A Great School Year According to Kids

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Summer’s end gives way to back-to-school thoughts with traditional articles doling tips and advice to kick off the school year just right.  Usually– no, always these thoughts are derived from the experts, teachers and parents. No one ever asks those who ultimately should get to define that experience.  When asked, kids have their fair share of what would make for a great school year.  Enjoy the thoughts of students from pre-school to senior year of high school, when asked, “What would make for a great school year?”

“Reinstitute recess.  And, I mean, a real recess that the teachers don’t try to control.”  – Charlie, 8th grade

“Elementary school should have more science and experiments so kids can have fun learning.” – Joseph, 5th grade

“No NJASK! It doesn’t count as a grade & it builds too much attention for something that almost means nothing. Prepping for months long is not a learning experience. What did I learn?”  – Shawn, 8th grade

“For writing kids should be able to meet and interview authors to get tips on how to become better authors.” – Joseph, 5th grade

“I want a field trip to an amusement park with lots of roller coasters.  I want to know how they work.” – Caleb, 5th grade

“Some days, I want to be able to scream at the top of my lungs without getting into trouble.” – Nick, 2nd grade

“I would like to do more math and get rid of reading.”  – Justin, 2nd grade

“A great school year has lots of play dough!” – Jessie, Kindergarten

“We need video games, like math video games in every room and a half day of school with recess every day.” – Justin, 3rd grade

“I’m happy to get to go upstairs with the big kids and bubbles.  We should have bubbles.” –  Jasmine, Preschool

“To receive equal respect from teachers.  They are demanding respect from us but it seems like they don’t give it back to us.” – Avery, 12th grade

I wish we had basic life skills being taught to us.  Everything is so academic and I feel like that it really doesn’t prepare me for life.”  – Lily, 12th grade

Also, we learn so much about history that I feel disconnected to what is going on in the world today.  I wish we learned more about current events.” – Lily, 12th grade

I think there should be breaks throughout the day to hang out with friends, better lunches and no homework.  I would rather spend an extra half hour a day at school than do homework.  I just want to be done! “- Phillip, 8th grade

Elementary school should have a baseball team and clean bathrooms, a glass dome with a huge opening so I can sky jump from a private jet right into the building. And, reading, lots of reading, I wish we had more time to read.”  – Michael, 4th grade

My school year would be great with lots of outside time! Did you know my favorite letter is E, like egg, elephant. . . I think we will learn more about the letter E. “– Emily, Kindergarten

Great friends that are there, teachers that support, not adversary and a nice atmosphere. “– Riley, 9th grade

It’s difficult to learn subject matter that is not enjoyable but important.  Wish teachers could make it fun. And, students stop being mean to others that have different interests.  I see kids being mean or just ignoring others because they do not have shared interests.  Wish that could end.” – John, 9th grade

Down with the yellow buses.  They smell disgusting!” – Charlie, 8th grade

The pressure to be more ahead of where you are is insane.  I wish there was an acceptance from adults that not everyone needs to be so advanced.  We should be motivated by our learning experience not always trying to get ahead.” – John, 9th grade

“Having a choice in what we learn would be nice.  We are always told what we should learn but no one asks what we want to learn.” – Riley, 9th grade

Students were incredibly eager to voice their feelings about their education.  Between the bubbles and smelly yellow buses were some profound messages.   I hope as teachers and parents we are listening and willing to have a great school year.

Good luck with the upcoming school year and enjoy the last days of summer.

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TURNING STONEchoice

 

 

 

 

The Recess Queen

recess_queenThis book is a favorite! Powerful insights into playground bullying, school violence, and poor self-esteem.  This book offers wonderful life lessons while weaving through character development traits like responsibility, integrity, courage and leadership.  The Recess Queen is a great teaching tool for guidance counselors, teachers or parents.  This book is a sure hit!

~ TURNING STONEchoice

Signs of Positive Self-Esteem

As we work to understand ourselves and our children, we should strive to make choices that help us achieve long term success and self-fulfillment. When we have positive self-esteem, we can better understand:

  • The reality of our personal abilities and limitations.
  • The importance of understanding that we do not live within a vacuum and must interact rather than react to others.
  • The knowledge of when we are being influenced emotionally by past events which may cloud our judgment in a new situation.
  • The reality that ultimately we only have control of ourselves and no one else, not even our children.

Ultimately, when you have positive self-esteem, you understand the reality of your choice making and are able to maintain an attitude that with careful consideration will allow you to supplement and compliment your efforts and overcome challenges.

MIL_277x277_0006_middle_school~TURNING STONEchoice

 

How to Handle Child Attitude

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The awe and flash of Fourth of July fireworks, replete with cannonade, have drifted into silence, but the significance of independence never fades.

In the classroom, we seek to mold independent, critical minds for solving tomorrow’s challenges, and, in the home, we strive to raise confident and self-reliant children.  However, both teacher and parent would relish freedom from the universal, adolescent phenomenon known as “attitude.”

“Attitude,“ as used in this post, is the negative one we experience when a child chooses to express his or her feelings in an inappropriate way.  You know:  rolling the eyes, stomping the feet, invoking a tone of doom, sometimes even throwing a tantrum unrivaled by the most petulant toddler.

Attitude is defined as the way a person views something or tends to behave toward it, often in an evaluative way.  A good attitude makes a student “a pleasure to have in class,” whereas a toxic attitude often serves as the impetus for firing an employee.

