Student Writing

SUCCESS TIPS

This means coming to Zooms/Google Meets on time and being fully present. If you cannot, it is your responsibility to communicate with me, check the agenda on my website and Google Classroom for assignments, and complete the work.

BE HERE
BE RESPONSIBLE

You have a lot more freedom and choice during remote learning, but that comes with a lot more responsibility. Be a responsible digital citizen and make good choices. Pretend you are in the classroom

BE RESPECTFUL

Do the right thing:  Be kind, courteous and respectful of others AND of yourself!  Be remembered for the kind things you did, not how mean you were in middle school.

BE HONEST

All work that you submit must be your own. This does not mean turning in a copy of someone else’s work, letting someone at home do your work for you, nor copying information from a website without citing it. I take pride in a classroom that is based on trust and respect.  

BE RESOURCEFUL

When you can’t find something or figure something out, it’s easy to just email your teacher. Now, multiply your emails by about 100 and you’ll understand what your teacher goes through when everyone does this. You will benefit yourself in the future to persevere in trying to find answers yourself before defaulting to a quick email. Reread the directions, Google your question, watch a tutorial, or ask your peers.

BE RESILIENT

You are going to make mistakes. These little failures are not the end. They are the pathway to a deeper understanding. When you fall down, stand back up again -- I’m not so worried about the fall; I’m worried about how you get back up. You know how a rubber band is stretchy? It gets pulled every which way and bounces back. Be the rubber band.

10 Social-Emotional Skills for Middle School Students

1. Make good friend choices. This typically comes on the heels of making some questionable choices. Kids figure out quickly which friends instill a sense of belonging and which ones make them feel uncomfortable. It can be helpful to ask your children these questions: Do you have fun and laugh with this person? Can you be yourself? Is there trust and empathy? Common interests are a bonus.

2. Work in teams and negotiate conflict. I don't think many students get through middle school without feeling like they had to carry the load on at least one group project. Maybe they didn't delegate and divide the work effectively at the onset. Perhaps they chose to take ownership to avoid a poor grade. Help them understand what happened and consider what they might have done differently.

3. Manage a student-teacher mismatch. Unless there is abuse or discrimination, don't bail them out by asking for a teacher change. Tell them they still can learn from a teacher they don't like. Let them know it's a chance to practice working with someone they find difficult. Remind them that if they can manage the situation, they won't feel powerless or helpless the next time. Focus on concrete barriers to success in the class, not the interpersonal conflict. Is it miscommunication? Study skills?

4. Create organization and homework systems. Make sure they are the architects of this process. Encourage them to come up with solution-oriented plans and tweak them as needed. Do they need to use their planner? Create a checklist? Their motivation will come from ownership. If they say they don't care, remind them that they don't have to be invested in a particular outcome in order to change their behavior. People who hate exercise can still choose to lift weights.

5. Monitor and take responsibility for grades. If you care more than they do about their grades, why should they worry? Let them monitor their own grades, and if they don't do well, don't step in to advocate for assignment extensions or grade changes. Let them carry the burden and experience the connection between preparation, organization, and grades. Conversely, if they are perfectionists, they will learn they can survive and manage the disappointment of a low grade.

6. Learn to self-advocate. By middle school, they should be learning how to ask teachers for help or clarification. This may be in person or through email. When students bond with teachers, they connect more intimately with the material, too. Unless there is no other option, try not to reach out on their behalf.

7. Self-regulate emotions. Children often need assistance labeling strong emotions before they can regulate them. Help your kids identify any physical symptoms that accompany their stressors. This may help them know when to take a breath or hit the "pause" button before reacting. In real-time, point out when they handle an emotional situation well. Discuss the strategy they implemented-maybe they took a break or listened to music. Also, help them make connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Are they stuck in all-or-nothing thinking? Are they consistently self-critical?

8. Cultivate passions and recognize limitations. When your children are fired up about something, run with it, and encourage exploration. Seize the opportunity to help them go deep. Get books, go to museums and be supportive even if the subject does not excite you. In the process, you will help them figure out what drives them. On the other hand, it is OK if they struggle in a specific area. That, too, is useful information. No one needs to be good at everything.

9. Make responsible, safe, and ethical choices. Teach them to respect their bodies, and to make safe and healthy decisions. It is equally important to talk about how to avoid putting others at risk. Have open conversations and discuss plans for different scenarios they may encounter. Try not to be overly reactive if they ask shocking or distressing questions. Keep the lines of communication open.

10. Create and innovate. Our changing world needs imaginative creators and divergent thinkers. It also can build confidence to think independently and outside the box. As your kids do their homework, read required texts, and take standardized tests, remind them that these benchmarks are not the only ways to measure success. Encourage them to make connections across material from different classes, and to build, write, invent, and experiment.

Circular Library

HOMEWORK TIPS

1. Have a quiet place for your child to work. This should be a desk or table that your child uses only for schoolwork or reading. This designated area should allow your child to focus her/his attention on the work to be accomplished. Play areas should be located elsewhere.

2. Have all of the materials and learning tools your child will need in this study area: paper, pencils, erasers, ruler, calculator, dictionary, encyclopedia, and the like. This will avoid unnecessary trips to the kitchen, family room, or other non-academic areas.

3. Provide a quiet place with few distractions. Do not allow your child to attempt to work with music or television as a background distraction.

4. Use a timer to help your child stay on task. Break the homework time into fifteen to twenty minute sessions. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and give her/him a break, if needed, when the bell rings. Eventually, you should be able to set it for longer periods of time between breaks. Preferably, the timer should not have an audible ticker and should be placed out of the child’s sight.

5. Be there to offer support and to check completed work, but don’t do the homework yourself. Your child needs to feel good about herself/himself and to feel the sense of accomplishment achieved when she/he completes the assignments appropriately.

6. Check off assignments that have been completed in student organizer. File the completed homework in the appropriate section of student binder. Put binder in backpack at night.