Note from the Principal: Lower Lab Values Positivity

Dear Lower Lab Community,

Happy Monday!

Below you will find my first Lower Lab Values letter for this school year.  If you are new to Lower Lab, our Lower Lab Values initiative, began several years ago, as a school wide effort to promote social emotional learning in a fun, engaging and memorable way. 

For this year, the “lessons” will be facilitated by the SEL team, but everyone is strongly encouraged to keep the vibe, learning and discussion alive and well, in our classrooms, as well as in your homes, throughout the year – it will yield much greater impact!

The official launch for students will be Thursday, November 12th and continue through the in-person cohorts as well as the fully remote cohort.  

Stay well and STAY POSITIVE,

Sandra G. Miller


The Lower Lab School, P.S. 77


Lower Lab Values Positivity

November 2020

While the current state of affairs can certainly bring our attention to areas of caution, concern and uncertainty, children always seem to keep us focused on what matters.  This is especially true of Lower Lab students.  Throughout the back-to-school season, as I focused on cohort schedules and DoE changes and Covid-19 guidelines, students asked me, “what are you doing about Lower Lab Values this year?” So, with pleasure, I bring you the launch of this year’s Lower Lab Values.

Just like this school year, different from previous ones, Lower Lab Values will be different too. Instead of several Lower Lab Values, we are going to spend the entire school year centered on one value – the one that will help all of us get through – positivity! Right now, for so many, we are in a negative place, maybe worried, perhaps scared, and likely overwhelmed. Children are feeling it too – whether they see it in their parents’ faces, in the media, or in their own world of juggling schedules, home workspaces, cohorts, zoom, etc., etc. – nothing feels normal. Everyone thinks a lot about what they can’t do, what they miss and what they want. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can appreciate what we DO have, and we can look at the bright side.

Our first book for this year, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig, is a well-known, award-winning book, with captivating illustrations. It is a fable-like story of a young donkey who discovers a magic pebble that grants wishes. He is of course very excited about this, but soon realizes that wishing for things he doesn’t have is not as good as being happy with what he already has – a loving family.

Our Social-Emotional Learning team, led by Josh Goldstein, our guidance counselor, will facilitate Lower Lab Values across the grades, beginning with this endearing story.  The team will read and discuss Sylvester, generating ideas with children about their own lives and the power of positivity

If you would like to engage your child in conversation around this book, you may find the following helpful:

  • Make a t-chart and label it During the pandemic, I…
    • On the left, list all the things you miss (such as going to the movies), and on the right, list all the things you have(such as making a movie with your grandmother or younger brother).  Which list is longer? What does this mean?
  • Fill in the blank.  If you have your ________, then you have a lot. Explain.
  • How do you think Sylvester felt when he saw his parents having a picnic and he was a rock? 
  • Why did Sylvester’s dad put the rock in a safe?
  • Think about someone in your life that needs some positivity?  What can you do with your power?
  • Make a big colorful positivity sign (also known as the plus or addition sign) – inside or around it write or draw things that give YOU positive energy.  Hang it up in your room or family area.

For older students:

  • Which does it mean, enjoy the little things
  • What is the difference between positivity and optimism? 
  • A famous French writer, Alphonse Karr, once said, “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”  Discuss.

Children like special powers.  Positivity, is the special power that can heal us, help others, and bring joy.  Being positive or having positive energy, is also the power to be happy! 

Finally, I ask you, got positivity?

Sandy Miller 2020