4th and 5th Grade Happenings

We continue to talk about empathy in our 4th grade Class Meetings.heart_head_wink_ty_wht

We’ve looked at pictures of kids in various scenarios and guessed how they might feel. We’ve also noticed how our faces change based on emotions. The students realized that even if people experience the identical situation (e.g., a friend can’t come to your birthday party), they may have a different emotion (e.g., disappointment, anger, relief.)


The students were assigned homework where they’re to notice other people’s faces and try to guess their emotions. They can do this with family members, the person at the drive-through, characters on TV, etc.

You can encourage empathy for others with activities at home.

  • expand your feeling words vocabulary. Instead of only using sad, mad, or happy, use varying degrees of these emotions such as gloomy, irritated, or elated.
  • read or watch TV together. Discuss how various characters feel. Ask, “Would you have the same emotion in that situation?”

One of the goals of our empathy training is to become better prepared to problem-solve.

heart_head_nod_yes_ty_whtWe’re well on our way!

In 5th grade, we’re reading Rules. We’ve met Catherine’s little brother who has autism. She thinks it’s her job to help him navigate people, places, and situations. Some recent rules she’s given him are:

  • Sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got.
  • If you want to get away from someone check your watch and say, “Sorry, gotta go!”
  • Looking closer can make something beautiful.

The students are very aware of how we all have differences and exceptionalities. But we’re all the same in that we need love, support, and kindness.


I hope you have an exceptional weekend!

Dr. Edwards

You are Here!

Have you seen those directories where they have a huge arrow and YOU ARE arrow_blinking_sm_whtHERE signs? I always feel relieved when I find these, because having a point of reference helps me plan where I’m going.

This week I talked with all the 4th-8th grade students about the time left in this semester. We used the calendar below and discussed these points:

  • There are only a few weeks left in the semester, and there’s a sense of satisfaction in knowing you finished strong and did your very best. Get rid of any bad habits that may have creeped in and be sure to have regular sleep and wake times, spend at least an hour in each course each day, and prepare for your final exams.
  • fit_turkey_treadmill_running_sm_whtThanksgiving is here! Yay! Spend time with family, giving thanks, but you can also use this time to complete a missed, but still open dropbox.
  • Some of us experience anxiety, especially when we’re faced with a big test. Knowing the material is the best remedy for test anxiety. You can use this break to begin reviewing for your final exams. You may want to spend 30 minutes each day or 45 minutes every other day looking at old tests, lessons, and study notes.


You can print this calendar, then click here for the Assessment page link and fill in the specific final exam information for your child.

We are so very thankful for our faculty and families. We hope your family has the best of Thanksgivings!happy_thanksgiving_text_md_wht

Dr. Edwards

The Benefits of Being Thankful

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is right around the corner!

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 soon!” 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 on losing a loved one 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)

5th Grade Rules!

This week I stopped by Mrs. Holmes’ 5th grade science class to talk to the kids about reading Rules together. We’ll spend the last 15 minutes of class, alternating between the science and language arts classes, starting Nov. 9th. Here’s a little about the book:

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?


This will be a great way for us to talk about the themes of friendship, acceptance, and being a part of a family.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

GOC Cares

We had a great response to our request for shoes for Shoes for the Souls!


Next week, we’ll collect items for Gwinnett’s Great Days of Service.

Gwinnett County’s Great Days of Service is an annual event that benefits families in our area.


Items needed:

  • all canned goods
  • non-perishable food items (peanut butter, mac & cheese, etc.)
  • baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.)
  • toiletries

You can drop off your donated items in the front lobby.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

Class Meetings in 4th Grade

I’m so excited to start class meetings in 4th grade!guy_doing_cartwheel_sm_wht (1)

We’ll have them every other week on Wednesdays for 30 minutes. It’s a great way to:

  • build community,
  • teach how to give appreciations and compliments,
  • teach problem-solving skills and use these strategies to help each other problem solve, and
  • provide opportunities to encourage one another.

You can find out more here: Class Meetings

PowToon Class meetings

GOC Service Opportunities

Virtual Week is coming to a close and GOC students and teachers have excelled as usual!

fall_owl_gocWe’re excited about two service opportunities on campus during October.

Shoes for the Souls (Oct. 3-6) – please bring in new or gently used shoes that will be donated to the Atlanta Mission. The advisement facilitators and I have taught a lesson on overcoming adversity, featuring our very own McClain Hermes, in the 4th-8th grade classes. Shoes for the Souls is a charity that McClain started.

Gwinnett Great Days of Service  (Oct. 17-20) – please donate any non-perishable food items and toiletries for our local food banks.

Students, parents, and faculty will see the GOC service wagon in the main lobby. Please bring in your items to help those in need.

Happy Fall!


Email Etiquette

We’re constantly teaching 21st Century Skills at GOC. Our teachers encourage skill enhancement in their courses and we include them in our counseling and advisement lessons.

This week our advisement lesson on email etiquette specifically incorporated problem-solving, technology literacy, and communicating. You can see the lesson here. Email Etiquette

email_md_whtOur advisement facilitators emphasized specific tips when communicating with teachers via email with our 5th-8th students.

  1. Always use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  2. Make sure you use a friendly, mature tone.
  3. A teacher may take up to 24 hours (longer if sent on Friday afternoon) to answer your email. Be patient and work in another course while you wait for a response.
  4. Be sure to include:
    • a greeting
    • a specific reason for your email. (Ex. A specific question)
    • your name and group

Happy emailing!email_md_blk

Dr. Edwards

Being the New (or not so new) Kid

We’re so lucky to have lots of new students join us this year at GOC! Here are a few tips to help you manage 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. Also, come to the Rich Experiences! (Our next Rich Experience is October 7. You can see all of them here.)owl_flying_slow_md_wht



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!