Wednesday, November 26, 2014

XMAS BASKETS - Christmas is the season to open our hearts and share with those around us that need it most. It has been a tradition at Discovery School for students to come together and contribute in assembling baskets of goods for our support personnel.  We are asking for your cooperation in sending the following:

Nursery/PKinder and 6th grade students       1 5-lb bag of beans
Kinder and 7th grade students                       1 5 lb bag of rice
1st grade and 8th grade students                   1 5-lb bag of sugar
2nd grade and 9th grade students                 1 bottle or 2 bags of oil, 2 boxes of margarine, OR
                                                                                3 lbs of lard
3rd grade and 10th grade students                1 4lb-bag of MASECA
4th grade and 11th grade students                3 lbs of spaghetti (six packages) OR 1 bag of coffee
5th grade and 12th grade students                4 packages of tomato paste

Please feel free to send any additional goodies that you want to share with our devoted staff, such as canned goods, instant soups, cookies and crackers, or anything else that does not require refrigeration.  Please send these items no later than Monday, December 15th. Your cooperation will be deeply appreciated.

NPH GIVING TREE - Nuestro Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) is an international organization that takes in abandoned and orphaned children, providing a home, education, and love.  Here in Honduras, the NPH organization provides for over 500 children in at large ranch near La Venta and home in Tegucigalpa for severely handicapped children.   While many children at the ranch have aunts, uncles, or grandparents that come to visit them and can provide some Christmas gifts, some children at a ranch have no family to visit.  It is these children, whom we would like to provide for this Christmas.   On the second floor of the secondary building, a NPH Giving Tree will be set up.   If you wish to participate, choose a paper tree that has a child’s information about his/her size for shoes or socks.  Purchase the new item and return it to Mrs. Agurcia’s Room (Rm. 7) by Friday, December 5th, with the tree tag taped to it.  As well, there are tree tags for basic food items that will be donated to the orphanage.  Cash donations will also be accepted to provide shoes and socks for children whose tags were not selected.  Thank you for giving this Christmas!
If more information about NPH’s work in Honduras, please visit   and watch the video   .

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gratitude is one of the trickiest concepts to teach  -- but one of the most important. Although thankful children are more polite and pleasant to be around, there's more to it than that. By learning gratitude, children become sensitive to the feelings of others, develop empathy and other life skills along the way. Grateful children look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and other people do things for them -- prepare dinner, dole out hugs, teach, care for them, buy toys, etc. On the flip side, children who aren't taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to teach children about being thankful. Here are some ideas to teach your children how to appreciate the blessings in their lives and how to express it. Try these ideas and see if they work for you. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Set the Example. Parents have to model the behavior they hope their children adopt as their own. A simple, sincere expression of gratitude when your child does something they were asked to do is always appropriate. Taking an extra moment to thank a sales clerk at the store or to tip your help at home when bringing something to you lets them know that gratitude is acceptable and encouraged. Children model their parents in every way, so make sure you use "please" and "thank you" when you talk to them. ("Thanks for that hug -- it made me feel great!"). 
Work gratitude into your daily conversation.  When you reinforce an idea frequently, it's more likely to stick. Two old-fashioned, true ideas: Make saying what good things happened today part of the dinnertime conversation, or make bedtime prayers part of your nightly routine if this is an important part of your personal belief.

Make a List. From time to time, take some time as a family to list the things you are grateful for. Children might say things like a favorite toy or food, but sometimes they will express thanks for a family where they feel safe or for a dad's income that let's them have a few luxuries. 

Don't Demand Thanks.  Avoid demanding thanks from your children. They will internalize example much more than they will threats or humiliation. If you offer it sincerely to them, they will learn the skills of gratitude.

Teach Through Role Playing. If you notice a lack of the gratitude attitude, consider a little role playing. Have children act out a scenario where someone went out of their way for someone else, and have the receiver express gratitude. You might even consider a negative example and see how the giver feels when his or her giving is ignored.

Establish Family Traditions. Give a "speech" before every holiday dinner, talk about the blessings you have in your family (even if it's not Thanksgiving). By having family rituals that center on gratitude, children learn to express thanks.

Have kids help. It happens to everyone: You give your child a chore, but it's too agonizing watching him a) take forever to do it or b) make a huge mess. The temptation is always to step in and do it yourself. But the more you do for them, the less they appreciate your efforts. By participating in simple household chores like feeding the dog or stacking dirty dishes on the counter, kids realize that all these things take effort.

Find a goodwill project. That doesn't mean you need to drag your toddler off to a soup kitchen or shelter every week. Instead, figure out some way he/she can actively participate in helping someone else, even if it's as simple as making cupcakes for a sick neighbor. As you're stirring the batter or adding sprinkles, talk about how you're making them for a special person, and how happy the recipient will be.

