Mind in the Making: The Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, By Ellen Gallinsky
SELF-DIRECTED, ENGAGED LEARNING
Establish a trustworthy relationship with your students.
We are role models for our students. They want to be like us. This has important implications for teaching and emotional development.
This is important because it:
1. Keeps children safe. If children are fearful and stressed – if they’re in a fight-or-flight situation for long periods of time – they’re less able to pay attention, to remember, and to have self-control. Children need to feel safe in order to learn.
2. Makes them feel secure. The day-in-day-out security of children’s relationships with the important people in their lives makes it possible for them to try new things, to learn new things.
Give them structure. Part of being reliable is providing structure, a routine and pattern for their lives that children can count on.
PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS:
1. Identify the dilemma, problem or issue. So many of the situations we deal with as Teacher’s aren’t clear-cut. Bob Johansson of the Institute for the Future, makes the point that most of the issues we address in this day and age are dilemmas, rather than problems because they don’t have easy answers – they’re recurring, complex, messy, and puzzling.
2. Determine the goal. Be as specific as possible.
3. Come up with alternative solutions.
4. Consider how these alternative solutions might work.
5. Select a solution to try. There are LOTS of children’s’ books that deal --with dilemmas and solutions.
6. Evaluate the outcome and, if the solution isn’t working, try something else. From the author: “…because children learned to use this process for themselves when they had tough issues to deal with, they usually become forthright and honest.– the essential skill of critical thinking, is a skill that we can continue to draw on daily.”
Action: Promote your children’s curiosity. To promote curiosity, be careful not to jump in too quickly to fix things they’re struggling with, since working with the “confounding” situation is where critical thinking is promoted. Instead, where possible, help them figure out how they can resolve it for themselves. (Inductive reasoning)
Critical Thinking draws on all of the seven skills – FOCUS to pursue knowledge; SELF-CONTROL to define the issue and determine our goals, consider alternative solutions and evaluate the evidence to determine if it will work; MAKE CONNECTIONS through brainstorming alternatives; PERSPECTIVE TAKING when we consider how our solutions affect others; and COMMUNICATING. In addition to all these, critical thinking involves “thinking about our thinking” (metacognition) by reflecting, analyzing, reasoning, planning and evaluating (all higher level thinking skills).
Action: Be an expert – try to provide accurate and valid information to your children. We can model critical thinking by encouraging our children to ask questions and by responding with accurate information, always keeping in mind what they are ready to understand. This can include looking up the information when we don’t remember or don’t know the answers.
MAKING CONNECTIONS ~ THE ARTS AND THE BRAIN
Learning about the Arts affects cognitive life:
1. Through an increase in focused attention
2. Promotes an increase in motivation (184)
3. “When children have training in the arts, they learn to pay attention, to stay focused and to resist distraction, noting that these skills lead to improvements in “fluid intelligence and in IQ.” (Michael Posner, University of Oregon)
Action: Acknowledge that making mistakes is not only okay, it is part of learning. Rather than being judgmental or critical if your child makes a mistake, talk to your children the way you would like to be talked to when you make a mistake. “That was really close” or “That is hard and you are really working at it.” Gallinsky
Five Tips to Lower Summertime Stress and Keep the Joy in Summer
By Andy Smithson
Create a Game Plan
I’ve found a formula for an awesome summer experience for you and your kids: 1 part planning + 1 part spontaneity = awesome summer! Easier said than done, right? Finding the perfect balance between spontaneity and planning can be tricky. A basic rule is to set clear routines and expectations from the beginning with the mutual understanding that there will be times for bending the routine and just enjoying time together. With the following five tips, you can decrease your stress level while building great memories for your family.
1. Mornings matter: The morning routine is not something to be left to chance. To get each day off on the right foot, it’s important to be deliberate about your mornings. Collaborate with your kids on plans for your family’s summer mornings. My wife and children have established daily morning chores that must be completed before breakfast, such as making the bed. For working moms and dads, mornings are an especially important time to connect with the kids and get the day started right. Morning is a time to eat together and learn about each other’s plans for the day.
2. Help kids with self-directed goals: Summertime provides a unique opportunity for kids to experience real, self-directed goal completion. During the summer, your kids get to identify any goal they want to accomplish. Set personal goals and invite your kids to write a summer “bucket list” of things they want to do or learn this summer. Share your goals with them. Inspire them to set their own self-directed goals. My oldest son has shown an interest in waterfowl and birds of prey. He wants to be able to identify the birds we see near our home.
3. Plan activities: A lot of families participate in planned vacations, camps and programs that can give parents a break and kids some amazing experiences. Special daycare activities or summer sport/educational camps can be a fun way to make sure your kids are enjoying safe summer activities when you can’t be with them. However, it’s important not to overdo it. Planning specific activities is supposed to enhance your summer experience rather than unnecessarily tie you to endless commitments that stress everyone out. My wife and I consult our children when planning summer activities to help find the right balance for everyone.
4. Let them play: Allow for time to just play and enjoy not having any specific demands. Dr. Scott Sampson, host and science advisor of “Dinosaur Train,” encourages parents to schedule unstructured play when kids create their own imaginative games and activities using natural elements. Let the kids play in the dirt or in the water. Let them use their imaginations to build forts and hideouts. Let them get a little bit sunburned. Even better, do it with them. The trampoline and sprinklers provide hours of summer fun at our house, even for Mom and Dad. This is where the balance comes in. As adults, sometimes we have to plan to be spontaneous, to take a random day off of work or schedule a special time in the evening to just play. No specific direction in mind, just play!
5. Maintain bedtime: Summer bedtime can be tough because the days are longer and it’s still light outside. However, sleep is just as important during the summer months as it is the rest of the year. The morning and bedtime routines are like bookends on each day. They help our children feel some security and have time to bond regardless of work schedules, or whatever crazy experiences life brings. Whether it’s the school year or summer, our family always sticks with the same bedtime routine. Sometimes we are an hour later, but we always try to include our usual reading, stories and prayer each night.
Every family is unique and has certain preferences, but these important elements can be a great starting point for developing a wonderful, memorable summer with your children. Save yourself some stress by planning ahead, but always remember to look for the spontaneous moments that make all of the planning worthwhile.
Welcome to Monument Elementary School!
Our school's success is built on our foundation of respect for every unique individual in our school family. We live each day promoting our three personal standards: Show respect, make good decisions and be a problem solver.
We think our school is a very special place as we have established a tradition of caring for and providing students with the kind of opportunities that will enhance each day and secure their future. Our mission and commitment to our students and the Monument community is evident in our school mission.
Monument Elementary School Mission:
We inspire and equip every student for success in their endeavors by partnering with students, families, schools and community.
Our school mascot, the eagle, is a beautiful and strong creature and a fine representative of our school. Our Monument Eagles exhibit strength and determination every day as they work to become the best they can be. One of our favorite mottos is “Eagles, ready...Take Flight”
We encourage our parents to be very involved in their student’s academic success at school and I personally invite you to come visit our school at any time. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself. I would be happy to meet with you, answer any questions, or be of assistance to you.
We are energized by what your students are for learning! With a sustained focus on reading and math instruction and a strong desire to continue our academic success, we know your student is making great strides in thier academic learning.
We are very excited at the opportunity of providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for all our Monument Elementary students. Thank you for your trust. It is a true privilege to have the opportunity to educate and live each day in the presence of your children. We care for and value our students and Monument Families.
Let’s make it a great school year and always keep smiling!
Mrs. Lisa P. Uvila, Principal