Keeping it Cool in 4th Grade Class Meetings & 7th Grade Health Lessons


We had a busy time in 4th grade class meetings last week when we talked about impulse control.

An impulse is the first thing that pops into your head. We discussed that sometimes our impulses can cause problems for us.




To keep your impulses in check:cm11

  1. Stop and think
  2. Ask yourself: how does my body feel?
  3. Try:
  • taking deep breaths
  • counting backward slowly
  • thinking calming thoughts
  • talking to yourself.


In 7th grade, Coach Blair and I taught the first Lifelines lesson, promoting suicide prevention. These lessons are taught to all students in GCPS 7th grade Health classes. Because kids tend to tell other kids if they’re contemplating hurting themselves, it’s important that students are equipped with what to say and do if they’re ever in this situation. The main points we emphasized were to show you care and get adult help.

We’ll teach the second lesson on March 2. We hope all our 7th graders will be there.

Next week is Virtual Week! Be sure to engage in all your virtual sessions.



Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards



Planning for High School: Part I

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:

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

April – 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 20 11:00-12:00 – Dr. Brown will meet with 8th grade parents to discuss high school courses and graduation requirements.

April 27 – 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!

Happenings at GOC!

Wow! It’s been a busy week at GOC.

We had a class meeting in 4th grade. We reviewed our past discussions on empathy and learned some interesting facts about each other.

51yS9y0WAaL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_In 5th grade, we talked about how Catherine was embarrassed by her brother’s behavior and her parents’ argument. We talked about how sometimes our siblings embarrass us and…how sometimes we might embarrass them.


In 6th-8th grades, we continued our Start Strong Advisement strongman_lift_weights_md_whtlesson. The main concepts we talked about were plagiarism and cyber-bullying. The teachers and I reminded the students that they must give credit for works that aren’t their original thoughts.

kids_on_a_merry_go_round_md_whtI encouraged the kids to keep GOC a bully-free school and if they ever felt uncomfortable or unsafe, to let me know. We’re proud of our kind GOC students! You can watch the video that we used as our discussion-starter here.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!hunter_warming_by_campfire_sm_wht

Dr. Edwards

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Sometimes after a long break it’s difficult to remember the good habits that brought success last semester. Things like:

  • having and following a routine each day
  • attending Learning Labs and Adobe Connect sessions (in their entirety)
  • submitting work only through your dropbox
  • emailing or calling your teachers when you have a question

We talked about starting strong in Middle Grades Advisement this week. You can take a look at the video discussion starter here.

51yS9y0WAaL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_In 5th grade, we read Rules. After an awkward beginning, Catherine made a new friend, Jason. We also talked about how Catherine assumed the worst when she saw two kids talking outside her house.

Sometimes we do that, but luckily things usually turn out well, and there isn’t a need for the negative thinking. I asked the students to pay attention to the times they think negatively and to challenge that thinking. Ask your 5th grader about the story and how we relate it to our lives.

Have a great weekend!sun_shine_md_wht

Dr. Edwards



Welcome Back!

Welcome back, students!

Even though our first official day is Tuesday (1/17), you can access your courses TODAY!

So, if you’ve got a busy week coming up (such as you’re an 8th grader who is going to JA on Tuesday) you can go ahead and get a jump on your work.cricket_group_chased_by_frog_sm_wht

Sometimes having a long break like we just did makes it difficult for students to hop back in. We’ll address that next week in Advisement.

See you soon!

Dr. Edwards

We Made It!

It’s hard to believe the first semester is over! That’s half of the school year!

Our students have done an excellent job learning the technology and work habits to be successful at GOC! There’s been so much learning and growing!

The kids had a blast at the Winter Social yesterday!



We had Holiday Family Feud, snowball fun, music and best of all – WAFFLES!

One of the the Science Labs was transformed into a Waffle House, and it was delicious!






Thank you to all who donated mittens, gloves, socks, and hats to our December GOC Cares service project. Here’s a picture of our giving tree at the beginning of the event. It was loaded by the end!


Our first official day of school is January 17, which means you have a long break! We don’t want anyone’s brain to get rusty, so please visit the Winter Nest each day or at least every other day for activities to do.

It’s also a great idea for 4th-8th students to practice Reflex Math 15 minutes a day and read, read, read!

We know you’ll also take time during the holidays and winter break to connect with family and friends, relax, and do something fun! We can’t wait to hear all about it in January!

Dr. Edwards



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!


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