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Posts Tagged ‘#IBelieveinCatholicEd’

September is a special month for us because the 5th is the feast day for our patron Saint: St. Teresa of Calcutta. She was known for her work with the sick and the poor, and she said many wise words throughout her life.  Many of her statements fit in quite well with the 7 Habits.  To start the year, the teachers are doing the “First 8 Days Program” and are introducing all of the habits to the students.  These are lessons centered on the different habits which involve creating a classroom mission statement and establishing classroom routines. After this, we will focus on a different habit each month and learn more about it. The following is a summary of each of the habits so that you can use the same language at home with them.

Habit 1:  Be Proactive – You’re in Charge

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind – Have a Plan

“God doesn’t require us to succeed, He only requires that you try.”

Habit 3:  Put First Things First – Work First, Then Play

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today. Let us begin.”

Habit 4:  Think Win-Win – Everyone Can Win

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Listen Before You Talk

“Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”

Habit 6:  Synergize – Together is Better

“I can do things you cannot and you can do things I cannot.  Together we can do great things.”

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – Balance Feels Best

“Life is an adventure, live it.  Life is a game, play it.”

Along with our 7 Habits, we are going to be introducing Kelso’s Choice to our students.  Rhiece Cordes, Mental Health Capacity Building Facilitator, will be working at St. Teresa on Mondays and Tuesdays.  To start with, she will be delivering the Kelso’s Choice program to our grades 1-6 in September and to Kindergarten in October. Kelso’s Choice helps students to develop conflict resolution strategies and helps them to practice Habit 1: Be Proactive and Habit 4: Think Win-Win. Last year this program was introduced to our grades 1 and 2 students and we fell that the whole school will benefit from it too.

We do have a few more activities planned for the month of September.  We are planning a virtual Meet the Teachers Night and more information will follow on the details.  We have our opening mass on the 16th at 9:00 which will also be virtual and we will email out a link for parents to join us.  Our first School Council meeting will be on Monday the 20th at 6 pm. All parents are welcome to join us in the link sent out by email.

Let us follow the guidance of our patron Saint this month, a symbol of love and compassion, and Lead with Love.

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I did a google search on Mary to find out if she was called as a peacemaker. I found a Wikipedia page about the Titles of Mary that were more numerous that I realized. The titles differ from early titles to devotional titles to those associated with images or apparitions.  Yes, I did eventually find that in the Roman Catholic Church she has the title of Our Lady of Peace, Mother of Peace, Queen of Peace or Our Lady Queen of Peace. In this month of Mary, I wanted to talk to you about the Kelso’s Choice program we have introduced which believes that every child is capable of being a peacemaker.

Earlier in the year, we noticed that students were coming up to the adults on supervision to tell them about their problems and then the adult would solve the problem for the students.  Our school counsellor, Miss Ann Elise, suggested Kelso’s Choice conflict management skills program to us which has been effectively used at various schools for over 25 years. We wanted students to Be Proactive (Habit 1) and solve their own problems and conflict. The philosophy of the program fits well with the 7 Habits as it believes that each child is smart enough and strong enough to resolve conflict.

When students are faced with conflicts, the first step for them is to decide if it is a small or a big problem.  A big problem is one that they need adult help to solve and they can make students feel scared, worried or frightened. Examples of big problems are if someone is in danger, a student is hurt or some students are fighting. A small problem is one that students can solve on their own and they can make students feel annoyed, frustrated, embarrassed or have hurt feelings.  Small problems may be the following: not sharing a toy or equipment, pushing or cutting in line, saying you are not out when tagged or arguing about which game to play. In order to solve the problem, Kelso has a Choice Wheel where students can try out a couple of choices to solve their conflict.  If, after trying a couple of choices, the problem isn’t solved then the students can talk to an adult to help them solve it.

The choices on the wheel give both verbal and non verbal options and fit in with what we teach the students with the 7 Habits. The following are the choice the students can make to solve small problems.

Habit 1 Be Proactive: You’re in Charge

These choices remind students that they are free to choose their reactions and are responsible for themselves.  We are asking students to choose to react like water not soda.  If you shake up a water bottle then open it, nothing happens but if you do the same thing to soda, it will explode all over when the cap comes off.  These choices help students act proactively like water.

  1. Tell Them to Stop
  2. Walk Away
  3. Ignore It
  4. Go to Another Game
  5. Wait and Cool Off

Habit 4 Think Win-Win: Everyone Can Win

These choices explore the ideas of fairness and mutual benefit.  We are asking students to consider other people’s wins as well as their own. In using these choices, the students are trying to come up with solutions that benefit others as well as themselves.  They are practicing and learning how to Lead with Love.

  1. Make a Deal
  2. Apologize
  3. Talk It Out
  4. Share and Take Turns

Currently only the Grades 1 and 2 students received the Kelso’s Choice lessons and have practicing the skills.  Next year we are planning on teaching the skills to more grades in the school as we have seen success.  Now, when students come up to us with concerns, the first thing we do is ask them if this is a big problem or a small problem.  We help guide them through the process as needed instead of solving their problems.  The website has a parent page with some information so that you can use the same language at home.  You too can help them to learn to peacemakers at home.