Attitude can also be a fuzzy line of self-expression or disrespect.  It’s difficult to pinpoint and even more difficult to address.  Is this child just venting or is he or she being disrespectful to me?  Some of the attitude thrown our way requires looking more insightfully at possible causes and solutions.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  I notice a rise in attitude and complaining at home.  Quick to point fingers and snap about complaining spirits, I, in turn, complain to others about my children’s attitudes.  Huh?  The irony and hypocrisy in that is ridiculous.  If my spirit is irritated and not kind or considerate, perhaps I’m setting the tone.  Additionally, barking directives at my children is such an easy default in my interactions with them.  Solution:  I need to check myself. Being mindful of what is coming out of my mouth and the way it is coming out is brutally challenging, but the solution is to adjust my own attitude.

A fellow parent believes a sibling’s or classmate’s attitude is more influential than that of a parent.  It’s the equivalent of silently saying, “This is acceptable behavior that you have permission to model.”  For example, if a child is allowed to snap and whine with rewarding results, there will be plenty of witnesses who will follow the same lead.  Solution:  Bring attention to the behavior without engaging in a battle.  That takes a moment of self-control on our part, not to react but to pause then interact.  A teacher can simply let a student know, “I do not appreciate the way you are speaking to me,” and move on to the next item of the day.  Totally ignoring a bad attitude is like throwing gasoline on a flame.  It has the potential to get bigger, blow-up, and spread to others.

Unmet expectations!   This one is huge and is the bottom line of most attitude problems.  When a request gets denied, there, typically, is a response.  It could be a repeating of the same request.  [I must have not heard the request right the first time and my “no” really must have meant something else.]  Or the silent treatment, sulking, body flopping, a resounding, “COME-ON!”, and “Pleeeeease,” could all be possible follow-ups to a denial.

I realize those are all forms of coping with disappointment and expressing feelings, but there is no benefit to a child who gets his or her way when using any of these techniques.  She or he will be the one getting fired in the future for trying to use the same techniques with his or her employer. Solution:  Never “change your mind” when a student or your child engages in a poor attitude.  If we cave [I know, I have], then we have just trained this child to respond accordingly to get his/her way.

Attitude adjustments do take time, effort, and a dash of humor.  Stay consistent, stay strong, and keep in mind the wise words of Captain Jack Sparrow when addressing attitudes in the home or at school, “The problem is not the problem.  The problem is your attitude toward the problem.  Understand?”

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

 

Have a happy & healthy summer.

Sammy @TSC

 

The Five-Second Rule

 

lollipopHave you ever had those incredible moments of frustration that make you want to run, screaming, down the street?  Sure, you have, if you are a teacher, parent or both.  Your role is typically challenged by moments that require every ounce of maturity and wisdom to get you through the day.  Sometimes, it takes a sweet treat to help work through that frustration.

I am reminded of a sticky lollipop falling to the floor and tiny hands rescuing it from the grimy kitchen surface.   With a resounding pitch, my seven-year-old claimed it: “Five-second rule!”  Then, he quickly popped it into his mouth and went about his business.

Yes, the “five-second rule” still lives on, my friends.  I hadn’t heard it in some time, and, at that moment, I thought: What if I took five seconds not to react to people or circumstance? It takes mental awareness and self-control not to lash out when people, places, or life irritates me.   What if I stopped and took five seconds to breathe, or five seconds to be still or five seconds to think about my next course of action?

It’s a simple technique to engage our critical thinking skill set and bring us to a place of interaction vs. reaction.   Modeling this behavior reinforces the developing process that we teach our charges.  When we “walk the talk” our actions carry a stronger message over the words pouring out of our lips.

Sometimes taking five seconds is the difference between enjoying the lollipop or crushing it mercilessly, so the next time you find yourself on the brink, think: Five-second rule!

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TSC

 

 

Teacher Appreciation

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“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” ~ Maya Angelou

It’s time to thank the dedicated teachers for all their sacrifices and support for children throughout the year.  Teachers play a key role in student success and feeling valued lets teachers know their efforts are not going unnoticed.

“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis

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Parent Teacher Partnership

parent teacher crossword Although there are only a few months left in the school year, it is never too late to foster a partnership between parents and teachers. Parent-teacher partnership refers to parents and teachers working collaboratively together to enhance student achievement and to ensure student success. One of the most frustrating trends in schools is how the level of parental involvement decreases as a child’s age increases.  It is an extremely discouraging fact because children of all ages would benefit if their parents would stay involved.  Parent-teacher partnerships and relationships are essential, no matter how old the student. The relationship between parents and teachers remains as important for high school students as it is for middle and elementary school students. There are many benefits to a parent-teacher partnership:

  • When parents and teachers work together it sends a clear, consistent, and positive message to students that school is important, that learning is important and that achievement is expected.
  • Parent involvement can free teachers to focus more on the task of teaching children. By having more contact with parents, teachers learn more about students’ needs and home environment.  Teacher morale is also improved by having parents who are involved.
  • Research proves that parent involvement benefits students by raising their academic achievement, increases motivation for learning, improves behavior, and promotes a positive attitude towards school in general.

An important aspect of building this relationship includes a teacher’s understanding of a parent’s perspective. Having a better understanding of the families’ work demands, needs of other children and individual beliefs and goals for educational success help educators determine the best way to engage and communicate with parents.

Family and school represent the primary environments in which young children grow and develop, and good schools value parental involvement. The foundation for good parent-teacher relationships is frequent and open communication, mutual respect and a clear understanding of what is best for each individual child.

Share your thoughts on how to enhance the parent-teacher relationship in the comment box below.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and our programs please follow www.turningstonechoice.com.