The Challenger Dispatch

Week 2, Dec. 8-12. 2-14

Gratitude by Elena Aguilar

There are many ways that we can individually practice this brain-enhancing behavior. Here are a few ideas:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. This exercise is a way of closing every day by recalling a few things we are grateful for from that day. By simply cataloguing them our minds start to search them out during the day
  • What do I appreciate about today and what was my role in making it happen? This is a more focused journal prompt to respond to each day that helps us recognize our agency in our blessings. For example, I might write that third period was exceptionally engaged in their learning today and José wrote a whole page; my role in making this happen was to carefully plan the lesson and design modifications for José to accommodate his learning needs. Through this process, we discover how we can create more positive experiences for ourselves
  • Email a friend. You can also find a friend who wants to commit to emailing each other every day -- or a few times a week -- and sharing what you're grateful for. Some of us feel more motivated by (and accountable) if we have an audience
  • Write a gratitude letter. Select one person you feel gratitude for (living or dead) and write a letter appreciating the ways that that he/she has enriched your life. If you can, read it face to face. This is a powerful exercise to engage in occasionally and could be tailored to an education context at times -- write a letter to a former student, to a colleague, to an old teacher
  • Project 365. This is a fun photography project for those visually inclined. I did this for a year, taking one photo a day, and focused on capturing images that reflected something I was grateful for. After a while, I noticed that each day I'd consciously look for positive moments to capture. I felt like my mind was training itself, honing in on all that was good so that I could accomplish my daily task
  • Use guided imagery and meditation. By taking a few minutes at the start or end of each day to call to mind what we're grateful for, we strengthen those neurons that make us feel happier. When I wake up, I often silently appreciate my body for all it does each day to keep my healthy. I say to myself, "I am grateful for my breath that nourishes the cells of my body and has sustained me since the moment I was born, I am grateful for my eyes that allow me to see all the beauty around me and the face of my son, I am grateful for my heart which has been beating since before I was born." And so on. You can do this for whatever you're grateful for.

Our ability to feel gratitude is a muscle of sorts -- it's a habit our minds can develop -- we just need practice. Imagine if we were all practicing individually, for a few minutes in the morning and a few in the evening, and then if there were ways built into our work day to express gratitude to those around us; imagine how different we'd feel about being at school each day.

Grades in I NOW

Hello All,

Here are the steps to add your weekly grades in INOW. Please add one grade per subject per week.



Grade Book

choose Course.Section

now at Scores tab in Grade Book

under Manage click on Options

-under Grade Book only check Display Maximum Score

-under Averaging Method leave Average checked

under Standards set Standards Scale to Standards-Based K-5 or GSNU


*returns to Scores tab in Grade Book

under Manage click on Categories

click Add to generate anew category

Name: Standard

Percentage: 100.000

Create (will automatically generate a blank category screen, ‘X’ out and you will see your category)


*returns to Scores tab in Grade Book

click on Plan tab

click Add to set up an Activity

under Activity fill in all required areas indicated by an asterisk (*)

check the box next to Visible in Home Portal (to allow for parents to see students activities)

under Grading Properties check the box next to Graded

leave Total at 100.00

leave Weight Multiplier at 1.00 and Weight Addition at 0.00

Create then OK

*returns to Scores tab then Recalculate as prompted *Gradebook must be recalculated to apply changes

Data Meetings

Tuesday, Dec. 9th, 8am

Belissa's Room

Data Meetings will take place in Belissa’s room Tues-Thurs. Please come prepared with the following information and be ready to discuss.


SchoolNet ( any results you may have by the time we meet)

ACT Aspire Science info (3,4,5 grade)

Topic tests results in math and reading

Writing ( bring pieces of writing with you)

Fry Phrase work/results

1st grade – in addition, bring Chalken's Writing kit.

All grades – Be ready to log on to PLTW.

SchoolNet Testing

Monday, Dec. 8th, 8am

Every classroom

Please let Belissa or myself know if you have any issues with getting SchoolNet testing completed. I know you will do your best on the test :-)

Staff Meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 10th, 3pm

Media Center

Feedback study continues