Transitioning to 9th Grade

I know it’s only February, but soon I’ll talk with our 8th grade students about going to high school.calendar_february_hearts_sm_wht

Here’s the timeline:

early March – 8th grade teachers will make high school course recommendations

mid March – Dr. Edwards will visit 8th grade students in Learning Labs and discuss high school courses and graduation requirements and give out the 9th grade recommended course schedules.

April 19 11:00-12:00 – Dr. Brown will meet with 8th grade parents to discuss high school courses and graduation requirements. Dr. Edwards will discuss Carnegie credits earned in middle school.

April 28 – all 9th Course Forms are due to Dr. Edwards

Parents will have time to review their student’s recommended course schedule and make changes.

If your student is remaining at GOC, I’ll give the course forms to Dr. Brown and your student’s courses will be set for fall.

If your student is going to another high school, you can keep a copy of the form to discuss with the high school counselor at this school. You will need to call and schedule an appointment to register your rising 9th grader at the new school. These appointments are usually made over the summer.

I’ll share the information discussed in our 8th grade Learning Labs about high school in another blog post in March to keep you informed.

Have a great weekend!


Tips for Success at GOC

As we begin a new semester, it’s helpful to remember the Dos and Don’ts of being successful at GOC. Take a look!


DON’T skip around. DO stay in one course until it’s completed. The only exception to this is if you’re waiting on a response from a teacher about a question you have. In that case, write yourself a note why you didn’t finish, and go on to another course.

DON’T skip lessons. DO spend time in each lesson each day, even the lessons that don’t have a dropbox assignment. Each lesson is important and can’t be skipped.

DON’T pop in and out of lessons. DO spend at least 30-60 minutes in a lesson. Teachers can see how long you’ve been in a lesson, and if you’ve only accessed a lesson for five minutes, it’s easy to see why you don’t understand a concept.

DON’T work six hours straight. DO take a short physical and/or snack break after two courses.


DON’T get distracted with things in your work space, video games, social media, etc. DO limit distractions by organizing your work area, putting away video games and anything else that will eat up your time and keep you from doing your school work.

DON’T stay quiet when you need help. DO email, text, or call your teachers or counselor. That’s why we’re here!


DON’T just spend time in the courses you like. DO spend at least 30-60 minutes in each course, each day. In fact, you may find that it’s best to start your morning with the course that’s the most difficult or you like the least. You often have the most brain power and energy earlier in your day.

DON’T save work for late at night or the weekend. DO start each day by 9:00 am. Working on the weekends should be an exception. The Sunday deadline is so students have a little extra time for super busy days, trips, and sick days.

DON’T get behind. DO follow these tips and you’ll be able to stay current. And DO work ahead whenever possible if you’re planning to take a trip or have a busy day with non-school activities.

If you have other Dos or Don’ts, please leave them in the Comments box.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

Happy January!


As much as we might not like January for its freezing temps, we love it for its new beginnings.

If you like making resolutions, you might be interested in this Happy New Year’s post from last January.

We’re off to a great, busy start in 2016!


In 5th grade, we picked right back up with Rules. I was amazed how the kids remembered what was going on with Catherine before the break.

I like her latest rule – Sometimes solving one problem, creates another. I’ve had that happen before! How about you?dumb_fox_md_wht




We had our first middle grades Advisement lesson for second semester this week. The topic was Judging a Book by its Cover. As usual, your students provided great discussions. It’s here it you want to take a look. Advisement Lesson

Have a great weekend!

Stay warm!

How Do You Learn Best? Learning your Learning Style

On Monday, the 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. You can see a brief description of each type below, along with some very helpful suggestions.

