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Be TeRRiFic: Responsible

two students work together on a painting project while sitting at a table

Children aren’t born with responsible habits. They learn them!

Children seem to crave responsibility. They like to be helpful and want to know that they are useful. Generally, the trick to raising responsible children is to give them responsibilities and hold them accountable for completing them.

Does your child have daily chores? Is it required that he/she pick up after playing?

Being dependable, honoring commitments, keeping promises, accepting our strengths and struggles, and accepting natural and logical consequences –these are the habits that make responsible children.

When we use our abilities to respond to the challenges in life, we take control with confidence. By telling our children to be the best version of themselves, we encourage response-ability. Providing opportunities that help children prove to themselves that they have the ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities that life avails can become a highlight of their day! 

Here are five tips from a mother of eight children:

  1. Model It: Do your best to be on time, clean up after yourself, do what you say, and say what you do.
  2. Assign It Gradually: Scaffold age-appropriate chores and activities within your family.
  3. Deal With It: Let them observe what happens if someone isn’t responsible. Strategically stop doing something that they expect you to do just so that they can experience how responsible adults usually are.
  4. Play the Scenario Game: Write 10-20 typical scenarios regarding opportunities to be responsible.
  5. No Bailouts: Let your child face the natural and logical consequences of irresponsible behavior.

Practice being RESPONSIBLE the AACA way:

  • Heart – Approach a friend who may be struggling.
  • Mind – Work hard to complete assignments with accuracy.
  • Body – Tidy the space you trace.
  • Soul – Think twice to speak nice.

Quotes

  • “If you mess up, ‘fess up.” – Author Unknown
  • “Never point a finger where you never lent a hand.” – Robert Brault
  • “Quit making excuses. Putting it off. Complaining about it. Dreaming about it. Whining about it. Crying about it. Believing you can’t. Worrying if you can. Waiting until you are older. Make a plan & just do it.” –Nike

Learning Links

 

Be TeRRiFiC: Respectful

Students at Almond Acres Charter Academy focus their attention on the front of a classroom. The students are performing hand motions. They are wearing brightly colored school uniforms.

Recently, in our series on How to Be TeRRiFiC, we took a deep dive into what it means to be trustworthy. We use the acronym TeRRiFiC to help us remember the 5 character traits that make us terrific: trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair and caring. This week, we are unpacking the concept of respect and how we teach children to be respectful of themselves, the people they meet, and the world around them. 

While the concept seems simple, respect is a learned behavior relative to the environment in which a child grows. From families to schools and nations and cultures, every unique environment we enter operates with a different lens for respect. Our children model the norms of respect they observe and are taught at home, at school, on the playground and at sports practices. 

While modeling respect is perhaps one of the greatest ways we teach this character trait at school, an easy phrase that illustrates this concept is the Golden Rule: treat others the way you wish to be treated. The Golden Rule is a simple lesson, and yet, like most simple things, it can have the most profound impact. When put into everyday practice, the ripple effect of our treatment of others reaches far and wide. 

An Almond Acres staff member helps a student select lunch items. There are other students waiting in line behind the one making a selection.

Here are a few ways you might see, feel, and hear RESPECT in action: 

Being respectful might LOOK like:

…caring for your classroom and materials.

…taking turns.

…a handshake and eye contact.

Being respectful might SOUND like:

…Please. 

…Thank you.  

…Hi! How are you?

Being respectful might FEEL like: 

…trust in yourself to do the right thing.

…peaceful and secure.

…kindness. 

When we are respectful of ourselves and others, our actions lead to positive change in everything from relationships to self-worth and even academic success. At Almond Acres, respect is the cornerstone of our school community. The sense of caring and respect between staff and students is visible. We believe that this mutual respect helps us grow great kids who confidently and respectfully navigate any environment they enter.  

Showing your children how you respect them with words and actions encourages your children to be respectful. We can model the actions we seek and actively expect our children to rise to our positive example. How can you model respect for your heart, mind, body and soul today? 

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Almond Acres Charter Academy middle school students are acting on a stage dressed in costumes. In the forefront of the picture, two students are recording the production.

