Mrs. Gina Cappiello
Dear VCE Families,
On Back-to-School Night, in addition to talking about growth mindset, I also introduced the 7Cs- Creativity, Compassion, Communication, Content Mastery, Cultural Awareness, Critical Thinking and Collaboration, and spoke about these as skills we want to develop in our children throughout the district. At school, we introduced the concept of creativity as we celebrated “Dot Day”. The students’ dots are proudly displayed in the hallway, and there were many discussions about how students would “make their mark” at VCE with a willingness to take on new challenges and express their creativity. We will continue to weave the concept of creativity through lessons and other learning experiences throughout the year. You can listen and watch to The Dot with your children by visiting this website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5mGeR4AQdM and hear the song some of the children are learning at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_I43cxDQ-o
This month we will introduce the concept of compassion. At school we will be discussing the meaning of the word and highlighting examples. We will tie it into STAR behavior as it relates to respect and taking responsibility, and we will make connections between compassion and empathy. Here are three ways that families can help children develop a sense of compassion at home:
1. Showing empathy toward others- Try to be understanding when others make mistakes, and ask children questions such as, "I wonder how the waitress was feeling when she gave me the wrong meal" and "How do you think it would feel to be that busy at your job?"
2. Writing genuine thank-you notes helps children move beyond the standard "Thank you for ______" boilerplate by asking questions such as, "What would it be like if you spent a lot of time choosing a great gift for a friend and she didn't thank you?" and "How do you think your friend will feel when he gets his very own letter in the mail?
3. Boost "feelings vocabulary" by spending a few minutes each day pointing out different expressions and giving them a name -- happy, sad, frustrated, angry. As your child gets older, the emotions can get more nuanced -- surprise, shyness, confusion, irritation -- and you can add body language to the facial gestures. When you read books together, encourage your child to name the emotions of the different characters. Here’s a link that will take you to a site where you can find the titles and short descriptions of books with the theme of compassion written for students at all grade levels. http://www.the-best-childrens-books.org/teaching-compassion.html Later this month, VCE begins our annual PARP (Pick A Reading Partner) event. Reading together with your child instills a love of reading and learning and creates life long memories of time spent together.
Thank you for sharing your children with us each day!
Mrs. Gina Cappiello
Dear VCE Families,
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you and your child into our VCE family for the 2016-2017 school year. As we learn and work together we will also be building important skills for a lifetime of curiosity and growth. These include content mastery, communication, collaboration, cultural awareness, critical thinking, compassion and creativity. Learning can often be a messy process, where initial failures are really just first attempts in learning. VCE students know that we get smart when we work hard. We will continue the work we began last year in developing growth mindsets; work that is grounded in the research of Carol Dweck. A growth mindset is the belief that we can learn anything with support, hard work, and thoughtful strategic instruction. Children with a growth mindset outperform children who do not think of themselves and their learning this way.
The way we support this work in our classroom is by intentionally teaching ways of thinking about ourselves and our learning. This year, we will be teaching your children the concepts of:
OPTIMISM: The belief that no matter the obstacle, we have the power and possibility to overcome it.
RESILIENCE: The ability to bounce back from setbacks and frustrations and learn from them when they happen.
PERSISTENCE: The habit of trying something more than once, or sticking with something through the hard parts.
FLEXIBILITY: The knowledge that there are multiple ways to solve any problem, and the skills to strategically solve it.
EMPATHY: The ability to understand feelings and other people’s points of view; a fundamental aspect of a healthy child and a healthy community.
As we learn more about these big ideas, we will think about ways to use self-talk, self stories, goal setting, and reflection to reinforce and support these positive habits of mind. Stay tuned for that work as it unfolds.
As in all things, you are our greatest partners, and so we invite you on this journey with us! Here are some ways you can support and connect with your child over these big ideas:
- Share your own stories. Talk with your child about times you showed empathy or were flexible.
- Listen in on your own self talk and refine it. Be mindful of saying things like “I can’t” as in “I can’t put together this furniture!” Instead try, “This feels hard, but I am going to take a break and try it a different way to see if that helps!”
- Read with your child and talk about the ways characters are acting in regard to these habits of mind.
- Read more about this! At the end of this letter you will find a list of links to articles and titles. Most are short and (hopefully) interesting, and can give you some of the background about the work we’re doing.
Please mark your calendars for Back-to-School Night on Thursday, September 15th at 7:00 pm. I look forward to welcoming new and returning members of the VCE family. As always, feel free to contact us with questions, comments, and concerns. I am confident that as we set forth on this journey together, our children will be the true beneficiaries
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