The Knightly News
Newtown Elementary School PTO
Let's Talk Turkey!
Who’s finished with their Thanksgiving shopping? Who hasn’t started yet? In the cramped supermarket aisles, in the rush to get it all done, here are a few words from American humorist Erma Bombeck to remember: "Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence." It's good to keep it all in perspective! This November, we give thanks for our awesome kids, for our safe school and hardworking teachers and staff, and for the families who make our community great. To everyone in the Newtown Elementary family, we are grateful for YOU! Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, The NES PTO
PS: Enjoy some photos of the beautiful bulletin boards seen in NES hallways this month! It's truly a horn of plenty!
IN THIS ISSUE
Mrs. Cook's Corner
King of the Castle: On Gratitude
As we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to remind our readers about the importance of showing gratitude. Gratitude has the power to brighten your day, change your outlook for the better and lead to more positivity and resilience. Weeks ago, I spoke with my sister about this same topic and she told me about Dr. Bryan Sexton from Duke University and his focus on resiliency. (Given that she works for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it was especially hard for her to compliment a Blue Devil!) After searching the internet for information on Dr. Sexton, I became very interested in a strategy he advocates called Three Good Things. Basically, Dr. Sexton and others suggest that we will learn to be more positive if we take time to list three good things about our day.
As you know, I am asking all parents to complete a survey focusing on Three Good Things when you visit for conferences in the coming days. You can find the survey in the front lobby. Please take a few minutes to tell us what you think. We will utilize your feedback to build upon the positive, and we will do what we can to address things you feel need to be changed.
With Three Good Things in mind, I visited sixth grade lunch in the café today. I went to about five tables and spoke with approximately thirty students. I said, “Tell me three good things about Newtown Elementary School.” Here is an abbreviated list from the approximately thirty students I asked:
· Many students are respectful and friendly.
· Teachers are very friendly.
· Good teachers.
· I will know more kids when I go to Newtown Middle School.
· The bonding activities we did in the beginning of the year helped.
· Everyone is nice.
· Free seating (in the café) every Friday.
· Air conditioning.
· Recess, lunch and gym (very enthusiastic).
· Good chicken.
· Big gym.
· I have lots of friends.
Although there was nothing scientific about my approach to our sixth graders, they enthusiastically shared these responses or responses that were very similar. I found it very interesting that, beyond a few outliers such as air conditioning, chicken and the gym, their gut reaction to my request was about being connected, having friends and noticing how we treat each other. Honestly, this was all music to my ears! For those enthusiastic, resilient and positive kids, I am grateful. For the staff and parents working together to grow this, I am proud!
Coincidentally, I also asked many students if they would change anything about Newtown Elementary. I heard very few responses even after probing and prompting a bit.
NES SECRET SHOP is open Monday 11/23 from 1-8pm and Tuesday 11/24 from 1-5pm. It's different this year! Children will not be shopping during school hours due to space limitations. Instead, children will have opportunities to shop after school on the half-days during conferences, and on Monday evening. Don't miss out on this fun NES tradition. As a special treat, join us for cookies, holiday music and hot chocolate during Monday evening hours.
SWEETHEART DANCE COMMITTEE is forming NOW! If you would like to be involved in planning and helping with this year’s dance, we would love to have you! Planning meetings will start soon! Any amount of help is welcome! Please contact Amy Cinque or Angela Varilla. Mark your calendars: this year’s dance is scheduled for Friday, March 11, 2016.
BUNGEE JUMPERS ASSEMBLY: Did you know that the PTO organizes and funds two assemblies for NES students each year? On Tuesday, November 11th, our kids were treated to a high-energy performance by The Bungee Jumpers, a jump-rope team based in Doylestown, PA. Newtown kids saw hard work, cooperation and determination in action. It was an inspiring way to learn the lesson that, if you make a mistake, just keep on going!
SON PLUS ONE RECAP: Approximately 70 NES lads took a special date to the Brunswick Zone bowling alley on November 7th for our annual Son+1 outing. Thanks to all of the NES parents and kids who came out for a fun time!
SHOP FOR OUR SCHOOL: Parents, grandparents and friends of NES: you can earn BIG money for Newtown Elementary School this holiday season simply by registering your frequent shopper's cards, shopping at specific online retailers, or saving your supermarket receipts and Box Tops. It's easy, fast and profitable. NES earns a percentage of each dollar you spend, and it (honestly!) takes less than five minutes to register for the programs that interest you. Be a NES Secret Santa this year and help raise money while you shop! Click HERE for more information, and thanks for your help!
Mrs. Cook's Corner: Being Thankful for Siblings
It’s a great time of year to encourage children to be thankful for their siblings. Here are some tips to help them develop kindness for one another at home. Happy Thanksgiving!
- Teach children to be sensitive toward each other. It’s hard to hurt a person you care about and who cares about you. Help them find constructive ways to be sensitive to each other. Have siblings create surprises for one another. The surprise could be a special snack, a kind letter or a homemade gift.
- Give clear messages. Share expectations about how you want your children to behave toward one another before arguments become a way of life. Offer calm verbal reminders, before conflicts get out of hand.
- Hold family meetings. Allow siblings to have a voice in sharing their concerns and brainstorming ways to solve problems.
- Use humor. Humor distracts children from negative behavior and allows them to view the situation from different perspectives without becoming defensive.
- Foster a team spirit. When siblings work as a team, they learn how to treat each other. They learn that everyone has individual rights. Have siblings make a list of fun things they have done together in the last couple months. List some things they could do in the future. Choose an activity and do it together.
- Teach empathy. One of the most important tools that has life-long social implications is the quality of empathy. Help your children learn to think first about how their behavior is going to affect the other person before acting.
- Ignore the small stuff and address the big deals. For small situations, teach children to handle it themselves. Simply state the consequences and what you expect. The big deals are ongoing conflicts, put-downs, or one child victimizing the other. In these situations, children need you to set clear limits, monitor and intervene quickly. Listen to both sides separately and above all, stop sibling abuse immediately – either physical or emotional.
- Treat them individually instead of equally. Every child is a favorite in different ways. Minimize comparisons. Praise your child for accomplishments in relation to each one and not in comparison to the other. Make them feel special in different ways. Identify each child’s personal strengths. Enjoy each of your children in different ways without showing favoritism. Pair-up older siblings to teach younger ones new skills – tying shoes, learning how to write letters or playing catch.
- Siblings are forever. Remind them that siblings are a built-in support system. Once friends have moved or drifted away, family will always be there when you need them. Friends come and go; siblings are forever. Demonstrate the power of the family bond. Show the children a bundle of toothpicks or craft sticks (make sure the bundle is big enough that it can’t be broken). Try to break the bundle, then untie the sticks and let each child break one. Notice how the bundle is hard to break, but the individual sticks can be broken. A strong united family has strength that can protect the individual members.
"Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds."—Theodore Roosevelt
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."—William Arthur Ward
“Namaste, the light in me honors the light in you.”—Hindu Greeting
Mrs. Casey Weinstein, Kindergarten Teacher
“Find joy in each day!”
Ms. Winn, 2nd grade
“If you smile at me, I will understand, cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.”— Song lyric, David Crosby, from Wooden Ships
Mr. Eckelmeyer, 6th grade
NES kids participated this month in the annual basketball shooting contest organized by Mrs. Bloom, to raise money for underprivileged families in Bucks County. The Turkey Shoot Mascot roosts here atop the class trophies.
Tree of Thanks!
Students wrote what they are grateful for on colorful fall leaves, which were posted on the PTO bulletin board.