone answered my call. ETMOOCERS to the rescue. That was so wonderful. I want YOU ALL TO KNOW I am so grateful (too many to mention individually), but YOU know who you are. Cheers to you all and if we meet someday not in the virtual world, but personally I’d be happy to celebrate YOU! Thank you just not seem enough.

I am so sad that ETMOOC is ending as it has definitely been the best PD ever. I thought twitter was, but NO ETMOOC topped that as it encompassed twitter and so much more. My bucket is full. The friends I have made, the lessons I have learned are worth so much more than I can really express here. It feels similar to my Master’s program in Counselling. I made connections there that have lasted to this day and will last my lifetime. I feel the same way about ETMOOC.

They are Connections that INSPIRE me to DO BETTER … BE BETTER.

Connections that do not care if I am perfect or if I make mistakes or if I ask questions that may seem silly to others. I met people that accepted my inadequacies when it came to technology and guided me through processes to help me.

As a result I have learned so much in a short period of time that I don’t think , no I know I would not have otherwise.

Although ETMOOC is ending I know some of the connections are not

You have helped me to not just make a living , but with all the tools, ideas and connections to make a difference.


My second MOOC is a Harvard MOOC on Justice by Michael Sandel

…the learning continues…

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”

 Leo Buscaglia (my favorite educator)


Thanks to all of you for helping me to truly learn …



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photo by zenobia_joy cc attribution

It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
– J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets)

If I search the internet …what will I find about you?

Your reputation is very important to you on and off line so how do you keep or get a positive reputation?

  • Act As If The World Is Watching. (because they probably are) Make sure you become the person you want to be on the internet. Everything we do nowadays is recorded. It seems every move we make someone is either taking a picture or videoing us. So it is up to you to be the kind of person you want the world to see, because they just might.


Your Digital Dossier . Think about it!


  • What You Give Out Is Probably What You Will Get Back. So give out the positive vibes that you want to get back. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated on and off the internet. Put out positive messages on and off line. Flood the internet with positive posts by you. You decide what you want your reputation to be. Don’t wait for others to create it for you.
  • Self- reflect. Check out who you are on and off line.  It is always a good thing to do. Do a search on line to see what is being said about you. Google yourself on a regular basis. Build up positive stories on line if nothing is out there. Decide who you want to be and become that person. Who do you admire the most? What qualities do they have? Work on those qualities in yourself and be honest about who you are online.
  •  Be Real Be Yourself. All of us are not perfect and all we can really be is who we are, so discover the real you and make sure your reputation is really what you want it to be. If you were writing a news story about yourself what would it say? Be authentic.
  •  Live and Learn. If someone makes a bad remark about you on or off line. Don’t give it any energy. Don’t react, don’t retaliate. You know who you are and if you respond you will only fuel the fire and often that is what people want is to see your reaction. So believe in yourself and make sure you are surrounded by positive people who know who you really are. Build your allies. Block people who are inappropriate.
  •  Use Common Sense. I know this sounds easy, but some people really don’t understand this concept. Ask yourself would I make that comment to someone I respect on or off line? THINK before you post. THINK before you say something you will regret.
  • Recognize That You Are Someone Who Can Make a Difference Having a positive influence on line and off is really up to you. You can create what it is that you want. Be your own PR person. Start with making a decision to have a positive reputation.
  • Just for Today recognize that you can build a positive reputation. Even if you have said or done negative things in the past, start today to be honest, reliable and reputable.
  • Get supports Helpful and healthy relationships are important. Ask for guidance from people who know how to be ethical. Read more about being an ethical person on and off line. Learn how to have healthy relationships. Go online to research how to be the best person you can be. Take leadership courses. Volunteer. Help others less fortunate. Learn from great leaders. Who do you know that has a great reputation on and off line? Ask them how they did it. Tweet them … they just might respond.
  • Your reputation is created by you SMILE your on YOU TUBE. . How you act, what you say, what you do. It is all up to you! Build the kind of reputation you want. The world is watching now more than ever before.  
  • Safety Are you sure you are being safe on line? Ask for help if you need it.

Inspired by Janine Wariner’s talk at the Telus Convention Centre March 2010

Check out her video here:

I value digitally responsibility. I am a learner won’t you join me?

Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers and technology leaders understand what students should know to use technology appropriately. But Digital Citizenship is more that just a teaching tool, it is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology. The issue is more than what the users do not know but instead what is considered appropriate technology usage.

Alec Couros


For School Counsellors Resources:

Check out the University of British Columbia’s Information on your  Digital Tattoo .

My livebinder on DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP which will be updated as we move along in the next two weeks

Videos on cyberbullying:

A very helpful resource for Creative Commons that can assist in students being digitally responsible:

For parents:

Digital Citizenship is so important . Our digital identity begins at birth. We need to be more vigilant than ever before about becoming the person we want to be. It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. It means we need to learn and grow and be responsible for who we are and will become.

Maybe because the world may be watching ,we will all become better citizens.