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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!

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! 

Brain Power: What Kind of Learner Am I?

Smart is not
Just being best
At spelling bees,
A tricky test.
Or knowing all the answers ever…
Other things are just as clever.
Every hour of every day,
We’re smart in our own special way.
And nobody will ever do…
The very same smart thing as you.

All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell

You have probably heard of book smarts. Even street smarts and people smarts. But have you heard of nature smart? Or music smart? How about word smart? 

At Almond Acres Charter Academy (AACA), we believe that all kids are smart, born with their own unique set of gifts. Our job is to affirm, stretch and celebrate the unique gifts we are all given–from book smart to number smart and everything in between. 

At the beginning of each school year, AACA teachers empower our K-8 students to uncover how they are smart. The goal is to help students shift the question away from “am I smart?” to “how am I smart?” We begin this work with self-reflection, a study of the brain and by diving into the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. 

Self-Reflection & Self-Awareness

The journey of self-discovery at AACA is focused on a reflection of personal interests, strengths and personality traits. Our students spend time observing their own behavior and answering questions about things they enjoy doing, what comes easy, and what things are challenging. They work with their parents and teachers to identify strengths and struggles in all areas of their lives: heart, mind, body, and soul.  
In a student-led parent-teacher conference following this self-discovery period, students share what they’ve learned about themselves and challenge themselves to grow – or stretch – their skills. For example, a student may choose to learn to play an instrument, participate in the school play, or improve their reading fluency by learning 100 sight words.

Brain Power!

Even in kindergarten, AACA teachers begin to explain how our brains work. We include the biology and mechanics of the brain. Our brains do so much for us – from recognizing objects, to problem-solving, to processing emotions. Understanding this from a young age can help demystify learning and everyday habits we never think about like breathing and digestion. Knowledge is power when it comes to ownership for our bodies, our actions and our lives.

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Our work at AACA is deeply based on Harvard professor Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Gardner’s theory of the 8 intelligences graphic

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences explains the different ways we learn and express our innate intelligence. We explore ways that we can learn new concepts, paying attention to which type comes most naturally to us and which types are more challenging. No person has just a single intelligence—we are a beautiful combination of all the different ways to learn. 

Here are a couple of examples of the multiple intelligences in action:  

  • Someone who has strong interpersonal skills may learn best when working with a partner or team.  
  • A person with strong linguistic skills may be a word-smith or skilled at picking up new languages.
  • Someone with strong kinesthetic abilities may learn sight words better if they do jumping jacks while they spell words out loud.

This philosophy is so important to us that we’ve even installed the 8 symbols in the courtyard of our new building. It’s also tied in with our mascot and kite philosophy. Affirming, stretching and celebrating our smarts is a huge part of who we are.

The courtyard of the new Almond Acres Charter Academy building. There are 4 windows displayed and above each window is a round plaque with a symbol and word illustrating the multiple intelligences.

Boosting Knowledge & Confidence

AACA teachers use this new-found knowledge to boost student’s self-worth and confidence. Teachers incorporate the different ways of learning into lessons, being sure to vary the way new information is presented for all types of learners. We look for ways to draw out individual talents and recognize students for their unique contributions, while not ignoring areas that may need more nurturing and stretching. 

Understanding ourselves also helps understand others. When our students uncover all the ways they are smart, we notice an increase in empathy toward classmates. Everyone is smart in their own way! 

AACA celebrates all the ways we are smart. We believe our individual intelligences are gifts that bring color to our world and teach us that we can accomplish so much together. How are you smart? 

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!

A Slam Dunk: Sports & AACA

Five Almond Acres middle school athletes and their coach gather at a Cross Country meet

Almond Acres may be a small community school, but our sports offerings are anything but! 

AACA is proud to offer a robust athletic program that includes after competitive teams and intramurals. It’s just another way the entire Almond Acres community is working to grow the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul

In addition to our health and recreation programs and top notch academics, we nurture our students to grow into the best version of themselves through skills gained by being part of a team. Our athletes develop confidence, leadership skills and life-long friendships. They learn to win with grace and handle disappointment with dignity. 

There is no greater time to find a sense of belonging and community than the middle school years. Our middle school sports offerings are designed to give students a chance to showcase their skills and learn new things. Sports are a social outlet and they’re a lot of fun! 

If your middle school student is looking to grow his/her athletic development and have fun at the same time, we offer the following sports: 

Fall

Flag Football (Co-ed)

Volleyball (Girls)

Cross Country (Boys & Girls)

Winter

Basketball (Boys, Girls & Co-Ed teams)

Spring

Track & Field (Boys & Girls)

Volleyball (Boys)

Ultimate Frisbee (Co-ed)

Almond Acres is part of a regional league that competes against nine other schools in the area. Middle school athletes play against other schools our size, preparing them for more competitive teams when they reach high school, but still allowing a fair playing field. In cross country, competitions are divided by age group and open to everyone in our area, regardless of school size. 

The brand new gymnasium at Almond Acres Charter Academy for K-8 sports and physical education. 

Our elementary students don’t miss out on any of the action, either. Sports at Almond Acres are open to all students so they can experience being part of a team and explore their skills and interests. Sports provide our elementary students the opportunity to be with friends, move their bodies and have fun in a low risk environment, as well as prepare them for middle school athletics. 

Fall

Volleyball 

Cross Country (all grades)

Winter

Basketball (3rd-5th grade)

Flag Football (3rd-5th grade) 

Spring

Track & Field (all grades)

Ultimate Frisbee (3rd-5th grade)

Sports teams at Almond Acres extend our mission of developing the whole child beyond the hours of a typical school day. We know that kids who play sports show increased confidence, sharper brains, sleep better and develop stronger hearts and lungs.  All things essential for children to grow into the best version of themselves. Sports at AACA are a win-win!

Join us at Almond Acres as we cheer on our athletes–there’s a team for everyone here!

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!