Tag Archives: challenges beliefs

Designing Space

It is great to see and be inspired by so many modern workspaces, with their bright colours, comfy seating, and quiet nooks.  But what can the schools/learning environments that simply do not have the funds to refurbish, or to invest in the “gorgeous new designs” take from the “advice” about the ideal learning spaces? They don’t exist! Yes that is “blasphemy” in today’s newest is better culture of sophistication, but as a “seasoned educator” I have seen first hand wonderfully, excited, curious students ignoring their less than ideal surroundings in favour of the focus on the learning that was being allowed for inside a space.  Key word here is “allowed”, and that may take on a number of different situations.

Will the students be able to ask questions? Can they murmur to a peer and chat quietly even when not officially assigned to “group work”; can they get up and reach for additional material, is there fluidity within the class regarding working on assignments? Could a student or students “discover” that via researching a project they wished to change direction or are they locked into their initial “thesis” description.  In short will growth on the individual level be encouraged by the teacher/teachers encouraging the students, or will the space be so restrictive as to deny original thought?

What is truly amazing is when students themselves take “ownership” of an idea, and we as educators may step back for a period and allow this new exploration to continue.  It may mean doing exactly what was labelled but not clearly defined way back in “teacher’s college”- the recognizing of “teaching moments”, the ability to permit tangential thought, and collaborative effort with other educators within a school building/system/and globally.  The fanciest desks and comfiest chairs are still no match for the informed and genuine teacher.  And while it seems that even kindergarten students today may have cellphones, educators instill how to take the technology from a toy to a learning tool which may be used in multiple ways to enhance the student’s ability to access further knowledge.

When designing and creating within four walls, consider the input of the students and what extra space within the building may become another station.  At one point hallways weren’t for punishment, they were a second area for small groups to congregate, then slowly with “fear” entering the school systems, allowing children to freely be in an open space minus monitors became  dangerous.  When schools require metal detectors on a par with airport security, every educator must become attuned to anything and everything that could return the classroom environment to an atmosphere where possibility is still available.  It could be something as simple as plants actually growing, or posters which the students design themselves…

As a child I attended a summer camp which was held in former army barracks! Oh, those cabins from the outside- people would sigh and marvel that campers wanted to return.  But we knew that upon arrival we would be given paint and paint brushes and allowed to redecorate for ourselves /to make magical over three weeks rain or shine; the barest of spaces could come alive with the energy and enthusiasm an arts based camp in the woods encouraged.  And so the teamwork, and collaborative effort was instilled.  That culture of practice, reinforced over many a summer, prevailed when I as grad student found myself ironing the wax off of brown paper bags to help make art materials for schools in low-income districts.  We students of teaching and learning provided the simplest of tools- the children, becoming involved in making and doing before the buzzwords prevailed, furthered the design process.  With technology we must continue to provide the how and possibly where, but make sure it is the students learning to ask the “why?”

Volunteering and School Credit

I blogged a few weeks ago about how important it is to give back to a community, and with students in High School requiring a minimum of forty volunteer hours to graduate, know that many wait until their final year to grab the credit while others get “hooked on volunteering” from their grade nine year.

Students please be aware that mockery is a form of bullying.  It shouldn’t need to be said but indeed some students are so disturbed by what they see when they go to volunteer, they later adopt a bravado and can be heard joking about the very people who only a few hours earlier they were meant to be helping!  Empathy is aparently not as natural an emotion as we would like to believe.  In fact volunteering itself becomes a skill, and each station or space where one offers to be of service will have its own guidelines or rules for new volunteers to first apply, then with commitment and practiced observation skills, share their own techniques and what might further the organization.

It is important though to think carefully before signing on to volunteer, even if only to gain those needed High School credits.  Are you a behind the scenes or front line person? have you an actual interest in learning more about the particular situation? Can you do the work as it is described?

Agencies in the service industry might also appreciate office help and provide a solid reference for the needed first job. When the sign goes up to volunteer consider the following:

  • have I patience?
  • will I be comfortable in an unusual setting (as in some place of worship, or community hall where one might not regularly attend)?
  • is there a language requirement?
  • is there any minimum amount of hours for the training which could require more than the school demands?
  • am I comfortable in a crowd?
  • is it a hands on position ( hospital help, working with children or adults…)?
  • is it one to one after the training or will I always be part of a team?
  • will I have a chance to learn something new? ( always one is learning-here perhaps a new skill)
  • if athletic could I share these skills and help others?
  • if academic could I share these skills and help others?
  • have I a particular interest in any field where volunteers will be welcomed (could range from gardening, to robotics, or museum work, or learning a trade and shadowing a skilled worker, apprentice style, while helping as required)
  • have I truly considered trying something new and where my skills might be most useful?

