LES: Between the Lions

November 2020

Important Dates

Tuesday, November 10th @ 5:00 p.m.
  • TVUSD School Board Meeting CLICK HERE for information to watch

Wednesday, November 11th

  • School Holiday, Veterans Day

November 23rd-27th

  • Fall Break, No School
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Holiday Card Contest

Each year, the Superintendent's office and Governing Board send out holiday cards to administrators in the district, surrounding districts, city officials, and local groups. TVUSD students submit works of art and then some are selected to have their art printed on the district's holiday cards.

If your student would like to participate, please have them use the attached sheet for the drawing submission. The winning student's drawing will be used as the cover of our holiday card and the student's name, grade and school will be included on the inside of the card.

The attached sheet must be used for the drawing submission. The list of rules are included on this form. The forms can be mailed directly to:

Debra Jilek
Holiday Card Competition
31350 Rancho Vista Road
Temecula, CA 92592

All submissions are due by November 13, 2020. The parent will be notified if their student's drawing is selected. The winning students will be invited to the December 15th Board meeting where they will be presented with their card.

CLICK HERE for submission form.

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Caring for iPads

We strongly encourage setting clear expectations for iPad care when used in the home. Please ensure your child does the following:

  • Keep your iPad in its protective case at all times.
  • Carry your iPad with two hands.
  • Keep your iPad away from liquids or foods.
  • Handle your iPad only when your hands are clean.
  • When placing your iPad on a table or desk, make sure that the iPad is positioned so that it is completely on the table.
  • Exercise care when inserting and removing cords and cables from your iPad.
  • Avoid putting pressure on the iPad screen.
  • Avoid leaving your iPad in a vehicle.
  • Keep your iPad away from extreme temperatures, direct sunlight or ultraviolet light for extended periods of time. Extreme heat or cold may cause damage to the iPad. If your iPad has been in a cold environment for a long period of time, let it warm up before using it. Keep the iPad away from dampness or wet weather such as rain, snow, and fog.
  • Do not leave iPads on the floor as they may be easily stepped or crawled on.
  • Families signed a liability agreement assuming responsibility for any theft, loss, or damage that occurs to the iPad (unless device insurance was purchased).
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Become a PTA Member!

Become a member today! CLICK HERE to become a member of LaVorgna's General Association through Totem.

You can also find LaVorgna on AmazonSmile!

  • Log in to your account
  • Select La Vorgna Elementary School PTA as your charity, or use this link: CLICK HERE
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Tips for Helping Children Focus During Online Learning

Looking to help a child who just won’t focus on what’s in front of them? Here’s what child development experts have to say about common mistakes parents make attempting to get kids back on task — and better approaches to try.

1. The Mistake: Forgetting your child’s focus issues are developmental or situational, not purposeful

The Better approach: Notice and explore

Why: There is something triggering about having to remind your child for the millionth time to focus on their chore, start their classwork, or finish their latest homework assignment. “Parents can sometimes jump to shaming or expressing disappointment, anger, or annoyance without stopping to think about our child’s viewpoint,” says school psychologist Rebecca Bransetter.

Keep in mind that because focus is a skill, younger kids don’t always have the brain power to hone in on a task. Bransetter points out that the part of the brain responsible for focus doesn’t develop fully until early adulthood. And in older kids, stressful situations (like, oh, distance learning in a global pandemic) can make it more difficult to pay attention.

So before you respond to a child who’s having trouble focusing, Bransetter suggests reminding yourself that your child is not giving you a hard time, they are having a hard time. When you see your child unfocused, stop and remind yourself that there is likely a lagging developmental skill or a situational reason that your child is struggling.Try “notice and explore” technique. First, observe your child’s struggle, then try asking questions like: “I notice you are having a hard time starting on your math. What’s going on for you? Are you okay? Can I help in any way? What thoughts are popping into your head right now about this math worksheet?”

