Coping with Stress and Enjoying the Holidays
By Kathleen Remington, EAP
The holiday season is meant to bring feelings of love and happiness, yet it can also bring holiday stress for many of us. In fact, according to a poll by Verywell Mind, more than 80 percent of us find the holiday season to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful.
The holiday season may bring with it some unwelcome guests - stress and sometimes even depression. The holidays often bring on a wide array of demands such as shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining. You may be feeling additional stress about the Coronavirus, or you may be worrying about your and your loved ones' health. You may also feel stressed, even sad or anxious, because your holiday plans may look different during the pandemic.
Here are some tips so you can minimize the stress that may accompany the holidays.
Tips for preventing holiday stress
When stress is at its peak, it's hard to step back and take a break. It’s best to try and prevent stress in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.
Take control of the holidaysDon't let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and sadness that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to distress. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.
Growing and Aligning Middle School CTE Programs
By Kate Harris
Career and Technical Education (CTE) has gone through some major shifts in the last few years. These changes have occurred at the national, state, and local levels as leaders work to better support career exploration and preparation. Thanks to 5A funding Jeffco has been able to directly support middle school CTE programs and as a result middle school CTE programming has grown tremendously. Currently 24 middle schools have Middle School Combined Exploratory Programs supported by a total of 88 CTE credentialed teachers.
In addition to growing programs and credentialing teachers, 5A funds have been used to develop middle school competencies and purchase resources/equipment for programs that will support the implementation of the competencies. Using a variety of resources, but anchoring to Colorado’s Secondary Pathways, content area expert teachers and district level staff worked to create competencies for our middle school pathways/courses. The competencies are written in a scope and sequence format that teachers can use as a planning tool. Technical competencies, WBL opportunities, CTSO integration, and career exploration are all components of the scope and sequence teachers can utilize when planning for high quality CTE instruction. The creation of the scope and sequences prompted the question, “What resources are necessary to teach these competencies?” To answer this and support our growing programs the content teams curated “resource bundles” that directly support the implementation of the competencies within each CTE content. Then, teachers selected the bundle that would best support their program and the CTE department purchased the resources and equipment.
These new competencies and resources create consistency across middle school programs as well as directly aligning middle school standards to the high school curriculum and pathways.
Check out the HS and MS CTE Competencies:
Colorado’s Secondary Pathway Competencies
Jeffco’s Middle School CTE Competencies
Storytime! Reading Aloud to Secondary Students
By Robyn Kehoe Ramsey
Contrary to what you might think, secondary students are NOT too old to be read to. While there might be some teenage eye rolling or skeptical looks at first, students actually love this classroom activity. No matter the subject, teachers should definitely read aloud to their students.
Storytime isn’t just for ELA class. In science, math, social studies, the arts, and across the school building, teachers bring texts to students. Teachers can read aloud -- the speech, the scientific presentation, the mathematical proof, the interview, the explanation, even the directions! -- when they have a complex text of key importance.
Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) is sometimes used in middle and high schools as a way to encourage reading, and it’s not a bad idea. However, if students are struggling or unmotivated readers, this practice may not actually be producing any gains in reading skills. SSR may be a good place to go once you have built foundational skills in all your young readers. To build fluency, model what strong readers do, and ensure equity of access, reading aloud is a better place to begin.
Reading aloud to students offers every student -- regardless of learning challenges -- an entry point into the text. Hearing the text read by an expert helps build students’ sense of fluency and helps improve their vocabularies. Teachers can make reading a shared experience by reading to students themselves, rather than playing the audiobook or having students read aloud. Take breaks along the way to model thinking and show students how to interact with the text. Have a purpose for reading, and make that explicit to students. Require students to follow along with the reading; struggling readers may want to stare at something else and rely on their auditory processing, but this doesn’t give them the fluency practice they need.
Once teachers have read aloud, modeled their thinking, and shared the experience of reading together, they can begin to release students to read in pairs or small groups to each other. Wander the room and listen to readers. Remind them of the scaffolds and routines they have learned. This is a perfect time to unobtrusively gather informal assessment data about readers’ strengths and challenges. Teachers will very quickly get a sense of whether students are understanding the text independently or not.
When young readers have sufficient skills to tackle the texts they need, THEN it’s time for independent reading. If the results of independent reading aren’t great, teachers should reteach or review routines and skills modeled before.
Read aloud to students! Give them a positive experience with reading, a shared experience with their classroom community, and the tools they need to be successful in the content area and beyond.
Don’t believe me? Learn more for yourself!
Curriculum & Instruction