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!!

This week in Counseling…

We’ve had a fun week at GOC and I truly enjoyed being with your children!

We’re still reading Wonder in 4th grade.

We talked about how Via (Auggie’s sister) sometimes felt ignored because Auggie’s condition required so much attention from their parents. We discussed feeling conflicted – having two different emotions at the same time. Our kids did such a great job “stepping into Via’s shoes” and articulating why she would feel this way.

We continued working on our empathy skills in 5th grade in Class Meetings. We discussed perspective-taking so we can see all sides of an argument. Soon we’ll be problem-solving as a group.

The 6th grade students took the Learning Styles assessment this week. You can Owlread more about this activity here

We’ll take the Career Matchmaker assessment in 7th grade next week. This assessment matches students’ interests with possible careers.

I’ll continue calling each 8th grade student over the next week. If you get a call from me, know it’s a good thing! I’m just checking in since it’s often difficult to talk with each student during our busy Learning Lab days.  If you get a message from me, give me a call back or email me with a better number to reach you.

Whew! That’s it for now. Have a great weekend!!

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day (tomorrow)! heart_head_wink_ty_wht

How do you learn BEST?

On Tuesday, our 6th grade students will take a Learning Styles assessment to see what type of learner they are. Career Cruising, a web-based career exploration site, uses three major types.

All 7th and 8th grade students should have already taken this assessment in previous years. But if your student hasn’t, I’ll catch them up when I’m teaching the Career Lessons in their classes this month.

You can see a brief description of each type below. GOC is so unique and adaptable for students with each learning style. Here are some helpful suggestions to get the most from our learning environment.

 Auditory Learning

As an auditory learner, you learn best when you can hear the information such as teacher lectures and classroom discussions. You understand and remember things better if you hear them. You may understand better when you read out loud to yourself. Here are some things you can do to help you learn:

  • After reading something, make a summary and say it out loud
  • Use the audio function in D2L on available lessons
  • Watch recordings of Learning Lab sessions (even if you were present)
  • Try talking to yourself when problem solving
  • You may find written assignments easier if you talk it out as you write
  • Noises may be distracting to you so study in a quiet place

Since you learn best when you can hear the information, look for ways to make the information auditory by reading out loud, listening to recordings, or having people read to you. You may find it helpful to have a study partner who can ask you questions out loud.

 Visual Learning

As a visual learner, you learn best when information is presented in written form or visually through diagrams or pictures. You prefer to read rather than listen to a lecture. Here are some things you can do to help you learn:

  • Use diagrams, images and pictures
  • Create flash cards to study from
  • Take notes or write down key words and concepts as you read lessons
  • Highlight or underline important information in your notes
  • Make outlines of the material that shows how the ideas and concepts are related
  • Try to visualize the material as you hear it spoken

Since you learn best when the information is presented visually, GOC D2l lessons fit you perfectly. You can also make information visual by taking notes and outlines or drawing diagrams and charts.

Tactile Learning

As a tactile learner, you learn best from hands-on experience where you can manipulate something in order to learn about it. The more you are able to touch and manipulate the information the easier it will be for you to learn. You learn by doing so you tend to learn better when some type of physical activity is involved. Here are some things you can do to help you learn:

  • Think through a problem while doing something physical like shooting a basketball, walking, or sitting on a yoga ball
  • Make diagrams, notes, and flash cards as a way of being physical with the information
  • Participate in Learning Labs on campus and Rich Experiences
  • Vary your study location during the day
  • Rewrite your notes or type them on the computer
  • Actively work the information you are learning by making models or doing demonstrations and practice assignments
  • Use role playing to practice skills or act out what you are learning
  • Take short breaks for physical activity when studying

Since you learn best by doing, look for ways to be active with the information you are trying to learn by using the information in some way to incorporate movement. You may find it helpful to act out material with a study partner, go on field trips or visit museums and science centers. And definitely come to Learning Labs!

You and your student can logon to your student’s account and learn more about their learning style and career interest. In general, the login info is Username: gc-student ID; Password: S6-digit DOB (ex. if you were born February 9th in 1998 you would put S020998 as your password).

The Career Cruising site is packed with tons of information about careers. We’ll do various activities in class, but students are also encouraged to explore on their own

Career Cruising also has a helpful video for parents on how students and parents can use the site:

Have an awesome weekend!



