Technology Etiquette

Mr. Lollis and I taught our first Advisement Lesson: Technology Etiquette to the students in 6th-8th grades.girl_listening_to_headphones_md_wht

This lesson always leads to lots of discussion. I mean, we can all multitask, right?

Right. But just because we can do more than one thing at a time, doesn’t mean we should.

techie_using_laptop_md_whtWe discussed the need to be 100% engaged when in Learning Labs. In general, when a teacher is speaking, it’s best to have laptops lowered and phones put away. There are times when a teacher will want a student to use his/her devices and they’ll be sure to make it clear that it’s appropriate to have them out.

Our students are awesome and they all get it. Feel free to use this lesson at home when you might be giving instructions. :)

Have a great weekend!

Being the New Kid (or the Not-So-New-Kid)

This week the 6th grade students and I talked about being the new kid. We have 47 students to the 6th grade, and 27 of them are new.

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(8/27) our families are invited to the Gwinnett Braves game. If you miss this opportunity, plan to come to the Art Experience on Sept. 9 at 12:30.

3. Do things that lead to success like:

  • asking for help when you need it,
  • reading and following ALL the directions and content in your lessons, and
  • never skipping a lesson.

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!


Where do I look for…

All parents want their children to succeed. In most situations we know just how to do that. But when the learning environment is new and different, it’s much more difficult.

At GOC, our students learn using the D2L Brightspace platform. This is where all their daily lessons are stored.

As a parent, you may have asked, “Where do I look to see if my child has missing assignments?” or “Where do I look to see my student’s grades?” or “Why did my child make a low grade on that math assignment?” magnifying_glass_private_eye_md_wht

If you know where to look, you can get the answers to these questions and more.

Below is a Parent’s Guide to Understanding D2L. You may want to print it and look at it with your student.

Parent Guide to Understanding D2L

It won’t have all the answers to the universe, but it will help you understand the day-to-day world of school your student works in.

Have a great weekend!



Getting Organized

It’s been awesome meeting our new students this week!20150812_132645

Next week, our on-campus Learning Labs will begin.

  • 4th-6th Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-12:00
  • 7th-9th Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-12:00
  • 10th-12th Mondays 1:00-3:30

No matter if you’re a returning student or a new one you’ll need to find the best tools for helping you stay organized.


The Week at a Glance tool is designed to help you organize your week. 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. Open up a course, then click on Course Schedule, then click on the Full Schedule tab. (Note: You won’t see this if you haven’t done the Orientation Lesson.)

Now you can see the schedule for each day. It may be that you just need to read the lesson. Often, there is also an assignment (Dropbox, Student Workroom, etc.)

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. Never skip a lesson!

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 Thursdays, 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 three Learning Labs, two dropbox assignments, and a quiz.


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

Students may need an adult to help complete this the first couple of weeks, but soon each student can become skilled and complete the Week At A Glance on their own.

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!



Welcome to GOC!!


We’re so excited to begin another year at GOC!

Dr. Brown and I will see all new students at the various orientation sessions:

  • 4th-6th Wednesday, August 12, 8:30-2:00
  • 7th-9th Thursday, August 13,  8:30-2:00
  • 10th-12th Friday, August 14,  9:00-11:00

We’ll see all returning and new students at our first Learning Labs and Campus Time the following week.

  • 4th-6th Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-12:00, starting August 17
  • 7th-9th Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-12:00, starting August 18
  • 10th-12th Mondays 1:00-3:30, starting August 17

Remember, this blog is a great way to see what’s happening on campus, especially where counseling lessons and activities are concerned. I’ll post new information weekly.

I’m looking forward to seeing you and hearing about your excellent summer adventures!

OwlDr. Edwards, Counselor, 4th-8th grades



Summer Reading and Math Suggestions

Can you believe final exams are next week?

And you know what that means…summer_txt_sm_wht

Summer is just around the corner!

boy_playing_with_beach_ball_sm_whtWe hope you spend hours playing, swimming, sight-seeing, and also reading and practicing math.

I turned to the experts for summer reading and math recommendations.

