Start with Hello is a nationwide program that encourages students to look out for each other, and to include others. The 3 steps include:
1) When you see someone alone....
2) Reach out and Help...
3) Start with Hello!
Beyond starting with Hello, can you think of other ways to make others feel included?
I challenge you to notice when others are alone and include them!
Have a nice weekend!
We are a few days away from the end of Trimester 1 and the beginning of Trimester 2.
As grades must be turned in by teachers next Wednesday, please don't be caught off guard. No teacher wants an avalanche of missing work, so please make sure your current work is turned in on time! Work with your teachers to determine if you are able to complete: missing work, tests or quizzes. Do not wait until the last minute.
As Trimester 1 comes to an end, take a moment to reflect on what you have learned about yourself as a student. What has worked for you and what has not? Are there areas where you can use some support; such as time management or organization? If so, please let me know!
Take some time to set goals for trimester 2. Are there classes where you would like to improve? Setting a goal is a great start, but also list the steps you will need to take to achieve the goal. For example: turn my work in on time, ask for extra help when I am confused, study for tests on multiple days instead of waiting until the last day, etc.
Trimester 1 was a unique and challenging and also a learning experience for all of us! If you are moving to EVA, it will be important to focus on ways to maintain or improve on your digital learning. If you are returning to campus, you might experience new challenges. As always, please ask for help!
Using Gratitude to Combat Anxiety
Gratitude: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
During a recent workshop that I attended, the presenter, Jeremiah Aja, stated that “It is impossible to be anxious and grateful at the same time.” He went on to explain that anxiety is focused on the future. Worrying is always about what will/can/might happen in the future. Gratitude focuses on the present. What do I have now, in this moment, to be thankful for? For these reasons, focusing on what we do have, rather than fearing for the future can reduce anxiety.
Taking time to focus on gratitude in our daily or weekly routine can also change our perspective. As we begin to look for things to be grateful for, our focus will shift to the positives in our life rather than the negatives. It might be easy to think of big things to be grateful for; our home, family and friends and health as examples. Looking for smaller things to be grateful for can be more challenging. One idea is to look for 3 things daily (or weekly or every other day) that you are grateful for, without repeats! Not being able to repeat your gratitudes forces us to really notice the little things. Over time, looking for the positive can become a habit.
During our current pandemic and school closure there have been many things to feel negative about. We have all experienced disappointments and loss. What, however, have been the positives?
The next time you find yourself feeling anxious, stop and ask yourself to name 3 things you are grateful for. Experiment and see if this works for you. Perhaps you can also begin to keep a daily or weekly gratitude journal.
I am grateful to be your school counselor, I am grateful for students who reach out to me when they need support and I am grateful to work with the Cavitt staff, who I find to be kind and compassionate!
As always, I am here to support you! Please reach out if you need me.
Preparing for Trimester 2
As we prepare for Trimester 2, some of our students will return to campus on a modified schedule and some will continue to learn virtually through our Eureka Virtual Academy (EVA). Each family will need to decide what is best for them and their students. Making decisions, especially in a Pandemic, can be stressful. I expect that you will be experiencing a variety of emotions as we prepare for Trimester 2. Some of you might feel excited, anxious, sad, etc. It is expected that we might have different feelings at different times and all of these feelings are OK. It is important to recognize and accept our emotions so that we can work through them. Returning to school or remaining in virtual learning both have positive and negative aspects to them. As you prepare for either scenario, you might find that you have questions. Sometimes our emotions are clues to what we might need. For example, when I feel worried, it is often because I need more information. Please ask! Reminder, your teachers and myself are all here to support you and answer your questions.
Remember Trimester 1 does not end until November 6, so do all you can to FINISH STRONG!
As always, please reach out to me if you need support for yourself or a friend :)
Halfway through Trimester 1
As we reach the halfway point of Trimester 1, it is a good time to reflect on how things are going for you. Take some time to look at what is going well! What are the habits that you have developed that are working for you? Sometimes we do things automatically, but it is helpful to look at the behaviors, routines, and practices that are leading to our success. Recognize these, so that if we come to a time when things aren't going so well, we can look back at what we were doing when we were successful.
Also, look at what things are not going as well as you would like. What are some habits that might need to be changed? What are some new goals that you can set for yourself? Habits, both positive and negative, take time to develop. If you choose to focus on an area to improve, it is going to take some consistent practice to eventually become a habit.
What goals will you set for the second half of Trimester 1? Please reach out if you would like any help with this (or anything else you might need support with).
Connection - Why we need it and how to do it
Connection! Human connections are essential for all of us. Prior to our current Pandemic, social interactions were built into our days. In addition to these built in opportunities to connect, we also had additional opportunities to socialize with our friends and family during our free time. In our current environment, we must seek out these connections, and we must also be creative in how we connect. Our connections take more effort and planning.
