The Boston Marathon Impacts Us All- Resources to Help Counsellors Support Their Students.


The news of the Boston Marathon impacts students in many ways, often causing students to feel a sense of threat to their own personal security. In my office over the last week I have had students anxious about going out in public, the threat to North America, expressing upset over the lives lost and people hurt and etc…

I was very grateful to Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky, CEO, Traumatology Institute for providing me with the follow resources to reference when working with my students.

Coping with Disaster Resources      
Explosions  (section on After an Explosion)
Coping with Disaster
Managing traumatic stress: Tips for recovering from disaster and other traumatic events
American Psychological Association 
Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster
American Red Cross
Recovering Emotionally
American Red Cross
Helping Children Cope with Disaster
American Red Cross/US Federal Emergency Management Agency
Disaster Distress Helpline (24/7 phone and text)
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration
Building Your Resilience
American Psychological Association

Just as Dr. Barabowsky reached out through the virtual world to provide support. I hope that my blog may have a similar result.

God Bless


Staying the Course: Connections, Reciprocity, and the Web

A very well written and comprehensive article. I highly recommend reading

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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Empowering Our Students: Strength Based Approaches and Self Direction


A Strength-Based Approach is a positive psychology perspective that emphasizes the strengths,capabilities and resources of a youth. A Strength-Based paradigm requires educators to adjust our language and how we communicate with our students. Rather than focusing on “PROBLEMS students are encouraged to view challenges as opportunities to explore, take risks and discover solutions Our role should be to Guide not Direct students, so that they can develop their capacity to be self sufficent.

“It is important to understand the strength-based approach is not about denying that youth do experience problems and challenges and that these issues do need to be addressed. But, when the problem becomes the starting point with an emphasis on what a young person lacks, a dependency is created on the helping profession with lowered positive expectations and blocked opportunities for change “ (
Strength-Based and Deficit-Based Concepts: A Comparison (Hammond 2011)
Principles of Strength-based Approaches
1)RELATIONSHIPS are key- positive change can only occur in the context of authentic relationshiops

 2)Every student has potential- Think: “I believe and I WILL see” rather than “Prove it”

 3)Start with what students can already do. Small successes lead to building blocks for growth.

 4) Confidence to take risks grows when students are invited to start with what they already know.

 5) Believe that success is inevitable, students are intrinsically good and do want to learn

 6)  It is the STUDENT’S STORY (perception) which is most important, not the adults.

 7) Be mindful that the language we use demonstrates value –  reframe  – “Did you not hear what I told the other students?” to “It looks like you tried doing this exercise another way let’s see how it worked for you.”;

 8) “It takes a village to raise a child”- different adults can provide for different needs…. No one needs to be the sole expert.

9) Sustainable change is a cumulative process, not a destination.

Self –Directed Learning Forms A Natural Partnership with Strengths Based Approaches
Strength Based Approaches empower students to take risks and explore. One way to facilitate this type of learning to allow students opportunities to become Self- Directed Learners. When schools allow students to begin to create their own assignments they not only build content capacity, but also learning capacity

This approach may be applied in many ways including:

The Inside-Out School: A 21st Century Learning Model