Having worked with volunteers who ranged from High School age to seniors I have learned some come with high anticipation to simply “begin” and others shyly wait at a door pondering the fit.  Both are extremely useful once shown the ropes and allowed to choose where and how they feel they may contribute most.

Please do take it seriously and recognize that whichever place you decide to help with your time, energy, and enthusiasm will begin to count on you- and be respectful as if it were a paying position.  Some organizations are only able to do the work they provide due to the help of caring volunteers.  And don’t be frightened to try something “unusual” as you may learn something about yourself in the process.

2015-2016- a year to explore!

Modern Women of Influence

Too often it seems the “classic” women of influence are early suffragettes and women who made a difference as “sidekick” to the men who in their time received the accolades.  So classes of students may “discover” that in addition to Watson and Crick and the DNA model there was Rosalind Elsie Franklin, molecular biologist, and then students may question what is meant by the term”sexism”.  My problem with any learning that appears to polarize rather than to unite is that reductive and reactive stance; men were credited- women were ignored.  Perhaps a change of pace would have some looking into the “men behind the women”, noting for example that although a writer like George Sand had to take on a pseudonym to first be seen as an independent author (and then read) being a ‘special friend’ to Chopin didn’t hurt her creativity or her career.  Or take George Elliot ( George appears to have been a popular choice of male name for female writers !) born Mary Ann (Marian) Evans, her biography reminds one that her positive relationship with philosopher and critic George (actual name- male) Henry Lewis may have contributed to her prolific writing and the novel Middlemarch.   

When we share stories of strong females, we have an opportunity to also speak about social change over time, to note where and when women had influence: ancient Egypt had a female Pharaoh, China an Empress dowager, and Britain (today and) in its history many a powerful Queen.

Fast forward to Madonna and Beyonce– female powerhouse singers, dancers, entertainers, breaking the financial barriers too!  Beyonce’s start was as lead singer with the musical group Destiny’s Child– a group managed by her dad – who apparently resigned from his job to manage the  group.  Madonna remains unique in her determination, and her quote: In 1996* she said: “I came to the realization that a strong female is frightening to everybody, because all societies are male-dominated – black societies, poor people, rich people, any racial group, they’re all dominated by men. A strong female is going to threaten everybody across the board.” ( *amybrown.net)

The quote in itself opens discussion.  Why should strength on the part of a female be threatening? When and where have societies embraced rather than obscured female talent? How do politics/economics/education and opportunity inter-mesh, and in what ways can history enlighten girls of today – offering both a form of mentoring (they did it!) and a timeline with potential for further changes. Of course not only history: sports, the arts, politics, economics, current leaders, modern technology; examples abound and females of influence may be found in each sphere. Please remember though- women and men make up the whole, and society benefits when both genders are open to communication; to fully celebrate women of influence let’s not create a further polemic and instead encourage mutual appreciation, and keep the whole class curious about invoking positive social change.

Personal Practical Knowledge: thoughts

– or why I encourage journaling, yet would rarely ask a student to show those scribbles or notes on a page. Private musings are more than brainstorming – they are personal and deserving of respect.

There is a difference between personal private writing, and the writing that students are asked to share.  Somehow though we appear to have taken words and as is often the case, given them new definitions:  journaling or diary keeping used to be a private activity- part of that personal practical knowledge base- an activity which some did automatically, while others needed encouragement to recognize how private scribbles or drawings or practiced writing would and could develop into thoughts on a page- today we have a multitude of “fake diaries” – for example the whole series of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Dork Diaries”  enjoyed by many and yet- such practiced writing leaves some question how to appreciate what may in fact have been a private piece of writing for example “Diary of Anne Frank” ; a piece of writing that even when reread for the umpteenth time makes me marvel at the author’s fortitude while shuddering that we so blithely read over,  and, if a class assignment, dissect her (Anne’s) private wonderings.  That she continued to believe the world could be a “better place” in spite of everything that the horrors of WWII created, is a marvel; that we read the Diary and may not clearly remember to establish within our own students the expected set of boundaries/ that private writing generally has a right to remain private, and that writing which is submitted for marks or review is public- and if we ask students to attempt the Diary style of writing, to recognize that the assignment is different from the personal, practical, private writings or drawings or marks on a page that truly deserve the title of journaling or diary.  It is a privilege when a student approaches with an example of personal writing writing done for “fun”,  or to express a need, and wanting to share.  And it is within this notion of privilege that as educator my comments on this personal work are carefully selected to encourage, to empower, to grow.  Bearing in mind that as educator we are expected to be critical, and aware that critical includes the positive,  any encouragement offered is genuine, suggested areas for improvement only suggested not demanded, and gratitude for the trust implied in the sharing, extended.