Listed below are 30 (almost) ways to reach out to a friend (beyond “how are you”). What can you add?
Tell them you miss them
Share something that made you think of them
Ask them their opinion of a new song
Ask them if they have seen a popular TV show
Ask them if they need help with anything
Let them know you are free for a chat
Ask about a post they have made
Be honest and share about the things you are finding difficult
Ask if they are free to catch up
Share a fun memory you have of them
Offer to study together virtually
Send a funny meme or video
Share good news
Tell them what you admire about them
Express gratitude for their friendship
Give them a compliment
Wish them a good day
Acknowledge their strength and awesomeness
Thank them for how they have inspired you
Ask if they want to video chat
Send them a joke of GIF
Tell them you can’t wait to see them
Recommend a good book
Ask about their favorite sports team
Ask what they have been doing for exercise
Ask if they want to talk on the phone
Remind them that you are there for them
Send an ecard
Invite them to go on a socially distanced walk or bike ride (if that is something your family allows)
I challenge you this weekend to reach out to a friend or family member (or 2 or 3), and “check in”. You can make someone feel great and the connections you make can make you feel good too!
If you ever feel like you or a friend need support, please reach out to me.
We've Got This - Together
One of my favorite quotes is, "Life is Tough but so are You!” While all of us have different opinions regarding Distance Learning, I think we can all agree that there are tough parts. Yes, there are challenges, but we believe in you and are all here to support you when it’s not going so well.
Asking For Help When you Need It
Self Advocacy is a very fancy term that basically means "asking for what you need". In Junior High School we encourage you to practice self advocacy. This is a change from elementary school where your parents primarily advocate for you. In JH it is good to work together with your parents and begin practicing advocating for yourself.
A great way to practice is emailing your teachers when you need help! Think about the number of students each of your teachers has. They care about you and your success, but they cannot read minds! If they see missing assignments or low scores, they can guess that there might be a problem, but they don't know what the problem or concern actually is. Reaching out for assistance and support when you need it is a great way to advocate for yourself.
If you email a teacher, remember that you need to log back into your email and look for their response!
Have a rejuvenating and restful weekend, and remember to ask for help if you need it~
We have probably all heard that Exercise is important for both our bodies and our brains. Before Covid, Exercise was so often built into our days. We walked around campus on our way to classes, lunch and break, you participated in PE daily, many of you had sports practices, conditioning and games and some worked out at a gym. Now, we must consciously choose to move. We have to be creative and intentional.
The benefits of movement are numerous and include: mood enhancement, increased energy, improved memory and better sleep.
Some tips for getting more exercise while at home:
*Workout with someone
*Create a fitness challenge
*Set goals and maintain a log
*Use free online resources/workouts
*Complete activities that don't seem like exercise but really are (walk the dog, mow the lawn, vacuum the carpet)
*Use equipment you already have at home (basketball hoop, jump rope, bike)
*Use resources provided by your PE teacher
Small movement breaks are very beneficial as well! Walk out to the kitchen and refill your water bottle, step outside and breathe fresh air, take a few laps around your house, or take a walk to the mailbox.
I wish you all a rejuvenating 3 day weekend! Get off your screens and move.
First of all, raise your hand if you had never heard the terms Asynchronous/Synchronous before! Why do we keep hearing these words and what do they mean? When creating the Junior High Schedule we tried to make your virtual class time look as much like a typical in person class as possible. Remember being in a classroom? Teachers lecture, teach and explain and then they let you get started on your assignment. In general, your Synchronous (“together”) Zoom time is intended to be for instruction, and your Asynchronous time is intended to be for assignment completion. You should be able to complete MOST of your assignments during the Asynchronous time. If you are using your time efficiently, you should have very little left to do at the end of your day, However, if you choose to not use your time efficiently, you could find yourself with hours of work to complete at the end of the day and you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and falling behind.
Many teachers are keeping their Zoom open during Asynchronous time, some are even requiring that you stay in. Use this time to ask questions, clarify instructions and ask for help! Just like you would in an in person classroom. We also recognize that this is your time to take a break, and that is ok too! In these 30 minutes, it is certainly ok to take 5 - 10 minutes to use the restroom, grab a snack, and get up and move. However you need to be disciplined enough to complete work also. Find a system that works for you, but please don’t view Asynchronous time as “optional”, it is not!
Happy Friday Cowboys! Congratulations on completing the first FULL week of Distance Learning!
Are you tired? I think we all are! We are all adjusting to being back in a routine. As we head into the weekend I want to remind you of the importance of sleep!
