Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Decisions That Derail Your Goals Lesson

This week 8th grade students will be discussing decisions that derail their goals in classroom guidance. The following topics were selected because 8th grade students are now at an age where the consequences for these behaviors have legal as well as school consequences.

1.  Truancy
2.  Bullying
3.  Fighting
4.  Sexual harassment
5.  Sexting

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Magnet Informational Meetings

Tuesday, September 4th a representative from the Cobb Magnet High School programs will be speaking in an assembly to the entire 8th grade class.  Identical meetings for parents will be held on September 6th and 11th (see the flyer below for specifics).

The student program is designed to generate interest and will not answer all of the questions about a specific school or program.  Interested families are encouraged to attend the individual open houses offered in October for program specific information.  Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

The link below goes to the magnet program website.  Students will create a log in from that page to begin the application process.

Cobb Magnet Programs

Friday, August 10, 2018

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

This year Awtrey entered into a new partnership with Franklin-Covey to become a 7 Habits School.  Throughout the year students will be discussing the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. provides the following review and synopsis.

Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey applies the timeless principles of the 7 Habits to teens and the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face. In an entertaining style, Covey provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens will engage teenagers unlike any other book.
An indispensable book for teens, as well as parents, grandparents, and any adult who influences young people, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is destined to become the last word on surviving and thriving as a teen and beyond.
For teens, life is not a playground, it's a jungle. And, being the parent of a teenager isn't any walk in the park, either. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey attempts to provide "a compass to help teens and their parents navigate the problems they encounter daily."
How will they deal with peer pressure? Motivation? Success or lack thereof? The life of a teenager is full of tough issues and life-changing decisions. As a parent, you are responsible to help them learn the principles and ethics that will help them to reach their goals and live a successful life.
While it's all well and good to tell kids how to live their lives, "teens watch what you do more than they listen to what you say," Covey says. So practice what you preach. Your example can be very influential.
Covey himself has done well by following a parent's example. His dad, Stephen Covey, wrote the book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, which sold over 15 million copies. Sean's a chip off the old block, and no slacker. His own book has rung in a more than respectable 2 million copies sold. Here are his seven habits, and some ideas for helping your teen understand and apply them:
Be Proactive
Being proactive is the key to unlocking the other habits. Help your teen take control and responsibility for her life. Proactive people understand that they are responsible for their own happiness or unhappiness. They don't blame others for their own actions or feelings.
Begin With the End in Mind
If teens aren't clear about where they want to end up in life, about their values, goals, and what they stand for, they will wander, waste time, and be tossed to and fro by the opinions of others. Help your teen create a personal mission statement which will act as a road map and direct and guide his decision-making process.
Put First Things First
This habit helps teens prioritize and manage their time so that they focus on and complete the most important things in their lives. Putting first things first also means learning to overcome fears and being strong during difficult times. It's living life according to what matters most.
Think Win-Win
Teens can learn to foster the belief that it is possible to create an atmosphere of win-win in every relationship. This habit encourages the idea that in any given discussion or situation both parties can arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. Your teen will learn to celebrate the accomplishments of others instead of being threatened by them.
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Because most people don't listen very well, one of the great frustrations in life is that many don't feel understood. This habit will ensure your teen learns the most important communication skill there is: active listening.
Synergy is achieved when two or more people work together to create something better than either could alone. Through this habit, teens learn it doesn't have to be "your way" or "my way" but rather a better way, a higher way. Synergy allows teens to value differences and better appreciate others.
Sharpen the Saw
Teens should never get too busy living to take time to renew themselves. When a teen "sharpens the saw" she is keeping her personal self sharp so that she can better deal with life. It means regularly renewing and strengthening the four key dimensions of life – body, brain, heart, and soul.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Parent’s Guide To Social Media Use For Kids By Tim Elmore

* Reposted from April 2018
Even though they’re no longer a couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie both recently confirmed they put safety measures on the Internet to provide boundaries for their children. They definitely plan to keep watch on their social media use as they age. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently suggested he wouldn’t want his nephew on a social network. Years ago, Apple Founder Steve Jobs said he didn’t want his kids to even own an iPad. Why? It’s simple. Children’s health experts warned (on Facebook) that excessive use of digital devices and social media “is harmful to children and teens.”

I meet faculty and parents frequently who are sharing these concerns and asking the same questions about social media use. I realize I’ve written much about this in the past, but maybe a short Q and A guide, based on research, would be helpful here.

 1. How much is too much social media use?

One study by UNICEF, reports that “some time on social media is actually good” and that “digital technology seems to be beneficial for children’s social relationships.” On social media we can connect with friends, give to charities and be informed of what’s happening around the world. With too much time, however, screens can become damaging to our mental health. The key is to separate understandable concerns with actual data on the subject.

Believe it or not, the average teen today spends about 9 hours a day on a screen. That’s like a full-time job. According to Monitoring the Future, just two hours on social media has been shown to contribute to anxiety and unhappiness among teens. I suggest, a 60-90 minute limit each day. The other hours should be filled with face-to-face hours with friends, sports, work, activities, studies and family. This ratio has been shown to produce happier kids and better students. Further, it results in more satisfied young adults. I recognize this will be a major shift for some teens—so if you choose to do this, start with a conversation about making a slow steady change.

