Keowee's Friday Flash Forward

News from Your Assistant Principal, Rhonda Grant

FRIDAY PONDERINGS...

The week before Christmas vacation in an elementary school is always an adventure, and this week has surely been no different. On Monday evening, parents and guests enjoyed a wonderful presentation of North Pole Musical . Then on Tuesday morning, our choral students did an encore performance for the entire student body that got everyone in the holiday spirit.


Amid the making of gingerbread houses, collecting of donations for Keowee Kindness, and classroom parties, students have remained surprisingly focused on achieving their MAP goals. Early results show great gains by our Keowee kids!


I wish all of you a wonderful holiday, and a time of rest and rejuvenation. GO TIGERS!

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POSITIVE BRAINS ARE SMARTER BRAINS

In last week’s newsletter, we explored the gains that are possible when students adopt an attitude of optimism as they learn. The advantages persist into adulthood, as research shows that people with a positive outlook are more productive, motivated, and likely to achieve their goals on the job. And optimistic people enjoy better personal and professional relationships and even better physical health than people who tend toward pessimism. Explicit instruction to guide students toward taking charge of their outlook on academic endeavors can lead to a more positive -- and ultimately more productive -- approach to learning. Applying metacognition to both the emotional and cognitive aspects of learning can help students steer their minds to make steady gains in developing their knowledge and skills.


Influences on Learning Outlooks

A common assumption is that the tendency toward optimism or pessimism is predetermined by genetics. Indeed, research indicates that roughly half of people's propensity toward cheerfulness or negativity is a result of their DNA. However, we can help students learn to exert control over other significant influences that affect their emotional outlook and, in doing so, sharpen their focus on positive outcomes. We can all increase our positive feelings and well-being by taking charge of the following three influences:

Thoughts

To a significant extent, we are who we perceive ourselves to be. By consciously seeking to maintain a positive orientation, we can apply a more optimistic frame as we reflect on our learning experiences and abilities to achieve our goals.

Behaviors

Of course, we do not succeed simply by believing that we will. An optimistic outlook must be supported by positive action and persistent effort. Learning can be hard work, but those who keep trying, monitoring their learning to make adjustments when necessary, will make steady gains that create a positive feedback loop to encourage continued progress.

Brain Chemistry

The brain produces chemicals called neurotransmitters in response to both internal functions and external stimuli that affect how we feel. Chemicals that have been associated with positive moods include dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. One way to enhance production of these neurotransmitters is through physical activity. Thus, scheduling challenging subjects immediately following PE class and recess can help students channel their positive brain chemistry toward learning. This body-brain power connection also offers a helpful metacognition strategy for students. Remind them that when they get hung up on a problem while doing their homework or independent study, they might try going for a run or taking an exercise break, and then return to the problem with their brain recharged.

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Core Essentials Trait for January is...

SELF-CONTROL--choosing to do what you should do, not what you want to do.


Teaching children self-control will help them get along with others, make good choices and stay safe. Teaching self-control starts early and truly never stops. As educators, we know that each child is an individual with a will of its own. Respect for a child’s will and need for autonomy must be balanced with respect for the needs of others and the limitations placed on us to ensure safety and survival. Teaching our students self-control involves helping them to:

  • Think before acting
  • Control impulses
  • Weigh consequences
  • Make safe and acceptable choices

Knowing what to expect from children at each stage of growth – what is normal and what is not, will provide guideposts across grade levels. Lessons in self-control need to be age-appropriate. It is important to be a model of self-control for students. Controlling the urge to yell when in a frustrating situation will show children it can be done. Considering consequences by thinking aloud will give student a living example of thinking before acting. Our everyday displays of kindness, patience and thoughtful regard will go farther than anything else!

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Word of the Week...

The WOW for the week of January 4-8 is loquacious. Two students from Mrs. Ahern's 4th grade class will be sharing their original sentences on the news Friday morning!

John Collins FCAs for January

K Wrap-around sentence (organization)

1 Word choice (content)

2 Transition words (organization)

3 Produce opinion writing (organization)

4 Use of transition sentences (organization)

5 Introductory paragraph with hook, topic sentence, three supporting details, and

concluding sentence (organization)

FRIDAY AT THE MOVIES...

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This week's 50-second video is meant to inspire positive thinking and drive away any kind of bad mood. Enjoy!
Teaching Positive Thinking
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January 4-15 Winter MAP continues (see schedule for details)

January 7 TEAL OUT for Relay 4 Life (see a team member to buy your jean pass)

January 12 End of 2nd 9 weeks

January 14 SST @ 12:00

January 18 School Holiday

January 19 Teacher Inservice/Workday

January 22 Report Cards Issued

January 25 Family Literacy Night

January 28 SST @ 12:00

January 29 SIC @ 2:00