# Sincerity

“I have no enemies.”
-The Avett Brothers

Calling out spelling words a few days ago, the word “insincere” was listed. We ended up having a small discussion about telling the truth. I told the group I would want them to always tell me the truth, no matter what, as I tell my own children.

Today, sincerity came up again when we were discussing peer pressure. We were talking about that little voice in our heads (I swear it’s our mother) and automatic negative thoughts that invade our conscious, also known as ANTs. Hearing the perspective of your sons and daughters about trying to do the “right” thing, but then possibly making a mistake and owning up to it was not only entertaining, but provided evidence showing how special TCS middle school really is. To have a conversation about ANTs with adolescents is very different from having a conversation with an elementary school student. As a mother with young children, I am still around when they make mistakes and can help navigate their internal dialogue with them. But as our kids get older, we won’t be around as much, which is developmentally appropriate, to help them navigate sincerity, peer pressure, and ANTs that might creep in.

However, I truly believe that your sons and daughters are being prepared for this next phase in their lives as they have these conversations at school without judgement and among peers whom they trust…sincerely.

What’s happening in Science:
This week, historians filmed their “Coffee Talk” shows about Ancient Rome! There were guest appearances from Sparticus, ancient Roman women, and even Cleopatria made time to show up! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, scientists took a brain break to make Oobleck. They explored its quantitative and qualitative properties, then identified it as non-Newtonian fluid.

What’s up in Math?
Fifth Graders related decimal and fraction multiplication this week. They used this to convert measurements involving whole numbers, mixed numbers and improper fractions to solve-multi-step word problems. Then, they applied this knowledge to help them convert measurements.
Sixth Graders have been writing mathematical expressions, distributing expressions and reading mathematical expressions in which letters replace digits.

In Writing:
Journalists reviewed the first amendment rights and its position in the press. We studied two supreme court cases: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) to evaluate student’s right to free speech in schools. This paragraph from the American Press Institute sums up the final court ruling:

The court decided that when school authorities use editorial control in “school sponsored” expressive activities, that control is acceptable if “related to legitimate pedagogical (teaching) concerns.” The court divided student speech into two categories— speech by students and school-sponsored speech. If speech falls in the first category, the Tinker “substantial disruption” rule applies. If it falls into the second category, the Hazelwood rule applies.

We discussed the difference between speech by student and school-sponsored speech. Then for the rest of the week, we discussed how some critics of the media say journalism has become an “ethically corrupt” field and how much of what journalists write is not regulated by law. Instead, most journalists regulate themselves under a set of guidelines. Therefore, we researched the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics that guides reporters in what they should do, not what they must do.

Important Dates:
March 29- April 5 Spring Break