The Benefits of Being Thankful

Did you know having an “attitude of gratitude” had huge benefits?

Researchers have linked maintaining a thankful attitude with:

  • Improved mental health
  • Buffers to stress and daily worries
  • Better physical well-being

You can adopt an attitude of gratitude by starting a few simple habits.

Focus on others. This is the season for lots of service and charitable opportunities. Find friends_decorating_sm_whtone and engage in it as a family or group. When we focus on others, we often discover our problems aren’t so bad.

Count your blessings. Concentrate on what you do have, rather than what you don’t have. For some, keeping a Gratitude Journal is a great way to daily consider what’s going well in your life. You can list big things such as a good report from a physical checkup to simple things like I made all the green lights to work today.


Keep your thoughts positive. Notice when your thoughts are negative or complaining. Reframe a negative thought into a positive one. For example: “Ugh, I have to cook for all my relatives this Thanksgiving.” The positive reframe would be, “I get to give the gift of a meal to my family members this season and be a part of a special memory for everyone.”

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” is a wonderful reframe by A.A. Milne of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. 

Sure, it’s takes practice, especially if you lean more toward Eeyore than Tigger on the personality spectrum. But with practice, it’s certainly do-able. And beneficial!

Happy Thanksgiving, all! pilgrim_kids_sitting_at_table_sm_wht


If you’d like to tell us how you stay thankful, please comment below.

Be an Upstander! 6th-8th Advisement Lesson

Everybody knows what a bystander is–someone who witnesses a conversation or event, but holds no responsibility for what happens.

But what’s an upstander?

That was the topic of our Advisement lesson this week. Mr. Lollis and I talked with the 6th and 7th grade students about the difference between teasing and bullying and about the importance of being an upstander.

An upstander stands up and says or does something when they see someone being bullied. We talked about that there may be some risk to being an upstander and that an adult might be needed in a bullying situation.

To truly eradicate bullying in our culture, we must send a message that it won’t be tolerated. We need more upstanders.

To help explain the importance of being an upstander, we showed a video.

You might need a little background first.

A male student in Canada wore a pink shirt to school on the first day. Now, guys wearing pink today is sort of cool. There really aren’t “girl” and “boy” colors anymore, and sometimes we wear pink to show support for breast cancer awareness.

But that’s not the response this kid got. Some students called him ugly names and harassed him.

Two people heard about it and said they wanted to do something to show that bullying was not accepted in their community.

And this is what they did…

We’ll teach this lesson to the 8th graders next week. We’ll also discuss cyberbullying and leaving a digital footprint in future Advisement lessons.

Have a great weekend!


5th Grade Awesomeness

It was fun to be with the 5th grade students yesterday and I’m SO excited about starting Class Meetings with them!

We’ll meet every other Thursday at the end of the Healthy Lifestyles Learning Lab.

Please click on the image below to learn more about Class Meetings!

PowToon Class meetings

It’s “Wonder”ful in 4th Grade

This week I began reading Wonder to the 4th grade students. We’ll get together each week at the end of their Technology class to read. It’s a perfect opportunity to integrate LA, Social Studies, and counseling terms such as point of view, empathy, acceptance, foreshadowing, metaphors, and geography.

Be sure to ask your 4th grade students what they think of the book so far. It’s going to be Wonderful!

You can read more about Wonder below.Wonder

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

Helping Our Community

Wow! The kids and faculty really came through!

GOC caresFriday is the last day we will collect donations. If you’re here for ITBS testing tomorrow, drop off a can. Or soap. Or TP – the really soft kind. :) Or anything!

We’ll put the wagon in the front lobby whenever we have a service opportunity. When you see it up front, you’ll know there’s some way you can help another person.

Thank you for caring!

Gwinnett’s Great Days of Service

Gwinnett County’s Great Days of Service is an annual event that benefits needy families in our area. We’ll collect items for two weeks, ending October 24.


Items needed:

all canned goods

non-perishable food items (peanut butter, mac & cheese, etc.)

baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.)


You can drop your donated items in the front lobby.

Thank you for helping our community!

Get Organized

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being you can’t even find a pencil right now and 10 being so organized Bill Gates would hire you to run his company) how would you rate your ability to organize your school life? buggy_scratching_head_md_wht

With so many activities going on in our lives these days, it can be a challenge to remember what’s due when.

The Week at a Glance tool is designed to help you organize your days. Week at a Glance

To use this tool properly, you’ll need to sit down Sunday evening or Monday morning and look in each of your 6 courses for the entire week. You can look at the course’s Checklist for each day or you can look at the teacher’s course homepage if they use their own version of week at a glance.

Use the key below to indicate what’s due each day.

LL – Learning Lab

DB – dropbox assignment due

SW – student workroom assignment due

T – test

Q – quiz

If a box is empty that means you still have a lesson to read, but nothing to turn in that particular day.

Your Week at a Glance might look like this:


Seeing your week like this can help you manage your time better. For example, if you have a tennis lesson, soccer practice, or Boy Scouts on Wednesdays, you might want soccer_boy_heading_sm_whtto work ahead because when looking at the Week at a Glance, you have a heavy day with four dropbox assignments and a Science test.


You can print a blank form each week, or put it on a dry erase board. Cross off the items as you do them.

Not every organization tool works for every student, but give this one a try. Commit to doing it for three weeks and see if you’re more productive with getting your school work done. You might find that you have more time to do the things you enjoy outside of school.

If you have a tool for staying organized or a study tip that works for you, please share it in the Comments box!




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!