Thank you: two simple words that we as educators must remember to include in our conversations with students if we are to truly be modeling a growth mindset, an attitude that allows for constructing and committing to practice.

On giving and receiving advice!

“Buyer beware” is an old saying- and one I usually put into practice- after all, education plus experience is meant to be worth something- isn’t it?  and of course- everyone makes mistakes …

As I type this my left eyelid is swelling, my left cheek is bruised and my left side of my face- well- I hope it won’t be scarred.  In any event three red welts have already encircled that left eye and I either look like a prize ring boxer or a lady who went for plastic surgery and it didn’t take.   In reality I am neither- neither the boxer nor the person undergoing plastic surgery- an ordinary teacher rushing to a bus with books in an unusual position-books in one of those “neat- little- carry- on- carts” that some people seem to either push or pull effortlessly and what others- who hardly ever carry a thing- exhort as the latest and greatest non technological advance- “imagine” – it slides on wheels! and suddenly all one has to do is pile it with all the paraphernalia that we who teach or carry objects to and fro usually lug in bags over the shoulder or the wrist, – “freedom?!”

Up early double cup of coffee- lunch made, books in order- bus at the corner – just go! And everyday except this morning- no problem- today = the unwieldy “neat-little-carry-on-cart” just toss everything in and – boom- flat on my face on the sidewalk- the – neat -little- carry-on-cart standing at attention after it had picked up speed and smashed into my ankles- I was pulling rather than pushing it- and hadn’t realized that the objects inside would have had to have been placed- “just so” to give it ballast- either way- kind gentleman and his dog looking extremely worried as I begin to stand up- my face had hit the ground- hard; glasses cutting into my cheek may have prevented further damage as no ground went into the eye proper- but I do look a sight! A bit scary really – for even with 1/2 hour of an ice pack (actually a frozen bag of corn- peas would have worked too!) the bruising and cuts are evident.  So …advice to the ones who may consider purchasing one of these “neat-little-carry-on-carts” buyer beware- give me an old fashioned bag or two any day, and I will restrict the carts which I push  to carts in a grocery store.  And don’t look askance please if you should see a lady carrying her books old-fashioned school girl style – in her arms- instead of in one of those “neat-little-carry-on-carts”; mine will be going in the garbage can while my head is still on my shoulders;  and next time someone suggests I could make my life easier if I were to*…I might just buy a pair of running shoes…instead.

Thanks for reading.

*sit down, relax and put my feet up- that didn’t work either- but that’s another story…

Experiential knowledge and Story time

Thinking of Reading Strategies and what might work best for each age group when found myself circling back to the simple concept of “story”.  We tell a story; we share a story; we read a story; and we critique a movie if the story within it lacked “substance” or simply asked us as viewers to work “too hard” to follow a plot and grow with the characters.  And readers of all ages too want to identify somehow with the characters- to be taken on a Roller Coaster Ride, perhaps, to be given a slow and steady walk from beginning to end- maybe; Readers “know” if a book appeals, even before we teach students how to formally analyze plot and character development and where to look for symbols and themes.

Had the pleasure yesterday evening of being reminded of this when a student became enthusiastic about the social issues within To Kill a Mockingbird– a modern “classic”, filled with so many nuances and options for discussion that I had to marvel anew how the book had actually been taken off of some reading lists.   The characters in this story have become near stereotypes, representing segments of society to be either admired or feared.  Racism, social conscience, economic differences within society, justice- a justice system for all?, children versus adults and understanding of “big” issues, social norms and social responsibility, individual versus society- the list of discussion topics goes on.  And though Harper Lee’s book is not the only one to call attention to the discrepancy between the way the world ought to be and the way the world often- in fact-is, this text may either make a reader grateful that it is now 2014- and issues depicted belong to the last century, or sad, that it is now 2014, and issues depicted may still be prevalent, in spite of many reasons to believe that by now, “everyone”  should know better.

