The Emerald News The Seventh Grade Slump By Ann Pleshette Murphy Q: My 13- year old son has always been a good student, but this year he suddenly seems completely unmotivated. Every night is a battle over homework and studying. My attempts to motivate him are just not working and are creating enormous family stress. A: As much as we’d like our children’s progress to be a happy march forward, they inevitable stumble a few steps back before they surge ahead. This is especially true during the pre-teen years, when they’re struggling with physical and emotional changes as well as new pressures at school and among their friends. Some kids rise to the challenge and stay focused, but the majority go through periods when they’re unmotivated, self-absorbed and seemingly oblivious to prodding, pleading or punishing. Your son could be going through a rough time at school; seventh grade is a notoriously rocky year socially. Maybe he’s dumbing himself down because he thinks smart kids are uncool. Or he could simply be feeling overloaded, and rather than fail, he’s chosen to opt out. If that seems to be the case, meet with your son’s teacher and talk about getting him extra help or a tutor. If you think low selfesteem or a problem with friends is at the root of your son’s slump, take some time to think about what does pique his interest. Maybe sports or pop music are front and center, in which case you might find a way for him to indulge his latest passion – by, for instance, getting guitar lessons or joining a weekend basketball league. The goal should be to help him feel good about himself, which in turn should spill over positively in to his schoolwork. In the meantime, don’t panic. Coming down hard on him won’t help get him back on track any faster and might undermine the most important message: that you’re on his side. The Emerald News Class Scoop The Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT’s) will be administered during the first two weeks of March. Students are encouraged to eat a healthy breakfast each morning and get plenty of rest each night. Encourage your child to do her/his best each day on these tests. Students are halfway through the seventh grade year! Organization should be mastered so now students are working on study habits. Please make sure your child has a designated time and area to do homework each day. Having pencils, erasers, paper and access to the math book online is helpful. Check your child’s planner and work each night. Assignments can be found on the following website: http://mail.northbranfordsc hools.org/~cdaley/. Quiz your child on the math vocabulary in each chapter with her/his flash cards. Don’t forget, the math textbook always tells students where to look for an explanation on how to do each problem (information in green). Make sure your child is reviewing her/his notes each night. This will help to store the information in long-term memory. Seventh grade science students are just beginning their foray into human biology. During the next few months, students will learn about many of the systems of the body including the cardiovascular, digestive, and musculoskeletal systems. Students will be working on many hands-on projects like the "Feel the Beat" lab where they will evaluate varied physical activities to determine the best exercise options. Language arts students finished reading the Lois Lowry book entitled The Giver. This futuristic novel had students asking many questions about the main character’s life and gave them an opportunity to reflect upon their own lives and experiences. After reading the novel, students were engaged in learning about new vocabulary and practicing their persuasive writing skills. Mr. Prell’s Geography classes spent the early portion of the second term studying cultural, economic and government systems. The Emerald News Since holiday vacation, we’ve begun to study the seven continents – starting with Antarctica. When looking ahead toward the coming weeks and months, students can expect to work a lot more with maps and will also have many opportunities to use the knowledge they have gained throughout the year as it applies to each of the remaining 6 continents, beginning with Europe.