A Little Kindness

Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm, states that Americans believe a lack of civility has reached crisis proportions.

Civility is defined as polite, respectful behavior. And this is a topic we’re addressing over the next few months in 6th-8th grades Advisement.

This week, we discussed Random Acts of Kindness.You can view the discussion starter video here.

(Note: If you’d like the name and number of Corrie’s hairdresser, I might have it handy.)

The Advisement Facilitators (Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Springthorpe, Mrs. Schiffmann, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Griffin) talked with the students about various acts of kindness and how it feels to be a recipient of as well as a grantor of these types of acts.

thanksgiving_cat_and_dog_md_whtFollowing this theme, we’ll have an opportunity to donate gloves, mittens, and socks for people of all ages when we return from Thanksgiving holidays. Please put these items on your list if you happen to be out and about.

In 5th grade we continued reading Rules and saw a budding friendship developing between Catherine and Jason.

And in 4th grade, we had our Class Meeting. We shared things we’re thankful for and learned some new things about each other.

I’m truly thankful for our students, families, and teachers!


Happy Thanksgiving, GOC Family!!

Dr. Edwards



The Benefits of Being Thankful

ThanksgivingOwlAs Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a good time to consider the benefits of having an “attitude of gratitude.”

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.

We’ll have another giving opportunity soon where we’ll collect gloves, mittens, and socks for folks of all ages.

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 consider what’s going well in your life daily. You can list big things such as a good report from a physical checkup to simple things like made all the green lights to campus today.


Keep your thoughts positive. Notice when your thoughts are negative or complaining. Reframe a negative thought into a positive one. For example: “I have so much school work to do.” A positive reframe for this thought could be, “I’m about to get an entire week off from school!” or “Ugh, I have to cook for all my relatives this Thanksgiving.” The positive reframe could 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!

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

Have a great weekend, all!

(Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/giving-thanks)

You are here…

This week, I talked with the students in 6th-8th grades about the time left this semester.


It’s crazy how fast this first semester has gone! Students have only three (3) full weeks of school before final exams. I know!!


The kids were a little surprised, too. We discussed doing their very best these last few weeks and ending the semester as well as possible.


We continued reading Rules in 5th grade. We talked about the rules: If you don’t have the words you need, borrow someone else’s. And…

Pantless brothers are not my problem.pumpkin_face_surprised_md_wht


And we had our very first Class Meeting in 4th grade. Be sure to ask your student about it.

Have a great weekend!!

P.S. The entire final exam schedule can be found here.

Ever Feel Overwhelmed?

In middle school Advisement, we discussed what to do if you ever feel overwhelmed.

You can watch the short video here: Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you feel overwhelmed with school work, take a break:

  • do something physicalhealthy_kids_running_md_wht
  • eat a healthy snack
  • get a change of scenery

Taking a short 10-20 minute break can relax your brain and help c_volt_batteries_md_whtyou “recharge your battery” so you can focus on the tasks in front of you.



Then we talked about what to do if you ever get behind in your work.

Video – What to do When You Get Behind

If you get behind, you should:business_guy_back_to_work_md_wht

  • consider adjusting your schedule (time you get started, how long you spend in each class, breaks, work setting, how you limit distractions, etc.)
  • stay current – do today’s work today, then go back to past assignments
  • contact your teachers and discuss missed assignments

Thanks to Dr. Johnson, Dr. Griffin, Mrs. Triemer, Mrs. Campbell, and Mrs. Schiffmann for facilitating the lessons this week! You ladies ROCK!

I’m always available to discuss a student’s daily schedule and see if there’s anything that needs to be tweaked to help him or her be more successful at GOC.

pumpkin_face_winking_md_whtHave a great weekend! 

Dr. Edwards



Things are hopping at GOC!

Things are hoping goon_blue_hair_jumping_md_wht at GOC!

The 6th-8th grade students continued their Advisement lessons on What to do when you get behind and How to handle feeling overwhelmed. Here’s one of the videos the kids saw this week or will see next week. Feeling overwhelmed?

51yS9y0WAaL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_In 5th grade, we’re reading Rules. Catherine finally saw the new neighbor who’s moving in next door. Unfortunately, the neighbor’s first words weren’t, “Hey there!” or “Come on over!” They were, “Is he okay?” She was referring to Catherine’s brother, David. Oh well, Sometimes you gotta work with what you got.

In November, we’ll start Class Meetings in 4th grade. We’ll have them every other week at the end of Technology class. I can’t wait!

You can click below to learn more about Class Meetings!

Class Meetings PowToon Class meetings

Have a great weekend!!

GOC Cares

GOC cares

During the year, students, faculty,and parents will be invited to participate in various service opportunities.


26In the past, we’ve helped out at the Animal Shelter, collected mittens and hats, and made lunches that were later served to needy kids in the area.




We’ve organized the food pantry and served the homeless at the Atlanta Mission.

Ms. Jackson, Kristin, & Carissacannedgoods

We’ve also donated and wrapped presents for the Southeast Co-Op and collected food and toiletries for a food bank.christmas toys

Next week is Gwinnett’s Great Days of Service.

Please bring in canned or other non-perishable food items and toiletries and place them in the GOC Cares wagon in the front lobby.

Let’s show our community that GOC really does CARE!

GOC faculty and family

Let us know if you have a service idea we can be a part of.

