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!!

Counseling lessons at GOC

It’s been a busy two weeks in counseling and advisement at GOC!

Fourth and fifth grade students have had their personal safety/Child Lures lesson. You can read more about it here.

WonderWe’ve also continued our Wonder lessons in 4th grade.

In 5th grade Class Meetings last week, we talked about how we often make a difficult situation even worse because don’t state how we’re feeling in a constructive and calm way. We discussed how to deescalate our emotions and situations using I Messages.

We practiced giving I Messages using the sentence stem: i_md_wht

When _______________, I feel _______________ and I want ____________.

Example: When you blurt out when I’m talking, I feel ignored and I want you to listen when it’s my turn to talk.

Using an I Message doesn’t guarantee we’ll get what we want, but when used calmly it can help us state how we feel about a situation without making the situation worse.

I encouraged the students to practice giving I Messages at home and school. We’ll continue learning problem-solving skills and the students will be ready to try actual problem solving soon.

We’re discussing how our behavior can negatively impact others in 6th and 7th grade Advisement. Dr. Kana, Mr. Lollis and I acted out various situations and then we discussed the possible impact on others.

The situations included spreading rumors, excluding others by moving seats, and not being invested in the planned activity during Learning Labs. The students did an awesome job explaining how behaviors impact others, even if unintentional.

We’ll continue this lesson in 6th grade and 7A next week.

Have an awesome weekend!spring_daisies_twirling_lg_wht

Want to save money on college?

The Georgia Department of Education sponsored program, Move On When Ready (MOWR) is a perfect way to cut college costs.

Even though this program is designed for 11th and 12th grade students, it’s never too early to plan for your child’s education. This information is included in our on-going counseling lessons in 8th grade and we’ll discuss it in our rising 9th grade parent meeting on April 14.

Move On When Ready Act (MOWR), House Bill 149, was signed into law April 2009 as a dual enrollment opportunity for students to attend a postsecondary institution full-time during their junior and/or senior year of high school.

Students that participate in MOWR will receive high school credit and college credit simultaneously while attending college classes on the college campus, full-time. Approved college on-line courses may also be taken that meet high school graduation requirements.

How does Move On When Ready help students? MOWR provides high school students the opportunity to “jump start” postsecondary education during the high school years. Once a student meets the admission requirements and is accepted to a technical college, 2-year college, or 4-year university, the high school student will be free to “move on” earlier to the next educational level.

The opportunities within the MOWR legislation provide students an educational alternative other than the traditional high school setting or school day structure. The Move On When Ready Act also provides students an option to earn postsecondary credit before graduating high school. Students who earn postsecondary credit while in high school, according to recent research, are more likely to graduate from college or university.

What does Move On When Ready cost? Students can save money on future college costs because most expenses are paid by a funding mechanism established by the legislation. MOWR covers students to enroll full-time (12 semester hours) in postsecondary institutions to earn high school and college credits simultaneously.

How can students participate in Move On When Ready? Interested students need to meet with their high school counselor and parents to discuss the guidelines and responsibilities of the MOWR program. Students are eligible to participate in Move on When Ready if they are entering 11th or 12th grade, as determined by the local system, and have spent the prior school year in attendance at a public high school in Georgia. Before students become MOWR candidates, they must meet the admission requirements of the selected college/university. Once accepted, students will need to complete the application form, meet the dual enrollment/ MOWR requirements as set by the eligible institution in addition to the GaDOE guidelines, and select approved courses to take at the college level that meet the high school graduation requirements.

What Else Do You Need To Know? Tuition, materials, fees and possibly books are paid through MOWR funding.  Food, transportation, and other costs are the responsibility of the student. Students participating in Move on When Ready are not eligible for any other state student financial aid at an eligible institution for courses taken under the program. They can receive additional institutional aid or local scholarships from the local postsecondary institution they are attending.  Move on When Ready course hours do not count against any maximum hourly caps for HOPE scholarships or grants. Students may live on campus or commute and the student is responsible for expenses related to these living costs. Students entering grade nine for the first time during the 2011-2012 school year and beyond, will need to pass the Georgia High School Writing Test and take Georgia public high school End of Course Tests, which contributes to 20% of the course grade.

Pretty cool, huh? Middle school students will learn more in April about this opportunity. If you have a high school student currently at GOC, please contact Dr. Lindsey Brown if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend!

Note: MOWR information taken directly from the GA DOE MOWR brochure.

Transitioning to 9th grade

We’re talking about the transition to high school in 8th grade Advisement. I was with 8B students yesterday and I’ll see 8A students soon.  This discussion will continue through April.

All 9th grade students will take:

9th grade Literature and Composition

Math (Algebra I, Accelerated Algebra I, Geometry or Accelerated Geometry)


Health (1 semester only)

PE (1 semester only)

2 Electives – choices include:

  • World Geography
  • AP Human Geography
  • Spanish I or Spanish II
  • Technical and Business Education electives

In early April, the teachers will give their course recommendations for our 8th graders and the students will share these with their parents.

On April 14 (11:10-12:10), Dr. Brown (the high school counselor), Mrs. Tennant (the Tech Ed. Department Chair) and I will meet with the 8th grade parents to discuss:

We hope all our 8th grade students will remain at GOC for their high school education, but if a student decides to go to another school, he/she can take the course recommendation sheet with them when they register at another high school.

Parents can read more about the courses required for high school graduation in the Choice Book.

As always, feel free to email or call me with any questions.

Have a great weekend! I hear things are warming up!partly_sunny_md_wht

Keeping Our Kids Safe

As parents, our number one job is keeping our children safe. We never want to alarm our families, but here are some facts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

  • Approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing.
  • More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
  • More than 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members.
  • An estimated 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These “stereotypical” kidnappings involved someone the child did not know or was an acquaintance.

In March, I will teach the Child Lures program to our 4th and 5th grade students. The key objective is to teach children to stay safe by:

Listening to their instincts to recognize and avoid situations that might threaten their personal safety.

Recognizing various child lures that someone might use to trick a child into trusting them.

Understanding what to do if they are faced with a child lure.

Types of child lures discussed in 4th grade:

  • The Fun & Games Lure
  • The Affection Lure
  • The Assistance Lure
  • The Friendship Lure
  • The Bribery Lure
  • The Emergency Lure
  • The Authority Lure
  • The Job Lure
  • The Ego/Fame Lure
  • The Online Lure

In 5th grade, we’ll review the lures discussed in 4th grade and watch a video that features 4 children telling their own story of abuse and how they received help.

A letter will come home to parents soon discussing the program further.

I hope you have a wonderful, warm weekend!!