Auditory Learning

girl_listening_to_headphones_md_whtAs 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:


  • Watch recorded Learning Labs even if you were present for them live
  • Use the audio function in D2L/Brightspace when working in your courses
  • Consider using free apps (e.g. NaturalReader) and have your lessons read to you (Be sure to read along.)
  • After reading something, make a summary and say it out loud
  • Try talking to yourself when problem solving
  • You may find written assignments easier if you talk it out as you write
  • If you are having trouble understanding written material, read it out loud
  • Make a recording of lectures to study from
  • 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, making 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 your lessons rather than listen to a lecture. Here are some things you can do to help you learn:

  • Take notes or write down key words and concepts when reading your lessonstim_making_study_notes_sm_wht
  • Use diagrams, images and pictures
  • Create flash cards to study from
  • 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, look for ways to make the information visual by making notes and outlines or drawing diagrams and charts. You may want to ask your teachers to make outlines or use visual aids if they don’t.

Tactile Learning

woman_bounce_soccer_ball_knees_sm_whtAs 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:

  • Be physical when going through lessons such as sitting on a yoga ball or standing with your laptop on a high counter/table
  • Think through a problem while doing something physical like shooting baskets or bouncing a ball
  • Change your location/space after one or two lessons
  • Make diagrams, notes, and flash cards as a way of being physical with the information
  • Actively work the information you are learning by making models or doing demonstrations and practice assignments
  • Rewrite your notes or type them on the computer
  • 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.

You can logon to your student’s account with your student and learn more about their learning style and career interests after Monday. 

Parents can learn more about Career Crusiing and its career interest assessments and wealth of information about different careers here

All 4th-8th students will have various career activities this semester. Stay tuned to learn more.

We made it!

It’s hard to believe that half the school year is over!

Our students have done an excellent job learning the technology and work habits to be successful at GOC. Our learning environment isn’t suited for everyone and a few students will transition back to the traditional school setting. We wish them all the best.

We hope to see everyone at the Winter Social on Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 9:30-11:30. Thank you to all who donated mittens, gloves, socks, and food for our December GOC Cares service project.

Please take time during the holidays and winter break to connect with family and friends, rest, and do something fun!




How to Talk to Your Kids When Bad Things Happen

Bad things happen in our world from a family member getting hurt in a car accident to people being shot while they’re at work or enjoying an evening out. It’s a sad reality of the current times in which we live.

Just as adults struggle with making sense out of these events, so do children. Below are a few tips to help parents discuss these types of events with their children.

Limit the media coverage of these events, especially if you have young children in the house.

Take your cues from your child. Sometimes adults over-explain a horrific event which can lead to confusion and more fear.  Keep your conversation simple.

Have age appropriate conversations.

Children under 6 are not likely to be aware of events unless it directly affects them or their family. In this case, no conversation is necessary.

For children aged 6-11, let them ask questions and only give enough information that answers their questions. Follow their lead. Avoid going into all the details of the event. Children may ask questions about death and this is a good opportunity to discuss your family’s beliefs in an age-appropriate, understandable manner.

Middle school kids will have more questions. Even if you’ve kept media coverage out of your home, it’s likely kids this age will have heard about the events from other students. Often this information is incorrect or exaggerated. Start by asking, “What have you heard?” or “What do you know?”

High school kids have probably read about the events on social media and have formed opinions about what happened. It’s normal for kids this age to not bring it up with their parents and even act nonchalant since it didn’t directly happen to them. Parents can ask the questions mentioned above and see if their teen will engage in a conversation. Share your own feelings about the event.

Don’t dismiss fears. Fear is a normal reaction to these situations and kids want to know if something bad can happen to them. Explain that these events rarely happen and that you and other caring adults are doing everything you can to keep them safe.

Keep your routine normal. Continue your child’s school and after-school activities, and especially keep their bed time the same.

For some kids, it’s difficult to have a “sit down, eye-to-eye” conversation. Instead, engage in an activity together. You can play legos, work a puzzle, shoot hoops, or drive in the car.

Put fear and/or discomfort into action. Find an organization that’s helping the victims and participate by donating time or money. Participating in any type of service with non-related organizations is just as helpful. Point out that there are many good people who care about others in our world.

I’m reminded of the wise words from Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers).

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so may helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

Please let me know if I can help.

Dr. Edwards


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!


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