Story then is what keeps a reader’s attention; the young child laughing as Mortimer climbs up the stairs “thump, thump, thump, thump”, the older child learning Greek Myths along with following Percy on his adventures, the high school student reacting to a character in The Help, or marveling at the formality within Pride and Prejudice, is absorbing how others- writers- have seen their society, and chosen to encapsulate in written form aspects of social interaction, some comedic, some tragic, some simply “as is”, that we, readers, might gain a little bit of insight and also question what we take for granted- how we interact with others; how others interact with us.

Story, oral and written, keeps us engaged. Young students require help in building vocabulary that will later be used to decipher the stories they are expected to read and make sense of through their academic years. One of our bigger tasks then is how to encourage vocabulary building, vocabulary usage, vocabulary extensions. And this task begins in preschool, where we sing songs, use movement and gesture to get at emotion, encourage play acting of various characters, and in general start the foundation for literacy acquisition. In doing so we are also encouraging the beginning of empathic relating, the ability to care about another and to feel that the other’s experience matters. Stories help us to move across artificial and real boundaries, boundaries of time and space, boundaries of religion and race, boundaries of culture and country. And while I am one who finds reading can actually transport a reader from the here and now into the story itself, I work with struggling readers daily. So I look for as many variations of story as possible, to cultivate an ability to encourage the reader to move beyond his or her own stereotype- a label possibly imposed by an academic institution- and to read first for pleasure in the story, then to evaluate the story; to read at a level that allows for absorbing the big picture within the tale, and to connect that image with what the student already has experienced. And regardless of age, to allow for the recap- the retelling of the story, the part when the student is able to say “I did this” (meaning I did the reading) for while retelling may not be the same action as summarizing or analyzing, retelling offers a strong practical reward- the student hearing his or her own voice while sharing ideas.  Isn’t this a central goal of a writing conference?

Singing in the shower…

Looking out my window at a beautiful sky, a current strong contrast with the heavy rain showering down a few hours ago.  Right now, calm sky, true blue, powder puff clouds, and that feeling one gets when the air is so clear one can feel bathed in possibilities.

The window is wide open, and the screen hardly visible; yet as I type I find myself marveling that there may be teachers and students who dread a unit on poetry- when poetry as an expression of feeling is what I know a poet would be able to do with my current view.  To freeze frame it for a second and third look through words which could express that combination of new day, new desires that the calm after a rain seems to unceasingly bring.

Am I writing poetic prose? Not in the mood to critique myself this morning.   Yesterday I had the opportunity we each are given at a birthday; a chance to wonder anew at life itself and the gift of another year.  I spent the early part with a large crowd of strangers brought together for a good cause; cheering or running ourselves to raise funds for a relatively new centre at a local hospital; a centre geared toward making it easier for parents to navigate a hospital health care system- and one geared especially to mental health.  Kudos to the families whose hard work and caring developed the second annual  RBC RUN FOR THE KIDS; my son ran 25 kilometers and though he didn’t hear me cheering amongst the crowd when in just under two hours he crossed the finish line (!) he, and all who ran, cheered, volunteered and/or organized the event made this a truly special birthday. For in looking back over all that we as a family accomplished this past year, I am truly amazed. Mother of two, my daughter was at her part time job, so couldn’t be with us at the event, but her diligence and work also suffused my day.  When I work with children or adults, I am so aware of how emotions affect our ability to absorb information. The RBC run is for all the children and their families who might for a period have forgotten how to sing; mental health and all its variety of issues was recently brought home with the unexpected death of famous actor Robin Williams- a man who appeared to be sharing his very soul with his audiences, yet who hid his pain until the pain took over.  His death a tragedy; and within our cities today, young people suffering as well- some who it is to be hoped may be helped by the Sunnybrook hospital Family Navigation Project- the more awareness, the better chance for healthy living.

Knowing how much I care about big picture goals as well as the details to make such goals real, and having children who are able to put into practice some of my dreams- I am not a runner-but am a believer- in the fact that opportunity allows for change, and that people working together be it running for a cause, or alerting the “world” that such causes are worthwhile, can and do, daily through little acts of kindness, create that wonderful word- GRACE – for each other. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to choose?

