How to be the Group Member Everybody Wants

Wow! It’s hard to believe we’ve been in school almost 7 weeks already!

Time flies when you’re having fun! time_flies_wings_md_wht

And we had fun in 4th grade yesterday in our counseling lesson. The topic was: How to be the Group Member Everybody Wants or How NOT to be a Dubnoxious Beasty. (You’ll just have to ask your kid about that.)

We discussed the rules to good group work.

1. State the directions to be sure each group member understands the task.

2. Allow time to hear a suggestion from each group member.

3. When giving your suggestion, keep it brief so you don’t take up too much time.

4. Decide on the best idea by voting or some other fair method.

5. If your idea isn’t chosen, don’t pout.

6. Do your part to make the task successful. cricket_group_chased_by_frog_sm_wht

7. Ask the teacher for help if needed after you’ve tried it yourselves.

8. Forget about the past.

9. Treat everyone with kindness.

Then we watched some pretty funny group work thanks to a two-headed dad, Bertha, Gladys, and Louise. (You sort of had to be there, but your student can displain* it to you. Or you can get the book, Bully Goat Grim, from the library and read it together.)


I’ll discuss this lesson with the 5th grade students next week.

Have a great weekend!

*displain: explain, carefully and slowly


Being the New Kid

This week the 6th grade students and I talked about being the new kid. We added 40 new students to the 6th grade, so just about everyone IS the new kid!

Here are the tips we discussed for managing the new-kid status.

1. Be nice to everyone. You never know who might become your new BFF, so always be a little kinder than you have to be.giving_a_may_day_basket_md_wht

2. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Sit in a different seat in learning labs and get to know new kids. Come to the Rich Experiences! (Speaking of which… next Thursday owl_flying_slow_md_wht(9/11) we’ll have a visit from the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. It’s free and from 12:30-1:45 on campus. You’ll get to see live birds of prey!)


3. Do things that lead to success like asking for help when you need it and reading and following ALL the directions in your lessons.

4. Be confident in yourself. Recognize that you’re already learned A LOT of new woman_surfing_computer_mouse_md_whtthings. Just think about the new tech skills you’ve acquired! You’ve come a long way, baby!

5. It’s okay to miss your old friends. Stay in touch with them and plan a time to get together.

6. Be optimistic and expect good things to happen. Expect to do well academically and socially at GOC! Positive thinking leads to positive action.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to shaking off the new-kid feeling and feel right at home school!

If you have a tip you’d like to share, please leave it in the Comments box!



Got Happy News?

Wow! We’ve had a full week of school for our 4th-8th students and our high school students will begin on Monday!

The Middle Grades Advisement Team (Mr. Lollis and Dr. Edwards) taught an advisement lesson this week to all of 7th and half of 6th grades. We discussed limiting distracting behaviors (trying to multitask when we should be listening), email etiquette, and Collaborate Chat behavior. Mr. Lollis and I gave some pretty bad examples so be sure to ask your student about it.

We love to celebrate our students’ accomplishments. So, if you’ve got a picture or short video of your student doing something even semi-spectacular, we’d like you to share it with us. We’ll post it on the Celebrations pages of the blog.

Great job this first week, GOC students and teachers!

Have a fantastic weekend!


Welcome students!

We’re SO excited you’re at GOC!

We have a lot going on at the beginning of the year. Please take a look at the Orientation schedule below and be on campus on the appropriate days. These sessions are meant to help you have a successful year.

Grades 4th-8th

Wednesday Aug. 6   9:00– 12:30 New Student & Parent Face to Face Orientation

Thursday, Aug. 7      9:00– 12:00 New Student & Parent Face to Face Orientation

Friday, Aug. 8    Grades 4 – 5     9:00 – 10:30 New Student Home Virtual Meeting

Grades 6 – 8    11:00 – 12:30 New Student Home Virtual Meeting

Monday, Aug. 11       9:00– 3:00    New & Returning Students (Face to Face First Day of Class)

Tuesday, Aug. 12     9:00– 12:10  First Learning Lab Day


Grades 9th-12th

Thursday, Aug. 14   9:00– 12:00     HS Orientation for New Students & Parent Meeting

Friday, Aug. 15        12:30– 1:30     Home Virtual Meeting (New Students)

Monday, Aug. 18      9:00– 2:00       HS  First Day of Class (on campus)


I can’t wait to see you and hear all about your summer! If you’d like, tell us something cool about your summer in the Comments below!

See you soon!

Dr. Edwards


CRCT time!

I’m sure all of our GOC students and parents are aware that this week is CRCT testing.

Here are a few tips to remember:

  • get enough sleep each night. Testing begins at 9am each morning and it’s really important to be rested.
  • eat a healthful breakfast. This is not the time to skip breakfast. Nutritious breakfast cereals and bars are a quick morning meal. My kids love peanut butter on toast.
  • relax. Remember to take a deep breath and make positive statements to yourself. You can do this! When a question is difficult, do your best and move on.

