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Grey Matters for October 19, 2015; Volume 4, Number 7

posted Oct 18, 2015, 2:09 PM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:31 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Last week, I took a moment to share a few articles that, while not super serious, still put the spotlight on a few important ideas related to creating a positive learning environment for kids.  This week, we turn our attention to a few light-hearted articles that speak to the playful kid that hopefully continues to live inside each of us.  Some of you may recall that had I not once again been denied a MacArthur Genius Grant and the prize money that comes with it, the first purchase would have been a heated canopy for the Junior High morning drop-off site.  With what money remains, I now know of two other items that the kid in me would covet over any number of responsible adult choices like, you know, saving for my three kids’ future college tuitions.  FIrst, check out this 3-story treehouse that a grandfather in Attleboro built for his grandkids.  Once you’ve finished picturing yourself sleeping in that “castle in the sky”, check out this fully functioning and full-sized  Little Tikes cosy coupe car that a gentleman in England built, can reach speeds of up to 70 mph, and can be yours for $33,000.  

Believe it or not, we will actually experience a full 5 days of school during each of the next two weeks! On that note, a few calendar-related reminders to share:

  • School pictures will hopefully be arriving from the photographer within the next week. If they do, we will be planning a picture re-take day for Tuesday, October 27th.  If your child ordered a photo package and you would like for him/her to re-take the photo, please have your child bring in the original package on that day (and to come dressed for the re-take!).  If your student missed Picture Day earlier this year, this is also the time for him or her to have a photo taken.  Even if you don’t have plans to order a photo package, it is important to have everyone’s photo taken so they will be included in this year’s yearbook.  

  • There is a District-wide Professional Day on Tuesday, November 3.  This means that all students in the District do not have school on that day.  Veteran’s Day is the following week on Wednesday, November 11th, and is another day when there is no school.  

  • Speaking of November 11th, the Kevin Breel community event that I previewed last week is scheduled for that evening (7pm, High School auditorium).  Tickets are $15 and each attendee receives a copy of Mr. Breel’s book.  Details for how to order tickets will be shared later this week.  

The last calendar-related note I want to share is reminder that Halloween Dress Up Day is coming up on Friday, October 30th.  If your kids are like my kids, they are already deep into the planning of their costumes for Halloween.  We have a tradition at RJ Grey where students (and teachers) come to school dressed up in costumes on the day of Halloween (or in this case, the day before).  Similar to last year, our Student Council officers are working to include an additional layer to the day by organizing (with the assistance of the staff) a fun and light-hearted costume contest as another way to celebrate many of the costumes that are part of this tradition.  Each homeroom will nominate a student/costume to represent their room and the staff will vote for a winner by the end of the day.  We want to emphasize our intention to keep this light-hearted and good-natured, and to showcase the creativity that students exhibit on this day. We do not want anyone to invest significant time or money, unless of course the costume includes the aforementioned full size Little Tikes cosy coupe vehicle that you intend on gifting to me at the conclusion of the day.  In all seriousness, student should come as they might have already planned.  Please also note that not all students and staff -including yours truly-always dress up, which is perfectly fine.  Like previous years, the main emphasis will continue to be on celebrating everyone’s costumes.  cosy-coupe-car.jpg

As for costume guidelines, we are, to be sure, more flexible with our expectations regarding appropriate dress (i.e. the student coming dressed as a giant Smurf, for example).  During their planning, please help your child keep in mind that we must still avoid including props that mimic weapons (swords, firearms, knives, etc.), and clothing that includes profanity and/or might be overly revealing or minimalist in nature.  It’s a great tradition, and we all look forward to a fun and spirited day.  

Three years ago, we began a small recognition program called “Everyday Leaders”  as one way for us to celebrate and put a brighter spotlight on students who, in a variety of ways, demonstrates leadership through daily acts of kindness, enthusiasm, and being respectful towards peers and teachers. Twice a trimester, our teams (and each grade’s exploratory, elective, and physical education teachers) identify a student who they have observed modeling some element of good citizenship within their classes and team. Every year, the cohort of students who are identified by the teachers is incredibly diverse in terms of the qualities that are being celebrated.  Sitting next to students who are more comfortable with the spotlight, there are always many students whose kindness and contributions present themselves in less obvious and nuanced ways.  

This past Thursday, I met with our first group of Everyday Leaders for a small lunch in the main office.  I continue to confess every year that in many ways the lunch is more a reward for me, since it gives me a chance to engage with more students.  Congratulations to the following students who were part of this first group: Makkia Brockway, Andre Araujo-Kerry, Tyler Martin, Iravati Mukherjee, Thalys Stein Correa, Savannah Furbush, Amanda Callahan, Betty Markman, and Bretty Taylor.  

Finally, our most recent edition of Poetry Friday took place two Fridays ago, and was led by Mrs. Bover, Social Studies teacher on 7 Red. For that session, she read a poem written by one of our very own students, Bobby Sweet.  Entitled, “Dangerous Seas”, Bobby wrote this poem in response to learning about, and discussing, many of the challenges currently by refugees currently fleeing from Africa and the Middle East.  Many thanks to Bobby for allowing Ms. Bover to share his poem, and you can click here if you’d like to read the poem yourself.  

Have a great week, everyone.