Profession or calling, enterprise or extension of self- how does one really decide?
Students entering grade 12, or first and second year University, or even earlier- here in Ontario, in grade eight, being asked to project forward, to pick their own learning stream, to choose applied or academic, to “guess” which courses truly will fulfill the goal of satisfied, independent adult “one day”. And then, to their surprise, when at University, to learn how many students ( just like them) are now changing direction, “discovering” through course selection new interests, new opportunities, and their own voice. Such a beautiful discovery; recognizing when to take to heart the comments of advisors and professors, when to decide one’s own goals, when and where to focus both attention and action.
When we look at pictures of High School students from the early 60s when streaming was in effect, almost an entire class when off to University in the pursuit of similar goals- I have heard first hand stories of a class in which all but one entered sciences, followed by medicine, and that one, first obtained a degree in commerce, then entered medicine as well! Today’s more individualized timetables suggest a more personalized approach to course selecting, but is this the reality?
A VIP for a Bank told me he hadn’t been considered good at math in High School, not showing interest- then took a commerce course and loved discussing what to do with “widgets”. For the record – he deals with a tremendous amount of “math” today. There are similar stories, and of course the current jokes about how it might be more worthwhile to put one’s hope into the non academic aspect of school, and encourage a student to focus on an area where showing talent; schools for the arts, and sports oriented programs seem geared to recognizing that there is more to an individual’s “one day-someday” plan than the letter grade, however, when a student’s inklings are for academics, then let us not put down the high scoring community. Too many students still suggest to me their middle school fear of being considered nerdy (actually they often use a much stronger term) if they do achieve, and wish to achieve top grades. It is therefore not surprising to recognize the way in which highest awards are often given to the newest newcomer students- students whose families continue to focus on education, students whose families risked a great deal to make life anew in Canada, and one of their dreams was a full education for their children.
When we collectively consider “school” we may need to reassess the messages we are sending to the very students involved: are we creating an inclusive environment where students needn’t wait till post secondary or later to begin to find their voice? Are we offering within the school the safety of genuine communication, between peers, between students and teachers, between parents and teachers, between administration and the entire community? Somewhere, between “get 100” and “fail forward” we need a new slogan; a concept of opportunity shared, versus hierarchical put downs that seem so accepted within our educational settings.

Together- whole child, whole heart, whole community; holistic education. Let’s get it together !

Boundaries: please help me set them- feedback encouraged

Today’s blog deals with security, two types: internet and personal.  There is little more frightening than the idea that someone may break into one’s physical space- and when we teach internet security we use the idea of a back door and teach students not to leave the back door open,though in my case ((English being the subject matter), my students are much more computer savvy than me, and I learn from them all the time.  But this past week, two frightening incidents occurred.

First I started a course to upgrade/refresh business skills – with the dream to expand my business and over the next two years, become a fully functioning learning center- very exciting, a dream that has been percolating for ten years 🙂

Second, I celebrated personal changes within my family, being grateful for the most basic of things, the health and welfare of those nearest and dearest.

BUT, and as my students have come to recognize when there is a “but” in an essay – look for the transition, follow the points as they appear and hear the writer’s voice; BUT the first indication that something “was out of sync” came via the internet- had I been guilty of leaving my internet “backdoor” open and allowing for hackers? In fairness instead of turning the computer off I often put it into “sleep” – so perhaps I had let the hacker on-board.   In a bizarre set of incidents my keyboard initially didn’t register, then when my keyboard did register the only strokes it would type- either the symbol for trade mark, or the symbol for  registered.  – Some one who would not want me to achieve my business ideals? – Creepy, unusual, and most bizarre an occurrence that only happened within my home following my first day away from home and physically in class; however, taking the computer elsewhere – the keyboard works.  (My children had suggested throwing the machine out and buying a newer model-fortunately this expense is not necessary as the machine indeed works) the hacker however did damage; causing days of: frustration, annoyance, time and energy.   BUT – new “but”– many people get hacked- I chose to see it as a bizarre compliment? someone not wanting the business itself to grow– competition or just someone’s mean games? Regardless- a physical object.

