Issue 2 - October 15, 2018
The First 8 Weeks
Can you believe student led conferences are right around the corner? Hopefully you have received the 1st 6 weeks report card in the mail, if you have not received it please contact the school as we may have the contact information for you.
Assuming your child received no "Ds" or "Fs" on the report card, made good choices with their behavior and have no unexcused absences they likely received their first Renaissance Card! If your child is uncertain on the status of their Renaissance card eligibility please contact their CAT Time teacher for clarification. Keep up the good work 2nd 6 weeks and continue with the positive choices.
Counselor Corner with Frint
How is everyone feeling about the transition to middle school? Has it gone as smooth as you expected? Rockier then you expected? The best advice I can give you regarding the continued transition from an elementary school to a middle school setting is communication. Communication is vital. Is your student communicating with you about school by bringing the planner home filled out everyday? Are you receiving communication from your child's teachers? (Some teams send out weekly or even daily reminders about what is going on in the classroom or homework!) Are you receiving weekly communication about grades? (This happens the last day of each school week during CAT Time.)
Now that the first of the year is over, the academics of 6th grade gets "meatier." I think you will still find most teachers do classroom material in class and most of the time there is no homework, unless the students do not finish in class. If you notice daily work scores are slipping you might contact your child's teacher to see what is going on. We are also in the portion of the year where quizzes, tests and projects are more the norm. Making sure students are prepared for these is vital as they are 80% of their grade.
The district has purchases a computer program called Xello which was formerly known as Career Cruising. This program allows for students to learn about their career interests, take interest inventories and discover what skills they may already have. It also allows for goal-setting, keeping track of volunteer work and cataloging activities they are involved in. I am currently setting up the students' accounts so stay tuned for more information in the near future.
Social Emotional -
What is the number one concern in 6th grade right now regarding emotions? Dealing with others and negative verbal comments towards each other. Mrs. Lundgren and I are spending a lot of time trying to restore relationships when mean comments are made towards others. While talking to students they often justify their negative responses by saying, "I have anger problems." We are working diligently with kids so they know that does not justify the negative comments they are making and attempting to get them to stop, reflect and then respond when someone says something negative. This is a daunting task but we will be persist.
Slowing down? It seems like all we do is go, go, go and there is never anytime to process anything. Something families can try is something we call "freeze frame." Talk with your children about the importance of "freezing" for 30 seconds and doing nothing. A neat activity you can do as a family is two or three times a day whenever an adult says "freeze" everyone in the family stops and does nothing for 30 seconds. No talking, no technology just stopping for 30 seconds. According to research, this teaches the brain to stop and process. If this becomes a habit, students will process information versus simply responding to it without thinking through their words. I tried it recently. It sounds simple but "unplugging" for 30 seconds is not as easy as it sounds.
Until next time. Michael Frint, 6th grade counselor
Talking To Your Child About Instagram
Some of your children have Instagram, some do not and some may even secretly have an account. Scholastic News has a guide that can help you talk to your children. Below is the link.
We have student-led conferences coming up this month. The expectation is your child comes with you to lead the conference. You should be receiving notification from your child's CAT Time teacher shortly, if you have not already. Please check your email for a link to sign up. Our goal is to have 100% participation. Below are the dates and times.
Wednesday, October 17th 3:30pm-7:45pm
Monday, October 22nd 3:30pm-7:45pm
Wednesday, October 24th 3:30pm-7:30pm
What to Expect: All of your child's team teachers will be in one classroom hosting conferences, while all Elective teachers will be in the cafeteria. You will make a 20-minute appointment with your child's CAT Time teacher where your child will share their goals and things they have been working on in their classes. You are welcome to come before your scheduled appointment or stay after to meet with other teachers. There is a 10-minute window of time before/after conference sessions for this opportunity. You may use this 10-minute open session to ask questions and get an update on your child's performance. *At parent request, we will arrange for a private conference location. Please make requests with your child's Cat Time teacher.
Due to these conferences, there will be NO SCHOOL on Thursday, October 25th and Friday, October 26th.
Did You Know?
Attendance in schools is the #1 predictor of student success. Kids need to be in school and in classrooms to learn. Students are considered "chronically absent" if they have missed 10% of school. What does absent mean? If your child has missed at least half of the school day, they are considered 'absent'. We have been in school for 45 days, so if your child has missed a little over 4 school days so far, they are at-risk for increased anxiety, stress, and failure in school.
Fact: If a child misses 1-2 school days each month from the time they start Kindergarten until they finish their Senior year of High School, they will have missed an entire year of school. This drastically changes the trajectory of their future.
You play a huge part in your child's education. By getting them to school on time and making appointments outside of school hours will make a positive impact. Thank you for your support!
Building a Great Relationship with Your Child
In the last week, I have overheard two families say that they hardly recognize their middle schooler as the same person they have raised all this time. If this is you, you are not alone. It is okay; your 'tween' is wired to be this way. Adolescence is the "toddler years" of adulthood. They begin to think differently and may act as if the world centers around them. Self concept is critical during this stage. The secret to parenting during these middle school years is to create a closer connection with your child. Be thoughtful in seeing the world through their point of view and providing them with positive attention. Dr. Laura Markham from Aha! Parenting suggests other ways to build a healthy, strong relationship with your child:
1) Prioritize time with your child. Attention = Love
2) Start with trust. You earn their trust by following through with what you say. You extend your trust when you expect the best from them and believe in their goodness and potential.
3) Encourage. Encourage. Encourage. They need your encouragement to see themselves as good people who are capable of good things.
4) Respect must be mutual. You can still set limits (and you should), but if you do it respectfully and with empathy, your child will learn how to treat others with respect and will expect to be treated respectfully him/herself.
5) Communication habits start early. It is hard to pay attention when you're rushing to fix dinner, but if you aren't really listening, two things happen. You miss an opportunity to learn about and teach your child, and they learn that you don't really listen so there is not much point in talking.
6) Don't take it personally. Has your 'tween' ever slammed the door, rolled their eyes, or huffed and puffed as they walked away. This is primarily not about you; it is about them. They are having a hard time controlling their emotions, and often the situation gets worse if you take things personally. It is important to take a deep breath, speak quietly, and respond calmly.
7) Resist the impulse to be punitive. Kids do need our guidance, but being punitive negatively effects your relationship; which could encourage them to misbehave more. Using positive discipline can help set more effective limits.
8) Stay available. Your child will sense your emotional availability. Make it a practice to stop everything and listen if your child signals they have a desire to talk. This can be difficult when we live such busy lives, but kids who feel that other things are more important to their parents often look elsewhere when they are emotionally needy.
Source: Markham, Dr. Laura. (n.d.) Building a Great Relationship with Your Child. Retrieved from https://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/connection/building-relationship.
Daylight Savings Time Ends
Sunday, Nov. 4th, 2am
Reminder to set your clocks back one hour and enjoy your extra hour of sleep.
Fact: Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep improves their mood, ability to make healthy decisions, improves their memory and their ability to adjust to a challenging life event (example: difficult class or relationship)