Here’s an extensive list of reading suggestions from Ms. Sotolongo, our new 4th and 5th grade LA teacher.Recommended Summer Reading 4th & 5th grade

And Mr. Lollis has a list for 6th-8th grade students. Middle Grades Summer Reading List

Dr. Griffin suggests students practice math 20-30 minutes a day during the summer and this site is an excellent resource. Math Practice

So now you have a plan for summer, but remember to study for your exams.


The Gift of Encouragement

Some experts believe that the most important element in any relationship is encouragement. The lack of encouragement is often seen as the major cause of conflict and misbehavior.

So what is encouragement? It’s not a technique or special language. Encouragement conveys an attitude that all people are worthwhile simply because they exist.

Psychiatrist and family expert, Rudolf Dreikurs, said if a person feels encouraged, they will have the courage to be imperfect.softball_player_ready_to_catch_ball_md_wht

Think about that. What could you do—what would you be willing to try—if you had the courage to be imperfect?

In 5th grade Class Meetings, we spend time giving compliments and appreciations to each other. At the end of our meetings, we do some sort of encouraging or connecting activity.

Today was our last Class Meeting and our ending activity was the Encouragement Sign.

Students wrote messages to each other, stating things like:

  • Thank you for being my friend.
  • You’re really funny.
  • Thank you for playing with me.
  • You are kind.
  • You’re awesome at making people laugh.

Ask your 5th grade student about their encouragement sign and how they felt about giving and receiving the words of encouragement.

It was pretty cool! kids_on_a_merry_go_round_md_wht

To Take the Credit or Not

Should my student take the Carnegie credit or not? That’s the question and it’s an important one.idea_teeter_totter_sm_wht

I’ve talked with many 8th grade students and parents about this and it really comes to the student’s final grade.

note_md_whtThe important points to remember are:

  1. These middle school courses will not be used in GPA calculations for the HOPE scholarship according to the current Georgia Finance Commission rules for HOPE. This means these grades won’t affect your child getting HOPE money for college.
  2. These middle school courses will be used in the GPA calculation for high school, such as class rank, valedictorian, honor graduate, etc. This means they will affect any comparisons made within the school for graduation honors, awards, and reports to colleges, etc.
  3. If the state requires an EOCT (End of Course Test) for the course, students must take it to earn Carnegie credit. (EOCTs count 20% of the final grade.)
  4. Both semester 1 and semester 2 grades will appear on the high school transcript. The grades are not averaged. So, if a student makes an 85 first semester and a 95 second semester, both grades will appear, not an average of 90.

I tell the students that they should take the credit (and grades) with them to high student_grade_a_excited_md_whtschool if it’s a true reflection of their best work. If they know they can do better, it’s best not to take the credit and possibly negatively influence their gpa.

Parents and students can wait to make this decision once the final grades come back. The Carnegie Approval Form must be signed and returned to me before school gets out for summer.

I hope this clears up any confusion and if you’d like to discuss anything further, please contact me.

Have a great weekend!

Planning for High School: Part 2

Parents of rising 9th graders were on campus Tuesday to discuss all things related to high school.

If you were not able to attend, you can view the power point presentation: Planning for high school for PARENTS. I’ll send home the Carnegie Credit Forms with students next week of you were not at the meeting.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with our high school counselor, Dr. Brown, you can do so here

Two dates to remember:

Thursday, April 23 – turn in 9th Grade Registration Form

Thursday, May 14 – turn in Carnegie Credit Approval Formcalendar_may_flowers_md_wht

It’s hard to believe there are only four full weeks of school left! We talked about this in 6th and 7th Advisement yesterday and how to finish strong.

Have a great weekend! Stay dry!duck_holding_umbrella_rain_md_wht

Planning for High School: Part I

Today, I discussed making a four-year high school plan with the 8th graders. We high_school_md_blktalked about graduation requirements, specific high school courses and levels, and your student’s 9th course recommendations. You can view the power point presentation by clicking on: four year plan

The 8th grade teachers and I met to discuss the recommended courses for your student. The 9th Grade Registration Form went home today in a white envelope. Please discuss this form with your student, make any necessary adjustments, sign it, and send it back to me by April 23.

I will meet with the 8th grade parents on Tuesday, April 14, at 11:10-12:10 in the Training Suite. Dr. Brown, our high school counselor, will join us to talk about all things related to high school.

tulips_orange_lg_whtHave a SUPER spring break!!