We are lucky to spend the school day with your children, and we do everything we can to make their time here worthwhile and their character education meaningful. We thought it might be nice to share with you snippets of the good things we see going on every day at Berkshire. Enjoy!
Start with Hello WeekPosted by Pam Lucken on 9/23/2019 9:00:00 AM
We are excited to participate in “Start with Hello” week from September 23-27th. Created by the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, “Start with Hello” week is dedicated to intentionally encouraging us to engage with those around us so no one is alone. It also ties in well with our building goal of Connection!
We’ve planned a week of easy activities to increase connection in our building, starting with a High Five Friday last Friday. Staff members greeted students . You can find more information and all of the things you will need for the week here:
(Thanks to Derby and Rick Meyer for passing the idea on to all of the BPS Schools. We used his Google Slide presentation and adapted it for our own week here at Berkshire.)
Friday, Sept 20 – High Five/Hello Friday: Available staff invited to help us greet kids in the morning before school
Monday, Sept 23 - Promise 2 Start with Hello - Greeting
- Kids greet kids as they enter school
- DURING C3: watch student-created video in from Burnett Middle School C3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzMVHl4f13o&feature=youtu.beHello
- Option during C3: get to know you activity (slides 11-16 above)
Tuesday, Sept 24 - Promise 2 be Kind – Kindness wall
- DURING C3: Wall of Kindness with Sticky Notes. NJHS members will come to your C3 with sticky notes. Kids will be asked to write positive messages on notes – they will be posted on the front windows of the school. This will be a “take what you need” wall with kind notes and students would be able to take a note off the wall throughout the day. (example, slide 17)
- Option during C3: watch Kid President Video (about 3.5 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z7gDsSKUmU&feature=youtu.be
Wednesday, Sept 25 - Promise 2 Embrace Diversity - Lunchtime
- Mix it up at lunch: https://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up kids sit at different tables. Kids will get a colored slip of paper directing them to a table with the matching color.
Thursday, Sept 26 – Morning announcement and I am Berkshire Pledge
Friday. Sept 27 - Promise 2 Connect – School Spirit and Chalk the Walk
- School spirit day– Berkshire Colors (Black and Grey) with Teal Accessories to Commemorate Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
- Chalk the Walk (NJHS members will write positive messages on sidewalk for kids)
I hope we have fun with this week!
As our 8th graders move on...Posted by Pam Lucken on 6/12/2019 9:00:00 PM
While our 8th graders have grown physically and academically at Berkshire, we’ve seen a lot of social growth as well. They’ve been involved in projects through their classes, clubs and C3 that have helped develop their character and expand their experiences. They’ve mentored our younger Berkshire students and volunteered at Angels’ Place through NJHS. They have been inspired to hold food drives for Lighthouse at Thanksgiving and Gleaners in March. Our students from Mrs. Cummins’ C3 sponsored a huge book drive for Brilliant Detroit. Students in Mrs. Jolokai’s C3 were penpals all year with 1st graders at Bingham Farms, inspiring a love of reading and writing in those students. Forensics students performed for audiences at Beverly Elementary and Bingham Farms, and our 8th graders took extra time to mentor the 5th grade classrooms with some advice for coming to Berkshire. They’ve sold concessions at basketball games to raise funds for Brilliant Detroit (Babcock). They’ve singlehandedly promoted and managed recycling at our school (Peterson). They fundraised to provide a holiday for a family in need (Baldridge). Together with the rest of the school they helped to raise over $12,000 for the American Heart Association through Hoops for Heart. Our ESL students fundraised to support a family Venezulan family in need. They’ve supported and worked to fundraise for school supplies and educational support for children in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Brazil, among others. And that is this year, alone!
We know that our students will only continue to develop their social awareness as they enter into high school. Their opportunities to create change are only growing with this next step, and whether it is at Groves, IA, or another school – we hope they continue to challenge themselves to make a difference and to grow in service.
Character at Berkshire and Beyond – CitizenshipPosted by Christy Booth on 6/10/2019 8:00:00 AM
We have spent the month of May and into June discussing citizenship – belonging to a country, culture, state, school, community, neighborhood, family. A significant part of our discussions have not only included belonging, but, perhaps more importantly, the importance of including others. Well, this month our students have done just that – worked hard to demonstrate character by including others! We know that we are far from perfect (as if it is every achievable!), and that at times our lack of frontal lobe development and life experience cause us to do things we probably shouldn’t, but, for the most part, these kiddos are GOOD kids. And, when given a directive and a “why”, they meet and/or exceed expectations!
