It is time for a break. Everyone is ready for a rest. Since the fall semester has gone into late December, it has been a long semester for all. We have had a fabulous week at WHS! Our quiet week compounded with a four day exams schedule seems to have been a success. While many may be expecting a traditional message, we are choosing to focus on the New Year since 2018 is only 10 days away! We would like to share some quotes and cartoons on the New Year’s Resolutions process!
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
- Melody Beattie
New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today, carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change. - Sarah Ban Breathnach
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something. - Neil Gaiman
Here’s to a fantastic New Year in 2018! For you senior parents, May will be here shortly. Enjoy the last Winter Break with your WHS student.
Please continue reading to see what stress relievers and new resources our students have been offered by our librarians and Ed Techs:
Last week our school library offered a 12 Days of Stress Relief with a variety of analog activities ranging from bookmark coloring, friendship bracelets, and playdoh to jenga and holiday card making. I decided to add a bullet journal component to the mix.
Students were provided with multiple resources to explore from goal and habit trackers to productivity bingo and a calendex. The calendex seemed to be the big hit.
If you are not familiar with this tool... it is essentially the mash-up of an index and a calendar. It is not meant to be a stand-alone calendar... more to use as a goal setting or goal-tracking tool in conjunction with a planner or bullet journal. All students have to do is create a quick key. For example, one could choose a red dot for days they have an exam, a blue dot for days they have a homework, and a green dot for days they have an after school activity. Linked here is a college student example to give you an idea of how people use these.
I took the liberty to create one for next semester based on our school calendar and have linked it here. The gray cells are days we have no school and the black cells are days that don't exist within the month (as each column has 31 cells but each month doesn't).
Stay tuned in January when we offer more task and time management tools and resources to support students.
Every once in a while things hit just right. Take some time to think back to last week..... remember that wonderful evening of snow? And it was real snow - real snow balls, real snow angels, real snowmen, and real fun. Kids stayed out until late that night, playing after they learned that school was off for the next day. For those who have resided in Austin for a while, it has been years since our kids had the chance to experience snow in their own home and yard. We hope you had the chance to enjoy the time with your family. The snow even made our 17 year old dog, Maggie, act like a puppy for a few minutes. With the long four weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, that snow day day seemed to have the right timing for our community.
From our Ed Techs:
As finals start next week, the Ed Techs here at WHS (Chris Hanson and Lisa Johnson M. E.d.) thought it would be helpful to provide parents and students with some study tips. We sent a survey to both staff and students in regards to best practices for studying and tools that they utilize or offer. The survey results and the complete guide have been added to the Healthy Chaps website in this afternoon's post and includes the PDF version of the graphic below. The Study Tips bundle includes study tips from a variety of content areas. While it is not meant to be prescriptive or exhaustive, it does contain a wealth of best practices that students and parents can review.
We have also ran a webinar on this topic. The archived version can be found here. We are currently scheduling spring webinars. If there are other topics of interest that you would like to see offered, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope everyone has a superb weekend. The phrases I have consistently heard this week from students and staff are: “I cannot believe the semester is over next week”, “this year has flown”, “I can’t wait for the break”, “what you are exempting?”, “I love the cold” and “I hate the cold”. This is always a high energy time at our campus as students somehow begin to rally for the last week of the semester. Their energy is contagious to our staff as they also begin to see the end of a learning experience for our kids that started back in the third week of August. Everyone is looking forward to one more normal day until finals begin next Tuesday. Take care Chaps!
Here is an update from our Challenge Success Team at Westlake High School and from Healthy Chaps:
Hello, Westlake parents,
A couple of years ago, a group of Westlake students and adults looked around and realized that as awesome as Westlake can be, some of our students were really struggling in a variety of ways. We decided to take action and joined the Challenge Success initiative out of Stanford University. Challenge Success uses current research and student data to challenge our ideas of success to make sure we’re living healthy, balanced, meaningful lives. In other words, Challenge Success is all about helping our students be more engaged in their learning and healthier in every way while maintaining their standards of excellence.
We've done quite a bit so far, from helping students use a Time Management Form to plan their schedules when they register to implementing Quiet Days (Dec. 13-18) for students to prepare for final exams. We have more plans in the works, so you'll be hearing from us again.
One excellent source of information is the Challenge Success Facebook page; please like it!
We hope you'll also check out our website, which is loaded with informative articles, tips, and videos for parents, students, and faculty. Here's a sampling of what you'll find there:
If you're thinking about helping your student apply to college, you might be interested in these resources:
Assess Your 5Is and Colleges' 4Cs - great questions to ask yourself when thinking of where to apply
Where the Westlake Class of 2017 applied and is attending
Does your student need help with study skills?
Focusing on Finals - How to prepare
This list has proven methods that might surprise you.
Important information about teen stress and how to help:
Do You Know? Fascinating research findings on high school students shared by Challenge Success
Step Away from Your Over-Scheduled High School Student: How to help teenagers learn how to juggle their competing classes and extracurriculars
6 Strategies for Soothing a Perfectionist
You'll find much more at www.westlakesuccess.weebly.com!
Thanks for reading!
Your Challenge Success Team
While most teenagers do not use e-cigarettes, "vaping" is increasing around the country, and we are seeing this at our secondary schools as well. Many e-cigarettes are highly addictive because they contain nicotine. Even those that do not contain nicotine have chemicals that may be harmful to the health of the person using them or those around them. Additionally, the use or possession of e-cigarettes on school property or at school events is expressly prohibited. You might find the following sites useful in gaining information about this current trend:
E-cigarettes Tip Sheet
E-cigarettes and Young People
Steve Ramsey: WHS Principal Blog
Principal's Weekly Reflections