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Placerita Jr. High School - May 28, 2019

This Week at Placerita

We only have two short weeks left… four days this week and four days next week and both weeks are packed with many activities.

Congratulations to Team Fusion for being the Team Champs this year. Great job working hard throughout the year in all the activities to come out on top! Your champions pizza lunch is today in Tanner Hall. Yay!

Today, is textbook return day for 8th Graders and Thursday is textbook return day for 7th graders.

Thursday night (5/30) is 8th Grade Awards Night at 7:00 PM at the Hart Auditorium. Your student will be notified of their participation. It is very important for students to be there to receive all their awards. We look forward to seeing you there. It will be a fun night!

Friday is Yearbook Distribution Day. We will be operating on a flipped schedule to have first period last for distribution in the quad. Take a look at Gennaro's email for a reminder of the plan.

Please remind your students again
that the window is now open for Online Registration for next year!

See the letter below from the District Tech Department on how to get started. Feel free to remind your students that this has to be completed before you can start school next year.

Everyone has the ability to get ready for next year right now. This does not mean that we will not send out a packet and students have to come in the summer. We will still have summer check in for photos and there will be a packet but it will be much smaller. Eighth grade parents can do the same thing to be ready for Hart in the fall if they have not started already. Please see the instructional letters attached for specific directions so you can be knowledgeable if student ask questions.. We will have regular reminders so we can get everyone complete as soon as possible.

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Click below for a PDF of the Letter Above

Dave Stuart Jr. describes a good end of year activity...

Simple Intervention: Values Affirmation Exercise

May 23, 2019 By Dave Stuart Jr.

Recently, my students gave me a boost in teacher morale through their completion of a simple intervention that I believe supports the value, belonging, and credibility beliefs. (These are three of the five key beliefs that I write about in Chapter 2 of These 6 Things; I overview the beliefs in this blog post.)

The morale boost came from the fun things I learned about my students, such as:

  • “I want to leave my mark on the world, however small it may be. My mind is constantly chugging along, trying to decide which of the infinite problems of the world it should try to solve next. I'm currently working on geopolitical, transportational, and dairy farming issues.”
  • “My mother and my father have taught me to always stay humble but to know when to stand up for what I believe in.”
  • “My character is more important to me than my athletic abilities.”
  • “I'm an admirer of the wonders that come from nature.”

In each one of these instances and a dozen or so more, I was surprised at the depth in some of my students that I had barely suspected before.

The thing is, the simple intervention wasn't aimed at my morale; it was aimed at theirs.

The values affirmation intervention that I used is simple but well-informed. It's what social psychologists call a “wise intervention,”* which Stanford researcher Geoffrey Cohen describe as “theoretically informed and precisely targeted,” that “even while small can have lasting effects.”**

Let's look at what the values affirmation intervention is, how researchers think it works, and why it matters.

What is the values affirmation exercise?

The exercise is as simple as 1-2:

1) Students look at a list of values and identify several values that they hold.

Part 1 of the Values Affirmation intervention.
(For PDF of the intervention, visit CharacterLab.org)

2) Students then write why these 2-3 values are important to them.

Part 2 of the Values Affirmation intervention.
(For PDF of the intervention, visit CharacterLab.org)

Here's one sample from a student:

Student sample of Values Affirmation intervention. (For PDF of the intervention, visit CharacterLab.org)

Honestly, it can all seem a little boring. Let's take a look at how it works.

How researchers think the values affirmation exercise works

Wise interventions get so much attention in the education-meets-social-psychology space because they have abnormally large effects on students years after they are administered. In the case of the values affirmation exercise, researchers followed students for two years afterwards, and they found that African American children who had received the intervention did better in their grades for the two (and in one case three) years that the study followed them. Importantly, these improvements led to a significant reduction in the achievement gap. (For an extensive review of this study and related ones, see Cohen, G.L., & Sherman, D.K. [2014].)

In a video interview, Cohen suggests that perhaps “being given the opportunity to affirm an important source of value in a threatening context might actually be a big experience, like a sort of water on parched soil effect.”

“For all of us,” Cohen continues, “school or work can be chronically threatening. The problem comes when the threat becomes too intense. What [the work of various researchers] has shown is that regardless of the actual prejudice in the school environment, the perception that I could be negatively stereotyped or discriminated against can cause stress, and very subtle cues can bring about this stress.”

This phenomenon, which the research literature frequently labels “stereotype threat,” is a critical example of how fear so ruthlessly diminishes learning. And notice how these fears can exist in our classrooms despite even our best efforts!

“Fear is the mind-killer,” writes Frank Herbert in Dune. Indeed.

And rather than telling students not to fear, which any parent knows is rarely effective, the values affirmation exercise allows students to affirm something of deep importance to them in a setting that may be threatening.

Why the values affirmation intervention matters

I've shared several other simple interventions on this blog over the years:

The thing with all of them is that they can't be merely chucked at kids. Just like Doug Stark's brilliantly spiraled Mechanics Instruction that Sticks series of warm-ups, results will vary based on the user's skill and thoughtfulness. Even Cohen, co-author on the values affirmation intervention featured in today's post, shares that “there's a lot of stuff under the hood in the preparation of these things. We're not just throwing the intervention at them.” These aren't things to be chucked at kids; like all things non-silver-bullet, they require study and practice.

So why, then, are these simple and “wise” interventions worth our time and attention?

Because they kill fear. They cultivate the key beliefs. They combat oppression. And they can make our work as teachers so much richer and more fulfilling.

*Here's a journal article explaining wise interventions.

**Here's the video interview in which Cohen makes this statement.

If you'd like to study wise interventions in the context of the five key beliefs, consider registering for the Student Motivation Course. To date, over 600 educators from around the world have experienced this all-online, schedule-friendly PD. Once you register, you have access for life. Learn more, and register, here.

FROM: https://davestuartjr.com/simple-intervention-values-affirmation-exercise/

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The Remainder of the Year at Placerita

  • Textbook Returns (8th) 5/28 All Day

  • Team Champions Pizza Lunch 5/28 Tanner Hall

  • Textbook Returns (7th) 5/30 All Day

  • 8th Grade Awards Night 5/30 7:00 Hart Auditorium

  • Yearbook Distribution 5/31 Flipped Schedule

  • 8th Grade Bash 6/4 2:45-5:15 Quad

  • Magic Mountain Field Trip 6/5 @ MM

  • Last Day of School 6/6 Minimum Day

  • Snacks for Staff 6/6 AM Before School

  • Teacher Work Day 6/7 Check Outs

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Placerita Jr. High School

Placerita has been serving seventh and eighth graders in Newhall for over 55 years. Placerita is just north of Los Angeles in the Santa Clarita Valley.