Back to BUT  number 2:  after an exhausting run around day and the awareness that I had an evening meeting to attend I did the unthinkable –  I sat down and put my feet up- in a space without a back door- home- a condo, with doorman and security- and another very unusual action- fell asleep with an alarm on to waken me up in time for my meetings- excuse the lengthy description but what happened was frightening: as someone who almost never naps, and who considers the after school and weekend time the most productive the entire concept of that one hour break was unusual- so it was doubly scary to suddenly hear a male voice in the unit, to, in a sleep induced blur, waken to a physical presence inside the suite and I screamed, and thankfully my son was home,  and together we made certain the intruder left.  But visibly shaken I said to my son that for the first time I had an inkling of what could happen in a household where a person were startled in such a manner and the homeowner carried a weapon- there is no question in my mind- I would have used it!   Having always been against the concept of guns, having been an advocate of peaceful negotiations, having taught children of all ages sessions on ways to sow “seeds of peace” I found myself wishing for a weapon, or at the very least a jar of pepper spray.  And though I pretended to relax and dismiss the issue, to focus on my meeting later that evening, and did indeed attend the meeting but – another but- may not have given the types of clearly formed presentations I have developed a reputation for- I realize today that we as readers of events in the news, on the media, or simply gossiped about, we lack the very real first hand knowledge of why any individual may react to a situation in a particular fashion.  I “screamed” – growing angrier and angrier with the realization of the fact that the computer games and the in-person games may have been connected.  And Today? today I realize that back door, front door, side door- none had been opened when it came to my personal space.  And I realize too that if in future  I read about an individual who took “extreme measures” to defend him/herself or family I will be less quick to wonder how someone would react- for there are times for conversation, times to shout as loudly as possible, and times to- dare I say it -perhaps even grab a weapon.  My son reminded me of my previous and, to date, anti-violence stance and the fact that we laughed together after, that it was indeed a good thing that I hadn’t had a weapon and the problems weapons cause.  Unfortunately, today, all I can think of is Roosevelt and how stunned I was as a child to discover what his famous “big stick”  was a symbol for.  As an English tutor- I deal in symbols, and attempt understanding of them, or if not clearly able to offer a definitive explanation for a piece of poetry or prose then to suggest others offer their interpretations.   And the world around us, not merely the printed or artistic piece is filled with symbols.  So this blog is a question mark-  about Boundaries, how we define them, establish them and make clear when the lines may not be crossed.  And on a personal note how we teach them – clearly, articulately but with the underlying recognition that little is as easily erased as lines in the sand. 

– grateful that journal keeping can clear the  “cobwebs” in addition to communicating.  Interested in reading any reader responses.  Thank you

Dealing with the “Real” World

 Some have a belief that school is not real- that real life begins only upon graduation- I wonder, in today’s age of fast pacing and career switching, how any could still suggest that the place students are expected to spend at least 12 years of their lives is not “real”.  A microcosm perhaps, but nevertheless, very real in the social-cultural, and physical-material sense.  And is school an audition? another idea that appears to be floating – No.  School is the way in which the majority of children are socialized and when the fit is right- children thrive- when wrong the blisters not only burst but chafe so deeply the right space might still feel too constricting.

   While homeschooling may provide an answer and is increasingly an option for those who have the time to devote to not only searching out places that will provide stimulation and feed the curiousity of the learners ( museums, art spaces, public performances, lunch time forums, construction sites,  people watching ..) for the majority a school- regardless if private or public, remains the full time space where one’s children attend to daily rituals of practice- practicing communication skills, practicing public participation, practicing organizational skills, practicing physical skills, practicing the give and take of learning- practicing.

   And it is the curriculum that determines what gets practiced.  April is when many parents begin to question the past year’s choice of schooling and wonder if new arrangements ought to be made for the following September.  Things I encourage parents to look for in a school when touring a new space go beyond the basics- not just the physical structure and the size of the rooms, but importantly the sounds one hears when walking the halls; are the sounds coming from the classrooms representative of students’ voices? Do the walls feature student work? Is there an energy even outside the grounds?  For elementary students, what appears to be happening during lunch time recess? For junior high school students, are the activities/clubs posted of the type your child may express interest in joining? In a Senior High students should be visible- activities are ongoing and classes more individualized- visit at more than one point during the day and notice how students move about…

School is the “real world” for students while they are moving through it; help them understand and appreciate how growth in any direction can require a new fitting, and believe in them when they are ready to practice something new.