Adventure Specialists' Advice

November 18, 2016

Giving Thanks

Next week, I'll be leaving on Tuesday morning for the ICEC in Hong Kong. With that being said, I probably won't write another newsletter next week, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to reflect on being thankful.


I am, as always, thankful for each of you. I've had the opportunity to observe several classes this week, and the level of commitment you show to your students is inspiring. At lunch, your rooms are full of students, and you take the time to talk and share life with them. In the afternoons, many of you are coaching sports, mentoring kids, and being a blessing in the lives of others.


As I read Karl's article in the Dalat News this week, it made me reflect on the passion I see in you each and every day. This commitment you show to our kids doesn't come without some level of suffering. This time of year does remind us of the fact that we are thousands of miles away from our families. The holidays also come with a big dose of materialism, and it can be tempting to focus on what we don't have rather than what we do. I don't want to focus on the willingness to suffer side of passion, but I do want to take a moment to acknowledge that I am thankful for the sacrifices you make.


Thanks for being a blessing.

DISCourse Quiz Security

Doug Yost has put together a short video giving some tips in setting up quizzes in DISCourse to prevent cheating. Please take 5 minutes to watch this. Thanks!

Important Dates

Nov. 18: PTO Family Fun Day, 4-6

Nov. 23-26: ICEC in HK

Nov. 24-25: No School - American Thanksgiving

Nov. 28-Dec. 2: MS Science MAP testing

Nov. 29: Divisional Meeting - Awards Decisions

Dec. 6: MS Christmas Concert, Grades 5/6 at 6:30, Grades 7/8 at 7:15

Dec. 8: 1st set of comments due, 8 AM

Dec. 8: Last day of X Blocks

Dec. 9: 2nd set of comments due, 8 AM

Dec. 12: 3rd set of comments due, 8 AM

Dec. 12: SMT Christmas Buffet

Dec. 13: 4th set of comments due, 8 AM

Dec. 14: 5th set of comments due, 8 AM

Dec. 15: Grades verified by 5 PM

Dec. 15: Last day of school; 11:00 Awards; 12:30 dismissal

Dec. 16: Last staff work day; Christmas party

Active Thanks

In light of our fearless leader’s charge not to neglect our celebration of the significant Thanksgiving holiday ahead, I felt it fitting to consider how to actively bring Thanksgiving cheer to our classrooms. Giving thanks is something God commands us to do, and when we’re obedient to His word and choose to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, we reap the benefits of His blessing in our lives. Does this commandment apply to the classroom setting? Absolutely. Giving thanks presupposes reflection, synthesis, and analysis. It’s an excellent way to evaluate what has happened during the semester, and it brings a positive perspective that helps students to more fully appreciate that their learning is an enormous gift. Here are some easy ways to integrate gratitude and active learning:

1. Put up posters around the room and write the names of the units you have covered so far on each poster. Ask students to go back through their notes/text to identify one thing they’re thankful they learned in each unit. Perhaps it was a hard concept, and they were able to master it. Perhaps it was something interesting to them, and they are grateful they got to learn about it. Maybe the lesson had a fun activity with it, and they enjoyed it. Have them write these things on the posters around the room.

2. Depending on what you’re learning, consider something important you’ve learned in class recently, and ask students to discuss in pairs how the world would have been impacted if this idea or thing had not been discovered by humans. Ask them to make a list of 2-3 reasons why they’re thankful we do have this knowledge.

3. Ask students to write a thank you note to someone in the class who has worked with them on group work or has helped them understand something. Most students don’t possess much experience with writing thank you notes, so you might need to teach them this valuable skill!

4. On the more colorful side of things, give students time to draw a quick sketch of three things they’re thankful for learning or doing in your class.

Enjoy giving thanks this week!

Susan Allen

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