Over the last two years, our annual theater production has looked a little different due to the pandemic and our move to a new school building, but this year we are back and bigger than ever with a show everyone is sure to love! Our middle school drama students are excited to welcome a live audience to our student-led performance of The Lion King, Jr. on Saturday, December 17th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 18th at 2 p.m. at the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center. The shows are open to the public and tickets can be purchased at this link for $10. 

Dena Vertrees, this year’s director and producer, as well as an AACA 4th grade teacher, has been working with students and volunteers to make this year’s show the best yet. Our talented cast of 4th-8th grade  students have been hard at work, spending countless hours both during and after school to prepare for the production. These productions are unique because we allow a lot of freedom for the students to help create the play: from acting to curtains and even working backstage to move the sets, the students learn valuable skills like teamwork, patience and responsibility. 

The synergy that is born out of the students’ creative collaboration is always appreciated by the audience and the effects of their hard work are lasting. Take it from the students in past performances, like Madagascar, our theater productions grow great kids: 

 I like to pretend to be someone I am not, and I like that I can put a lot of my emotion into something. I can go on a whole journey with my character. My biggest highlight of the show was spending time with the whole cast because I made stronger relationships with some people and the cast was awesome!

Divy Emmons, who starred as Marty the Zebra in the 2020 performance of Madagascar.

As always, our efforts are made better by the volunteers who contribute their time and expertise. This year Shiloh Hamon is the lead costume designer, Geoff Higgins is the lead set designer and Wendy Woodard and Ashley Lundy have choreographed the show. They are joined by cast member parents who support the production in all areas. Every member of the design department is a volunteer and helps support the students to create a visually stunning and enjoyable performance. 

You won’t want to miss this one! Bring your children, the grandparents and neighbors to this year’s production of The Lion King Jr. on December 17th & 18th. The costumes, action and sets are sure to delight all ages! 

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

Be TeRRiFiC: Trustworthy

Three Almond Acres Charter Academy students  work together on a project at a table. One is cutting while the other two look on intently.

Character counts. It’s the foundation for who we are and how we interact with our friends, families, and the world around us. At Almond Acres Charter Academy, we believe developing positive character traits is as essential as learning the ABCs and 123s. In addition to our study of the Habits of Mind, we focus on 5 character traits that root us in positive character so we can flourish: trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair and caring. We like to use the acronym TeRRiFiC to help us remember how to become a terrific person. 
Let’s jump into the capital T this week: Trustworthy. A trustworthy person is reliable, responsible and honest. A trustworthy person’s actions match their words–if they say they are going to do something, they do it. The consistency a trustworthy person displays is a way of showing that promises will be kept.

Two Almond Acres Charter Academy students work together on a project outside. One student has a shoe off and the bottom of his foot painted. The other student helps him make a print of his foot.

As we grow and develop, we express trustworthiness differently. Early examples of trustworthiness might be not taking another person’s toys, but in the older grades, interactions and relationships will reveal how trustworthy a person is. Here are some more examples of what trustworthiness may look like, sound like, and feel like in our K-8 school:

Being trustworthy might LOOK like:

…showing up on time for school.

…following through on commitments.

…walking quietly through the halls so we don’t disrupt others.

Being trustworthy might SOUND like:

…I’ll be there. You can count on me. 

…I broke the lamp. I’m sorry.

…you can go first. 

Being trustworthy might FEEL like: 

…a challenge at times, especially when it goes against a desire.

…a shoulder to lean on.

…a promise kept.

Children naturally seek to be around trustworthy people – those who provide clear expectations and boundaries alongside care and sincere interest. We can also think about how we are modeling trustworthiness to our children. Do we follow through on our yeses and nos? Do we arrive at events on time? Do we fulfill our commitments? More importantly, if we make a mistake, can we say I’m sorry and correct it next time? Our children watch us closely for cues to navigate the world. 

At Almond Acres, our dedicated staff models trustworthiness in all of our interactions with students. Our students can rely on us to be consistent with our expectations, our listening skills and in our actions. It’s how we build strong, trusting relationships that allow learning and growing to flourish in a safe environment and how We Grow Great Kids

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids!

