Dear Blake Families:
I hope that everyone had a safe, snowy weekend and that you did not have to spend too much time with a shovel in your hands! We had a great time as a family - sledding, building forts, making Valentine's Day cards, and enjoying some time by the fire. With the rapid pace of our lives, this forced 'down time' was a real gift.
With this 'gift of time' in mind as we approach the February vacation, I am reminded of the importance of balance, down time, and reflection. I know that my mind runs at a quick clip and that this energy can be a positive influence, but I also know that this needs to be tempered. This is a work in progress for me, and from many conversations with staff and families, I know that others identify with these feelings. Before each vacation I remind staff of our approach to 'vacations and homework' for our students: 'The understanding/expectation is that assignments/projects will not be assigned with the expectation that they need to be worked on or completed over vacation. This is not to say that assignments/projects will not run over the vacation period -- rather, students should not feel obligated or expected to complete the assignment during that week. Along the same lines, tests and quizzes should not be given on the first two days following a vacation.' I have also conveyed that this belief and approach is equally true for our staff. It is important for all of us to take time next week for you to recharge, sleep, reflect, and relax with family and friends. As I have said before, this 'down time' is both well-deserved and necessary. Along these lines I have posted an article entitled 'Why Daydreaming Isn't a Waste of Time', written by Annie Murphy Paul (located on the Articles tab of this blog). In this brief article Paul shares the importance of balancing our efforts to have children "...pay attention, concentrate, and focus on the task in front of them" with "...daydreaming, remembering, and reflecting" -- "...this kind of introspection is crucial to our mental health, to our relationships, and to our emotional and moral development. And it promotes the skill parents and teachers care so much about: the capacity to focus on the world outside our heads." I hope we all can find some time during vacation to daydream and that we can help one another build in that time when we return as well.
In a continued effort to share resources and work together in a thoughtful manner to support our students in the rapid, expanding realm of technology, I have posted two articles (located on the Articles tab of this blog) from Edutopia. The first article is entitled 'Creating a Family Media Agreement: How to Have the Conversation'. I liked the questions that are posed as entry points for the discussion with children and students and hope it resonates with you as well. The second article - 'A Parent's Guide to Twitter and Education' was sent this weekend to me by Diane Horvath (thanks, Diane!), and it provides some nice avenues of support for parents and educators alike.
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