A Note From the Principal – Lower Lab Values Flexibility

January 2018

What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada 


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Flexibility, or the ability to think flexibly, is sometimes called “cognitive flexibility.”  This skill is one of the three main executive functions that serve as the command center of the brain, and is crucial to our ability to solve problems. While some children, especially gifted ones are adept at looking at things from different angles and perspectives, other children, also gifted ones, can be less flexible, as they are likely to focus on accuracy and “being right” or things “being fair.”  They can also worry, get anxious and want things to be “perfect.”

As we dive into 2018, Lower Lab Values Flexibility, as a way of extending or shifting our thinking in order to produce a variety of ideas, alternate ways of looking at a problem, or more unique ways of seeing an opportunity.  Flexible thinkers see things in different ways and can even find possibilities that break with the norm.  Their ideas can be innovative and brave.

A New York Times #1 Best Seller, What Do You Do With a Problem? is a beautifully illustrated(by Mae Besom) story of a young child who is followed around by his problem, which persists and persists, and the longer the problem is avoided, grows and grows.  The pictures support the idea of subtle looming into full-blown storminess. Finally, when the child gathers up the courage to face the problem, he discovers that the problem is not what it seemed, and positive outcomes are true possibilities.

While the book does not give its readers a concrete problem and solution, the open-endedness of the story allows for deeper thinking and reflective text-to-self connections.

Some good discussion may be yielded from the following:

  • Do you think of yourself as a flexible person? Why or why not?
  • Can you think of a time when you had a problem? How did you solve your problem?

Were you or others flexible?

  • What kinds of problems do people have? What makes something a big problem? What is a smaller problem? Why is it important to think about the difference?
  • In the story, the character said, “And the more I worried, the bigger my problem became.” What do you think this means?
  • Why do you think the author chose not to describe a particular problem in the story?
  • If you have a plan and it is not going your way, when is it ok to change the plan?

For older students:

  • Think about this quote by Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Do you agree or disagree?

got flexibility?

SGM 2018

flexibility BOM 2018

A Note from the Principal

December 21, 2017

Dear Families,

For the holidays, each member of the Lower Lab staff is receiving a copy of the book I Will Make Miracles, written by Susie Morgenstern and illustrated by Jiang Hong Chen.  It is a beautiful story about dreams, wishes, hope and miracles.  Most importantly, it is about what causes miracles to happen.  Every day, with their collective wisdom, expertise and determination, the staff members of Lower Lab make miracles happen for our students.  It makes me especially proud to be part of this wonderful community.

As you embark on holiday celebrations, vacations and memorable time with family, I wish you much love, health and joy.  Here’s looking forward to an amazing 2018!  We will continue to make miracles!!!


Sandy Miller

News from our Chess Team…

A large group of thirty-three students, their parents, siblings, and even some grandparents made the journey to Florida!

There were some real nail-biters and many of the teams’ final results came down to the final match.  The third graders were in first place going into the final match and it came down to the last match of the tournament to determine a winner!

A Note From the Principal – Lower Lab Values Patience

Lower Lab Values Patience

Book of the Month for December 2017

The Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables


 It is believed that the expression “patience is a virtue” began very far back to a poem written in the late 1300s.  A virtue, quite similar to a value, is something good that creates more good.  Being patient, or having the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed, angry or anxious, is definitely something we can value, something that is good.  Patience has also been defined as the ability to continue doing something despite difficulties.  This is not always easy for adults, and more often than not, it is not easy for children.

Lower Lab wins a Blackboard Award for Excellence!

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Last night I was extremely honored to accept a Blackboard Award on behalf of our school.  This is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and productive collaboration that happens every day at Lower Lab.   We are indeed an OUTSTANDING SCHOOL!  Congratulations to the fantastic staff, dedicated parents and magnificent students of the Lower Lab School.

Extra thanks to our parents who arranged a delicious celebratory lunch for the staff today.


Sandy Miller

A Note From the Principal – Lower Lab Values Tolerance

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Book of the Month for November 2017

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

The Cambridge English dictionary defines Tolerance as the willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, even if you disagree with or disapprove of them.  In the scheme of things and certainly for the world today, what could be more important than having the ability to “tolerate” that which one does not like?  This is not always easy for adults, and more often than not, it is not easy for children.

So we are very fortunate that Dr. Seuss created “The Sneetches.”  This book, which appears to be a typical, adorably illustrated, rhyming Dr. Seuss book, is one of the most recommended artifacts of children’s literature for the teaching of tolerance.  It also provides access to this topic for even young students.

This book introduces its readers to a race of odd yellow birds who live on a beach.  Some have stars on their bellies. They are the popular Sneetches, while those without stars on their bellies are deemed less fortunate, neglected and are treated poorly.  The plain-bellied Sneetches then have opportunity to get stars on their bellies, but soon after, the star-bellied Sneetches have their stars removed.  This goes back and forth for a bit until all of the Sneetches realize that they are equal, with none better than another, and the stars do not matter at all.

While the book experience feels familiar Seuss, it gives us the opportunity to discuss a serious topic in a safe way.  It can address race, equity, diversity and discrimination, and it can also more simply address how one can act when they don’t like something about someone else, or just someone who is different.

Some good discussion may be yielded from the following:

  • Were the Sneetches with stars better than the Sneetches without stars? What made the star-bellied sneetches think so? What made the plain-bellied sneetches think so?
  • Have you ever felt like a star-bellied Sneetch? What made you feel that way?
  • Have you ever felt like a plain-bellied Sneetch? What made you feel that way?
  • What kinds of things make people feel different from one another?
  • Is it better to be different or the same?
  • What if everyone looked the same?
  • What if everyone acted the same?
  • Is it sometimes ok to pick or not pick someone based on certain characteristics? Why? Or why not?

Seuss intended the Sneetches” as a satire of discrimination between races and cultures, specifically inspired by his opposition to antisemitism.

got tolerance?

SGM 2017