Have a great weekend!

6th-8th Advisement Lessons

At GOC, students in 6th-8th grades take part in the GOC Advisement Program. Our theme this year is Respect, Relationships, and Resilience.

In the past, Mr. Lollis and I taught each advisement lesson, but because we’re much bigger this year (our student numbers, not me and Mr. Lollis) we’re delivering the lessons in a different way.

Students take part in these lessons when they’re on campus in Learning Labs and from home if they’re connected virtually. Take a look at the video our middle school students watched and discussed this week. Advisement Lesson: Contacting Your Teachers

Students view the lessons in the classes below:teenage_girl_talking_phone_sm_wht

  • 6th (6A, 6B, & 6 Accel. Math)  – Dr. Johnson and Dr. Griffin
  • 7th (7A & 7B)  – Mrs. Triemer
  • 8th (8A, 8B, & 8C) – Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Schiffman

We’re excited about our new plan!

kayak_adventure_sm_whtWe hope students will take advantage of the long weekend to get caught up, work ahead, and do something fun!

Have a great weekend, all!

Dr. Edwardshiker_roasting_marshmallows_sm_wht

5th Grade Counseling Lessons

In 5th grade, we’re reading, Rules. We started on Monday when I read the first chapter at the end of Mrs. Creed’s class.

51yS9y0WAaL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”—in order to head off David’s embarrassing behaviors.
But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

Here are some of the rules Catherine teaches her brother to help him navigate life:

  • Sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got.
  • Say, “excuse me” after you burp.
  • Don’t stand in front of the TV when other people are watching it.
  • Flush!
  • A boy can take off his shirt to swim, but not his shorts.
  • It’s fine to hug Mom, but not the clerk at the video store.
  • Sometimes people don’t answer because they didn’t hear you. Other times it’s because they don’t want to hear you.

While reading Rules, we’ll discuss themes of friendship, family, fitting in, and understanding differences such as physical, mental, and social challenges.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

Planning for High School

It’s never too early for your middle school student to think about their high school career. And, now more than ever, there are choices to help link our students’ course work to their career goals.

Has your student ever asked, “When am I going to use this?”happy_face_scratching_chin_question_sm_wht

Sometimes it’s difficult to convince kids that what they’re  learning now will have any significance once they’re older, and Gwinnett County Public Schools has two unique schools that provide exciting hands-on learning where the answer to that question is crystal clear.

Typically, these courses are for students in their junior and senior years, but it’s important to learn about them now so students can properly plan with the help of their school counselor. Students would continue to take courses at their home school, but attend these schools for morning or afternoon sessions.

These specialized programs offer embedded academic courses for graduation credit in Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.

Grayson High School Technical Education

The programs they offer are listed below. Be sure to visit their website to learn more 4942184and attend their Open House and College/Career Fair held on October 22 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Audio Engineering

Commercial Photography

Culinary Arts

Digital Media

IT & Network Systems

Law & Justice

Music Technology

Robotics Engineeringdroid_with_power_problem_sm_wht

Sports Medicine

TV & Video Production

Veterinary Science

Maxwell High School of Technology

Maxwell High School of Technology prepares students to enter the service industry or a post-secondary institution by providing CTAE training that encompasses valuable academic, technical and employability skills.

The programs they offer are below. Visit their website to learn more and be sure to watch when they post their Spring Open House.

Architectural Drawing and Design

Collision Repairwoman_fixing_car_sm_wht


Culinary Arts

Early Childhood Education


4953061Fire and Emergency Services

Graphic Design


Interiors, Fashion, and Textiles

Law Enforcement Services

Maintenance and Light Repair (Automotive Repair)

Metals (Welding)

Personal Care Services (Cosmetology)

Programming (Apps and Game Design)

Therapeutic Services (Healthcare)

At GOC, our students will engage in various career activities and learn more about planning for high school.

Parents of eighth grade students will be invited to a parent session in the spring to learn more about planning for high school.

Have a great weekend, all!

Dr. Edwards

High School Credit in Middle School?

No way!  WAY!cool_kitty_sunglasses_ty_wht

Seventh and eighth grade students have several opportunities to work toward earning high school credit while still in middle school.

Seventh graders can take Year-long Spanish I, Part A in both semesters of 7th grade and Part B in 8th grade and be eligible for Spanish I Carnegie credit.

There are more opportunities for 8th graders. These are the classes that come with high school Carnegie credit:

Connections Options:

Introduction to Business Technologycool_md_wht

Introduction to Digital Technology

Year-long Spanish I, Part B (after completing 7th grade Spanish)

Math Options:

Algebra I, CC

Accelerated Algebra I

Required 8th grade Science Course:

Physical Science

I recently talked to the 7th and 8th grade students about earning credit while in middle school and I stressed the importance of doing their very best. Each semester grade matters; they are not averaged together.

Taking the high school credit is optional and not all students will want to take the credit. Currently, the grades earned in these classes do not count toward HOPE eligibility; but they do count in a student’s GPA for class rank, valedictorian, honor graduate, etc.


Parents and students don’t have to decide about taking the credit until the end of the 8th grade year. I’ll send out a letter and post more information in March.

Feel free to email me or leave a question in the Comments section.

Have a great weekend! And we’ll see you virtually next week!

Dr. Edwards