An Independent School • Grades 5-12
Brain training – and other Middle School news
Brain training – and other Middle School news

by Ted Chen, Middle School assistant director

We want our students to be resilient, to learn how to tackle adversity, and learn the skills to cope with difficult situations. At the Middle School we incorporate these skills into our classrooms. Our personal development department focuses on helping students identify emotions as well as manage and regulate them, particularly during challenging moments. Students practice these skills in class with the goal of transferring them into their daily lives inside and outside of school. Doing this helps students gain the self-awareness to navigate difficult situations and adversity, in turn learning how to be resilient.

Outside of personal development classes, students practice resiliency in different forms. For example, in 7th-grade science they learn about design thinking with their boat project. Students brainstorm and build boats, test them in a pool, and gather data about what went well and what did not work. Through this process, they learn how failure can contribute to the learning process and eventually help you achieve your goals. Another example comes from the Middle School experiential education program. Through outdoor trips and service learning, students learn and practice mental flexibility, adaptability, and resiliency as they navigate situations that push them outside their normal comfort level. Students often reflect on these experiences and remark, as one student did, "Prior to leaving, I didn't think I could do it. But I found that I could and I ended up loving it!"

What these experiences have in common is that they provide opportunities for students to strengthen and develop their executive function and regulation skills in their brains. These types of activities can help an individual recover from challenging or stressful experiences. Having opportunities to practice the skills in a variety of situations helps cultivate resiliency as a habit of mind that will benefit students during their time at Lakeside as well as well into the future.

Outside of school, there are steps, activities, and games that can be used to help develop and strengthen executive functioning and regulation skills. I want to share with you a resource from The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. In this resource, they give examples of practical, concrete activities that children of different ages can use and practice to develop the brain functions that help cultivate resilience. Enjoy!

Notes from Ms. Cline and Ms. Wilde in the main office
Please remember that planned absence forms need to be turned in to the Middle School main office if students are going to be gone for a full day or more. You can find the forms on the parents and guardians webpage on Lakeside's website; they are under "Important Documents."

If students are throwing up or have a fever, they should stay home and not come to school until 24 hours after the fever breaks. If students who are at school throw up, they must be picked up and taken home.

Grades and comments for the fall semester will be available via the Veracross family portal on Friday, Jan. 26 by 11 a.m. Here's how to access them:

  1. Log into the portal using your Veracross username at https://portals.veracross.com/lakeside
  2. On the landing page, note the links next to your student's picture.
  3. Click the link that reads "MS Fall Term" and the report card will open.
  4. If you want to print the report card, first download the file using the "Print to PDF" button on the upper right corner of the report. Open the PDF document in your PDF reader (like Adobe Reader or Preview) and then print.

January dates and events
Tuesday, Jan. 2: Classes resume.
Friday, Jan. 12: Fall semester ends. Spring semester starts Jan. 17.
Monday, Jan. 15: No school (Martin Luther King Jr. Day).
Tuesday, Jan. 16: No school (professional development day for faculty and staff).
Monday, Jan. 22, 9-10 a.m.: Q&A with Middle School administrators. Watch for an email with more information.
Friday, Jan. 26: Fall semester grades and comments posted to Veracross at 11 a.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 31: CTP4 Testing for 8th graders (first day; second day is Feb. 1).
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.: Lakeside Lecture Series presents Dr. Emily Johnston '81 in the Dan Ayrault Memorial Endowed Lecture. Learn more about the lecture series and Dr. Johnston – this year's recipient of Lakeside's Distinguished Alumni Award – on the Lakeside Lecture Series webpage.

As always, check out the online calendar to find details on these events and others.

Ted Chen is Lakeside's Middle School assistant director. You can reach him at 206-440-2721.

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