Habit 6: Synergize

Three children in Almond Acres Charter Academy uniforms.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to our school logo. At first glance, one might easily notice the circle and our 4 colors.. But upon second glance, and with a little knowledge of our study of the Habits of Mind, one may also notice that our school logo also illustrates the habit of synergy. Each of the 4 colors in the logo represents a part of our unique selves: heart, mind, body, and soul. When all 4 parts are present and working together, a whole is created that is stronger and better than the individual parts. That’s synergy!

Almond Acres Charter Academy logo

Habit 6, synergize, is all about creative cooperation. Through the process of bringing a variety of ideas, solutions and components to the table, something larger than the sum of the individual parts can be created. Synergy celebrates teamwork, creativity, diversity and being open-minded to new ways of doing things because it’s about making something better than we could achieve individually. 

The work we do at Almond Acres Charter Academy to teach teamwork, cooperation and problem solving flows directly into the habit of synergy. From classroom discussions to big group projects, our learning is made richer because of the unique skills and talents each person brings. When we listen and share, we can gain new insights, look more deeply at issues and stretch our thinking. Our diversity strengthens our learning and creativity!

We also believe that synergy is about balancing the heart, mind, body and soul to become the best version of ourselves. This requires continual reflection and refining so that we remain in balance—it’s not easy! When each part is given its due time and energy, we can strengthen the whole and we flourish. On the flipside, if we neglect any one of these elements, life becomes more challenging and the disruption causes strife in the other three areas. That’s why synergizing is an important habit to cultivate. 

Almond Acres Charter Academy is greater than the sum of all of our parts (staff, students and families) because we value the unique talents and skills each person brings to our school. The unity of our community creates a school environment that cannot be replicated! Just like the many sounds of an orchestra blending together into a beautiful harmony, synergy creates something better than a singular instrument. How do you experience synergy in your day-to-day life? 

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

All About Shared Start

What does it mean to share the start of our day? 

Just like a family sharing a meal or a conversation, we view our morning Shared Start as a chance to come together, discuss important events, and prepare for the day and all the opportunities that it brings. It’s sort of a grounding event for the Almond Acres community; a consistent, collaborative way to begin the day that sets a positive tone for all that is to come. 

students sitting on floor of gym facing a screen

Shared Start Builds Community

Every school day morning, our K-5 students and our middle school students participate in Shared Start. Just like the assemblies you may remember from your youth, our students gather together in our gymnasium. The brief meeting is just enough time to share student achievements, celebrate birthdays and discuss topics pertinent to our day. Staff may share something funny or we might sing a song. Coming together for a shared story or skit fosters trust and builds connections among our students. It’s also joyful! This sense of family is a big benefit of attending our K-8 school.

Shared Start Builds Character

Character education is at the heart of our mission and Shared Start is a wonderful time to reinforce our lessons, practice new skills (like listening!) and recognize the positive behavior we notice throughout the day. Students practice being good citizens by demonstrating trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, and care (TeRRiFiC),  which are the core tenets of our character education program, and we enjoy highlighting their efforts during Shared Start. Cheering each other on is powerful! We find that promoting and celebrating positive behaviors in front of peers is much more effective at building strong character than disciplining less-desired behavior privately.  

Shared Start Builds Leadership

After a few months of school, our middle school leadership class takes the helm of our Shared Start by organizing and leading the agenda. It’s a terrific way for our older students to develop leadership skills and practice speaking in front of others, as well as set a positive example for our younger students. If one of our classes has something to share with the school, we might also get to enjoy a skit, message or lesson from the students. There is an opportunity for everyone to take the stage and shine

Shared Start Helps Us Achieve Goals

Meeting together each morning helps us align and work toward our goals. Almond Acres is in the business of growing great kids: heart, mind, body and soul. When we uncover all that our mission holds, we see how a strong community can serve us now and beyond 8th grade. Sharing a smile or a laugh with a kindergartner, celebrating a friend’s birthday, or watching your big brother receive an award expands our hearts and souls beyond books and the 4 walls of a classroom. 

Shared Start is the golden thread that connects each member of our community, from kindergartener to middle schooler, to staff and teachers, and even families. It’s one of the many intentional ways we work to grow great kids at our tuition-free charter school

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids!