7th Grade Newsletter
The October Edition, Part 1
2 Newsletters this Month!
Counseling Corner with Frint
When I was in 7th grade, I had a math teacher I did not like. He was older, I felt he didn't like me and worst of all he made me show my work! I could get the right answer to any problem he gave me in my head but I didn't get any credit because I didn't write down how I got the answer. I tried to play games with him and would write in the section of showing your work, "I got this answer in my head." He definitely did not appreciate my sense of humor.
After a short time, my grade began to suffer because I was bound and determined I was going to defeat him. I was able to hide my poor grade for a long time as teachers didn't have email or even phones in there room back then. Eventually grade cards came out and I could not hide the poor grade any longer. My parents were furious! I pulled every trick I could think of - "My teacher lost the homework! He must have miscalculated the grade! He doesn't like me and he just gave me the bad grade!" I even tried crying to get my parents on my side and I thought I had them convinced until my father said, "I'm calling the school and setting up meeting with your math teacher." Let's just say after the meeting my parents were no longer believing what I was selling but I wasn't ready to give up yet. I decided I would "punish" my parents and math teacher by refusing to do the work. I sat in math class and did absolutely nothing, at home when asked where my homework was I said "I don't know or I don't have any." After another phone call my behaviors were caught again. I had one more trick up my sleeve, I tried to refuse doing any of the work at home...again let's just say that ended poorly for me.
Does any of this sound familiar? Was this possibly you as a child or are you experiencing this with your own child now? Here are my suggestions on how to deal with this -
1. Make the planner being filled out mandatory at your home. All teachers give a few minutes to fill out the planner each class period. While the planner doesn't give every detail, it does give you a starting point. (A suggestion I'd make if they struggle getting the planner home. Have them take a picture with their tablet and have them email it to you. If it's not filled out or you don't receive a picture by 2:30pm you know it's not done and you can plan accordingly.)
2. Don't accept, "I don't know" as an answer. Have some kind of consequence in place for that answer. (My parents consequence was walking me to the math class before school the next day and picking up the assignment. It embarrassed the heck out of me!)
3. Become a master at schoology and skyward. Many teachers, not all, but most put items on schoology. This way your child can never say, "I forgot or I don't know." (If you have no idea what schoology or skyward is please contact Lori Abeldt. LoriAbeldt@usd475.org She is our tech person in the building who can give you some guidance.)
4. Establish a reward and consequence system. This sounds basic but it can be a little more complicated then you imagine. I'd start with mini-rewards for turning in completed assignments, a middle reward for tests and then a bigger reward for the report card grade. Sit with your kids and ask what would motivate them. If they say, "Nothing," go with a different approach."Fine, if there is nothing that would motivate you, here are the consequences." Again start small, to medium, to big with you setting the terms.
5. Establish a homework time and sit with your children during homework. While this isn't always fun, particularly if you as the adult don't understand the assignment, it will help establish a routine and structure which middle school students need.
6. Make contact with the teacher but give them time. A good rule of thumb is 24 hours but if you email after 11am on Friday know there is a real chance you will not hear from teachers until Monday.
7. Last one and maybe the most important one, ask questions. Ask your child and teachers regarding what is going on. If you feel like the weekly email you receive from teachers about classroom lesson/homework is not detailed enough, ask for more. If something seems amiss with your child, ask. The biggest thing is ASK!
To go back to my beginning story, I now realize how stubborn I was and as much as it hurts to admit...still to this day...the math teacher was right. The math got too complicated later on and I couldn't do it all in my head anymore and the teachers had no way of helping because they didn't know where I went wrong. From time to time now I will be working on academics with some of your children and I will catch myself saying, "But you didn't show your work." I always stop, smile and then typically call my parents that evening and apologize again for all the troubles I caused that year.
October looks to be an exciting month of career exploration in the computer program Xello. If your child was here last year the took a multiple choice test called the Matchmaker and "matched" them up with jobs they might be interested in. (If you weren't here last year don't worry we will get it made up.) This year we will be taking a learning styles and personality test followed up with researching 2 jobs (1 from the matchmaker and the other a free choice) - answering such questions like, "How much schooling does this job require? Is this job in demand? How do you get your foot in the door on this occupation? How much money will make (everyone favorite question.) I'm still working on exact dates but hopefully it will start soon.
Has your childhit the October Slump yet? There is research that says people hit an emotional wall during this time of year. What are you doing to make sure your child, your family and yourself are okay. Some good tips include:
- Getting enough rest
- Getting physical exercise
- Limit screen time on your electronic devices
- Do something fun just for yourself.
Until next time!
7th grade counselor
7th Grade Team Reps
Over the summer we had about 35 7th grade students take a 2 day course offered by Kansas State University called the "Force Within." The course was to help offer strategies for dealing with middle school and then help their peers when they see them struggling. Each team has about 10-12 representatives that will begin to meet with Mr. Frint monthly. Hopefully by the time you read this I will have already met with Team 6 representatives followed by Team 7 and 5 the first week of October.
The intent of the monthly meeting will be to talk about "how is 7th grade going?" I want to know about the positives, I want to know about what we need to improve on, etc. The hope is these 10-12 representative can almost be the "pulse" of the team if you will so we can make this year go as smoothly as possible. It's also my hope they can assist new students to the team by showing them around the building, helping them with all the technology stuff (how to check skyward, how to use schoology, how to get into their student email).
This is going to be a very organic process and I have no idea where it's going to lead but I am excited about the opportunity to hear ideas and opinions from student perspectives on a group scale as I think more people will speak up versus doing things in a one-on-one environment.