Parent Presentations!

This Thursday evening at Lake International, we had a guest speaker for  the parents of YESS students. Gabriella Mohr spoke about prevention education,, which was very appropriate, since we are completing our unit about drugs and alcohol.  Parents learned about the dangers that are specific to our community.  Parents had excellent questions about the changes to our state laws, and the best ways to talk to their children about drugs and alcohol.

After the presentation, students shared with their parents the slide shows that each had prepared about the adolescent brain, their hot and cool buttons, and some of the things that they have learned this year.  Everyone had pizza and great conversations, and parents were very impressed!onrae


parent4Wparent mtg lake


Studying the Effects of Drug Use… and a Celebration

These past two weeks at Lake, we have been studying the effects of drug use.  drug useOn Thursday, we had a guest speaker from the district, Gabriella Mohr,  who works with intervention and prevention, and she shared information that helped us to link the study of the brain with the effects of marijuana usage in adolescence. She will be returning this Thursday evening to present to parents!  Students will also be presenting their Google slideshows about the adolescent brain.

Classes have been very focused on this topic, and have had some excellent questions! One class in particular earned their third class party of the year this week!aaaaaaa

Testing and Parent Presentations!

Last week and this week are our last weeks of testing!Students are mentally drained, but are working very hard, and using all their time to do their very best!

We have shorter classes because of our testing schedule, so it is difficult to get through an entire lesson, but we are still enjoying studying the adolescent brain! We are making power point presentations to share with our parents everything that we have learned.  Our new students from Iraq have really really enjoyed this project and are going above and beyond! Also, my 8th hour, who seem to really enjoy some time to work independently after a long day of testing!ragiStudents helped to make a beautiful display of their artwork, and their quotes about the article that we read about growing up as a teenager in this day and age!display

Testing Weeks!

The weeks  before and after Spring Break have been dominated by state testing…. it changes our entire schedule and makes everyone tired and cranky! It is fitting that we have been studying the adolescent brain, and how adolescents need more sleep!

We made a kahoot quiz about the brain, and it was a super fun way to review!kahoot.jpgkarinadominic

We also read an article from Time Magazine about the difficulties of being an adolescent in today’s world. Part of the article discussed the epidemic of cutting, and why teenagers do it.  We took a class poll, to see if anyone had friends or knew anyone who cut.  The results were shocking.  We talked about whether students were getting help, and if not, why.  Our next step is to invite the social worker in to talk to students about how they can get help, for themselves or for friends.cutting

Studying Fear

We have been talking so much about being fearful…. about current events, about upcoming events, and about events in the neighborhood, that I decided to go into the new curriculum and spend our short week on the fear unit.  It started with making charts at table groups about the things that we are afraid of, and so many of our fears were similar!blogfear chart

Our next step was to talk about what we are fearful of, and what are some of the positives as well as the negatives of fear.  We did a gallery walk to look at all of the posters, and talked about helpful and harmful fears.  We did the visualizations, which the students enjoyed, then took our most harmful fear, wrote it on a piece of paper, and tore it up, or flew it out the window. (We picked them up!)

Finally, we used the quotes provided, and made posters for the school hallway. blogkarinablog2fearpostersblog mjposterblog ariel

Also, we have picked someone each hour to be the class photographer once a week! Here are some of their photos:

blog onraeworkingblog dashawn


Scenarios of Accountability

Following our work on writing letters of accountability, we dove right in to the new curriculum and talked in groups about different scenarios,, and the choices that they presented to act in a positive or negative way.  We had some great group discussions, and students liked the fact that they got to acknowledge that there are some positive consequences for ditching, for example, but that the negatives far outweigh the positives!They enjoyed working through scenarios in groups, and coming up with their own. Some students who had been absent finished up their letters, also


In addition, 2 classes earned so many class points, that they got class parties!

They requested ice cream and scary movie shorts!


I wanted to share one of the particularly thoughtful letters of accountability to a teacher here at Lake:



In my class we are learning about the ladder of accountability, and thinking back to last  year, and how I treated you I realize I didn’t treat you as you were supposed to be treated.


Last year when you helped me to accomplish so much and learn beyond what I thought I could.I am extremely grateful and I am sorry for the way I treated you.


While you were teaching me and my class there were some people who were acting out of and you had trouble with and after you were done settling them down and handling them, then I would continue to talk and be disrespectful and also being loud even though you deserve more than that.
I sincerely apologize for being rude even though you tried to teach me and tried to be a nice and educate me and my class and you kept on trying to look out for our best interest and I sincerely apologize for being rude and making matters worse when i should’ve really been grateful and thankful for all that you have taught me and helped me accomplish.



Taking Accountability and Valentines

These last two weeks, we have focused on taking accountability and the accountability ladder. Because of testing, and a family emergency on the part of their teacher, we have taken a little longer to delve into this topic.  All of the lessons have been very engaging, and have led to some amazing discussions! We started out talking about why it is hard to take accountability, and then had to choose an event in our own lives that we should have taken accountability for.  It was very difficult for students to realize that, “I said I was sorry, but I still got in trouble!”  Our culminating activity was to write letters of apology to a teacher that we have wronged.  This led to some heartfelt self-reflection that I am very proud of my students for! We printed them out and illustrated them…. stay tuned for teacher reactions!vanessa

Also… we made valentines and celebrated our parents and guardians and the people in our lives that give us love!


Also,, I wanted to share an “I am” poem by my student Jon.  He was a very reluctant poet…. he scrawled the word “hood” across the paper. When we sat down and talked about the way writing this poem was making him feel, he came up with this as a second draft:

I am from the hood where families struggle

From no food in the fridge and wearing the same clothes to school every day

I am from everybody goes to jail…. Everybody!

And feeling depressed cuz its not the same when they’re gone

I am from gunshots every other night

From houses getting robbed

And not so innocent people dying for selling drugs

Trying to help their families but making someone else’s family struggle

I am from going to church on Sunday morning

From rita and gary

From hot wings but mostly ramen noodles cuz that’s all we have.

I am from barbecues at my sister’s

We play on the trampoline and listen to Mexican music

From playing hide and seek in the food truck

I am from the hood where families struggle