Here are some tips from the CA Youth Crisis Line:
Healthy Amount of Sleep
This may be challenging right now but get sufficient high-quality sleep. It seems really basic but sleep is powerful. Studies have shown that getting between 7-to-9 hours of sleep for adults and 8-to-10 hours for youth can improve memory, decrease stress, improve health, and even increase serotonin levels in your brain! All of these benefits allow an overall increase in our mental health. Sleep is good.
Tips to get a healthy amount of sleep:
– Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day;
– Turn off electronics at least a half hour before bed;
– Drink warm water or hot “sleepy-time” tea;
– Read a leisurely book in bed;
– Avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening;
– Make sure your sleeping area is cool, quiet, and distraction-free
Have a great weekend! Try to stay out of the smoke.
Reflections and Goal Setting
As Trimester 1 has come to an end, it can be beneficial to ask your children to reflect on what they have learned about themselves as a student. What has worked and what has not? What are they proud of? What successes have they had? Assist them in identifying areas where they could potentially use some support. Has their organizational system worked for them? Does it need a refresh or complete overhaul? What study habits worked well and is there a need to develop additional ones? Encourage them to clean out their binders, backpack and locker, so that they have a fresh start.
Discuss their goals for trimester 2. Setting a goal is a great start, but listing the steps that they will need to take to achieve the goal is more concrete. For example: turning work in on time, asking for extra help when they need it, studying for tests on multiple days instead of waiting until the last day, etc.
Trimester 1 was unique and challenging for all of us! Students learned to navigate a full school day once again! There are many things to celebrate!
Please reach out if you would like support for your child.
Monitoring our students’ Social Media use can feel daunting and often overwhelming. Keeping up with current trends can be exhausting. Last week’s Tik Tok challenge that led to vandalism of schools throughout the country reminds us why this is so vitally important.
There is a list of resources that I regularly consult regarding current trends in Social Media. One that I have consistently found to be valuable is smartsocial.com. This week Josh Ochs at Smart Social shared this article that I found to be timely, informative and useful. Tips to Combat Fear of Missing Out | SmartSocial.com.
Thank you for taking the time to monitor your student’s social media presence. We are all in this together!
As we approach the one month mark of school being in session, students might be experiencing increased stress and some may be starting to feel overwhelmed. When I work with students that are feeling overwhelmed, I emphasize returning to the basics. Organization, planning and asking for help are all important.
A planner can help students with both organization and long term planning. Teachers have assignments and homework posted on websites and Google Classrooms, but it can be beneficial to have everything located in one central location. Busy students and families can also benefit from a calendar. Being able to sit down once a week and look at the week ahead, can help students avoid leaving an assignment to the last minute. Knowing which days/evenings are busier than others can help them long term plan for the week.
Knowing that it is OK to ask for help can ease stress and anxiety. Students should be familiar with where to find missed information (i.e. websites and Google Classroom), have contact information for at least one classmate and practice emailing their teachers when needed. If students feel intimidated to raise their hand in class, they can stay after class, check in with a teacher during Break or Lunch, or email.
As always, I am here to support your student(s), and you too.
Welcome Back - In more ways than one!
In our Staff Meeting before school started we acknowledged that our students have not attended full day, in person instruction for 16 months. In addition, we also have approximately 20 new 8th grade students and about 30 8th grade students that attended EVA and were never on campus last year. We literally have more students new to campus than returning. Not a single student has opened a locker, picked up lunch from the snack bar, or checked out a book from the Library! All of this leads me to believe that the typical beginning of the year emotions are magnified and multiplied. Feelings of apprehension and anxiety are elevated. Fortunately, all the positive emotions are bigger too! Students and staff are excited, energized and so grateful to be together!
It is a good time to remember that many students at this age are more likely to SHOW us how they feel with their behavior than openly talk about their emotions. Modeling and sharing your own feelings can be a great place to start. You can share how you are feeling and how you are coping with your own emotions. Helping your student to normalize their feelings and modeling healthy ways to express them can be beneficial. Reassurance that most students are feeling similar emotions and reminding your students of their resources and supports can help alleviate some anxieties. 7th grade and new 8th grade students have 8th grade WEB Leaders to turn to. Remind your student that the front office is the place to go for many types of assistance. In the office they can find me, the Health Office, administration, a student phone, directions, locker assistance, and a welcoming office staff willing to answer their questions.
There is often a misconception that parents should not be involved once their student comes to junior high school. This is not the case! Yes, our goal is to develop confident, capable and more independent students in preparation for high school, but it is a process! Students at this level still need structure, accountability and support! I encourage you to create your Powerschool account, ask your students to share what is posted on their Google Classrooms and continue to maintain routines and structures at home. A great kitchen table routine can be sharing your “best and worst” part of your day. What were the highs and lows?
As we begin the school year with heightened emotions, please know what I am here to support your student and your family. I am fortunate to be beginning my 8th year at Cavitt and will be on campus every day this year.