On Saturday, February 16, the Viewpoint Mathcounts Team competed with sixteen middle schools in the San Fernando Chapter. Our students participated with enthusiasm and gave their all, finishing in fifth place. In addition, Avrick A. qualified for the final ten Count Down. Everyone enjoyed the experience!
We are proud of the effort and dedication of our Mathcounts team and their advisors, Mr. Livanos and Ms. Giuffrida. Congratulations on your achievement!
This week in Advisory, MS students built on their knowledge about the brain as it relates to handling anger in a lesson titled, Train your brain to handle Anger. Students learned more about the amygdala and the reptilian part of the brain, the part concerned with survival and safety where our automatic fight, flight or freeze response kicks in when we feel a threat, whether real or perceived. Nowadays those threats may look like a perceived slight with friends, the upcoming test they think they may fail, a mean post on social media, etc. We talked about how anger feels and how it manifests. We also shared a clip from one of my favorite films, Inside Out, where all family members get angry with one another. We discussed the early warning signs of anger and how we can notice our anger, where it lands in our body, etc., so we can more skillfully choose our response in any given situation, particularly when we feel upset or frustrated.
We wrapped up our time together with an Anger checklist where students could reflect on their anger reactions and healthy ways to deal with anger. They also set a goal to work on one behavior they wanted to change. I highly recommend you talking to your child about this important topic as it relates to their social-emotional learning and growth. And please feel free to be in touch with any sharing. I am passionate about helping our students better understand, express and cope with the whole range of emotions we experience any given today. Thank you!
—Ms. Henning, School Counselor Grades 5-8, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday, our Middle and Upper School students celebrated the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Pig) with a special visit from the Shaolin Temple Cultural Center. To our students’ delight, monks from the Shaolin Temple gave a fantastic demonstration of skill and agility in the martial arts, starting with a brief warm-up, kung fu and mock weapons demonstrations, and ending with a fun group photo to commemorate the visit!
After concluding the martial arts portion of the performance, our guests invited student volunteers to participate in a tea ceremony, during which our entire student body was invited to engage in a brief mindfulness meditation. As students focused on each detail of the tea preparation, parallels were drawn with how we may bring this meditative focus on the present moment to each of our daily activities.
It was a special treat to welcome in the new year with the Shaolin Temple Cultural Center, and to everyone, xin nian kuai le (in Mandarin, Happy New Year)!
Violet K. shares a fun positive message during the 7th Grade No Name Calling Week event.
Middle School students have been learning about their brain this week and the important changes happening at this point in their life.They learned that their brains are in a pruning stage where they begin to hone in on their passions to prepare them for adulthood. Thus, what they focus on creates neural pathway that can be strengthened with continued practice. This goes for studying, and academic pursuits, as well as attitudes and thoughts that may occur about someone or something. They participated in an ancient mindfulness practice that’s been proven to boost the brain’s capacity for compassion.
We also met in grade level groups to discuss the power of our words and how words can change our brain. I co-led a group discussion with MS student leaders and every student contributed to an Advisory poster to bring back to their class with kind, positive words. We practiced different ways we can use kind words, show gratitude, and give compliments to one another. Whereas negative, mean words send alarm signals to the brain, kind, complimentary words spark the release of healthy hormones called endorphins, which create a warm feeling around the heart. As School Counselor, I was heartened by their sharing and maturity and look forward to continuing these conversations with them.
7th graders craft their positive words together with the help of Ms. Henning and student facilitators.
Students post kind messages on advisory group posters.
Student enjoyed a fun opportunity to “train their brains” while building friendships and community!
Our panel of Middle School Geography Bee contestants and budding geography experts!
On Tuesday, January 22, our Middle School students participated in one of our favorite annual traditions, the National Geographic Geo Bee! After playing some friendly quiz games in their advisory groups during the month prior to the event, students had the opportunity to take the Preliminary Challenge geography quiz to qualify for a spot as contestants in our assembly.
After engaging in an exciting seven rounds of competition, Eighth Grade student Matthew W. was declared the winner from among the twelve contestants, earning a perfect score! His win gives him the chance to take the online Geography Bee qualifying test later this month to compete in the state competition.
8th grade student and school Geography Bee champion Matthew W. with his family after the Bee.
“History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” -Winston Churchill
On Tuesday, our 7th grade students indeed “wrote” history as they curated the History of Us Museum! Applying the maps, artifacts, research and interview skills they have been developing in their history class this year, students created multimedia exhibits that documented an aspect of their personal and family history. Parents and guests were invited to view student curated exhibits consisting of a physical artifact accompanied by a digital component, including text, photos and video interviews, that could be viewed on guests’ smartphones via a QR code. In order to introduce guests to the format of this Museum, students created a welcome video with instructions for how to view the exhibits:
Guests then visited stations, where students explained the focus of their project and assisted guests in viewing the digitally curated components. Our 7th grade historians shared details about their research process and the choices they made in determining the focus of their exhibits.
It was a treat to explore a facet of our students’ identities while witnessing their analytical, research and digital literacy skills applied to the creation of this moving and personal exhibit. We are proud of our students’ work, and we invite parents to continue these conversations with their children as they grow in understanding of history, and their own unique cultural and family heritage!
Some East Coast natives may argue that California has no “winter,” but our students and faculty make the season special with some Viewpoint winter traditions, including our annual 5th and 6th Grade Kickball and Pizza Mixer, our 8th Grade Cocoa with Upper School Administrators, and, of course, our “Ugly” Sweater Day! We hope you’ll enjoy this snapshots into our December fun.
On Saturday, December 1, Junior Classical League (JCL) members and faculty sponsors, Elizabeth Cutler and Lowry Sweney, participated in S.C.R.A.M.–Southern California Regional Amici Madness! This annual event for students and aficionados of classical languages and culture is filled with academic and art competitions, workshops, games (including a Roman Gladiator Competition), and fellowship. Our Viewpoint students enjoyed a marvelous day and invite you to enjoy photos from their fun events!
The Viewpoint JCL team t-shirt
Riley P. with her “impromptu art” contest submission!
Students watching Certamen quiz game
Mr. Sweney and Viewpoint JCL students Max A., Connor W., Riley P. and Avalon G.!