Kelso’s Choice Wheel

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November is a month that is associated with remembrance and memories.  According to the Cambridge Dictionary, remembrance is the act of remembering and showing respect for someone who has died or an event.  It is also a memory of something that has happened in the past.

As we move into November we have three celebrations that take place right away.  On the first is the Solemnity of All Saints Day. It is celebrated by Catholics all around the world and connects us to the communion of saints.  We look to the Saints, we celebrate their lives and ask them to pray for us. Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, is our patron Saint and on this day we can ask for her help in bringing our prayers to God. The next day, the second, is All Souls Day where we remember all those who have died but may not yet be in heaven.  We pray for them and ask God to take them to heaven. On that day please take a moment and say a prayer in memory of a friend or loved one or say the prayers on the prayer cards below.

On November 3rd, we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday in Alberta.  The theme from our Bishops this year is to be “United in Prayer and Grateful for Catholic Schools”. It is a reminder for us to celebrate Catholic Schools in the province and to be grateful for the gift of publicly funded Catholic education. Archbishop Smith, on behalf of all Alberta Bishops has shared a short, three-minute video message regarding Catholic Education Sunday. Please click on the Video Link to view the message.

On November 11th we remember our veterans from the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War who sacrificed for us so we could enjoy our freedoms and live in peace. To honour these men and women, we wear poppies as a symbol of remembrance and freedom. As we pause in our minute of remembrance on the 11th day of the 11th hour of the 11th month, let us not forget to pray for the men and women who have served, those who have died in service and those who are currently serving in our armed forces.  Please come join us for our Remembrance Day Celebration on the 8th at 11:00 in the gym.

Sometimes our lives can become so busy that we do not take the time to think about those who have gone before us.  Take some time on the 1,2,3 and 11 to pray, reflect and remember.

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Have you ever had events happen and then, when you reflect back on them, you realize that God was working in your life and things turned out the way they were meant to be? I have experienced this numerous times in my life; the most recent being with this message.  I had great intentions of being early and having it ready to start the week, but that did not happen.  As I sit down to write it on the last day of May, I think that God intended it to be that way so I could talk about World Catholic Education Day which we celebrated on the 30th. Each Thursday in May we have been praying together as a division for Catholic Education which culminated with a staff led Liturgy of the Word where the whole division was praying together around 11:00 am.  As I walked through the halls yesterday, I saw a bulletin board celebrating World Catholic Education Day where the students shared their thoughts about the blessings inherent in Catholic Education.  In the words of our students, I love my Catholic school because

  • I can talk about how much I love God and Jesus at school and at home.
  • We learn about God almost every day.
  • Our relationship with God can grow.
  • We can talk about God.
  • We can pray and able to talk about God.
  • We get to learn about Jesus and his many miracles.
  • We go to Church, have Religion and we learn about all of the saints.
  • We get to learn about God and strengthen my Catholic skills.
  • I am able to pray.

On World Catholic Education day, the school division and the ATA local premiered a video that they worked together to create that celebrates Catholic Education.  If you have not already seen the video Public Education:  The Catholic Way I do recommend watching it. The video is approximately twenty minutes in length and was a great way to cap off the month long celebrations.

Now that May is finished we are looking ahead to June and it is a busy nineteen days.  Teachers have been busy planning year end field trips and I am sure that the students are sure to enjoy the wide range of activities that fit in the science, social and physical education curriculum. On the 6th at 6:30 we have a parent meeting to discuss preparations for grade six camp in September. Our Kindergarten students will celebrate their accomplishments with a family celebration on the 12th at 5:30. We are also celebrating First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture with our Division Pow Wow at CCH West on the 5th at 5:30pm.  All families are invited to attend.  Our school celebration will be on the 21st where we are lining up story tellers, traditional games, dancing and smudge activities.  The last week is jam packed as we go to Henderson Pool on Monday, have sports day on Tuesday, celebrate our grade sixes at our year end Mass on Wednesday and finish the week with an assembly, slide show and talent show.

In addition to all these activities, we will be planning for next year.  We are currently working on our class configurations and teaching assignments for the fall.  Once we have this information confirmed, we will communicate it to parents and then we will start working on class lists. I will be meeting with the teachers to place students in classrooms this month.  Much deliberation goes into these assignments, such as, student needs, male/female ratio, academic balance, behaviour needs, class size, student relationships, educational assistant assignments and students new to OLA.  Parents have a wealth of knowledge about their children and if there is any information you would like to share with me about your child that will help the staff to place him or her in the best education environment possible, please contact me, stop in at the office to make an appointment or just drop in as my door is always open. Thank you for trusting us in making sound educational decisions in the placement of your child. 

To our families that are leaving us at the end of the year and to those who we are welcoming in the fall, we wish God’s blessings on you. We pray that our school community has a blessed summer vacation, and we look forward to seeing you in September.

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