Got Empathy?

Empathy is one of those traits you’re either born with or not. Right?heart_head_wink_ty_wht

WRONG! While some people might be more naturally empathic (being in tune with another person’s feelings), children can be taught empathy skills.

And we’re doing this in 5th grade Class Meetings every other Thursday.

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.

We’re well on our way! heart_head_nod_yes_ty_wht

Have a great super fantastic weekend!

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 their 7th and 8th grade years 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

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.

Information about signing up for these courses will be emailed to parents and discussed with students in March.

For more information, click here: Possible High School Credit in Middle School

If you have a general question, please post it in the Comments section.


The World of Work

The world of work has changed tremendously. In fact, many of the careers our kids will choose when they’re older haven’t even been “invented” yet!

cooking_with_chef_dominick_tv_show_sm_whtAt GOC, all our students will learn about and explore the 17 different career clusters and the plethora of jobs within each cluster.

Yesterday, the fifth grade students and I reviewed 13 clusters and next week we’ll look at the final four.girl_with_basketball_sm_wht

The 4th grade students will begin their career lesson next week and the middle school students will spend February learning Career Cruising activities.

The clusters are:

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

Architecture & Construction

Arts, Audio-Video Technology & Communications 

Business Management & Administration

Education & Training



Government & Public Administration

Health Science

Hospitality & Tourism

Human Services

Information Technologybusiness_woman_webmaster_sm_wht (1)

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security



Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Kids are curious about what their parents do for work. If you can, take your student to work for you for a few hours. Help them connect the skills you use each day with what they’re learning at GOC.lifting_teamwork_sm_wht

Have an awesome weekend!

Happy New Year GOC Students, Parents, and Faculty! happy new year

Wow…it’s 2015!  Don’t you love starting fresh? The new year is full of opportunities for each of us.

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Some people avoid making them for fear they won’t keep them. Thinking of things you’d like to try or change is a great exercise in self-reflection.

We want to challenge you to think about 2014–its triumphs and challenges. Perhaps you made really good grades. Or you struggled with preparing adequately for tests. Maybe you didn’t spend as much time being physically active as you would have liked.

Whether you’ve completed your first semester at GOC or your sixth, you can start Fresh!


What do I mean?

  • Manage your time wisely. Make a schedule and follow it. Be sure to build in breaks for stretching, snacking, and exercise. (Snacking’s my favorite.)
  • Get organized. Make folders for each course. Clean up your work space, making sure you have a pen and a notebook handy for taking notes. You can also use the Week at a Glance form to help you organize your week.


  • Become excited about learning something new. There’s tons of new technology out there and our teachers are great about introducing our students to it. Embrace learning something new.


  • Stay fully engaged. Be fully committed to whatever it is you’re doing at the moment. Don’t allow distractions or worries to eat away your attention or time.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Email, text, or call your teachers and counselor when you need help. Never suffer in silence.
  • Set one or two goals for the semester. We achieve more when we intentionally set goals. Maybe you want to make more friends. Set a goal to come to more Learning Labs or Rich Experiences or join a club. Set a goal to improve your grades. Consider what got in the way of good learning and grades last semester and take action.


Follow these simple tips and you’ll have a successful fresh start!

We’d like to hear from our students about ways to be successful at GOC. Please let Dr. Edwards know if you’d like to contribute a future blog post.


We hope you’ve noticed the wagon and GOC Owl.  Whenever they’re in the lobby, it means there’s a service opportunity that we’re hoping you’ll participate in.

Like the Gwinnett Great Days of Service in October.

GOC cares

And recently, we collected toys for the Gwinnett Southeast Co-Op’s Christmas Lights Celebration.

GOC faculty and students ROCK! Look what we donated!

Dr. Edwards' trunk

Dr. Edwards’ trunk

And a few faculty helped wrap presents. FYI, Dr. Kana can wrap just about anything. And Ms. Jackson, Ms. Sokol, and Dr. Kana play a very competitive game of name-that-Christmas-song.

Southeast Co-Op

Southeast Co-Op

We’ve also had a card-making Rich Experience for the residents of Applewood Towers in Lawrenceville.

So watch for the GOC wagon and jump right in!

To the service project, that is.


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.