We’re excited to get to see the students each day!

GOC Goes to the Dogs…Again!

animal shelter 116

The Service Club had a great time at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter last Friday. This was our second time to go.

Officer Jackie gave us a behind-the-scenes tour and we got to see the shelter’s barn. animal shelter 128There were two pigs!

She also told a few interesting stories about calls involving exotic pets. Burmese python? No thank you!

animal shelter 132The animals appreciated the dog and cat treats the GOC students donated.

And one very lucky dog got a new home! Virginia has pic18661named him Jasper. I love it when we make new friends!


Tell us about your pet or experience at the Animal Shelter.

Cruising to Your Career

The world of work has changed. In fact, there are careers not even “invented” yet that our kids might choose when they’re older.

cooking_with_chef_dominick_tv_show_sm_whtAt GOC, all our students are learning about the 17 different career clusters and the plethora of jobs within each cluster. The clusters are:

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

Architecture & Construction

Arts, Audio-Video Technology & Communications 

Business Management & Administration

Education & Training



Government & Public Administration

Health Science

Hospitality & Tourism

Human Services

Information Technology business_woman_webmaster_sm_wht (1)

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security



Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Our 4th and 5th grade students are learning about the clusters and examples of different careers within each one.

The 6th – 9th grade students will complete particular lessons in Career Cruising. Some students have already taken inventories to discover their learning style and match their interests to particular careers.editor_md_whtprofessor_md_wht

The 10th-12th grade students will learn about the possibilities of earning college credit now and research colleges that offer degrees in their interested areas.

We’ll continue these activities through the month of April.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit www.CareerCruising or talk to one of the GOC counselors.


Fresh Starts

Don’t you love fresh starts? Starting something new or committing to doing something old better?


Fortunately, life gives us plenty of opportunities for fresh starts.

So whether this is your first semester at GOC or your sixth, you can start Fresh!

What do I mean?

  • Manage your time wisely. Make a schedule and follow it. Be sure to build in breaks for stretching, snacking, and exercise. (Snacking’s  my favorite.)
  • Get organized. Make folders for each of your courses. Clean up your work space, making sure you have a pen and a notebook handy for taking notes.


  • Become excited about learning something new. There’s tons of new technology out there and our teachers are great about introducing our students to it.


  • Stay fully engaged. Be fully committed to whatever it is you’re doing at the moment. Don’t allow distractions or worries to eat away your attention or time.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Email, text, or call your teachers and counselors when you need help. Never suffer in silence.
  • Set one or two goals for the semester. We achieve more when we intentionally set goals. Maybe you want to make more friends. Set a goal to come to a Rich Experience or join a club. Set a goal to improve your grades. Consider what got in the way of good learning and grades last semester and take action.


Follow these simple tips and you’ll have a successful fresh start!

We’d like to hear from our students about ways to be successful at GOC. Please let    Dr. Edwards know if you’d like to contribute to future blog posts.

Taking Good Notes

by Guest Blogger: Dan Lollis, GOC Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher

Taking notes can be a challenging and difficult task for middle school students. We all probably remember classes from high school or college where we took pages and pages of “notes” only to sit down when it was time to study and stare in confusion at what we had written. GOC students won’t have to make the same mistakes we did. Specific note-taking strategies and lessons have been taught to GOC students and can be applied, practiced, and used in any academic class.

book_open_close_sm_clrOur first note-taking lesson, Cornell Notes, focused on a simple strategy that students can use to take notes during reading, during a learning lab lesson, or during and online lesson. Cornell Notes are a great way for student to take notes while they are reading or learning. Our lesson focused on writing down the most important information and coming back at the end of the lesson or reading to summarize and understand the notes. This strategy is simple but highly effective and used by many universities and most law schools across the nation. More information and a template can be found here:

The second strategy, Window Notes, will focus on engaging the middle school student by asking students to deeply focus on a topic and explore facts, feeling, ideas, and questions. This note-taking strategy is ideal for “big-picture” topics in science and social studies and is a great way for students take notes after a lesson or in order to summarize. More information with examples and simple instructions can found here:

Students shouldn’t be afraid to take notes, and middle school is the time and opportunity to learn which note-taking strategies and skills work best. If your child still colored_pencil_blue_drawing_sm_clrstruggles to take notes, have them practice with one of these strategies (the Cornell note-taking strategy is the simplest) in one class. Just like in sports, it takes practice to become proficient and effective at taking notes. Encourage your child to practice one of these strategies at least once a week.

Thank you, Mr. Lollis!

The middle grades students practiced the Cornell Notes strategy during the last Advisement lesson with Mr. Lollis and will learn the Window Notes strategy in an upcoming Advisement lesson.

Parents of our high school and middle grades students often ask us how to teach their students to take helpful notes. Take a look at these links and you and your student can also view the recording where this lesson was taught.

If you have a comment or another strategy, please tell us below. Also, parents and students can be automatically alerted via email when a new post is made on our blog by clicking on the FOLLOW button.