Heading for Home… But First a Break!

First Things First

First, let me apologize for my diatribe in my last post. I get really upset when people who don’t know much about a particular topic “go on” about what they don’t know, and then try to tell (sell) you on their commitment to fixing the problem. Kinda sounds like most state legislatures and, for that matter, the U.S. Congress… Oh, well.

April Vacation

Our students begin their Spring Break on Thursday afternoon when we dismiss them at 11:10. Our teachers will be working on Friday in a Teacher Workshop Day. During this day, we will begin an examination of the role of the brain in learning. Sounds rather fundamental, I know, but there really are some intriguing elements that we, as teachers, need to know about how the brain learns best.

There is a whole discipline about the brain and how it learns how to read and understand numeracy. Contrary to what we used to believe, the act of reading is a really very complicated process that the brain must work very hard to make sense.

In any event, we are going to be examining the brain and learning for quite awhile.

We do hope that everyone has a wonderful vacation, rest, gets to a ball game or plays a round of golf in the next few days.

GMS Night at the Sea Dogs

On April 27th we will all be gathering at Hadlock Field for our special night at the Ballpark. We still have tickets available for the reduced rate of $5.00 for General Admission. The Sea Dogs will be honoring several of our teachers for their work in our community and our Chorus will be singing the National Anthem. For tickets, call Kristen in the office 222-1220.

5th Grade Parent Night

On April 24th, beginning at 6:30 in the GMS Auditorium, we invite the parents of current 5th grade students to join us as we begin the transitions from the elementary schools to the middle school. While we are very sad saying good-bye to our 8th graders, we have gotten to know them very well, we are excited to be welcoming our newest citizens to our middle school community, and their parents and guardians.

On this night, we have a short presentation designed to answer some questions and, hopefully, bring forward other questions that you ay have for the Administration, the Support Service Personnel and Teachers.

We promise not to keep you any longer than we have to, but this can be a very valuable night for parents, and we can give you some ideas that will help your child’s transition.

We hope to see you all there.

May 18th Community Service Day

We are preparing for our May 18th Community Service Day with our Advisory Groups. Each Advisory is planning to perform some kind of community service project during the morning half day schedule. Some Advisory groups are heading out to the elementary schools to read to the younger children, some groups have offered their services to clean up around town. I would ask that you ask your child what their advisory will be doing during this time, and, if you are able, offer any assistance to the group that you can.

Our teachers do a great deal of work trying to address the social emotional portions of our kids lives. Our district embraces the Code of Conduct in every aspect of our school life. These Community Service Days are our way to put into action all of the teaching about being good citizens. In the past few years, these days have been well received by the students.

Technology and Your Kids (part 3)

In the past couple of posts I talked about technology and how it has impacted your child’s life, and your life as your worry about keeping them safe, all the time. And, speaking as a parent of two wonderful kids (who are both, fortunately for me, grown up and out of the house!), I can relate to the idea that we parents spend a great deal of our time, both awake and while sleeping, thinking about the safety of our kids.

We really need to come to the realization that their world is different than the world in which we grew up. We also need to realize that this is the same thing that our parents said about us and their parents said about them, etc. (I wonder what the stone age parents said about their off-spring? That wasn’t something we saw on the Flinstones, was it!)

In the making of the PBS Frontline series, the producers encountered some very interesting discoveries about how our children perceive their safety. Producer Rachel Dretzin says, “One of the biggest surprises in making this film was the discovery that the threat of online predators is misunderstood and overblown.” She cites statistics from a survey completed in 2000 where one-in-five kids reported experiencing unwanted sexual advances through the internet, and a similar survey conducted in 2005 where one-in-seven student experienced unwanted sexual advances via the internet. That is a significant improvement and tells much about our fears of predation.

Ms. Dretzin went on to say that, without exception, all of the kids she spoke with, would never dream of meeting someone in person that they had only met online. She reported that the kids she interviewed were very suspicious at first about them trying to contact them on-line, even though they knew them. They tried several ways to contact the kids, through email, texts, Facebook or MySpace with little or no success.

Now, to be honest with you, I am not sure how that last statement matches up with the reality I think I see in my school (is that possible, “reality I think I see”???). When I question my students on their Facebook friends, for example, they willingly offer that they have, oh, say, 756 friends. But, when I ask them how many of their “friends” they have met face-to-face, they don’t really know.

Then I ask my students about their Facebook Privacy Settings. Some know exactly what I am talking about, while others give me that “dear in the headlights look”. The students who do know about their privacy settings seem to have a very good handle of how to successfully and productively use social networking. Those that don’t have any knowledge, or don’t take the time to implement the privacy settings, are the kids that we have to deal with correcting their behavior or worry about because we see that they have some inappropriate contacts on their computer.

There is so much that we digital tourists need to learn to keep up with these digital natives we have spawned!

Until next time…

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