2. Should we monitor our kids’ social media use? If so, how?

Parents differ on their opinions about whether to check what their kids are doing on social media sites. Some believe their children deserve privacy and should not worry about mom or dad checking on them. I differ, only because I’ve seen too many case studies of kids not being fully aware of the dangers of predators, mental health issues and even cyber-bullies who hide behind a screen to wreak havoc on peers. What’s more, teens receive propositions from adults with wrong intentions and from others who engage in sexting. The teens in our focus groups told us boldly, “My parents have no idea what my life is like at night and what I do on social media.” This suggests to me that they’re up to something their parents may not support. The statistics reveal that 71% of teens admit to hiding on-line activities from their parents. As long as they are minors, I believe it’s wise for parents or guardians to check their children’s social media posts.

So, here are some apps you can explore to monitor your teen’s activity on a phone:

1. Norton

This allows you to set phone time limits and filter web content coming in.

2. TeenSafe

This allows you to track your child’s calls, texts, GPS and social media activity.

3. MobSafetyRangerBrowser

This enables you to view your child’s website browsing and set time limits.

4. PhoneSheriff

This enables you to do all of the above, but it is available for fewer devices.

5. DinnerTime

This allows you to limit phone Internet use during family meals.

6. Qustodio

This allows you to track and set a phone curfew where phones shut down.
There are actually several other apps that empower a parent to know what’s happening on their child’s phone. While they are minors, I think you should know.

One other idea might be for parents encourage their children to use privacy settings to ensure their posts are going out to a select set of friends.

3. What are some symptoms that a student needs to cut back on social media?

According to Common Sense Media, 50% of teens say they are addicted to their cell phone. While CSM concludes more study is needed to determine how deep digital addiction is, teens feel the symptoms and consequences of it. It’s a growing issue in middle class America. Two-thirds of parents, 66%, feel their teens spend too much time on their mobile device. Phones have now replaced teens hanging out at the mall or at the movies. It’s a new day.

There are a number of signals a young person naturally sends that they’ve spent too much time on 
social media platforms or on their mobile device in general:

            Withdrawing from face-to-face social interaction.
            Consistent anxiety, stress or feeling overwhelmed by normal routines.
            Grades begin to slip and assignments reflect poor work or are left undone.
            Avoidance of real life responsibilities, such as chores or homework.
            Ill at ease, ill-equipped or unresponsive to people in front of them.
            Phubbing—teens snub people next to them by looking down at their phone.
            Phones begin to create conflict in their closest relationships.

A few years ago, I suggested a group of college students “surrender their phones” for a day. It was an experiment. What did we all discover? The first two hours were horrific, not unlike a drug addict giving up their drugs, cold turkey. After a couple of hours, however, the day began to feel less stressful. The students felt liberated from the tether of their device. By the day’s end, they told me how nice it was to not be enslaved to that phone and that they wanted to “unplug” on a regular basis.

4. How do I handle arguments about their portable device?

Millions of parents have walked into landmines, as they disagree with their child on any number of mobile phone use or social media sites. Emotional debates occur, which can divide parents and kids and lead to a breakdown in communication.

I have a suggestion that has worked for many parents along the way. It’s a step that not only guides the conversations on this topic but prepares teens for the world they are about to mature into as adults: a contract.

In 2013, I posted an article on our blog page about a “phone contract” between a mom and her child. The mother had purchased her daughter’s phone (as is usually the case) and the agreement enabled her (from the beginning) to outline the terms. In it, she basically reminds her child that Mom bought the phone and, therefore, owns the phone. Any time the child violates the agreement, the child must give up the device for a period of time. This is not unlike a contract a customer might enter with AT&T or Sprint or some other carrier. The difference is, this agreement is laced with love and understanding. If a parent hosts a conversation and lays out the terms before purchasing the device, things generally go better. Both parties agree to it and sign it. The key is that the parent must stick to the terms and enforce them.

5. Should we be friends with our children on social media?

This probably depends on the personality and age of your child. Some parents and kids connect well via smart phone and others do not. According to Pew Research:

            53% are friends with their parents. This tends to work better when the child is between 12-14. By ages 15-21 it often feels “smothering” to them. Then, later as a young adult, it seems to feel OK again to them.

            47% are friends with their children on Facebook. This feels nice to the parent but it’s usually the reason many teens get off Facebook and on to other sites.

            41% are connected with people they have never met in person. Teens do this because it feels adventuresome, yet safe. After all, it’s only a screen. Later, however, it often leads to LMIRL: Let’s Meet In Real Life and can be dangerous.

Whatever the case, most parents can bank on one thing for sure: your child may befriend you on a social media site like Facebook or Instagram, but they likely have platforms where they use false identities you know nothing about. A parent may assume they know all about their teens, but would be shocked if they knew the total amount of personas their children actually use.

For example, consider “Finsta.” This is a fake Instagram persona, where teens can create a totally fraudulent identity and post things you may never know about. They might have five Snapchat accounts. Or, several Twitter accounts. Just know that if you and your child connect on one platform, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one they use. It may be helpful to talk about this with them, or even talk to one of their friends to naturally discover if there are any personas you don’t know about.

I may sounds like an “old school” leader who’s just not up with the times. I contend, however, our kids need good leadership from us. Their phones can be helpful rather than damaging if we lead them intentionally.

* Post take from Tim Elmore's Growing Leaders Blog