Parting Words

Dear Families & Followers,

It’s hard to believe I’ve been keeping this blog for the past 14 years. I’ve taught in all 7 elementary schools and one middle school in the time I’ve kept this blog. The schools have changed, but my work as an advocate for gifted children and their families has not. I look forward to continuing my career as a gifted support advisor at Penn Manor High School next year where I will be taking over for Mr. Matusek who will be retiring. Dr. Garvey will be filling my shoes at Conestoga Elementary, Eshleman Elementary, and Marticville Middle Schools. In the event that this is my last post, I want to acknowledge the wonderful staff and families I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years. As I pack up my belongings and move to Penn Manor High School I am filled with wonderful memories of years gone by. I will miss working with elementary and middle school students, and at the same time, I am excited to work with high school students. As the year comes to a close, I am not saying goodbye, but instead I am saying, “see you later”. I look forward to our paths crossing again when your child begins high school.

Have a great summer!

Mrs. Orihuel

FREE Online Discussion Group for Parents

Help your twice exceptional child thrive. On April 17th, 2023, at 7 pm a Parent to Parent (P2P) online group discussion will be hosted by the PA Association of Gifted Education. Join gifted teacher and parent of twice-exceptional kids, Bronwyn Korchnak, along with PAGE Board members to discuss the ins and outs of the educational & social/ emotional needs of 2e students. Let PAGE help you to help your twice-exceptional child thrive. Click HERE to register (for FREE!).

Middle School Debate

Marticville’s 7th graders were presented with the following debate topic: Letter grades in school do more harm than good. Before being assigned a side to argue, students considered and researched both sides of the argument. Looking at both sides prior to the debate prepared students with counterarguments before the debate took place.

The debate is on! Here are the steps the teams followed.

Debate Steps

  1. The team that agrees with the topic (For) goes first.
    1. Make 3-4 claims and provide supporting evidence and details. 
    2. The opposing team takes notes. 
  1. The team that disagrees with the topic (Against) goes second.
    1. Make 3-4 claims and provide supporting evidence and details. 
    2. The opposing team takes notes 

Debate Recess to prepare rebuttals.

  1. The team that disagrees with the topic (Against) states their rebuttal and closing
  1. The team that agrees with the topic (For) states their rebuttal and closing

Both teams made excellent claims and provided a variety of facts and statistics to support their arguments. Students communicated their points clearly and confidently and were super convincing! After the bell rang and students were leaving class they were still engaged, in a respectful way, with the original topic: Letter grades in school do more harm than good.

Women in STEM Conference

Last Tuesday April 4, 2023 four students from Marticville Middle School attended Millersville University’s Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Conference. The keynote speaker, Dr. Rebecca Lamason, is an Assistant Professor of Biology at MIT. She kicked off the morning by sharing her academic and professional journey with women from area middle and senior high schools. Dr. Lamason told the girls a few things that helped her along the way. One, is to always chase interesting questions, two, learn new things at every stage of your schooling and career, and lastly to seek out good mentors who will share with you the unspoken rules of women in STEM. Rebecca also highlighted the importance of skills such as; public speaking, networking, one one one interactions with peers, and how to be a leader and a learner. She encouraged the girls to help one another along the way and reminded them that we need each other to be our best selves.

How Social Media Affects Your Child and What You Can Do to Help

Last night I joined a webinar with four mental health experts from three organizations for a roundtable discussion about social media, its impact on mental health and body image, and what you, as caregivers and parents can do to support your kids. The experts were:

Dr. Harold Koplewicz
President and Founder at the Child Mind Institute

Dr. Matt Biel
Chair Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and Chief Medical Officer at Fort Health

Dr. Lindsay Henderson
Clinical Director at Fort Health

Dr. Maria La Via
Director of Psychiatry at Equip Health

The webinar covered a lot of information. Here are my takeaways:

  • Young people are spending significantly less time face to face with friends.
  • People who struggle with attention and impulsivity have to learn to monitor their time online more closely.
  • People who are sensitive and experience big feelings have trouble tolerating and processing what they see online.
  • The first 10 minutes on instagram is friend content. After that the content moves into body image material. This is how the social media algorithm is designed.
  • Kids have to learn to tolerate being alone and quiet. Kids have trouble sitting with themselves.
  • Mindless scrolling has displaced creativity and practicing a new skill.
  • Young people have lost the ability to follow a conversation and make it deep and rewarding.
  • Social media and video games displace sleep.

Things parents can do:

  • Talk to your child about how screen time makes them feel. Ask them what it’s like to stay online for 2 hours? 4 hours? 7 hours (the average time kids spend online)?
  • Give age appropriate guidelines. The goal is for kids to eventually moderate themselves.
  • Talk to other parents who have similar expectations and values.
  • Make meal time (even if it’s 10-15 minutes) a screen-free social time for the family. Be mindful of the food and the conversation.
  • Look for moments to connect with your children without technology.