Saturday, September 29, 2018

NEW blog post

Hi Friends!

Well, my latest Free Spirit Publishing blog post was shared this week. It is about teaching Communication Skills to Elementary School Kids. I will admit, it's a little "out there" and theoretical but my intention in writing about this subject this way was to shed light on the topic in a new and different way. I think we need to start being more reflective of our practices as parents, educators and counselors. My hope is that some little nugget of something I offer will be helpful? I welcome you to engage me in further dialogue around anything that I am writing about :)

Click here to read my latest post:

Don't forget to be KIND,

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Hi everyone!

So I had some issues with technology recently and it took me some time to fix. 

Stay tuned for more regular blog posts...

I hope everyone has had a nice transition back to school. 

Shoot me an email if I can be of support to you!


Happy Fall,
Amanda :)

Monday, August 13, 2018

I am probably WAY too excited about this new addition to my office, but I figure there are SO many things I can teach with this help of this handsome guy. We will practicing nurturing and caring, through the practice of meeting basic needs and sharing genuine love and attention.

Perhaps we will take notice of the breathing that happens with this awesome fish, as he allows us to use him as a guide to help us practice more purposeful breathing. He might even help with some mindfulness lessons too!

Plus, who doesn't love Spongebob? (Well, lots of folks actually- and that's fine- a giant square sponge isn't every one's cup of tea) However, my older kids are now teenagers and they have always LOVED this show. Typically I am not a big fan of TV or animated cartoons all that much, but I have always cracked up at this one. And soooo, I might even create some lessons relating to Spongebob this year? Hmmm...

The first big thing I am excited to do however: is to find the right name for this fella- with the help of the kiddos of course!?

Start thinking everyone....

The count down is on:


Ms. Symmes :) 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

More new stuff!

Hi again,

Two posts in two days, I told ya I am going to be better about this!

So there are a few OTHER new things I wanted to share...

The first thing I wanted to put out there, is that my third Free Spirit Publishing "Counselor's Corner" blog post is up. 

It was a fun one to write as I am very interested in how mindfulness can be utilized to enhance ALL of our lives. I try to weave it into much of what I do and hopefully these things will stick with your kiddos that I see in the halls here at Silver Hill. Mindfulness is really quite simple. Just be open to the moment and don't be afraid to notice things---inspiration will soon follow!

If you'd like to check out the Free Spirit post "Mindful Movement With Children" 

Click here: 

The OTHER thing that's exciting is that I was asked by the Corner On Character's Barbara Gruener to be the first guest on her brand new podcast! Prosign Design Co wanted to team up with Barbara (because who wouldn't??) to create a "Character Speaks" podcast to promote the work of folks trying to make a difference in the world. What an honor to be asked as the first guest! If you feel like checking it out click on the link below:

That's all for now...back to organizing my office space. Maybe I will post some photos of that in the upcoming days/weeks. It's fun to redecorate and organize :) 

Kindness Matters,
Ms. Symmes :) 

Monday, August 6, 2018



Sooooo. I know that I haven't been great at updating this blog in my first two years at Silver Hill. I have decided that I forgive myself for this already and hopefully you will too, mostly because I have spent so much of my time trying to acclimate to the Silver Hill community and just DO the work, and I feel that I have rooted myself well. 

Additionally, in these last two years, I have started writing more on my own (I love to write) and the way life works, one thing led to another and a magical new friendship was formed with the AMAZING Barbara Gruener from The Corner On Character....

From there, I was hired as a blogger by Free Spirit Publishing!!! This is tremendously exciting for me as I *love* this company and already own so many of their resources and books. 

So just to take you back and catch you all up...This was the first post that came out in June:

Click below to read the post:

THEN, I had another post that came out in July:

Click below to read the post:

YOU GUYS! This is so exciting....Not only am I being stretched in new ways to sit down and write thoughtfully about the things I know about or have experience dealing with, but I get to share it on a big platform. And now with gratitude I can circle it back to you all, my dear Silver Hill Family.


Kindness Rules, 
Ms. Symmes 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

With Gratitude

Hi all,

We have been so busy up on the hill it's hard to believe fall is behind us...

As we prepared for Thanksgiving and the Season of Giving, one small way that Silver Hill got into this spirit was through engaging in this:

I randomly hung these pages up around the first floor of the building-in spots that all of the children could reach. And we left it "open ended"...we didn't make a big announcement or go around to all the classes. Kids are smart. We let it "speak for itself". 

And they DISAPPEARED! I heard of kids giving to staff, to each other and vice versa. We all just passed along our thankfulness, in this small easy way...And as easy as it was, it definitely made folks feel good to receive. AND to give. I heard that some kids were even playing a game at recess that they made up using them...


Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Hi all,

I hope everyone's fall has gotten off to a great start, and while the weather seems to enjoy acting out of character, we are doing our best to help all of our Silver Hill friends build their own character in positive and important ways...

October is Bullying Prevention month and the Second Step lessons here at Silver Hill are either in full swing currently or already completed at this point. I have been fortunate enough to have made time in my schedule to join in on many of these lessons and I think there are great things happening around this important issue. The teachers are natural at weaving in Social Emotional components to just about everything they do!

With that said, once the Second Step curriculum lessons end, all social conflict does not simply end with them. We are trying hard to be proactive and continue the conversations with me stepping into classrooms and facilitating additional Social Emotional lessons and developing these essential "soft skills".

For example, once the 3rd grade Second Step was complete, I rotated around to each classroom and read "How to Fill A Bucket" and had wonderful dialogue with the students around thinking of ways we can be "bucket fillers" rather than "bucket dippers". The kids here are really awesome!

We will continue all of this moving forward, but I would like to share a video link that shows some of the videos that accompany the lessons (all different, depending on the grade level). These videos are very relevant and I think the kids really relate to them. I thought it would be fun for you to take a peek at this short video with some short clips from the videos your kids all see during Second Step.

Second Step video

I think the Second Step curriculum does a good job of identifying Bullying, however, I will continue to help kids learn to properly recognize "Social Conflict" as well, so that they can accurately identify what exactly is happening for them. But more importantly, so that they can learn PROBLEM SOLVING skills to manage these things :)

Please feel free to reach out at any time if I can be of support to your child or family!

Enjoy the foliage while it will be winter soon enough!

Kind Regards,
Amanda Symmes, LICSW
School Adjustment Counselor