Encourage generosity. Donate toys and clothes to less fortunate kids! Giving to others inspires children to go through their own closets and give something special to those in need, as well.

Insist on thank-you notes. Parents sometimes make their children write thank-you-s or make phone calls to thank for gifts or kind gestures. This teaches children not to take things for granted.  .

Practice saying no. Of course kids ask for toys, video games, and candy -- sometimes on an hourly basis. It's difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful when your every whim is granted. Saying “no” sometimes makes hearing “yes”  much sweeter.

Be patient. You can't expect gratitude to develop overnight -- it requires weeks, months, even years of reinforcement. But in time, you will be rewarded.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Ten Ways to Help Your Child Become a Reading Success

Encouraging children to read helps transform reading from a basic skill to a learned behavior and an intellectual habit. The more children read, the more they'll enjoy it, and the better readers they're likely to become. Here are some tips on ways to grow your child's interest in the wonderful world of reading,

v     Read with your child. You can't start too early. You can't read too much. Reading to young children nurtures an interest in language, words and communication. For older children, reading together can be fun and interesting. Consider reading one book together every month aloud. Take turns reading pages, chapters or major sections of the book. As this activity becomes a routine, it will not only help develop your child's reading skills, but will also create a basis for ongoing dialogue and discussion.

v     Read together regularly. It is recommended that parents spend an average of an hour a week—or 10 to 15 minutes a day—reading with young readers. It establishes reading as a regular, daily habit.

v     Encourage your child to build his or her own library. From stamps to comic books to autographs to baseball cards and stuffed animals, children have always been natural collectors. By encouraging book collecting and the creation of a personal library, you introduce your child to a world of resources. Help your child start his or her own library by including a visit to a local bookstore in your weekly or monthly shopping outings.

v     Search for reading activities on the Internet. There are an abundance of great websites that provide reading lists for children. Visit Book Adventure, a free, interactive, motivational reading program. Students choose their own books from more than 7,000 titles, take short comprehension quizzes and redeem their accumulated points for small prizes. Book Adventure also offers teacher and parent resources and tips to help children develop a lifelong love of reading. Other great resources are Tumblebooks, Myon, and the MAP reading skills websites provided by our teachers at Discovery School.

v     Get a riddle book! Children enjoy riddles and jokes that rely on wordplay. Laughing together at clever jokes and riddles can make a Saturday trip to soccer or hockey practice more enjoyable and memorable.

v     Create a vocabulary game. Compile a word list, or ask your children's teacher for a word list, and make a daily or weekly vocabulary game on index cards. Whether your child is just learning how to read or is preparing for high school exams, seeing, saying and learning new words is important. There are many electronic grames that children can enjoy that will build their vocabulary. And the good old fashion Scrabble and Boggle are great fun games you can enjoy as a family.

v     Make a book. Encourage your children to write original stories and illustrate them with their own drawings. It's a great way to increase comfort and familiarity with words.

v     Learn new words on the road. Use every new experience to introduce new words to your child. Every journey, trip or vacation, regardless of the distance, introduces new ideas and objectives to your child and can increase his or her vocabulary.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


The elementary students have been working hard for the past few weeks on their Science Fair projects, and the Elementary Science Fair. The big event will take place on Friday, December 5.  Students in the Upper Elementary (grades three through six) have received their Science Fair Booklet, and have been meeting weekly deadlines towards the final product. They will continue to work at home, and submit different documents to their homeroom teachers periodically. Students in the Lower Elementary and Early Childhood will be working on a class project with their homeroom teachers.

What is the best way to help your child? When is help too little or too much?
That is a questions that all parents face, and that teachers need parents to understand. Here are some things to consider:

  • It is important for the students to do the project themselves. A parent should not try to manage it for them.
  • Students may need guidance and direction when it comes to setting time aside to work on the project, and to obtain the necessary material to do it.
  • A parent can contribute by reminding his or her child about deadlines that need to be met, and making sure the child does the work.
  • It is very easy to take control of a student’s project, especially if you think it should be done differently. This should not happen.
  • Remember that this project is a learning experience for your child, and he or she will not benefit from a project performed by you.
  • If your child is performing all the necessary tasks to an acceptable standard and is not requesting assistance, your job is to supervise. If your child asks for help, appears to be struggling, or is performing below acceptable standards or with disregard for safety measures, then you may wish to offer assistance

The booklet that was given out to students is very user friendly. Talk to your child’s teacher if you have any questions. We all want to make this experience a successful and pleasant one for our students.