- Washington D.C. Trip – Students included others by inviting people into rooming situations that were perhaps not their best friends, meeting new people from across the country they connected with, and, in both situations, rising to the occasion and creating new relevant long-lasting memories. From a grander viewpoint, I would say the DC trip gives students perspective on where they fit into the greater fabric of American culture and society through pure immersion into the history and culture built into our nation’s capital. ~ Mr. Babcock
- BAM Trip – Students were in groups with student leaders that supported other students. I was complimented at two different restaurants for the exceptional behavior of a group that size (96 students). ~ Mr. Jackson
- D.I. Trip – The global tournament proved to be a great time because we were included by those who had previously been to the tournament; students showed us around to help us get to places we needed to be. And we were greatly appreciative of it! ~ Arshaan Bastani
- Pen Pals with Bingham Farms – Eighth-grade students “stepped up to the plate”; they wrote letters during the year to the elementary students and when we visited they ensured that all students were cared for; they chatted, played, and continued to impress with their leadership and relationship building! ~ Mrs. Jolokai
- Orchestra and Band in Chicago – Band and orchestra combined to receive the Esprit de Corps Award! This award is given to the school that best demonstrates positive behavior, courtesy, and professionalism throughout the competition. The reception of this award definitely speaks to Berkshire’s focus on character education!!! ~ Mr. Shawver, Mr. Burkett, Mr. Smith
- Bridge Builders group activity – Our students included each other in games and activities. They played on the basketball courts, the Gagaball pit, the fields…and they included each other. The smiles and laughter demonstrate the beauty of new relationships, of time and space for fun, and for the end of a successful inaugural year! ~ Mrs. Booth
Thank you, parents and guardians, for spending time talking with your child(ren) about character this year and for creating opportunities (or capitalizing on opportunities like those above) to continue to teach values. We hope that you and your families have a great summer spent not only creating family memories through vacations and fun but through service and outreach, too.
The Berkshire Character-Education Committee
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!Posted by Pam Lucken on 5/7/2019 12:00:00 PM
May is Mental Health Awareness Month - tips for caring for your mental health!
We've found some great tips to share with our Berkshire family this month. We'll be reading these edited tips at announcements each morning, and sharing them in other ways throughout the building.
1. Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include 3 things you were grateful for and something you were able to accomplish each day.
2. Look forward! Having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness. Great weather and long days are coming – what are you looking forward to doing?
3. Work your strengths. Do something you're good at to build self-confidence, then tackle a tougher task.
4. Get a good night's sleep. Put away your screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Studies show that middle school students need 9-9 ½ hours of sleep per night!
5. When facing something you aren’t looking forward to doing, break it up into smaller pieces. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
6. Spend some time being creative! Creative expression and overall well-being are linked.
7. Show some love to someone in your life. This could be your parents, your siblings, your friends. Close, quality relationships are key for a happy, healthy life.
8. Feeling anxious? Print out a coloring page and do some coloring for about 20 minutes to help you clear your mind. Pick a design that's geometric and a little complicated for the best effect.
9. Take time to laugh. Hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy or check out cute videos online. Laughter helps reduce anxiety.
10. Go off the grid. If you have a phone, turn it off for a bit to disconnect and relax. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face. Limit your interruptions from your devices.
11. Try to be optimistic. Focus on the positive as much as possible.
12. Dance whenever you can! Turn on your favorite song, but instead of just listening, dance! Dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases endorphins (the body's "feel-good" chemicals).
13. Feeling stressed? Smile. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.
14. Go ahead and yawn. Studies suggest that yawning helps cool the brain and improves alertness and mental efficiency.
15. Has something been bothering you? Let it all out…on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.
16. Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone - cortisol, and boosts oxytocin - which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does.
17. Take a look around. Often times people only explore on trips, but you may be surprised what cool things are in your own backyard.
18. Try preparing the night before for school the next day. Lay out your clothes, pack your backpack and think of anything else you might need. You'll save some time in the mornings and have a sense of control about the day ahead.
19. Practice forgiveness. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.
20. "What appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune." - Disraeli
Try to find the silver lining in something kind of stinky that happened recently.
21. Take 30 minutes to be outside in nature. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.
22. Do your best to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.
23. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.
24. Send a thank you note - not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them. Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.
25. Think of something in your life you want to improve, and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction.
Enjoy these tips we've put together to share with our Berkshire Community. Share them with your family! If you'd like to get more involved with planning activities for Berkshire students during Mental Health Awareness Month, please contact Pam Lucken - firstname.lastname@example.org, or 248-203-4706.