SMS Middle Ground
Connecting Home and School: September 2018
Welcome to the Middle Ground!
Mid-Term Progress Reports
We've reached the halfway mark of our grading period which means it's time to checkacademic progress! Go to your Harmony Family Access account to see your child's current grades. If you have any difficulty accessing your account, call our office! If you have any questions about your child's progress, please check with your child and/or contact the classroom teacher! Our current grading period ends on Friday, October 12th.
Guidance News: Friendship
It’s not new information that kids experience significant changes as they go through middle school. More influence comes from peers, new interests are explored, attitudes and behaviors mature, and independence grows. School is a place for learning, not just about academic subjects but about life in general. This is true for friendships as well. Although some lessons can be formally taught, others are learned through experience.
One of the hardest lessons to learn about friendship is trust. Who to trust, why to trust them, what to do when trust is broken, and how to earn trust can be complicated. It’s hard enough to teach kids that not everything is as it seems, especially on social media. We want to believe that people who care about us are always honest with us, so it can be very confusing when stories don’t match or someone we thought was a friend treats us poorly.
Some kids are more cautious than others with how close they let friends get. Others are so open and kind that they let anyone in. But everyone has a few bumps in the road and has feelings hurt in a friendship at some time. Kids need to learn how to forgive without feeling vulnerable, how to recognize and admit responsibility for wrongs, and who they can go to during times of distress. These are things we can teach, but are refined through experience.
As adults, we can help kids navigate friendship through modeling, open conversation, giving kids opportunities to build positive peer relationships, and being supportive through difficult times. It can be very difficult to foster independence while protecting our kids. Helping your child identify what he/she wants in a friend and what kind of friend he/she wants to be can be very effective ways to help your child choose wisely. And friendships change because people change. So this can be an ongoing discussion throughout middle school and beyond.
If your child is experiencing difficulty with friendships, contact SMS and get some support from Jane Naugle or Holly Asdell, SMS counselors!
Got a Teen on Social Media?
Are you worried about how much time your pre-teen/teen spends on social media? Want to fill your parent toolbox with a few reasons to limit screen time at home? Here are a few suggestions from an old but extremely relevant Barbara Greenburg blog post in an August 2013 Huffington Post. A conversation with your child might go like this...
Dear child name,
I'm concerned about the amount of free time you are spending on your phone/tablet. Let's talk about some of the reasons I don't want you to spend too much time online. Here are some of my hopes for you. I want you to...
- Read social cues: A critical success skill is the ability to identify and respond to social cues. The online world does not provide any practice with 'reading' a social situation.
- Learn to cooperate: Although social media connects people, it rarely calls upon them to cooperate on something. Kids need live connection with family or friends to skill up.
- Live inclusively: Just like real life can be, social media connections can be exclusive and cliquey. Help your kids broaden their friendship horizons by connecting with family members, neighbors, class friends, club and team friends, and church friends.
- Enjoy boredom: Boredom breeds creativity. If your kids grab a phone or tablet every minute of downtime, they'll miss out on opportunities to relax, think, play, and create.
- Avoid drama: Although social media can be a place of encouragement and coalition-building, teens frequently get mired in unnecessary drama.
- Live in the moment: Many kids and adults develop FOMO (fear of missing out). If one attends to a phone or tablet almost exclusively, one misses out on simple and beautiful moments. Encourage your kids not to see life solely through a lens or on a screen.
- Get enough sleep: Tech can negatively impact teen sleep if kids are on a screen too close to bedtime (harder to fall asleep, get deep sleep, and stay asleep) or if they are getting up at night to check messages. Keep tech devices out of the bedroom and cut use off one hour before bedtime.
- Be kind and be safe: The anonymity of social media can lead many kids to make decisions they would not make in real life. They can be mean, cyberbully, and send sexual images or messages that would not likely happen in face-to-face communications.
Find time to have a conversation about these points. Are there any points/hopes that you and your child view as strengths? Any points/hopes that might be targeted for improvement?
GOOD READS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENTS/GUARDIANS
How much help is too much? When do I step in and when do I stand by? Check out this great article, "The Effects of 'Helicopter Parenting'" from Psychology Today.
Does your child struggle with organization, planning, deadlines, and task completion? If so, check out this compendium of strategies from "Understood."
This blog from New Sport contains great information about supporting your child during athletics but is transferable to any club or activity as well!
Upcoming Events: Mark your calendars now!
Late Start/Two-Hour Delay Day on Wed. September 19th
Fall Choir Concert on Thu. October 4th at SHS McClain Hall at 7 PM
SMS Dodgeball Tournament on Tue. October 9th 3:00-6:00 PM
End of Grading Period on Fri. October 12th (report cards available at conferences)
Fall Break from Mon. October 15th to Fri., October 19th
SMS Student-Led Conferences on Tue. Oct. 23rd and Thu. Oct. 25th from 3:30-6:30 PM
Information about conferences will be shared in an upcoming Scoop issue.
SMS Fall Awards on Fri. Oct 26th at 1:30 PM
Info about our awards program will also be shared in an upcoming Scoop!
Early Dismissal Day on Wed. Oct. 31st (dismissal at 12:55 PM for teacher PD)
Election Day/No School on Tue. Nov. 6 (teachers have PD meetings all day)
School Play on Fri. Nov. 9th at SMS Great Room at 6:00 PM
School Dance on Fri. Nov. 16th 6:30-9:00 PM
Get ready to chaperone! We'll have a great time!