2. The Mistake: Jumping into problem-solving mode too quickly

Better approach: Teach your kids to problem solve themselves

Why: When we see our kids unfocused, our instincts are usually to jump in with our great strategies. (Have you tried putting your phone on airplane mode? What about earplugs?) But Bransetter says jumping in too quickly to “fix” is glossing over an opportunity to teach your children problem-solving techniques. Instead, start by asking questions — what have you done in the past to ignore texts from your friends to finish your work? What ideas do you have for staying focused while your little brother is playing nearby? Keep in mind that with older kids especially, the best strategy is the one they came up with on their own, because they’ll have more buy-in. Frame it up as an “experiment.” Then, you can look at the “data” to see if that strategy worked. “If listening to music drowns out their brother and they

get their homework done, then it works,” Bransetter says. “If not, then you can have a discussion about other strategies.”

3. The Mistake: Telling your child what to do

The Better approach: Ask questions with empathy

Why? Seeing their kids toggle over to YouTube when they’re supposed to be working on an assignment or listening to their teacher on Zoom during distance learning, is frustrating for parents. You might be tempted to raise your voice in frustration, but Bransetter says stressed-out demands will likely trigger a stress response in your kids — a counter-productive approach if calm focus is your goal. Instead, aim to calm yourself down (deep breaths) then ask questions. For example, “I notice you’re on YouTube. Is that what your teacher assigned to do right now?” or “I can’t see your teacher on Zoom. What do you think you can do to make sure you see her?” “Questions bring focus back to your child’s frontal lobe, which is where rational thought can occur,” says Bransetter. “Kids can’t problem-solve if they feel stressed or judged.”

4. The Mistake: Focusing too much on the work

The Better approach: Build in “brain breaks”

Why: After a summer of playing outside all day, you might expect your kids to seamlessly transition to work-mode. But, like any other human, your kids need breaks — especially now that they may have exchanged in-person school for distance learning in the living room. So let go of the mindset that your kids need to replicate an entire school day at home.

Nermeen Dashoush Ph.D, an early childhood education professor at Boston University and Chief Curriculum Officer at MarcoPolo Learning, recommends leaving gaps in the day for your kids to discover boredom and play. “These gaps and breaks will help your kids focus better when they return to the curriculum,” Dashoush says.

For younger kids, encourage physical play (think gross motor skills) during brain breaks. Katie Rosanbalm, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, says physical activities help kids release pent-up stress, which will ultimately help them focus later on. “When we’re sitting still focusing on something stressful, all those stress hormones build up in our bodies,” she says. “The best way to process those hormones is to move, to get all that energy out.” Keep in mind that if you host a kitchen dance party, you’ll need to help your kids settle back into work mode when the time comes. “Kids have to get their brains and bodies back into that lower-energy space,” Rosanbalm says. In such cases, try pretending you’re going down an elevator with your kids as you sink into your chair, getting quieter and slower as you count down from 10.

5. The Mistake: Providing too much support

The Better approach: Give instructions, then give space. Pediatric occupational therapist Marissa LaBuz says she commonly sees parents and even teachers provide too much support to kids struggling with focus.

“Helping a child to focus and attend so they understand the instructions and task is great, but sitting on top of them and providing them with a ton of help and guidance can actually do more harm than good,” she says. Helicopter parenting will only make the child more dependent on your support, prompting, and reminders, so they may not be willing to do the work on their own.

Instead of hovering over your kid’s chair, give instructions and walk away. “Provide them with just enough support so they understand what’s being expected of them, but give them the tools to independently work on their own,” LaBuz suggests. “I like to ask the child questions to make sure they’re focused and listening, for example, what was the last thing that the teacher said? What page should you be turning to?” If the focusing issue comes during independent work, LaBuz recommends using a visual timer to keep your child on task. Whether it’s an egg timer, visual clock, or simply a stopwatch on your phone, a concrete reminder may help children to stay working independently for a short period of time.

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